Joel Ward

Pulisic watch: USMNT star performs against Palace

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Christian Pulisic put in a Man of the Match display as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

[ MORE: Pulisic injury update ]

Pulisic, 21, scored his fifth goal in his last three Premier League games as he terrified Palace’s defense all game long.

[ MORE: Pulisic reacts to Chelsea’s sixth-straight win ]

Here’s a look at how Pulisic fared as he scored his first goal at Stamford Bridge.


1st minute: Involved after just 20 seconds, as he cuts in from the left after a ball from Willian. Pulisic takes it past three players before setting up a shot for a teammate, which is blocked. Bright start.

7th minute: Mount breaks clear and Pulisic cuts in from the left but drags his shot harmlessly wide.

12th minute: Willian finds Pulisic on the break and he cuts inside brilliantly, completely fooling Joel Ward, but Vicente Guaita does superbly to stand tall and saved his dinked effort. Wonderful skill from the USMNT star.

17th minute: Lovely dummy which finds Emerson and his cross is deflected out for a corner.

20th minute: Some wonderful touches inside the box to evade three Crystal Palace players before eventually being overcrowded. Confidence is flowing for Pulisic.

25th minute: The ball is taken off him in his own defensive third but he does well to put Ward off, as he shanks the cross.

27th minute: Wriggles free in the box much to the delight of the home fans and sets up N’Golo Kante who has a goalbound shot which is blocked. Superb from Pulisic, once again.

37th minute: Wins the ball back in his own half, gets away from his marker and plays the ball back to his defense. A ripple of applause from the home fans, then moments later he cuts inside and starts another attack. His cross to the back post is too deep for Willian.

44th minute: Climbs above the Palace defense to meet Kante’s cross but he heads over.

46th minute: Gets the ball in the box and after a poor touch it bounces up and appears to hit the hand of Palace sub Martin Kelly. Despite the calls for a penalty kick, nothing is given.

56th minute: Springs a Chelsea counter down the left but his ball across the pitch to Willian is cut out by Cahill.

59th minute: After a sensational pass from Kovacic he takes a wonderful first touch and then smashes a shot on goal with Guaita tips over. Palace can’t cope with Pulisic.

67th minute: Cuts in from the left and smashes a wild shot off target. His worst effort of the day.

75th minute: Wriggled free and almost set up Batshuayi but his through ball was cut out.

76th minute: Works back hard to win the ball from Kouyate, as Emerson then fires just wide of the far post.

79th minute: With his final touch of the game he reacts quickly to Michy Batshuayi‘s shot being deflected and heads home bravely. Pulisic is then given a standing ovation off the pitch as the Chelsea fans chant “USA, USA!” A superb outing for Pulisic.

Pulisic leads Chelsea past Crystal Palace

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Chelsea beat a stubborn Crystal Palace side 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic popped up with second half goals.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Abraham opened the scoring and Pulisic then delivered a late header to cap off a fine individual display.

A sixth-straight Premier League win for Frank Lampard‘s side momentarily pushed them up to second place in the table.


3 things we learned

1. Confident Pulisic in full flow: From the first whistle Pulisic was feeling this and he went close on several occasions before he scored with his last touch of the game. The way he cut inside, dribbled past defenders and let fly was a joy to watch and Palace didn’t know how to handle the 21-year-old from Pennsylvania. Pulisic in full flow is a thing of beauty after his early struggles he’s now scored five PL goals in his last three games and this display was his best so far in a Chelsea shirt.

2. Blues miss Jorginho. Who partners him in midfield? Lampard will have a selection problem after the international break. Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic have played really well together while N’Golo Kante has been out, but Kante and Kovacic played well against Palace on Saturday. Kante is a guaranteed starter and Jorginho has now entered that territory as Chelsea missed his creativity and sublime passing skills against Palace. Kovacic played well but he will probably be the odd man out in central midfield.

3. Zaha frustrated by James: Chelsea teenager Reece James was handed his first PL start and he excelled to keep Wilfried Zaha quiet. The Palace winger was booked in the first half and look frustrated throughout as Palace couldn’t get him the ball and when he did, James timed his tackles superbly. James took his chance.

Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic – There is no American bias here. Pulisic was superb in the first half and then capped his fine display off with a late header before being subbed out to a standing ovation. What a few weeks for the USMNT star.


