Friday 13 December 2019

Swansea pegged back as Scott Dann earns point for Crystal Palace

Gylfi Sigurdsson fires Swansea ahead from a free-kick
Gylfi Sigurdsson fires Swansea ahead from a free-kick

Swansea had to settle for a point in their Barclays Premier League relegation battle as Crystal Palace stopped the rot after five straight defeats.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's sumptuous free-kick, his fifth goal in six games, gave Swansea a 13th-minute lead which their first-half play merited.

But defender Scott Dann struck two minutes after the restart to secure a point for a Palace side who were far improved after the break.

Although this result will do little for either side's ambitions to claw their way up the table, the draw at least provides some momentum for Swansea and Palace to take into their next games.

Emmanuel Adebayor made a surprise first Palace start after Eagles boss Alan Pardew had said his fitness levels only allowed the 31-year-old to make a cameo appearance.

In the end Adebayor managed 86 minutes and there was nothing wrong with his appetite as he kept Swansea's defenders busy early on.

But Palace were devoid of a cutting edge, in keeping with a side which had failed to win in seven games since December 19.

Wilfried Zaha prompted the odd flurry in setting up half-chances for Lee Chung-yong and Adebayor but Palace failed to test Lukasz Fabianski during a first half in which Swansea carried the greater attacking threat.

The hosts were rewarded for their endeavour when Adebayor conceded a free-kick, perhaps harshly awarded, on the edge of the area and Sigurdsson buried it low past Wayne Hennessey in fine fashion.

Palace were almost undone again moments later when Hennessey failed to hold Wayne Routledge's centre and Damien Delaney reacted well to block Andre Ayew's goalbound cross.

Swansea were tidy in possession and Alberto Paloschi kept the Palace rearguard occupied on his debut, with the hosts benefiting from having a focal point in attack.

Ayew almost slid home a second when Sigurdsson's corner travelled unimpeded to the far post and there was another escape for Palace after 35 minutes.

Jack Cork broke to the byline to pull the ball back into Routledge's path and, though the connection was good, the effort flew wide of Hennessey's far post.

But Palace were encouraged close to half-time by efforts from Yohan Cabaye and Dann and sending on Marouane Chamakh at half-time for Lee was a positive statement of intent from Pardew.

Their strong start to the second half saw them rewarded when Delaney flicked on Cabaye's corner and Dann beat Neil Taylor at the far post to bundle home his fifth goal of the season.

Adebayor miscued when well placed from Zaha's pass as Swansea took time to clear their heads from conceding.

But when they did Ayew appealed for a penalty under a challenge from Pape Souare and the Ghanaian set himself for an outrageous overhead kick which drifted inches wide of Hennessey's far post.

Both sides had opportunities to take all three points late on as Swansea skipper Ashley Williams saw his effort blocked while Palace substitute Hiram Boateng's shot was deflected wide.


Crystal Palace's James Mcarthur (@jamesmcarthur16): " Well done to the boys. Good point away from home #cpfc"



Lukasz Fabianski: 7 (out of 10)

Angel Rangel: 7

Federico Fernandez: 7

Ashley Williams: 7

Neil Taylor: 6

Leon Britton: 8

Jack Cork: 7

Wayne Routledge: 7

Gylfi Sigurdsson: 7

Andre Ayew: 7

Alberto Paloschi: 6


Modou Barrow (on for Routledge 61mins): 7

Kyle Naughton (on for Rangel 86mins): 7

Bafetimbi Gomis (on for Paloschi 87mins): 6

Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey: 7

Joel Ward: 7

Scott Dann: 8

Damien Delaney: 7

Pape Souare: 7

Mile Jedinak: 7

Yohan Cabaye: 7

Jordon Mutch: 7

Lee Chung-Yong: 6

Wilfried Zaha: 7

Emmanuel Adebayor: 7


Marouane Chamakh (on for Lee 46mins): 6

Hiram Boateng (on for Cabaye 71mins): 7

Fraizer Campbell (on for Adebayor 86mins): 6


Leon Britton: Why he was almost allowed to leave Swansea in the summer beggars belief. He recently clocked 500 games for the club and has been a revelation since forcing his way back into the team in November. Broke up a lot of Palace attacks and kept Swansea moving in the right direction.


It is a sign of Gylfi Sigurdsson's upturn in form that there was a good chance his 13th-minute free-kick would find the Palace net. And so it came to pass as the Icelandic international curled his free-kick around the wall and low past Wayne Hennessey into the corner of the net for his fifth goal in six games.


Francesco Guidolin probably had mixed feelings on his Liberty Stadium bow. There was no shortage of effort and commitment from his side, even though the Italian might have wished to see more chances created and was no doubt disappointed from conceding at a set-piece. Palace manager Alan Pardew saw his side pick up a point after five successive defeats as the Eagles played well in patches and attacked whenever they could.


The game might be described as a slow-burner as it took a little while to warm up. But when it did there were plenty of goalmouth scrapes with both sides keen to work their way into the box. However, if there was one failing it was that neither side worked the opposition goalkeeper enough.


Crystal Palace v Watford (Premier League, February 13)

Swansea v Southampton (Premier League, February 13)

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