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Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United: Three talking points from Selhurst Park

The Red Devils mounted an incredible comeback at Selhurst Park.

Rob Meech

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Photo: Getty Images

Nemanja Matic scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Manchester United overturned a two-goal deficit to inflict more pain on struggling Crystal Palace. Matic fired home from 25 yards to complete a memorable comeback from United, whose victory helped them regain second spot in the Premier League. Palace, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone after slipping to their third successive defeat.

Selhurst Park was rocking when Andros Townsend put the hosts ahead via a huge deflection, before Patrick van Aanholt doubled their lead shortly after the break. However, Chris Smalling gave United hope 10 minutes later and the visitors then restored parity through Romelu Lukaku. With time ebbing away the draw looked inevitable, only for Matic to break Palace’s hearts with his first goal for the club. Here are three talking points…

(Photo by Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)

Palace’s survival hopes suffer a hammer blow

A week earlier, the Eagles thought they had earned a vital point against Spurs in their battle to avoid the drop. That was until Harry Kane popped up to snatch victory with practically the last touch of the game. A sense of deja-vu was palpable when, after another encouraging performance against one of the top-flight’s heavyweights, Matic ensured Palace went home empty-handed. It was a monumental body blow.

Roy Hodgson’s side had belied their lowly league position and taken the attack to United, deservedly assuming complete control. Had the score remained at 2-0, Palace would have been as high as 13th in the table. But United’s comeback, which left Hodgon and his players visibly deflated, means they are 18th, one point adrift of safety with an inferior goal difference. Although the performance was a positive one, the result leaves the South London club deep in the mire.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Mourinho buoyed as United show resilience

For all the talk about how this has been a disappointing campaign for United, they leapfrogged Liverpool into second place as a result of this stunning victory. Jose Mourinho’s men exhibited substantial amounts of steel in doing so. They faced a real test of character, having fallen behind against a team fighting for their lives. It looked like a mountainous task, but United fought their way back into the game before snatching all three points at the death.

This was the first time since 2013 that the Red Devils had clawed back a two-goal deficit to win a Premier League match. Of all their victories this season, perhaps this one will please Mourinho the most. Any divisions are quickly exposed when teams find themselves in trouble. But the way United stuck to their task was a big statement at a key stage of the season. It should give Mourinho belief that his side can see off the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the battle to finish runners-up.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Hodgson desperate for Wilfried Zaha’s return

Hodgson has previously tried to dismiss its significance, but Palace’s inability to win without Wilfried Zaha cannot be passed off as an anomaly. The Eagles have lost every single one of the nine Premier League games in which the 25-year-old has not featured this season, scoring only one goal in the process. For a while it looked as though that alarming record would be consigned to the history books, until United mounted an inspired comeback.

Zaha is clearly a talented individual whose absence would affect any team’s potency, but Palace’s over-reliance on him must be very concerning. The Ivory Coast international is currently sidelined through a knee injury and although he is back in light training, Hodgson has put no timeframe on his return to the fold. It’s no exaggeration to argue the Eagles’ survival aspirations depend on him.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha’s new Crystal Palace deal can keep Eagles soaring

The Ivory Coast international has signed a new deal until 2023.

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Photo: Getty Images

A lengthy summer transfer window ended with a sigh of relief for Crystal Palace fans, as Wilfried Zaha remained in south London for the 2018-19 season.

Linked with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, the Ivory Coast international remained loyal to the Eagles and has since been rewarded with a lucrative new contract that runs until 2023 – with the club confirming the new deal on Wednesday.

Since *that* disappointing time with Manchester United, Zaha has found his home at Selhurst Park and securing the 25-year-old to a long-term deal is vital for the club’s plans for the coming years – as shown by a remarkable stat.

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Crystal Palace failed to win a single point in the 10 Premier League matches that Zaha has not started – compared to the average of 1.62 points a game that the Eagles have picked up with their maestro in the side.

His importance was shown last season when, after a woeful start to the season for the south London side, Zaha led the way in a miraculous revival under Roy Hodgson – scoring nine goals and contributing a further three assists.

