As expected Crystal Palace – Wolves was a tight, tense clash and one goal was enough to decide it, as Eberechi Eze’s superb second half strike secured all three points for the Eagles.
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Wolves went close on several occasions but Palace looked dangerous on the break as Eze was the hero and Wilfried Zaha caused so many problems as he also rattled the bar.
With the win Palace secured their first win in five games and have 26 points for the season, while Wolves have just one win from their last 11 games (it is now eight games without a win) and remain on 23 points.
Three things we learned
1. Eze comes up big once again: He has now scored three goals in his debut Premier League season and the young winger continues to deliver in big moments. Eze, 22, has scored in all of Palace’s last three home wins and they will end up being key as they push for a top 10 finish. He was bought from QPR to ease the load on Zaha and he’s not only done that. He’s also forced Zaha to up his game as Palace’s talisman is on track for his best-ever Premier League goalscoring season. Eze has slotted in very nicely.
2. Wolves need freshening up: They didn’t play badly, at all, and Willian Jose looked sharp and could have scored a couple had Guaita not been in good form to deny him. But Wolves look jaded. Joao Moutinho, Conor Coady and Adama Traore don’t seem to have the same spark they had over the past few seasons. Look, Nuno Espirito Santo has worked wonders at Wolves but they are clearly missing Raul Jimenez and his cutting edge in the final third. Aside from that, these last few months have perhaps shown us that Wolves must freshen up their squad and have a big overhaul this summer if they want to push for Europe next season. They won’t be relegated this season, but they won’t rip up any trees.
3. Willian Jose looks the part: Okay, so he didn’t score, but on his first start for Wolves in the Premier League he went close twice and linked up the play really well. Jose’s display suggested that he could fill the huge void left by Raul Jimenez’s injury, and after a few more outings in England he will be further up to speed. Jose looked sharp and had quality, but Wolves still don’t look fluid in attack and miss not only Jimenez, but a fully-fit Adama Traore, badly.
Man of the Match: Vicente Guaita – Made two greats saves to deny Willian Jose, and that ended up being crucial for Palace.
A tight, tense first half played out as both teams hesitated to throw players forward.
Daniel Podence was lively and new signing Willian Jose linked up well with Pedro Neto and Podence in attack.
Hoever then whipped in a lovely cross which just evaded Jose, as Wolves’ new forward was making his presence known as he flicked on for Leander Dendoncker who couldn’t control.
A ball then bounced around the box at the other end after Nathaniel Clyne’s shot was half-cleared, but Michy Batshuayi skied the rebound over the bar.
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Wolves burst into life in the second half as Jose was found by Podence but his brilliant half-volley was pushed over by Vicente Guaita. And just as Wolves were clicking through the gears, Palace took the lead.
Eze added another superb goal to his collection, as Jordan Ayew found him on the edge of the box and the Palace winger shifted the ball onto his left foot and hammered home.
Palace then caught Wolves on the break after a corner for the away side, as Zaha raced away and cut inside but his powerful effort smashed off the bar and out.
Jose should have equalized but his header was saved superbly by Guaita, as Palace held on for a big win.