Crystal Palace

Aston Villa - Crystal Palace recap
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Trezeguet gives Aston Villa hope in big win

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Trezeguet scored twice to give Aston Villa new life in the relegation battle after a 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Villa Park on Sunday.

It was Villa’s first Premier League win since a Jan. 21 home defeat of Watford, a run of 10 matches with just two draws.

The three points move Villa onto 30, four back of Watford and West Ham with three matches to play. Villa faces West Ham on the last day of the season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Palace loses its fifth-straight match and will be bitter that VAR took an early lead off the board in controversial fashion. Palace’s 42 points are 12 clear of the bottom three and eight off the top eight.

Ex-Villa man Christian Benteke was sent off after the final whistle.

WATCH ASTON VILLA – CRYSTAL PALACE FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Game on: Dean Smith’s Villans needed this and will probably become the biggest Watford fans despite the Hornets status as one of two teams four points above them on the table. That’s because Watford faces West Ham and so does Aston Villa. With West Ham’s third match against Manchester United, that could clear the way for Villa should they manage a win against Everton or Arsenal. Of course that West Ham-Villa match is the final day of the season, so surely the Villans would sign up for being alive heading to London.

2. Trezeguet delivers big time: Look it’s always going to be weird that Egyptian international Trezeguet has the name of a former French international on his shirt despite no relation. It’s just gonna be that way. But no Villa fans care about that right now (sorry for the aside). The 25-year-old’s brace account for his first goals since a late Fall purple patch saw him score three in five Premier League outings.

3. Palace, Villa stand as one behind Zaha: While Palace striker Wilfried Zaha did have an on-field skirmish during the match, it was encouraging to see Palace boss Roy Hodgson and both clubs stand with him after the forward revealed vile overnight racial abuse. The battle is far from won, and anti-racial statements need to remain loud and promiment.

Man of the Match

Well it just has to be Trezeguet, right?


Aston Villa – Crystal Palace recap

Kourtney House was injured in warm-ups, and the early bad news was compounded when Pepe Reina collided with Jordan Ayew while coming out for a corner kick that Sakho shouldered over the line.

Yet the new “tee-shirt rule” must not yet apply, as VAR took the goal off the board.

Tyrone Mings and Wilfried Zaha needed to be separated in the 26th minute after Zaha tripped up Ezri Konsa near the end line. Both saw yellow cards, as did Sakho.

Villa went ahead in first half stoppage time, Conor Hourihane’s free kick deflected by a Palace player for Trezeguet’s back-post finish.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Grealish won a penalty within 70 seconds of halftime, hitting the deck after his quick plant move saw Patrick van Aanholt tread on his foot.

VAR saw that Grealish shouldn’t have been felled by the foul.

Vicente Guaita blocked a Villa chance off a 58th minute corner kick.

It was 2-0 within 30 seconds, Trezeguet quick to react to Hourihane’s hopeful header into the 18.

Hourihane ripped a shot that Guaita popped wide of the far post to keep it 2-0.

Substitute winger Andros Townsend chipped to the back post in the 77th minute but Christian Benteke couldn’t get his header on target.

Hodgson speaks out after Zaha reveals racial abuse

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Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha awoke to vile racist messages on his social media feeds prior to Sunday’s visit to Aston Villa from an account claiming to represent an AVFC fan.

The winger posted them on Twitter and both Palace and Villa — as well as the soccer world at large —  have leapt to the defense of the Ivorian.

“This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening,” Tweeted Palace along with a RT of Zaha’s shared examples. “We stand with you, Wilf, and anyone else who has to suffer such horrific abuse.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa added a message rejecting the messages and promising both Palace and Zaha that the Midlands club would find the offending party and issue him a lifetime ban.

The commentary from the offending account included Ku Klux Klan and Blackface imagery as well as gross personal attacks.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson commented on the incident during our pregame coverage (above).

“It’s important. It’s being highlighted very much at the moment with the Black Lives Matter. Everyone seems to be making such an effort to eradicate this type of behavior. It’s very sad on the day of a game that player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse but I think it’s right that Wilf made people aware of it. I don’t think this is something you should keep quiet about.

