PATRICK VIEIRA vs. Jesse Marsch has never been for the faint of heart.
During their MLS days with New York City and the New York Red Bulls from 2016-2018, there were all sorts of mud fights and verbal abuse between the two young, fiery coaches.
From allegations of refusing to shake hands to allegations of “crying” referees.
And on the pitch you were always promised goals galore.
In nine meetings between the pair across the pond, the aggregate was 23-9 in Marsch’s favour.
But in their hidden reunion in the No 10 clash, despite all the tricky needles on the pitch between Crystal Palace and Leeds, this was the opposite of a net-laden thriller.
If anything, it was a result that will have only encouraged those around them amid a tense Premier League relegation battle that hope is not lost.
Before kick-off, Marsch’s Leeds were 16thth with a game in hand and two points clear of a resurgent Burnley with a chance to end the night on 36 points – a big step towards safety.
And despite losing the last two, Vieira’s Palace were looking to hit the magical 40-point mark with a win – a numeric symbol of survival in Prem history and beyond.
But neither took the initiative, instead inviting potential pressure from below in the now-nervous final five games for Vieira and Marsch.
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For Leeds, that includes Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea, while Palace have yet to take on Watford, Everton and Manchester United.
Leeds arrived at Selhurst Park in fine form – winning three of the last four – but perhaps a little ring rusty having last played in a 3-0 away win at Watford on April 9.
Marsch welcomed the return of Kalvin Phillips in his first start since suffering a hamstring injury in early December.
To end the losing streak, Vieira made five changes as Eberechi Eze just earned his second Prem start of the season.
A hug between the two managers on the touchline suggested their patchy history was a thing of the past – only to see their players produce a chaotic opening 15-minute run.
Quality from Conor Gallagher livened things up, producing a nice pass over the top for Jordan Ayew on the right before selecting Jean-Philippe Mateta.
The French forward was denied an easy tap-in thanks to a timely touch from Diego Llorente.
With all the offensive talent on both sides, neither could find a killer instinct or moment of quality to bring this game to life.
The only spark that was there was one of anger – Vieira told to calm down from referee Darren England after Raphinha went down holding his face after colliding with Wilfried Zaha.
Leeds’ only shot on goal of the first half – and of the whole game, as it turned out – was a tame header from Liam Cooper into the arms of Vicente Guaita when Marsch replaced Mateusz Klich with Robin Koch at the break.
However, it was Palace who found spaces and created openings, but for more pathetic finishings from the likes of Mateta and Zaha, while Meslier stood his ground.
Substitutions of Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard and Christian Benteke from the bench eventually saw Palace finish the game on four points but still failed to conjure up a crucial moment as Gallagher and Zaha were close to death.
So a missed opportunity to leave 17th-placed Burnley and 18thth-placed Everton, licking his lips at the prospect of chasing late at the table.
Palace are almost there. As for Leeds, how are your nerves, Jesse?
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5201121/crystal-palace-0-leeds-0-match-report/ Visitors collect important points to beat the descent