New signing Jean-Philippe Mateta tasted defeat on his Crystal Palace debut as the Eagles succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road on Monday night.
The French centre-forward was handed his first start by manager Roy Hodgson but was substituted in the 65th minute having failed to take a single shot on target.
Yet this was not a result that should be hung on his young shoulders, as he was a rare bright spark in what was otherwise a dismal team display overall, although he fell short of the form he has shown in the Bundesliga since the start of this season.
Indeed, Mateta worked hard off the ball as he tried to track back to win back the ball and retain possession, as evidenced by the fact the striker made one tackle, two clearances and one interception during his 65′ minutes.
Instead, fingers should be pointed at their leaky defence – the Eagles have now conceded 39 goals in 23 games which is bettered only by none other than Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion.
Hodgson’s side simply weren’t at the races against Leeds, as Palace were well off the pace last night, particularly Scott Dann, who was nothing short of abysmal throughout the entire game.
The 33-year-old was rated as their second-worst player on the pitch by SofaScore as he lost possession 13 times, which just goes to show how he was a total liability at the back as he basically kept on giving the opposition the ball.
In contrast, even the Whites’ goalkeeper Illan Meslier managed to touch the ball on more occasions (56) during the full 90 minutes.
He also could only find a Palace shirt 23 times from 35 attempts at a pass accuracy rating of a mere 66%, which is far below his season’s average of 83% and suggests that he was performing at a sub-par standard on the night.
It’s no wonder then that he has been left on the bench for four of their past seven Premier League fixtures and Hodgson may well wish to do so again after his shambles at the back.
Until the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp have recovered from injury, the problem must lie in the leaky defence.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace suffer Wilfried Zaha injury blow before Leeds clash…