The Eagles returned to winning ways with an attacking second half display against the Baggies to seal all three points in convincing style.
6th December 2020
West Bromwich Albion 1-5 Crystal Palace
The Hawthorns, West Bromwich B71 4LF
Behind closed doors
REFEREE – Paul Tierney
ASSISTANTS – Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard, Darren England (fourth official)
VAR – Michael Oliver, Simon Bennett (assistant)
BOOKINGS– Romaine Sawyers (17), James McArthur 50), Conor Gallagher (58), Luka Milivojevic (88)
RED CARD – Matheus Pereira (34)
Darnell Furlong (OG, 8), Conor Gallagher (30), Wilfried Zaha (55, 68), Christian Benteke (59, 83)
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
There was very little between the two sides until the red card but the Eagles really did turn on the style to take advantage of the extra man. Some scintillating forward play proved too much for the hosts to cope with as Hodgson saw his team stroll past his former employers to ease the memory of the two recent defeats.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
Even though the commentators did not see it in real time, the referral was for the referee to take a look at the pitch side monitor. The decision was to hand a red card to the Baggies playmaker for a petulant kick out at Van Aanholt.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“After two consecutive defeats, a win today was important in the context of either gazing back nervously over our shoulders or looking up the league table. Unlike the two previous games, an early goal after good work by Zaha gave us the fast start we needed. However, West Brom’s formation of 3-4-1-2 with two attacking wing backs caused us regular problems finally leading to a composed finish by Gallagher to level the scores.
The red card issued to Pereira, a key creative player for West Brom certainly altered the balance of the game. Yet, it could be argued that our recent record playing against ten men has not been that successful but the response from our team certainly put that debate to bed.
During the second half, we began to move the ball more quickly, winning the ball back higher up the pitch which allowed the hosts no respite from our almost constant pressure. A fine strike by Zaha and a stooped headed finish by Benteke finally put the result beyond doubt. To their credit our players never took their foot off the gas and went on to achieve our highest away goals scored ever in the top flight. As a bonus it also helped our goal difference.
Within an excellent team performance, individually it was good to see Benteke score a brace as a reward from Hodgson giving him a start. Let’s hope it gives him the confidence again to lead our line not only as a target player but as a regular goal scorer. However, the two outstanding performances today were by Eze and Zaha. They both have the natural ability to take players on in the final third and create goal scoring opportunities not only for themselves but for others too. In tandem they give our attacks a real cutting edge that will pose problems for most teams in this league.
The two main issues for selection going forward surrounds Riedewald and Van Aanholt. If Riedewald starts then there is no place for either Milivojevic or McArthur. Van Aanholt is certainly more vulnerable positionally as a defender than Mitchell but undoubtedly gives us more of an attacking threat. Overall, it’s certainly good to have such options available and I’m sure Townsend, Ayew and Batshuayi would also have plenty to say on contesting the more offensive positions.
Let’s all enjoy the satisfaction of an excellent away win and look forward more optimistically to a tough run of fixtures over the next few weeks. Up the Palace!”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Says a lot when his biggest test was keeping out a back pass from PVA.
17 NATHANIEL CLYNE (7 – ASSIST!) – His signing went under the radar but since his second debut for the club, he has not looked back.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Back into defence due to the absence of Dann and was comfortable throughout alongside Cahill.
24 GARY CAHILL (7) – Vocal throughout and solid in the heart of the defence. Visibly disappointed conceding the goal but it did not matter in the end.
3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (7 – ASSIST!) – Played his part in conceding the goal by committing out wide but was very good offensively. Even had the time to keep Guaita on his toes by firing a back pass his way.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7 – BOOKED! ASSIST!) – The perfect foil alongside Milivojevic, does the hard work up and down the pitch and lays the ball off. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 73 minutes to rest some legs and see out the game, but the Dutchman can count himself unfortunate to be a casualty of recent defeats.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (7 – CAPTAIN – BOOKED!) – A good display from the returning skipper even if it was tarnished slightly but a silly booking late on. It was his quick thinking that set up the opening goal from a free kick.
25 EBERECHI EZE (8 – ASSIST!) – A truly delightful display from the former QPR man and even though he did not get on the score sheet his influence on the game grew from the first whistle.
15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (7) – Started well but faded as the game went on but his quick turn of pace always a key attribute. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (6) on 75 minutes who got stuck in for what was a brief cameo.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (9 – ASSIST! GOAL! GOAL!) – Back with a bang and showed us just what we had missed with a masterful display in a season that is proving to be one of the most productive even this early on. Replaced by 23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (6) on 81 minutes with the sole aim of trying to get his first goal and allow Zaha a rest after missing a couple of games.
20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (9 – GOAL! GOAL!) – The much maligned striker bagged a brace justifying his inclusion from the start. There cannot be many Palace fans out there that cannot be absolutely chuffed to see the Big Belgian get himself on the score sheet, but more than that, his performance made Eze and Zaha so much better.
1 Jack Butland, 12 Mamadou Sakho, 2 Joel Ward, 10 Andros Townsend
1 Johnstone, 6 Ajayi, 20 Ivanovic, 5 Bartley, 2 Furlong, 19 Sawyers, 18 Gallagher, 10 Phillips, 12 Costa Pereira, 11 Diagana, 29 Grant
SUBSTITUTES – 3 Gibbs, 7 Robinson (replaced Grant on 61 minutes), 13 Grosicki, 15 Austin, 17 Krovinovic (replaced Diangana on 45 minutes), 25 Button, 27 O’Shea (replaced Saywers on 80 minutes)
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON –”I see it from Wilf all the time – I’ve seen it over the last three and a half years. We know he has that ability when we can get the ball to his feet in the final third. What he has added to his game this year is goal-scoring. If Wilf can keep that up it bodes very well for us. He was a bit disappointed I took him off with 10 minutes to go because he wanted a hat-trick, that’s a good sign. I would have been less happy if he said ‘I was quite content to come off, I don’t need the third goal’.”
SLAVEN BILIC – “I’m not happy with the way we collapsed at 2-1 – you can’t do that – but for us to be competitive and be strong we need all of them on the pitch. After the second goal, especially after the third goal, it became too easy for them. We didn’t mark, everybody was thinking and relying on their team-mate to do the job.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Christian Benteke (9.7) while Wilfried Zaha (6) had the most shots. The most tackles were by Cheikhou Kouyate, Conor Gallagher and James McArthur (3) and Wilfried Zaha (4) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.07 – 7.24
- Total shots: 8 – 18
- Shots on target:
- Possession: 49% – 51%
- Pass success: 86% – 89%
- Passes: 487 – 491
- Dribbles: 9 – 8
- Aerials won: 16 – 11
- Tackles: 15 – 14
- Fouls: 10 – 16
- Corners: 3 – 6
- Saves: 2 – 3
- Dispossessed: 9 – 6
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace move on to 16 points from 11 games played which sees the Eagles back comfortably into mid-table.
13/12/2020 Tottenham Hotspur (h) – Premier League (2.15pm – Sky)
16/12/2020 West Ham United (a) – Premier League (8pm – Prime)
19/12/2020 Liverpool (h) – Premier League (12.30pm – BT)