Roy Hodgson

Crystal Palace 5-3 Bournemouth: Zaha stars in eight-goal thriller (video)

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  • Wilfried Zaha involved in four of Palace’s five goals
  • Michy Batshuayi scores brace
  • Crystal Palace finishes on 49 points
  • Lerma scores stunner just before halftime

Crystal Palace and Bournemouth put on a show in the final match of the Premier League season, combining for eight goals in a 5-3 Crystal Palace win, Sunday afternoon at Selhurst Park. Wilfried Zaha, in what may have been his final game for the Eagles, was involved constantly in Crystal Palace’s attack and finished officially with two assists, though he played a role in two other goals as well.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe went again with 19-year-old Mark Travers in goal, and although he gave up five goals, he wasn’t at fault for nearly all of them, as the Bournemouth defense let Howe down.

With the victory, Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson finished with 49 points, the club’s highest total in the 38-game Premier League season era.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

This thrilling match for neutrals began with Crystal Palace in full control of the game. Luka Milivojevic came close to scoring inside five minutes, hitting the far post, but it was Batshuayi who finally put the Eagles in front. In the 24th minute, Zaha and Milivojevic worked together to create some space and Zaha’s cross into the middle took a deflection. The ball fortuitously fell right to the feet of Batshuayi, who slotted past 19-year-old Bournmouth goalkeeper Mark Travers.

Batshuayi scored again eight minutes later as Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s terrific cross on the ground from the right was put home to give Crystal Palace a 2-0 lead. Palace’s lead expanded to 3-0 in the 34th minute. James McArthur‘s pass found Zaha clear on goal. The Ivory Coast international’s shot was saved by Travers but re-directed off defender Jack Simpson in for another goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Just before halftime, Jefferson Lerma gave Bournemouth some life, as he unleashed an absolute blast from more than 30-yards out to make it 3-1, and give the Cherries some momentum heading into the break.

Despite more Crystal Palace pressure in the second half, Bournemouth scored again, as Jordan Ibe‘s low strike from just outside the box in the 56th minute took a deflection and went in past Vicente Guaita, making it a 3-2 game.

From then on, both teams traded goals as it was a wild, end-to-end affair in the second half. Zaha yet again made an impact on the goal, finding the overlapping run of Patrick Van-Aanholt, who fired home to make it 4-2. Joshua King‘s tap-in at the back-post off a corner made it 4-3, and yet Zaha found Andros Townsend on the counter attack, with the veteran attacker finishing past Travers to make it 5-3.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Zaha was subbed off late to a standing ovation at Selhurst Park, with plenty of speculation that he could be off to another club in the summer as he seeks a chance to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.

Watch Live: Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace

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Cardiff City host Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and the equation for the Bluebirds is simple.

Neil Warnock‘s men must win to keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive, as they are four points behind Brighton with two games to go for both teams but Cardiff have a much worse goal difference compared to Brighton who sit one place out of the relegation zone.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

As for Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson, they will be aiming to finish as high as possible after a fairly comfortable campaign.

In team news Cardiff bring in Josh Murphy, Danny Ward and Bobby Reid for Leandro Bacuna, Junior Hoilett and Oumar Niasse.

Crystal Palace make four changes as Joel Ward, Michy Batshuayi, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew replace Patrick Van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Christian Benteke.


LINEUPS

PL preview: Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace

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  • Cardiff City has not scored a single goal in 3 PL meetings vs CPFC
  • Crystal Palace has the 2nd most PL away points in 2019 with 16
  • Cardiff has just 9 first-half PL goals all season

Cardiff City needs a win or relegation is all but complete as they host Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Thanks to a far superior goal differential, the magic number is two for Brighton & Hove Albion to secure Premier League safety and relegate Cardiff City, meaning any combination of two points dropped by Cardiff City or gained by Brighton would complete the bottom of the table. With Brighton taking on Manchester City in the final week of the season, Cardiff could significantly boost their hopes of survival with a result this weekend.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Still, Neil Warnock is staring down his third Premier League relegation with a third club, and he will be without a host of injured players at his disposal. Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson, Joe Ralls and Matthew Connolly are all confirmed out injured for the remainder of the season, while Aron Gunnarsson and Harry Arter are questionable for Saturday’s critical match.

Crystal Palace sits 12th in the Premier League, above the classic 40-point threshold teams often target for safety. They are limping to the finish line like their opponents, with Mamadou Sakho, James Tomkins, Jeffrey Schlupp and Pape Souare all out for the season plus Christian Benteke who is sidelined at least this weekend with a facial injury suffered last time out.

What they’re saying

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on relegation fight: “We’ve got to win this game. If we don’t we can forget it, so we’ve got to concentrate on that really. We always give effort and sometimes we are a bit limited. But with two games to go we’re still in it.”

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on playing a desperate side: “We have to expect a very motivated team, a team that will give its all to cling to the last chances of staying in the league, and hoping they can win while Brighton don’t. We have a desire to win the game as well.”

Prediction

Cardiff City needs a result in the worst way, but they are dangerously thin, and Crystal Palace is a quality road opponent, having topped Arsenal last time away from home. The Bluebirds will come close to earning a hard-fought draw, but they will throw everything forward at the end in desperation and concede late for a 2-1 loss to seal their relegation.

