Crystal Palace 1-0 Wolves: Eberechi Eze powers in winner to pile pressure on Nuno Espirito Santo with his side now EIGHT games without a victory
- Wolves travelled down to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Saturday
- The first-half ended goalless between the two sides struggling for form this term
- Eberechi Eze slammed in the winner after 60 minutes in a free-flowing move
- Palace leapfrogged Wolves with the victory as the visitors’ slump continued
Eberechi Eze doesn’t really do simple goals and his third classy strike of the season earned Crystal Palace three crucial points against Wolves.
After an inch-perfect free-kick against Leeds and solo wonder goal against Sheffield United, Eze produced something else from his repertoire to net at Selhurst Park once again.
This time it was a clever touch to send his opponent the wrong way and thumping finish to clinch a narrow victory for Palace in a game of few chances.
Crystal Palace edged Wolves on Saturday thanks to an Eberechi Eze strike at Selhurst Park
The 22-year-old dropped a smart feint before powerfully beating Wolves keeper Rui Patricio
Wolves still look no closer to turning their season around, slipping to 14th behind Palace
That inspired moment from Eze earned Palace just a second win in 10 in league but extended Wolves winless league run to eight games.
The only real chance of the first half did not come until the 40th minute.
Before that both sides play was characterised by a lack of cohesion in attack and moves breaking down because the final touch or ball was repeatedly the wrong one.
Aside from one misplaced pass that set Palace on the attack, there were some nice touches from Wolves new boy Willian Jose on his first start since his loan move from Real Sociedad.
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-4-2): Guaita 7, Clyne 7.5 (Ward 85, 6), Dann 7, Kouyate 7, Van Aanholt 6.5; Eze 7, Milivojevic 6, McCarthy 6 (Riedewald 46, 6), Zaha 6.5; Ayew 6.5, Batshuayi 6 (Townsend 79, 6).
Subs not used: Butland, Mateta, Benteke, Cahill, Mitchell, Kelly,
Scorers: Eze 60
Manager: Roy Hodgson 6
WOLVES (3-4-3): Patricio 6, Boly 6, Coady 7, Kilman 7; Hoever 7 (Traore 63, 6), Dendoncker 6.5, Moutinho 5.5 (Silva 78, 6), Semedo 6; Podence 6 (Vitinha 68, 6), Jose 6, Neto 7.
Subs not used: Ruddy, Neves,Gibbs-White, Otasowie, Lonwijk, Bueno
Booked: Kilman, Coady
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Referee: Simon Hooper 7
Man of the match: Eze
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are falling well short of pre-season expectations so far this term
He looked a little more like the focal point Wolves have been missing in Raul Jimenez’s absence.
One of the Brazilian striker’s flicks teed up Leander Dendoncker but his attempt to control was too heavy and the chance came and went.
Palace’s attackers struggled to get on the same wavelength as much as Wolves. Right back Nathaniel Clyne fired over the angle of bar and post early on though it would be a stretch to call that an opportunity.
Michy Batshuayi finally had one just before half time when another Clyne attempt pin-balled into his path but the striker slashed his volley well over.
Both sides lacked conviction in the first-half with both attacks missing the final quality touch
Ten minutes into the second half came the first attempt on target.
From Daniel Podence’s right wing cross, Jose lost Cheikhou Kouyate with his clever movement, making two runs to earn himself a yard of space, and directed the ball goalwards with a well-struck half volley that Vicente Guaita tipped over.
Palace responded with their first on target effort and it resulted in the game’s opening goal.
Palace worked the ball out swiftly from midfield to the right wing where Clyne cut the ball back to Jordan Ayew. He in turn picked out Eze with a ball across the area and the talented attacker took one touch to wrong foot Dendoncker and a second to smash the ball past Rui Patricio.
Nuno Espirito Santo responded by introducing Adama Traore off the bench, who won the FA Cup third round tie between these sides three weeks ago.
Willian Jose made his first start since joining Wolves on-loan but couldn’t make the difference
Wilfred Zaha might have put Palace clear in the second-half, cannoning a shot off the bar
But Palace had the next opening as, one minute Roy Hodgson was cursing a needlessly conceded corner and the next he was almost celebrating a clinching goal.
Palace cleared the corner setting up a two man counter attack of Batshuayi and Wilfried Zaha.
The former released the latter who cut inside Conor Coady but saw his thumping effort bounce down and away off the bar.
While Palace’s lead remained slender Wolves still had hope, a point underlined when only a brilliant Guaita reaction save prevented Jose levelling for the visitors.
And Palace held on to secure a victory that saw them swap places with Wolves and go 13th.
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