Everything is square as London rivals settle for deadlock
Even the most loyal of Crystal Palace or Brentford fans couldn’t argue that the 0-0 draw between the teams at Selhurst Park was not a fair result.
It was a suspicious and gasping encounter with any semblance of space in the midfield quickly choked as soon as it materialized. But finally, despite all the puff, there was not much to show because the two managers had to settle for a point.
No doubt Thomas Frank will be the happier of the two. Brentford has four points and two cleansheets in two London derbies.
Patrick Vieira has his first point as Palace boss, but with away trips to West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, as well as a home game at Tottenham before the end of October, the Frenchman could see the missed opportunity against the newly promoted side.
Especially since the best chance of the match went to one of his own. Connor Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea, was the best player in the first 10 minutes, covering just about every blade of grass on the ground as home fans urged their team to move on.
He ran a delicious line against the three Brentford full-backs and picked up a assist from Wilfired Zaha. His touch was heavy but he still managed to wrap his right boot around the ball with intention. He shot at the near post and again at the upright, but did not inflate the net. It would prove a sign of things to come.
Brentford grew up in the game but space has remained a hard-earned luxury. The visitors stacked their midfield with five volunteer runners while Palace’s wide men in Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp were forced to come in deep to help.
Eventually, the Bees grew in the contest and they finished the first period strong, with Bryan Mbeumo hitting the woodwork with a free kick coiled over the top of the crossbar.
Opportunities continued to present themselves for the new Premier League boys and Ivan Toney should have opened his high profile account three minutes after the restart.
Sergi Canos chose him with a corner kick, but the striker mis-timed his jump and the ball came out of his shoulder, allowing Vicente Guaita to clear.
Palace responded and Christian Benteke headed eight yards after Joel Ward arrived at the signing as the sheer nature of the London derby showed no signs of slowing down, after Frank Onyeka again needed treatment after being mocked in the first half by the receptionists for an injured spell.
Onyeka was quickly substituted, but only after teammate David Raya was forced to a fingertip save to deny James McArthur’s net effort with 21 minutes remaining.
As the seconds ticked by in south London, the tension grew and Palace wanted Christian Norgaard to show a second yellow late, but referee Martin Atkinson kept his cards in his pocket as he finished scoreless in SE25.
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