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December 1 2020 8.41pm

Donít mention the VARÖ

January 6 2020

Wembley FA Cup Final 2016Ö but donít keep any early May dates free in 2020Ö

Wembley FA Cup Final 2016Ö but donít keep any early May dates free in 2020Ö

The third round of the FA Cup in January marks the halfway point of the season and CPFC were drawn at home against Championship side Derby County. The Eagles exited the competition with a 1-0 defeat. Jamesey reports.

It was almost like being in a time warp on a chilly Sunday (Jan 5) in Selhurst. Two illustrious veteran campaigners lined up on opposite sides Ė Gary Cahill for the Eagles and Wayne Rooney for the Rams.

A healthy crowd of over 15,000 filled the ground and one wonders why the Arthur Wait was closed when a few more thousand could probably have added to the gate. Hasnít anyone told the powers-that-be at CPFC that the FA Cup seems to be gradually attracting far more interest nowadays?

As has sometimes been the case at Eagle fixtures recently, the media star of the show was VAR and the ill-judged decision to introduce the system on such a half-cocked manner.

Nobody has been very clear whether VAR is master or servant to the match referee.

The system was instigated as an aid to resolve difficult decisions as has been usefully used in rugby for many years.

However, it has evolved into a busybody in a back-room somewhere not only checking for obvious errors but making slide-rule decisions on offside positions, sometimes involving a fingernail or big toe.

The back-room boy has moved on to comb the footage for incidents that were not in dispute, such as fouls missed by the match official leading to a disallowed goal.

However, referees are now fighting back and in this game, Michael Oliver took matters into his own hands. Having awarded yellows to Luka Milivojevic and Derbyís Tom Huddlestone after a scuffle, he strode to the sideline, had a look at the monitor and changed Lukaís penalty to a red card.

What next? A referendum for a panel of referees scattered throughout the nation watching video screens?

It would be a gross exaggeration to say that Palace are making a habit of being removed from the two big cup contests by lower league opponents but Colchester (League Cup) and now Derby County donít make very proud reading.

Perhaps this supporter is suffering from too many Winter Blues but the situation in which the club finds itself in January was so predictable.

Despite being in a very creditable league position (9th as I write), the inevitable injury list has left a paper-thin selection choice.

When all are fit and unsuspended, we have a team that can compete at the highest level in the Lotsacash League. In the current situation there are no strong back-up men to bring in, so with key players out of commission and possibly Jairo Riedewald and Max Meyer two more possibly on the sick list after the cup game, the team looks very vulnerable.

As for the game itself, Rooney marshalled his troops like a true general, dominating the midfield and spraying passes everywhere, one of which ended with Derbyís goal in the 32nd minute, scored by Chris Martin.

Wayne Hennesseyís feeble attempt to save it made this supporter give even deeper thanks for the arrival of Vicente Guaita.

Palace looked poor, tactically clueless and displaying the worst habits like losing possession cheaply and misplacing passes in abundance.

The only two players to emerge with any credit were Jordan Ayew who worked tirelessly and looked dangerous at times, and new kid on the block Brandon Pierrick who created some promising moments but faded out of the game as the time ticked by.

With Arsenal and Manchester City next on the agenda, it is reassuring that a nice cushion of early season points is there for what might be some sticky times ahead.

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