James McArthur

Palace grab VAR-assisted draw at Norwich

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Norwich City were pegged back late on by Crystal Palace to draw 1-1 as VAR once again denied the Canaries victory in the Premier League.

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Todd Cantwell gave them a deserved lead but they squandered several chances and Connor Wickham then had a goal awarded via VAR after it was initially given offside on the pitch.

With the point Norwich stay bottom of the table on 14 points and are seven points from safety, while Palace are on 28 points and remain in the hunt for Europe.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha wins superb battle with Aarons: This was a great battle between a winger and full back as Aarons got the better of Zaha in the first half but Zaha’s quality shone through late on to create the equalizer. Aarons caught Zaha with a meaty challenge in the second half and that showed that he was getting tired. Zaha got better the longer the game went on and as rumors circulate that Chelsea want to push hard to sign him in January, his recent form proves he is one of the best out-and-out wingers in the PL. If not the best. Aarons, just 19 years, will also be a man in demand at the end of this season as a price tag of $55 million has been slapped on his head. On this viewing it is easy to understand why.

2. VAR hits Norwich again: They had decisions go against them in their 2-2 draw against Tottenham and Norwich were again hit by VAR. Wickham was onside by an outstretched kneecap and the Canaries will be cursing their luck as they had ample chances to put the game to bed when they were 1-0 up. VAR correctly ruled the goal onside and it denied Norwich a big win on a day when plenty of other teams around them at the bottom secured victories.

3. Canaries cut adrift: Norwich are now seven points adrift at the bottom and Daniel Farke‘s side are starting to show that they have the lowest budget in the Premier League. They’ve now gone eight games without a win and they are so close to turning draws into victories but that extra bit of quality just isn’t there. Do they spend big in January to try and stay up? Or do they call it quits and build for another promotion push? Probably the latter as they are becoming the ultimate yo-yo team.

Man of the Match: Emiliano Buendia – Set up the first goal, made Norwich tick and although he faded a little, he has real quality on the ball. He will be in the PL next season, but maybe not with Norwich.


Norwich got off to a perfect start as Emiliano Buendia and Cantwell combined and after the former had a shock blocked, the ball fell to the latter who finished to send Carrow Road wild.

Pukki then had a goal correctly chalked off for being offside as the Canaries were slick in attack and causing Crystal Palace’s banged up defense plenty of problems with their movement.

The Eagles played their way into the game with Wilfried Zaha their main target but he was involved in a tough battle with young Norwich right back Max Aarons.

Palace had a huge chance to equalize just before half time as Jairo Riedewald was played in but decided to pass instead of having a shot and James McArthur‘s shot was superbly blocked with Tim Krul out of his goal.

Zaha was a growing influence in the game but Norwich almost doubled their lead but James Tomkins defended Pukki well and Aarons then pulled a shot wide.

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In the second half Palace dominated the play as Norwich sat back and tried to manage the game.

Vicente Guaita saved superbly from Buendia’s free kick ahead of a tense final 30 minutes in Norfolk. Max Meyer turned well but his low shot lacked the power to concern Tim Krul.

Alex Tettey‘s shot was deflected wide and Mario Vrancic couldn’t convert at the near post as the game turned into an end-to-end encounter, as Jordan Ayew‘s cross somehow evaded everyone as Palace pushed hard for a late equalizer.

Norwich hit the crossbar through Kenny McLean as they poured forward but at the other end Luka Milivojevic‘s free kick was flicked on by a Norwich defender and somehow missed every single Palace player as it went out for a corner.

Zaha flashed a few wild efforts off target and he then got the better of Aarons and whipped in a superb cross which substitute Wickham tapped home but the offside flag went up.

However, VAR was used and after a lengthy delay the goal was awarded as Wickham was kept onside by a Norwich kneecap as the former Ipswich Town striker scored against their fierce rivals to make it 1-1.

Ayew wondergoal completes Palace comeback v. West Ham

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Jordan Ayew‘s solo wondergoal won all three points for Crystal Palace in a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United at Selhurst Park on Thursday.

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Robert Snodgrass had put the Irons in front, but former West Ham man Cheikhou Kouyate equalized as all the goals came after halftime.

Palace moves 11th with 24 points, while West Ham slips 17th with 19 points.


Three things we learned

1. Ayew delivers a beautiful winner: The Palace forward joined Wilfried Zaha in being a proper threat, but his winner was all about him. The 28-year-old Ghanian cut toward the 18 and moved free with a spinning turn before using a delightful chip to leave Roberto pawing at air.