Chelsea took the game to Palace early on as Reece James’ cross almost caught out Vicente Guaita who had to tip the ball away.

Pulisic then dragged a shot wide as the Blues had most of the possession in the first half, and the USMNT star then bamboozled Joel Ward before forcing Guaita into a fine stop at his near post.

Willian and Emerson flashed free kicks wide and Pulisic then set up N’Golo Kante but his shot was well-blocked. Luka Milivojevic flashed a free kick wide of the far post as Palace struggled to get out of their own half in the first half.

Pulisic headed Kante’s cross over, then Willian’s shot was superbly blocked by Gary Cahill after Guaita had denied Tammy Abraham right on half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

At the start of the second half Chelsea called for a penalty kick as Pulisic bounced the ball off substitute Martin Kelly, but nothing was given.

Abraham buried his first chance of the game as Kovacic played the ball into Willian and his clever flick found the English striker onside and he slotted home to make it 1-0.

Kovacic then found Pulisic who took a great first touch and sent a powerful effort on goal which Guaita tipped over.

At the other end Milivojevic whipped in a dangerous free kick which found James Tomkins at the back post but he nodded just wide as the ball worked its way through a slew of bodies.

But with his final touch of the game Pulisic headed home after the ball deflected into his path and he scored for the third game running in the Premier League.

10-man Wolves level late against pitiful Palace defending

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Wolves fought back for a deserved point via a last-second equalizer, as Crystal Palace’s stoppage time silliness allowed a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

A Leander Dendoncker own goal put the Eagles in front, and Palace was up a man when Romain Saiss took his second yellow with 18 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But danger man Jeff Schlupp was denied in the box by star man Rui Patricio minutes before Diogo Jota capitalized on Palace allowed a silver platter cross to get to his feet.

Wolves are still winless, with four draws through six matches, and sit 19th. Palace’s eighth point has it 12th on the table.


Three things we learned

1. Ward giveth, and taketh away: Joel Ward forced the own goal that gave Palace the lead when his wild drive through traffic turned off Leander Dendoncker to defy Rui Patricio, but his inexplicable stooping, missed intervention on the game winner was stunning. More on that below.

2. Wolves fight to death to find easy winner:¬†Adama Traore, Jonny Otto, and the Wolves attack did not bow their heads after Palace took their fortunate lead nor after Romain Saiss’ second yellow card sent them diown a man, and Nuno Espirito Santo will love how his men fought to the final whistle while making timely interventions at the back (and taking advantage of Palace misfires).

Wilfried Zaha was dispossessed and it took three uncontested passes down the left of the Palace shape for Traore to find himself one-on-one with Patrick Van Aanholt. The Dutch defender played off Traore, who simply swept a cross to the back post. A chest trap, volley or 900 other things from Joel Ward could’ve ended the game, but he tried and missed a diving header that allowed Jota two touches to roof into an empty cage.

3. Silly from Saiss should’ve sealed it: Romain Saiss was sitting on yellow for a foul on Wilfried Zaha when he went out of his way to foul the Ivorian right on the touch line. Both managers saw the clear foul up close and personal, and Nuno Espirito Santo will certainly not like the idea of trusting Saiss again after his automatic ban.

Man of the Match:¬†Vicente Guaita — The Crystal Palace goalkeeper was sensational in the draw, and the only reason Wolves weren’t ahead well before the Dendoncker own goal.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

An early corner kick led to a James McArthur goal mouth block of Leander Dendoncker’s low drive toward the near post, as Wolves got their first pressure on Palace following an opening 10 minutes that belonged largely to the hosts.

Palace’s Ayew headed a Luka Milivojevic corner into the arms of Rui Patricio in the 26th.

Vicente Guaita made the play of the first half when Raul Jimenez looped a cross over Mamadou Sakho to an unmarked Matt Doherty. The powered header was slapped away by a flying Guaita to keep it scoreless.

The keeper was again called upon when a 1-2 allowed Diogo Jota to lash a shot on goal in the 38th.

Palace took a stunning lead within 40 seconds of halftime, as Ward’s hard drive took a big turn off Dendoncker to spin past Patricio. The sequence began with Jeff Schlupp dribbling Willy Boly, the latter being imperious for most of his season.

By the time Romain Saiss was shown his second yellow for a fouls on Wilfried Zaha, the game felt academic. Would the 10-man Wolves find anything in the final 18 minutes?