“It’s very good that our club, Aston Villa, and the Premier League are doing everything they can to find out who this despicable individual is and one can only hope that he’ll get identified, called into account, and he will pay for these actions. There is literally no excuse at all. He wants to put off one of our best players but to do it in the way he’s chosen to do it is inexcusable.”

Aston Villa – Crystal Palace stream: How to watch, team news, start time

Aston Villa - Crystal Palace stream
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Aston Villa – Crystal Palace preview: Dean Smith’s Villans need a win over Crystal Palace to keep hope of remaining in the Premier League alive (Watch live at 9:15am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Villa has just left a brutal run of fixtures and finds itself seven points back of safety with four matches to play. If that figure remains seven with three to play, well, the math is grim even with West Ham as the last name on that fixture list.

WATCH ASTON VILLA – CRYSTAL PALACE STREAM LIVE ONLINE

Palace’s European hopes have settled into a valley, eight points away from the 42 points and 14th place.

Team news

Both Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings start for Villa along with John McGinn in the middle and Pepe Reina at the back.

It’ll be the usual suspects for Palace, with possible subs including James McCarthy, Andros Townsend, and Max Meyer.

 

How to watch Aston Villa – Crystal Palace

Kickoff: 9:15 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Chelsea beat Palace in thriller

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Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 3-2 in a thriller at Selhurst Park as Christian Pulisic scored once again for the Blues as they momentarily moved up to third in the Premier League table.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

Olivier Giroud and Pulisic put Chelsea 2-0 up in the first half but Wilfried Zaha pulled one back with a great strike from distance. Tammy Abraham jumped off the bench to make it 3-1, then Christian Benteke made it 3-2 as Chelsea survived some scary moments late on as Scott Dann hit the post and Kurt Zouma made a sublime last-gasp tackle in the 95th minute.

CRYSTAL PALACE – CHELSEA: FULL REPLAY

With the win Chelsea now have 60 points with four games to go, while Palace have lost four of their five games since the restart and sit in 14th place with 42 points.


Three things we learned

1. Pulisic does it again: Three goals in five games since the restart for the USMNT winger and Palace struggled to contain him. They tried to kick him all over the pitch and had a central midfielder in McArthur doubling up on him with a full back. And Pulisic still scored. A constant treat, his pace was an outlet for Chelsea and alongside Bruno Fernandes, he’s been the best player in the PL since the restart. Pulisic and Willian switched flanks multiple times throughout and Pulisic Watch gives you an idea of just how good he was.

2. Chelsea’s defensive woes continue: Chelsea were really good in attack but pretty woeful defensively. Sound familiar? Yep. Kepa should have stopped Zaha’s strike. Yes, he hit it hard but it was central. Andreas Christensen was beaten too easily on Palace’s second goal and Chelsea did their best to chuck away the win late on. Lampard needs a new left back, center back and goalkeeper if he’s going to turn Chelsea into genuine title contenders. They missed N’Golo Kante through injury and it showed but in midfield and attack they look pretty set and have lots of options. At the back they did not. That needs to change.

3. Palace need Zaha on the ball more: He spanked home a fine goal and created key chances late on, but Zaha wasn’t on the ball enough. Chelsea had Reece James trying to lock him down and Palace need Zaha in more central areas. When he drifts around he is so tough to stop.

Man of the Match

Willian – He was everywhere for Chelsea, setting up two goals and always an outlet. His experience on the ball helped them ease some of the pressure. Hard to believe his Chelsea career may be over in a few weeks. Also, Pulisic was very, very close to being named the main man once again.


Chelsea took the lead in fortunate circumstances as former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill went down with a big injury out wide and Willian raced clear on goal and found Giroud to sweep home the opener.

Mamadou Sakho replaced the injured Cahill and Palace were all over the place defensively. Soon after Kurt Zouma headed wide from a corner as the Frenchman was 10 yards out and should have doubled Chelsea’s lead.

Pulisic did make it 2-0 after the drinks break as Willian found him on the left and he did superbly to shift the ball onto his left foot and he slammed home at the near post to score his third goal in his last five games.

