It goes without saying that Crystal Palace fans aren’t used to watching their team be proactive and press the opposition.
For many seasons now, we’ve watched the likes of Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson drill the players into a rigid shape.
Abandoning that shape to press an opponent would’ve been a crime under their stewardship, so you can understand why our players currently seem unfamiliar with doing so.
Just like Jürgen Klopp’s gegenpressing system at Liverpool, Patrick Vieira is trying to make us a side who put more pressure on the ball.
However, there’s still plenty to work on judging by the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea.
Three photos magnify Crystal Palace’s problems
Thanks to Crystal Palace fan @cpfcturkish on Twitter, the glaring issues with our pressing play can be seen quite clearly.
Firstly, as you can see below, the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew are in a good position to put Trevor Chalobah under pressure.
PALACE'S MAN-ORIENTED PRESSURE— cpfc🇹🇷 (@turkishcpfc) August 17, 2021
Positioning looks good but in the continuation of this because ward didn't follow his man up and didn't press him high, mcarthur goes there and tries to press but because of this, we leave them space to get the ball easily and get it out of there. pic.twitter.com/5Z1NvGDGAc
However, we failed to effectively transfer the pressing over to the left, when the ball eventually arrived at Antonio Rudiger’s feet.
It was not a cohesive press. Gaps appeared, Joel Ward didn’t feel comfortable in going that high with Timo Werner breathing down his neck, so James McArthur went instead.
However, as @cpfcturkish points out, this then left a huge gap for Mateo Kovacic to get Chelsea on the attack – concerning signs, to say the least.
No need to panic at all
Yes, the current pressing shape is a worry, but there are so many reasons why we don’t need to panic.
We were playing the champions of Europe, it was Vieira’s first game, he’s still getting his ideas across and we were also without a number of key players.
With a few more sessions, and against an opponent like Burnley – to give an example – the pressing ethos should be much more effective.
Hopefully, we’ll start to see signs of it working against Brentford this Saturday, in front of a packed Selhurst Park – at long, long last.