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2. Pellegrini’s inconsistent Irons put him at risk: Michail Antonio was strong and Sebastien Haller had moments atop the attack, but the Irons attack only managed a pair of shots on target. Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini came off the bench to decent effect, but certainly are nowhere near their top form. Irons boss Manuel Pellegrini must be at wits’ end.

3. Quality, not industry, denies West Ham: The Irons won more challenges — 28-14 in the air — and had more tackles, interceptions, and clearances. Some of those are down to Palace’s time with the ball, but it’s worth noting that for as poor as the Irons have been, they have not quit on Pellegrini.

Man of the Match: Ayew was phenomenal. He was everywhere, involved in 22 duels while completing 8 of 9 dribbles and making three key passes. The goal was the moment, of course, but it was the richly-deserved reward for a day worth of work.


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Wilfried Zaha’s marvelous dribble down the left was deserving of an opening assist, but Palace’s right side didn’t run through the six to meet his pass.

Max Meyer found the loose ball and slid an invitation back through the box, but Jordan Ayew’s sliding effort went wide of the goal.

Ayew bossed Cresswell into a turnover but couldn’t rip a shot past Roberto.

The Irons went in front when Antonio created space and slipped through Snodgrass, who had the better of Patrick Van Aanholt and swerved home.

Van Aanholt nearly made amends but dragged his effort wide of the far post.

Kouyate equalized against his former club and declined celebration as the Selhurst Park faithful did plenty in his stead. Ayew popped a James McArthur cross onto the path of Kouyate for an unmarked finish.

Roberto denied Connor Wickham on a long solo run toward goal, a heavy touch defying the sub a wonderful moment.

Jaro Riedewald slid to deny Snodgrass’ 87th minute bid for a winner.

Ayew won it late with a classy maneuver into the 18 to dink over a fooled Roberto.

Almiron’s long-sought first Premier League goal drives Newcastle to win

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Newcastle United got back to winning ways via a first Premier League goal from Miguel Almiron.

The ex-Atlanta United man broke a 26-match scoreless streak with a second half goal as the Magpies beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

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Andy Carroll had the assist, as Newcastle rose ninth with 25 points.

Palace drops into 12th with 23 points.


Three things we learned

1. Almiron… finally: The Paraguayan regularly runs his shorts off for Newcastle, but his confidence has been so low. You wouldn’t have known it by the way he laced a side volley home for an 83rd minute winner. He had an exceptional day, passing at 93 percent while making four tackles, two interceptions, a blocked shot and a clearance.

2. Zaha neutralized: Javier Manquillo played one of the best matches of his life, the ex-Liverpool man tidy in dealing with Palace behemoth Wilfried Zaha. The oft-fouled Ivorian lost 15 of his 24 challenges, and was successful on just four of 12 dribbles.

3. Bruce takes another chance: The Magpies didn’t have Jetro Willems for the left side of a 5-3-2, and installed center back Florian Lejeune as a left back in a 4-4-2. So who played left mid? Bafflingly, it was Paul Dummett, but the Geordie big man fired in cross after cross. It was a surprise to everyone including Roy Hodgson. Kinda stunned that it worked, honestly.

Man of the Match: Manquillo is the tactician’s pick, but you can’t take the day away from the man they call Miggy.


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Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey put the first two shots on target, relatively easy work for Vicente Guaita. Florian Lejeune then zipped a shot from distance, saved by Guaita.

Palace had a single moment of danger, Wilfried Zaha forcing Martin Dubravka into a prone block and catch.

The Eagles were better to start the second half, with Dubravka charging out to stymy a James McArthur chance.

Patrick Van Aanholt nearly curled an Olimpico past Dubravka in the 66th minute, the match begging for excitement.

Dubravka made a terrific stop on Benteke when Jordan Ayew played him into the box.

Newcastle scored on perhaps its first true chance since halftime, as a long ball was knocked down by Andy Carroll and Almiron painted the side netting with his side volley.

Watford, Crystal Palace play to feisty draw

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Watford and Crystal Palace played out a 0-0 draw a Vicarage Road on Saturday as the hosts squandered several chances to pick up their first home win of the season.

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Wilfried Zaha was involved in plenty of hefty of challenges, for and against, as Palace huffed and puffed but didn’t really get going in attack. Gerard Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr both went close for Watford, who had new manager Nigel Pearson watching on from the stands.

With the point Watford remain bottom of the team and have nine points for the season, while Palace are in seventh place on 22 points.