Just as it looked like Chelsea would run away with things, Zaha smashed home from 30 yards out as his thunderbolt from distance caught out Kepa, who may have done better with the effort, and it was game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Pulisic buzzed around in the box but Chelsea couldn’t quite find his runs as Palace were under pressure. Giroud then headed a wonderful Reece James cross over as Chelsea clicked through the gears in the second half. Palace did come back into the game in the final 25 minutes as they peppered the Chelsea goal with crosses.

Chelsea then brought on Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Abraham and the duo combined as RLC dinked the ball to Abraham who slotted home off the far post and in to make it 3-1.  Moments later Palace made it 3-2 as Patrick van Aanholt worked his way into the box and teed up Benteke to tap home and set up a wild finish.

Abraham went close to scoring another as Chelsea were dangerous on the counter but Chelsea almost imploded defensively once again late on. First, Dann hit the post with a header as Kepa looked to have got a fingertip on it. Then Zouma arrived just on time to deny Benteke who was somehow clean through on goal in the 95th minute.

Lampard was relieved at the final whistle as Chelsea edged to a hugely important victory.

Pulisic Watch: USMNT star scores again for Chelsea

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Christian Pulisic Watch is in full flow as the USMNT star is having a wonderful start to the restart for Chelsea.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch, Analysis ]

Pulisic, 21, is probably the best player in the Premier League since the restart. Think about that.

As the Eden Hazard comparisons continue, Pulisic just keeps getting his head down and working hard, bamboozling defenders and scoring goals. The Pennsylvanian Messi has now scored three goals in five Premie League games since the restart and he has nine for the season to keep his status as the Premier League’s top goalscorer this season aged 21 or under.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In our latest ‘Christian Pulisic Watch’ we look at his latest superstar display for Chelsea as he was trending worldwide throughout Chelsea’s clash at Crystal Palace.


2nd minute: First touch of the ball out on the left flank as Palace try and snap into the tackles.

5th minute: Dropping deeper centrally to try and pick up the ball.

6th minute: Ran into the box as Willian raced clear of the stricken Gary Cahilll, and proved to be a decoy run as Willian found Olivier Giroud to make it 1-0.

8th minute: Pulisic hooks the ball on centrally to start an attack as Willian tries to get a shot off but it is cleared.

15th minute: Kepa throws the ball out to him but James McArthur closed him down and he plays it back to Azpilicueta.

17th minute: Switches flanks with Willian and is now playing out on the right. McArthur again snaps into a tackle to stop him wriggling away.

22nd minute: Snapping into tackles as he tries to close down Patrick van Aanholt.

25th minute: Giroud lays the ball off to him and he loses it with McArthur once again snapping

27th minute: GOALLL! Pulisic is back on the left and he is set free by Willian. He works the ball onto his left foot and smashes home at the near post. What a strike. His third goal in five Premier League games since the restart.

29th minute: Cuts inside from the left and is tackled in the box by Joel Ward. A constant threat.

31st minute: Back on the right flank now as he switches with Willian again. Finds Willian with a lovely pass but the Brazilian sees his low shot saved.

35th minute: Wins a free kick and Luka Milivojevic is booked for bringing down Pulisic on the left flank.

41st minute: Works hard to try and keep hold of the ball on the right flank as Palace came back strongly after going 2-0 down, with Wilfried Zaha’s stunner making it 2-1.

45th minute: Pulisic is taken down by Joel Ward now. Palace trying to rattle the young American winger.

46th minute: Fast start to the second half as he tries to find Giroud, then almost gets on the end of a cross in front of Vicente Guaita.

48th minute: Involved in the build up and almost gets on the end of Reece James cross at the near post.

53rd minute: Makes a run into the box but Olivier Giroud’s header can’t quite find him. Pulisic then runs at Palace’s defense centrally but three Palace players eventually stop him.

63rd minute: Quiet 10 minutes or so for Pulisic as Palace have plenty of the ball.

74th minute: Doing lots of work defensively as Palace pull a goal back to make it 3-2, just after Abraham scored for Chelsea.

86th minute: Keeps trying to make runs centrally and is in the box when Abraham dragged a shot wide.

90th minute: Accelerates away from his marker and his cross finds Willian who sees his shot blocked. Pulisic left about four Palace players in his trail.