What Did We Learn From The Win At Burnley?

Another road trip, another win for the Eagles and against one of the teams in and around us but what did we learn from the valuable victory?

1. Believe it or not, it’s a fun time to be a Palace fan. Like last year it finally feels like this side are starting to play to their full potential, and the game against Burnley was yet another indication of the trust these players have in Roy Hodgson’s system. The Eagles were once again happy to absorb pressure in the first half before opening up in the second, and once they got their noses in front they looked capable of going on to get more. With our Premier League status now seemingly secure, there’s a real chance to push higher up the table and go all-out for the FA Cup.

2. Wilfried Zaha is working. I said last week that Palace’s talisman has been back to his best since his red card against Southampton, and Wilf’s performance at Burnley confirmed that he has landed his most consistent patch of form this season. Zaha didn’t necessarily see as much of the ball as Palace would have liked, but when he did there was always a sense that something was about to happen. He breezed past Charlie Taylor to tee up the first goal, played a big part in the move for the second, and the third demonstrated that he simply can be too good for the opposition when in that kind of mood. Zaha now has five goals in his last six games and Brighton are firmly in his sights.

3. I think we’d forgotten how good Scott Dann is. It’s easy to ignore who you have in reserve when the likes of Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins are putting in soldier-like performances every week, but Dann rolled back the years on Saturday to remind us that he is far from finished. The former Palace captain was strong in the air and made a crucial intervention to deny Ashley Barnes at 2-0. Despite a spell out of the first team and – at his age – a career-threatening knee injury, Dann’s performance against Burnley shows that his class and professionalism still remains.

4. Joel Ward didn’t do a whole lot wrong in his appearances against Leicester City and Manchester United, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka has now set the bar for that right back position almost unattainably high. It’s testament to his development that the defence now looks far more assured with him in it, and his assist for Michy Batshuayi’s goal on Saturday was illustrative of his growing maturity in the attacking third.

5. Why must there always be something to complain about? Palace fans have spent much of the past few seasons bemoaning the fact that the Eagles don’t have enough depth in the squad, and now that they do people seem quick to criticise Roy Hodgson when he takes advantage of it. You’d have thought that Palace were already beaten at 2:01pm on Saturday just moments after the team had been tweeted out, such was the levep of hyperbole in some of the responses. The main problem is the inability to step back and try to rationalise the reasoning behind Hodgson’s team selection. Both Andros Townsend and James McArthur looked off their feet against Manchester United, but came on against Burnley to good effect having been given their first rest in months. Granted, the decision to start Wayne Hennessey over Vicente Guaita was a little more surprising, but given Burnley’s propensity to float high diagonal balls into the box you could see the logic behind it. Palace have now won their last two away games, scoring seven goals in the process – if starting an international goalkeeper is the biggest of our concerns these days then we should learn to cherish them.
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