The opposite, really, as Schlupp cued up substitute Christian Benteke which looked set for glory until the Belgian took an extra touch and drove into the arms of Patricio.

Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Mane the main man

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  • Mane scores only goal of the game
  • Liverpool have 4 points from two games
  • Palace with zero points, zero goals
  • Liverpool have UCL playoff on Wednesday

Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday with Jurgen Klopp‘s side having Sadio Mane to thank for their victory.

Mane’s game-winner arrived less than 20 minutes from time after Liverpool had huffed and puffed, plus Christian Benteke missed a glorious chance for Palace.

The win means Liverpool move on to four points from their opening two games and can now prepare for their UEFA Champions League second leg against Hoffenheim on Wednesday. Palace have yet to score a goal and have opened up Frank De Boer‘s time in charge with two defeats.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Liverpool should have taken the lead early on with debutant Andrew Robertson whipping in a wonderful cross and Joel Matip somehow headed wide with the goal gaping and Wayne Hennessey nowhere to be seen.

Robertson marauded forward on multiple occasions and delivered another fine ball but Joel Ward did just enough to put off Mane.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

An end-to-end spell saw Roberto Firmino force Hennessey into a stop at the near post and then Palace raced down the other end with Jason Puncheon smashing on target as he forced Simon Mignolet into a fine save.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Liverpool started brightly with Jordan Henderson forcing Hennessey into a fine stop, but then Palace squandered a glorious chance.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek surged into the box and pulled the ball back for Christian Benteke perfectly but the former Liverpool striker, who has scored six times against them in the past, somehow blasted over from close range. A huge let off for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Liverpool brought on Mohamed Salah to try and spark their attack into life late in the game and he did have an impact. Salah broke free and set up Mane who wriggled clear of Palace’s defenders but his shot was blocked and Georginio Wijnaldum couldn’t force the rebound home.

Mane finally broke through for Liverpool with a scrappy goal but nobody cared as the Senegalese forward broke free and finished well under pressure. 1-0 to Liverpool and that is how it finished with Dominic Solanke and Robertson going close to adding some extra gloss on the scoreline.

Three things we learned from Crystal Palace vs. Man United in FA Cup final

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LONDON — 10-man Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 after extra time in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday to seal their first piece of silverware since 2013.

Louis Van Gaal‘s men battled until the end and dug deep to clinch a record-equaling 12th FA Cup trophy.

[ MORE: LVG set to be replaced by Mourinho ]

In front of 88,619 supporters a slow burner played out with Palace going ahead in the 78th minute through Jason Puncheon, then Juan Mata replied three minutes later to level things up. Chris Smalling was sent off in extra time but then academy product Jesse Lingard delivered a superb volley win the FA Cup with nine minutes to go.

Van Gaal and his players danced were dancing with joy at the final whistle as they won a first trophy since the Sir Alex Ferguson era ended.

Here’s what we learned from a tense, encapsulating encounter at Wembley.


RASHFORD IS READY

Marcus Rashford is just 18 years old. He only made his debut 86 days ago and the teenage sensation proved on the biggest stage he can deliver. He did it again on Saturday at Wembley with a fine individual display which was cut short 20 minutes from full time with a knee injury. Early on he ran at Palace’s defense whenever he could, scaring the life out of them with his raw pace as Damien Delaney just did enough to concede a corner and Pape Souare blocked another Rasford effort soon after.¬†In the 33rd minute Rashford raced clear on the right flank, surged into the box and squared for Anthony Martial who had his goalbound shot blocked by Joel Ward.

At the start of the second half Scott Dann lunged into a challenge with Rasford but the teenager simply shrugged him off, turned and continued running towards goal with Dann on his back. The Palace center back was correctly booked as the local lad from Manchester showed he has power to go with his pace. Rashford then set up Fellaini with a delightful backheel but the Belgian struck the woodwork. Everything good that United did went through Rashford and he’s high on confidence after making the most of his opportunity in the team when injuries arrived a few months ago. He’s scored eight goals in 18 appearances but he showed a maturity on a huge occasion.

Since¬†Rashford was included in England’s¬†provisional 26-man squad for the 2016 European Championships in France this summer, plenty want¬†the youngster to go to France to¬†provide the Three Lions with a wildcard. On this showing, Rashford might not only provide a wildcard. He’d do an admirable job from the start and has a bright future ahead of him. That’s of course if he’s fit and recovers in time to be part of Roy Hodgson’s squad.

