Palace soar over Bournemouth as resurgence under Hodgson continues

Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace FC

Crystal Palace soared to a fine 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday as their remarkable recovery under Roy Hodgson continues. 

Palace have secured Premier League status for next season and barring a monumental collapse from Bournemouth- they too should be safe. Despite the relative unimportance Palace were still keen to put on a show for their fans. 

They were simply a level above the Cherries, who didn’t even register a shot on target all game. Palace- in their opposition’s absence- took the initiative of the game and deservedly took the lead when Wilfried Zaha’s dazzling run and cross found Eberechi Eze who tapped home from close range. 

In the second half, the hosts went from strength to strength and despite an unfortunate injury to Zaha just five minutes into the half, the full 90 was near perfect with Eze adding a stunning second close to the hour mark with a rasping drive from outside the box. 

Palace now move up to 12th as they go in search of a top-half finish, whereas Bournemouth remain in 14th

How Palace breezed past dismal Bournemouth

This game could be pigeonholed as a dead rubber, however the strident sound of Selhurst would suggest otherwise as the Palace faithful were in full voice throughout the 90.  

Palace dominated the possession early on, but with no punch- as neither Neto nor Sam Johnstone were tested in either net in the opening 20 minutes. 

Palace’s first chance of the half came through Michael Olise- when he breezed past the attentions of Matías Viña and whipped a teasing ball into the back post that nobody in red & blue could get on the end of. 

Gary O’Neil’s gameplan was evident early on- stay compact for the early periods and try hit Palace on the counter.  

Despite the hosts command over early proceedings- Dominic Solanke was providing Marc Guéhi and Joachim Andersen with some sporadic reminders of the threat the Cherries posed on the counter. 

On two occasions the Bournemouth striker nearly raced in behind the Palace back four, but Andersen was well-positioned on both occasions to snuff out the danger.  

Towards the half-hour mark, Palace continued their control over the game and Bournemouth started to drop deeper and deeper- which offered the likes of Olise and Wilfried Zaha some space and time to conjure their magic. 

The pair combined to near devastating effect when Olise fizzed another venomous ball to the back post that found Zaha, but somehow the Ivorian could not take his Premier League tally to eight for the season as he misjudged the flight of the cross and completely missed the ball.  

Palace’s all-round play warranted a goal and following a succession of snapshots and half-chances from a few corners- an air of inevitability seeped into Selhurst. 

Moments later Palace tuned their attacking impetus and got the opener. It was all about Zaha- who produced a swift Cruyff turn on the edge of the box to bewilder Chris Mepham and open up space for the cross. 

He rifled a low ball into the centre of the box where Eberechi Eze was unopposed to strike home a first-time finish past Neto. 

Zaha was certainly in the mood this afternoon and went close minutes after the goal as he squared up Mepham once more, cut inside with ease and curled a sumptuous effort that brushed the outside of the post. 

Palace in the ascendancy and Bournemouth fortunate the scoreline was only 1-0 going into the interval. 

The host’s positive performance was marred seconds into the half when Zaha went down with what looked like a suspected hamstring issue as he was subbed off for Odsonne Édouard.  

The Palace fans chanted ‘Hey Hey Goodbye’ as the winger sauntered off the pitch with reports suggesting he may be leaving Selhurst in the summer. Hopefully, this isn’t the last they see of him before the season is out.  

The mood inside the ground wasn’t flatlined for too long as Eze resuscitated the atmosphere with a sublime second just before the hour mark. 

Olise initially set him up with a raking cross-field as Eze collected the ball 10 yards out from the opposition box. He then weaved through three Bournemouth challenges before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner past a hapless Neto. 

‘Eze’s on fire, your defence is terrified’, chanted the Palace crowd who were loving what they were seeing. Since Roy Hodgson’s appointment, Eze has scored six in eight PL appearances- having scored just 4 in 40 under Patrick Vieira. 

The provider, Olise, has now become the first player to record 10 assists in a single Premier League season for Crystal Palace. 

Bournemouth simply had no answer for Palace’s attacking play.  

Gary O’Neil tried to alter proceedings by introducing Kieffer Moore and David Brooks, but they struggled to make any meaningful contribution. 

Palace switched on cruise control for the final 15 and were cantering towards another brilliant win.  

They did have some opportunities to extend the scoreline but in the end, had to settle for two as their rapid and remarkable resurgence under Hodgson continues.  

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