Zaha hit the ground running against Fulham, opening his account for the campaign on the season’s first round of fixtures, and keeping his services at the club are more important than any of the summer business Hodgson completed in recent months.

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Why Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace selection headache is a desirable one

The Eagles continued their fine Premier League form under Roy Hodgson against Fulham.

Max Cohen

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Roy Hodgson
Photo: Getty Images

After Crystal Palace‘s astute summer transfer business, many expected Roy Hodgson’s side to quickly welcome the new signings into the first team fray.

However, in the Eagles’ Premier League opener against Fulham, none of the four summer arrivals started, and only Cheikhou Kouyate played a part in the match.

Although those decisions were in part due to fitness and lack of training, Roy Hodgson nevertheless faces a selection headache ahead of Palace’s match against Liverpool on Monday.

The desire to stick with last season’s winning formula versus the urge to incorporate summer signings is a tricky situation to navigate, yet it is a positive development for Crystal Palace as it creates competition for spaces and improves squad depth.

The starting XI that dispatched Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage was absent of any new signings, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey notably getting the nod ahead of Vicente Guaita.

The decision came as a particular surprise as the Standard reported in the build-up to the match that the Spaniard was set to start. Instead, the Welshman kept a clean sheet and turned in a man-of-the-match display.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

In this instance, it appears the competition of adding another top-class goalkeeper further propelled Hennessey to perform at a higher level, just one example of why Roy Hodgson has a positive selection headache on his hands.

In central midfield, James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic thrived, with McArthur particularly bright in restricting the play-making qualities of Jean-Michael Seri.

Hodgson brought in Kouyate and Max Meyer to add further reinforcements in central midfield, yet on the evidence of the Fulham match these two new signings may have to wait in order to break into the starting lineup.

Jordan Ayew may also press for inclusion in the coming weeks as he gets to grips with the club, presenting another attacking option for the Eagles.

All four new signings will be raring to go and eager to impress, leaving Hodgson with many difficult calls to make as the season progresses.

Yet, overall, the dilemma is a desirable one, improving the quality of the Crystal Palace squad and creating strength in depth.

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Premier League Team of the Week I: Featuring Crystal Palace and Liverpool favourites

Who made The Boot Room’s Team of the Week for Game Week One?

The Boot Room

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Crystal Palace and Liverpool enjoyed away wins on the opening weekend of the Premier League season while Everton gave newly promoted Wolves a quick reminder of the tough task they face on their return to the top flight.

Following the weekend’s action, The Boot Room picks its six-a-side Team of the Week.


Crystal Palace duo Wayne Hennessey and Aaron Wan-Bissaka make up the defensive line, with both impressing in the Eagles’ 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Fulham.

The former made six saves in-between the sticks to ensure a well-deserved clean sheet, while the latter successfully nullified the attacking threat of the talented Ryan Sessegnon, ensuring last season’s Sky Bet Championship Player of the Year barely had a sniff all game. Meanwhile, he also turned creator for his side’s second goal of the afternoon.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Liverpool’s James Milner‘s imperious display ensures him a spot in midfield for the week. As the Reds strolled to a 4-0 victory over West Ham United at Anfield, the 32-year-old dominated proceedings, bettering his peers in seven key areas, including recording more touches of the ball than any other player on the pitch.

Keeping him company in midfield is Wolves talent Ruben Neves. Like Milner, the 21-year-old Portugal star was central to his club’s efforts throughout the opening week. He demonstrated his immense talent and a level of maturity beyond his years as he lead his side to a 2-2 draw, chipping in with a goal and an assist.

In attack, Everton’s Richarlison seems like a man who is clearly going to thrive on the pressure of performing at Goodison Park, at least if his debut for the Toffees is anything to go by. His well-taken brace against Wolves ensured a ten-man Toffees side emerged with a least a point in their first competitive outing under Marco Silva.

Finally, Liverpool star Sadio Mane proved he is not willing to fall quietly into Mohamed Salah’s shadow at Anfield with a terrific week one performance. The Senegalese forward was in red hot form as he netted a superb brace to pick up where he left off last season following his goal in the Champions League Final defeat to Real Madrid.

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