BONUS: Another player Hodgson ¬†may look at in the future, or even to replace Rashford in the squad if he’s injured, is Lingard. The 23-year-old winger came off the bench and belted in a stunning volley in the second half of extra time to win the cup for United and like Rashford, the academy product has been given a chance under Van Gaal.

Look at this strike. You beauty.


ROONEY UP AND DOWN IN DEEP ROLE

Speaking of the England squad, United and England’s skipper Wayne Rooney was deployed in a central midfield once again.

Rooney, 30, enjoyed¬†dropping deep, picking up the ball and dictating the tempo of the game. In the first half he was going back to the center backs to collect the ball and along with Michael Carrick he got on the ball as often as possible. His range of passing is sublime. His cutting, curving balls in behind Palace’s right back position caused plenty of problems. Yet, too often he couldn’t provide the killer final ball as he and Carrick enjoyed plenty of possession but it could be argued they didn’t do much with it.

Well, he did plenty in the 82nd minute as he kept running and running and running until he got free on the right hand side of the box and then clipped over a perfectly weighted ball which Marouane Fellaini nodded down for Mata to volley home. Rooney’s role in that goal was pivotal as his name was chanted by fans as he thrust his arms into the air in delight.¬†On multiple occasions Rooney also arrived as United’s last line of defense, making two last ditch tackles in the box. He made telling contributions when it mattered most and United’s talisman led them to their first trophy since Fergie left.

Rooney tried plenty of passes which didn’t come off too and after playing for over a decade as a forward, his role as a central midfield will take time for him to fully adapt to. Strangely he seemed to have a particular problem with short, easy passes. That will come with time as he fine tunes his midfield role. He’s admitted himself in recent weeks that he sees his future in midfield because even as his pace dissipates, his footballing brain will continue to figure out the new demands placed upon him. He led United superbly on Saturday and the quality he possesses on the ball was arguably the difference between the two teams.

There’s been plenty of debate about where Rooney will play this¬†summer¬†for England. The Three Lions’ skipper simply has to start at EURO 2016. Plenty agree that he deserves that. However, the big question remains where he can slot in. He no longer seems to be among Hodgson’s choices up front with Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy and perhaps Rashford vying for those spots.¬†Given his performance at Wembley and in recent games, the jury remains out on where Rooney should line up not only this summer for England but in the future for United.


PALACE FAIL TO SEIZE THE  MOMENT

It felt like Crystal Palace never truly believed they could win the FA Cup. They matched United for most of the game but it always felt like they gave their opponents too much respect.

Referee Mark Clattenburg didn’t cover himself in glory during the final and help Palace either. Twice in the first half he pulled Palace back when he should’ve played advantage. First Connor Wickham got clear from Chris Smalling but instead of letting the Palace forward play on he pulled it back for a foul by Smalling. Wickham tucked the ball home but the whistle had gone and United’s defenders had stopped.

Clattenburg again reacted too quickly instead of letting the play unravel when Joel Ward raced clear down the right flank and Clattenburg decided to show Marcos Rojo a yellow card and pull play back for a free kick on the halfway line when Ward was running clean through on goal. Who knows if that, or a failure to hand Rooney a second yellow, would have made a big difference but Palace fans will argue that it surely would have.

Despite their misfortune, the¬†Eagles stuck to their gameplan superbly, soaking up pressure and surrendering possession to United in central areas. They knew they would get chances on the break to score and that’s exactly what happened.

Puncheon took the corner and it was half cleared, then knocked back to him. The local lad from Croydon then lashed the ball home at the near post past De Gea and Puncheon wheeled off to celebrate in front of the delirious Palace fans. It seemed as if the script had been written for Puncheon to grab the winner and Pardew danced with delight on the sidelines with moves that will haunt him. Then Mata equalized to put a spanner in the works and Palace never fully recovered. Their fans kept pushing them on but they couldn’t break a resilient United down.

It was a game where it seemed as though Palace never truly believed they could win it. They stuck to their gameplan and took the lead and with a man advantage at 1-1 they had chances to win it. Dwight Gayle got free at the start of the second extra time period but De Gea saved his¬†tame effort as he couldn’t sort his feet out. It was a case of being good but not quite good enough for Palace. They didn’t rise to the occasion against a far from vintage United side.