Benteke leads Palace surprise at Arsenal (video)

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  • Benteke scores first goal since April 28, 2018
  • Zaha nabs ninth of season
  • Ozil goal forges brief deadlock

Christian Benteke scored a goal and added an assist as Crystal Palace handed much-changed Arsenal a 3-2 set back at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur also scored for the Eagles, while Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posted Arsenal’s goals.

The win boosts Palace into 12th with 42 points, while Arsenal remains fourth with 66.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Roy Hodgson‘s men took a surprising early lead through a strangely surprising source, given that Benteke was once a prolific and danger scorer.

With room to operate, the Belgian turned a header past Bernd Leno to put the Eagles on top.

Palace was fortunate not to concede a penalty through an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball in the box, and Cheikhou Kouyate saw two bids to beat Leno saved by the keeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal needed less than two second half minutes to equalize, with Iwobi finding Lacazette with a deft outside-of-the-boot pass. The Frenchman slid Ozil through on goal, and Ozil blasted it near side for a 1-1 score line.

Palace restored its lead thanks to a Benteke flick toward Zaha, with the Ivorian going around Shkrodan Mustafi before beating Leno.

And then it was 3-1, a 69th minute corner kick from Luka Milivojevic finding the back of the goal when James McArthur redirected a header into the goal.

Aubameyang needed a fortunate bounce to line up his shot, but deserved every bit of his 77th minute goal.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Premier League Sunday preview: Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool all in play

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The battles at the summit of the Premier League table continue as three of the top six teams take the field on Sunday.

The title race is still white hot, with both Manchester City and Liverpool swinging back and forth with every positive result. City jumped back into the lead with the win on Saturday over Tottenham, a point in front with four matches remaining on both the dockets.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The fight for the Champions League places also looks a good one, with four teams battling for just two places. Tottenham sits precariously in third on 67 points, while Arsenal and Chelsea are level on 66 with the Gunners holding the goal differential tiebreaker by five. Manchester United is in sixth on 64 points, still in the mix.


Everton v. Manchester United — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Red Devils are the first of the Champions League contenders to take the field as they visit Goodison Park. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s honeymoon period in charge of Manchester United is over and it’s time for him to prove he belongs. The Norwegian boss was given the permanent position after a record start to his interim tenure, but the timing was still odd and as the season winds down, the Red Devils could be left out of the mix for Europe’s biggest competition. Luke Shaw is suspended for the match for yellow card accumulation, but otherwise the injury news is good with Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, and Alexis Sanchez all reportedly available.

Everton, meanwhile, sits in a similar position as Manchester United, battling for a European place but bringing up the rear. The Toffees sit in 10th, back of the pack among a crowded fight for the last Europa League place. Everton is still just three points back of Watford who currently holds that spot, and while they can break everyone’s hearts by upsetting Manchester City in the FA Cup final, a loss would give the Europa League position to whoever finishes seventh.

INJURIES: Everton —  OUT: Yerry Mina (hamstring), Andre Gomes (suspension). | Manchester United — OUT: Luke Shaw (suspension).


Cardiff City v. Liverpool — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Liverpool yet again has to put pressure on Manchester City to have any hope in the Premier League title race. Ahead of the midweek Manchester derby, the Reds have the opportunity not just to take the lead but to stay there should City slip up at all against the Red Devils with their game in hand.

They’ll need a result against a team fighting for its life. Cardiff City is in 17th in the Premier League table, three points shy of safety. A shocking win would put Cardiff in much better position, while a loss would see them potentially fall two games out. They’ve lost three straight and haven’t scored in their last two, so Liverpool will be licking its chops.

INJURIES: Cardiff City —  OUT: Souleymane Bamba (knee), Callum Paterson (ankle), Matthew Connolly (ankle), Harry Arter (calf), . QUESTIONABLE: Aron Gunnarsson (back). | Liverpool — OUT: none. QUESTIONABLE: Dejan Lovren (illness), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee).


Arsenal v. Crystal Palace — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSports.com

The Gunners will know Manchester United’s result before taking the field, to see whether they will be looking to strengthen their Champions League position or hoping to recapture it. Arsenal is currently in fourth, clinging barely to its spot in the top European competition, but they have been strong of late and have a soft schedule to finish the season, so there is no reason not to lock the spot down. Still, the injuries are rampant and there are fears that Aaron Ramsey‘s Arsenal career will end with the thigh injury he picked up midweek in Europa League play. Coupled with the three long-term injuries to Bellerin, Welbeck, and Holding plus Sokratis’ suspension, the Gunners are thin.

Crystal Palace has little to play for at this point, sitting in 14th on 39 points but unlikely to be sucked into the relegation battle. Roy Hodgson has led the squad to five wins since the start of February, good enough form to keep them out of the maelstrom at the bottom of the table. They put up a decent fight against title leaders Manchester City last time out, and kept two straight clean sheets in the matches before that. However, they lost two important players recently in James Tomkins and Jeffrey Schlupp who both will miss the rest of the season after long-term injuries.

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Hector Bellerin (knee), Rob Holding (knee), Danny Welbeck (ankle), Sokratis (suspended). QUESTIONABLE: Granit Xhaka (groin). | Crystal Palace — OUT: James Tomkins (groin), Jeffrey Schlupp (ankle), Mamadou Sakho (knee).