Eze Strike Ensures Important Three Points For Eagles At Selhurst

A much needed win at home against a Wolves side that are struggling to find form of old, courtesy of a stubborn rearguard action and a well take goal which ultimately sealed all three points for Palace ahead of an important run of fixtures.


30th January 2021


Crystal Palace 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU


Behind closed doors


Referee – Simon Hooper

Assistants – Lee Betts, Nick Hopton, Jonathan Moss (fourth official)

VAR – Martin Atkinson, Peter Kirkup (assistant)


BOOKINGS – Max Kilman (84), Conor Coady (90), Wilfried Zaha (90)

RED CARD – none


Eberechi Eze (60)


Vicente Guaita


Make no mistake, this was a hard fought win and an improved overall performance with a number of changes made to the starting line up, some of which fans did not approve of. However, the decisions by Roy Hodgson were vindicated as the Eagles ended the month the same way they started it – with a win. This was a vital three points having not secured a victory in three games in all competitions ahead of an important run of fixtures where points are up for grabs.


A couple of referrals but nothing controversial


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.

“The whole game typified two teams lacking confidence and both were reluctant to let the pitch be opened up for the opposition to exploit. Scoring the first goal was always going to be decisive and ultimately a fine piece of skill and finish by Eze decided the final result.

 A change in formation to 4-2-3-1 suited us, allowing two central midfielders to sit in, both full backs to frequently push on and an offensive four the opportunity to create in the final third of the pitch. Although I liked the change, it’s a formation which does not suit Batshuayi as a lone striker. Maybe Benteke or Mateta would be a better option if we continue with this shape.

The entry of Riedewald for McCarthy at half-time was a key moment too. Technically Riedewald is one of our best players and I can’t remember him giving away any possession during the whole of the second half. Bottom line he should be a regular starter. Defensively we looked more solid with the sitting two midfielders but more importantly, unlike the West Ham game, the back four defended as a unit. A rule of thumb for any back four is not to allow a distance of more than 15 metres to occur between each defender. There was no space beyond or in between for Wolves to exploit.

Overall a battling if at times ‘ugly’ team performance but a massive win nevertheless. Clyne in particular did well and looks back to his best but for hard work and commitment my man of the match goes to Ayew. Three more wins required ASAP. Up the Palace!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (8 – TEB MAN OF THE MATCH) – While Eze scored the winner, Guaita proved his worth with three very good saves to preserve the points.

17 NATHANIEL CLYNE (6) – Played a part in the goal with a good run down the right in what was a good game for the defender who has signed on until the summer. Replaced by 2 JOEL WARD (6) on 85 minutes in what was a straight swap in the latter stages of the game.

6 SCOTT DANN (7) – A return to the starting line up for the veteran defender, stood firm throughout.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Looked to be struggling late on but another good defensive performance in a position that looks unlikely he will be moving from any time soon.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (7) – A surprise return to the side and did a decent job but struggled a little when Traore came on in the second half.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (7 – CAPTAIN) – Not hugely noticeable in the game which is proof in itself that he is going about his job effectively.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) – Back in the starting line up but not for long as what looked like a groin strain forced him off but a decent half from him alongside Luka. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (7) on 46 minutes and looked assured on the ball and rarely lost a challenge, a calming influence which played a part in the win.

9 JORDAN AYEW (8 – ASSIST!) – Used the ball well throughout a real hard working effort from the Ghanaian.

25 EBERECHI EZE (8 – GOAL!) – Picked up his third goal of the season with a well place shot from distance after sending the defender the wrong way.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – BOOKED!) – One effort off the bar after hitting the opponents on the break. Looked frustrated for much of the game but kept going at the visiting defence.

23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (7) – Linked up well with the attacking players around him in his first start for a while after his late goal against the Hammers. Replaced by 10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (x) on 79 minutes to get some fresh legs on the pitch in an effort of preserving the points.


1 Jack Butland, 14 Jean-Phillipe Mateta, 20 Christian Benteke, 24 Gary Cahill, 28 Tyrick Mitchell, 34 Martin Kelly


11 Rui Patricio, 15 Boly, 16 Coady, 49 Kilman, 22 Semedo, 32 Dendoncker, 28 Joao Moutinho, 2 Hoever, 10 Podence, 7 Neto, 12 Da Silva

SUBSTITUTES – 8 Neves, 17 Fabio Silva (replaced Moutinho on 78 mins), 18 Gibbs-White, 20 Vitinha (replaced Podence on 68 mins), 21 Ruddy, 37 Traore (replaced Hoever on 63 mins), 54 Otasowie, 57 Lonwijk, 64 Bueno


ROY HODGSON –“Every victory is so important. You are looking at a point a game really to keep you in the league. Our attitude was good from the start. We played against a well organised team. We knew we would find it hard. A good goal opened it up for us. We held out and if Wilfried Zaha’s shot had gone in we might have had a quieter last few minutes than we had! In the second half we went back more to the system we have had. We brought Eberechi Eze into the middle more but we ended up with Wilfried Zaha more central again.

“Jordan Ayew in particular, his work-rate was exceptional, and it is that type of work-rate that has given us the three points. I think we are fairly stable with the performances that we give. It’s very rare I stand here saying ‘we need a response’. I don’t feel like doing it today either just because we had a bad first half against a good West Ham team in the last match.

“When you’re playing Manchester City away, you know however well you play or how hard you work, you need a large slice of luck. West Ham are in a similar place at the moment. Hopefully now we will play against teams that won’t take every single chance they take against us so ideally we can pick up more points. We are way ahead of the curve. We are modest enough and we are around 12 points away so we will keep working towards those victories.”

NUNO ESPIRITO SANTOS – “First half, the organisation was good but not so much offensively. The second half was not so great. We did not move the ball well. Not a good game. We were organised but we didn’t threaten enough like we should do. We should have defended well. We had a few chances also but we didn’t recover the ball like we should do. We have a lot of concerns – creativity, speed and breaking the lines – we should do better. It takes hard work and commitment from all of us. It’s something we have to sit down and talk about. We must improve fast. I don’t think it has to do with confidence. It is about finding our game. We must be much faster when we recover the ball. We were always a threat on the counter-attack, now we make too many passes.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Pedro Neto (7.9) while the most shots were from Wilfried Zaha and Willian Jose (3). The most tackles were by Max Kilman (6) while Pedro Neto (5) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.81 – 6.48
  • Total shots: 11 – 6
  • Shots on target: 2 – 4
  • Possession: 48.4% – 51.6%
  • Pass success: 87% – 87%
  • Passes: 508 – 526
  • Dribbles: 10 – 14
  • Aerials won: 9 – 8
  • Tackles: 14 – 25
  • Fouls: 7 – 10
  • Corners: 1 – 6
  • Saves: 4 – 1
  • Dispossessed: 18 – 3


At the final whistle, Palace moved into 13th place in the Premier League with 26 points from 21 games, level with Leeds United in 12th and 3 points ahead of Wolves in 14th.


02/02/2021 Newcastle United (a) – Premier League (8.15pm – BT)

08/02/2021 Leeds United (a) – Premier League (8pm – Sky)

13/02/2021 Burnley (h) – Premier League (8pm – TBC)


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