3 things we learned

1. Pearson already having an impact: This was so much better from Watford. Similar to their narrow defeat at Leicester in midweek,  they looked compact and solid defensively and Deulofeu was a menace underneath Deeney. Pearson watched on from the directors box tentatively throughout, as caretaker Hayden Mullins oversaw a solid display which should have yielded three points.

2. Rattled Zaha targeted: Wilfried Zaha and Watford mean one thing: Fouls. Zaha was clearly targeted by the Hornets and he went down on several occasions all game long, but was booked for a foul of his own and to his disbelief his calls for fouls were often overlooked. There is previous here as Zaha was the target for the home fans and players, and Roy Hodgson did his best to calm the Ivorian winger down. Eventually he did calm down, but he was rattled. After his fine displays in recent wins, Zaha was far from his best.

3. Sarr adds cutting edge: Palace had to bring in Jairo Reidewald for Jeffrey Schlupp at half time at left back to try and stop Sarr’s driving runs down the right flank. He came close to scoring to add to his goal at Southampton last weekend, and his power and pace perfectly complimented Delofeu’s trickery. If Watford can stay solid defensively, Deulofeu, Deeney and Sarr will give plenty of defenses problems.

Man of the Match:


Both teams went close early as Troy Deeney‘s scuffed effort was cleared by James Tomkins, James McArthur sent a volley wide of the far post and then Ismaila Sarr’s shot was deflected wide at the other end.

Watford took the game to Palace early on as Pearson’s arrival as their new manager on Friday, even if he wasn’t in the dugout, had an impact. Gerard Deulofeu was popping up time and time again and his deliveries from set pieces caused Palace problems.

Once again in a game between Palace and Watford it was Wilfried Zaha who was at the center of things as the players piled in after he was caught by several defenders as he was on the floor, then he was booked moments later before Craig Cathcart also received a yellow for fouling Luka Milivojevic.

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Watford pinned Palace back in the second half as they peppered the goal and Deulofeu raced clear before smashing just wide.

The Spaniard then crossed for Sarr but his effort was saved by Vicente Guaita as the game opened up in the closing stages with Ayew firing just over on the counter and then Gary Cahill twice denying Sarr with brilliant blocks.

Andre Gray shanked a shot goalwards after more good work from Sarr, while Deeney went down in the box in stoppage time and wanted a penalty kick, as tempers flared late on with Zaha involved again.

In the end the two teams canceled each other out with Palace lackluster in attack and Watford disappointed not to take three points to lift themselves closer to safety.

10-man Palace tops Bournemouth, moves fifth

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Crystal Palace played down a man for more than 70 minutes but was still the more dangerous team in a 1-0 defeat of disappointing Bournemouth on Tuesday at Selhurst Park.

Palace moves into the Premier League’s fifth place despite Mamadou Sakho‘s early red card, using a Jeffrey Schlupp goal to collect the points.

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The Cherries were very poor, out-shot by the Eagles despite their numerical advantage. Bournemouth has now lost four-straight league matches and sits 12th with 16 points.


Three things we learned

1. Super sub Schlupp piles woe on Cherries: Ghanaian international Schlupp was only brought into the match when Patrick Van Aanholt suffered a first half injury, but his pace and power proved the difference with just under a quarter-hour to play in South London.

2. Billing living up to his, well, billing: The Dane took a season to adapt to the Premier League but his sophomore season at Huddersfield Town was one of the lone reasons not to write off the Terriers until they were condemned to the Championship. He’s been just as good in his first year with the Vitality Stadium set, as the Danish international had won seven aerials and four tackles by halftime.

3. Sour Cherries in dreadful slump: Tuesday’s defeat marked the fourth-straight loss since a defeat of Manchester United, and Eddie Howe‘s men have just six points since Sept. 28. That was their first match since an embarrassing first half loss to Burton Albion in the League Cup. Next up: Liverpool and Chelsea. Yeesh. At some point, should Eddie Howe look for a new home? Might he not have a choice?

Man of the Match: One of three players who were influential on the left, as Schlupp joining Wilfried Zaha and assist man James McArthur in having fine days. Honors to the scorer.


There wasn’t much in the first 20 minutes, but Sakho made sure that opening sequence ended with vigor.

The Palace center back, making his first start of the season, earned a red card after he slid studs-up into the knee of Adam Smith.

The hits kept coming Palace’s way, as the hosts had to use a sub when Patrick van Aanholt pulled up with an injury.

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Schlupp was the man who entered the match, and he provided the winner in the second half when he dribbled between Dominic Solanke and Jefferson Lerma to use Chris Mepham as a screen. Cherries goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will still want it back.

Vicente Guaita was only asked to make three saves despite Palace’s 70-plus minutes down a man.