Crystal Palace 0-0 Fulham: Scott Parker’s side three points from Premier League safety after drab goalless stalemate at Selhurst Park
- There were few chances in a thoroughly unentertaining first half in south London
- Fulham centre half Joachim Andersen and striker Josh Maja twice went close
- But Crystal Palace held off Cottagers pressure to hand both sides one point
Fulham missed the chance to close the gap to safety after being held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Monday afternoon.
Scott Parker’s side dominated and created a string of chances at Selhurst Park but failed to make any of them count, letting their nearest relegation rivals off the hook in the process.
Brighton and Newcastle had both dropped points 24 hours earlier, handing Fulham a big opportunity to drag their fellow strugglers closer to danger.
Fulham striker Josh Maja went close with a header but it was superbly saved by Vicente Guaita
Scott Parker (centre) will be disappointed not to have taken all three points from the match
However, they let it slip, much to Parker’s frustration, especially with Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City next up.
The first half was cagey, with both teams comfortably nullifying each other.
Fulham racked up the passes as they worked the ball from side to side and pushed and probed before failing too often with their final ball.
Well-drilled Palace defended well to keep Fulham at arms’ length but without offering too much threat of their own.
The first period passed without incident, with both defences holding firm in a 0-0 stalemate
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic deservedly received a yellow card for this poor tackle
Indeed the closest anyone came to scoring in the first half hour was Joachim Andersen almost swiping Andros Townsend’s cross into his own goal.
When Alphonse Areola claimed the Fulham captain’s miskick it turned out to be a crucial intervention with Christian Benteke lurking behind the Dane poised to convert.
Andersen then threatened goal in more conventional fashion, heading one Ademola Lookman corner wide and then a free-kick from the winger over.
Lookman’s deliveries were proving a potential source of a goal for Fulham and from another early in the second half Tosin Adarabioyo headed straight at Vicente Guaita.
Eagles centre half Gary Cahill made a brave last-ditch block to deny Dane Joachim Andersen
Former Crystal Palace loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek had several nice touches but not much else
Andersen then had another two efforts, scuffing one volley into Guaita’s grasp before whipping a low free-kick wide.
Fulham had turned up the intensity and their intent a notch after the interval and former Palace loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek was next to test Guaita.
The next two Fulham chances fell to just the man they would have wanted them to. Loftus-Cheek’s clever touch on ran to Maja who Cruyff turned away from Cheikhou Kouyate but bent his shot wide.
Moments later Maja beat Joel Ward to a cross from sub Ivan Cavaleiro’s cross but Guaita flung himself to his left to keep the Fulham striker’s header out.
But Eagles boss Roy Hodgson (left) will have to reflect on another toothless display in attack
Other than for their finishing, you could not fault Fulham, they sensed their opportunity and were going for it.
Scott Parker chucked on Aleksandar Mitrovic – available again after recovering from Covid-19 – to join Maja up top and tookoff Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, leaving the impressive Harrison Reed as his sole holding midfielder.
Before that Gary Cahill produced a brilliant last-ditch block to keep Fulham at bay before Loftus-Cheek volleyed inches wide.
With three minutes left Fulham’s bench had their heads in their hands again when, from Reed’s looping cross, Lookman’s side-footed volley flew just inches wide.
Maja did similar deep into injury time and, with that, Fulham’s hopes of a crucial three points were gone.
Match Facts: Crystal Palace v Fulham, Premier League
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita 7.5; Ward 6, Kouyate 7, Cahill 7.5, van Aanholt 7; Riedewald 7, Milivojevic 7, Eze 6.5 (McCarthy 79, 6); Ayew 6, Benteke 7, Townsend 6.5.
Substitutes not used: Butland (GK); Kelly, Dann, Mitchell, Hannam, Mateta, Batshuayi.
Yellow cards: Milivojevic 55.
Manager: Roy Hodgson 6.6
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Areola 6; Tete 7, Andersen 8, Adarabioyo 7, Aina 7 (Robinson 46, 6); Reed 8, Zambo Anguissa 6.5 (Mitrovic 73, 6); Decordova-Reid 6 (Cavaleiro 66, 6.5), Loftus-Cheek 6, Lookman 7; Maja 6.5.
Substitutes not used: Fabri (GK); Kongolo, Ream, Bryan, Lemina, Onomah.
Yellow cards: Robinson 82.
Manager: Scott Parker 6.5.
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6.5.
Man of the match: Reed.
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