Stop me if you’ve heard this before,
Crystal Palace won away from home.
In fact, we’ve seen and heard this more often than we haven’t. This season alone Palace have won eight matches away from Selhurst Park while losing eight and drawing twice. To say they have been road warriors is an understatement.
Not only did Palace once again win away from home, they defeated their North London rivals for the first time on the road since 1994. Since I’m a big numbers guy, let’s break down this historic win a bit further shall we?
In regards to this season, Arsenal have been one of the top home teams in all of the Premier League. Before Sunday’s match they had only dropped points in 3 of their matches, winning 14 times, drawing twice and losing only once (to Manchester City on opening day). Not only was their only loss to the defending champions, but Arsenal was in the midst of ten straight league victories at the Emirates. That included victories over the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Spurs. Going to the Emirates and getting a victory had basically been impossible this year.
Palace continues to do the impossible.
Remember that win at the Etihad at Manchester City’s expense back in December? Of course you do. It was perhaps the biggest upset of the Premier League season. Do you also remember the thrilling 4-3 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield?
Well I have a stat for you.
Crystal Palace Football Club are the first team to score at least three goals at Manchester City, Liverpool, AND Arsenal in the same season since Portsmouth did it during the 1931-1932 campaign. Not only that, but Palace are the last away team to leave the Etihad, Emirates, and Anfield victorious.
Full disclosure, I did not come up with those stats. My friend @CrystalPalaceDC tweeted that out today so if it is incorrect, I direct all corrections his way. They sound amazing so I’m just going to run with it.
A few other quick notes from the win on Sunday.
Christian Benteke is BACK! I don’t think that it was a coincidence that he snapped his goal scoring drought on Easter (with his name being Christian and all). A lot of us give the big man a lot of stick but there wasn’t a single Palace fan that wasn’t extremely happy that his name was on the score sheet.
Palace have taken the 6th most corner kicks in the Premier League with a staggering 191. I can only remember two goals off of the top of my head and one of them was scored on Sunday.
Vicente Guaita is a very good Premier League goalkeeper. He was tested often and proved to be one of the key reasons Palace won at Arsenal for the first time in 25 years.
Arsenal’s back line is a pile of hot garbage. Shkodran Mustafi was hilariously bad on Sunday and Wilf along with Benteke had their way with the German international. Two of the three Palace goals were directly because of bad decisions he made and I’m willing to bet that without looking he was somehow responsible for the 3rd as well.
Wilfried Zaha was magnificent as always. He seemed to be the only player that we could build possession through and keep it and his was a spectacular display of effort and will.
Speaking of Zaha…
He once again put fear into his opponents every time he picked up the ball on Sunday. Wilf was a one man wrecking crew. Once thing I’ve noticed about Wilf as the season has unfolded is he doesn’t complain to the referees as much as he had in previous seasons or even earlier in this one. The strength he plays with on and off the ball is amazing to see and it adds that much more to an already unbelievable player.
Now, the downside of all of his improvement is once again we are bombarded with transfer rumors for the talented youth product. This week it was from the likes of Paris Saint Germain with a fee of £65million. In the past it was from clubs like Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Premier League clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham.
It’s becoming more and more clear that our time with Wilf in a Palace kit is drawing to a close. He was even quoted earlier in the week saying that he wants to play Champions League matches and test himself at the highest level – and who can blame him really? He has accomplished all that he can in South London and he deserves to get that chance.
Will it hurt when he moves on? Immensely. Personally, I would like him to go abroad. Let him put on the black and yellow of Dortmund and tear up the Bundesliga. Or imagine him flanking Mbappe in Paris with Neymar on the other side of the young Frenchman. Now that is a front line that would rival any in European soccer.
If these are the last three matches of Wilf in a Palace shirt then we must cherish them. Every time he tricks past a clueless defender. Each time he picks up the ball at the midway line and starts his run towards goal. Each time he gets in the face of a defender that hit him with a terrible tackle. Will we miss Wilf when he moves on? Absolutely. Will we be bitter when he does so? Not a chance.
Wilf will always know where home is…
…and that’s Crystal Palace and South London.
UP THE PALACE!!!