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‘Palace’s main men step up’ – Three things learnt from Crystal Palace 4-0 Hull City

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Crystal Palace secured their own Premier League survival and confirmed Hull City’s relegation to the Championship with a 4-0 demolition at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.

Knowing that they would go down if defeated, the visitor’s afternoon got off to the worst possible start when Wilfried Zaha capitalised on a defensive error to slot home after just two minutes.

Things began to look even bleaker for Hull City when Christian Benteke’s bullet header doubled the advantage, before Marco Silva’s side were denied a clear penalty when Jason Puncheon hand-balled.

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Yet gaps appeared as the visitors pushed forward, and Luka Milovojevic’s late penalty and Patrick van Aarnholt’s injury-time strike topped off a miserable afternoon – and a miserable season – for Hull.

Hull’s woeful away form costs them top-flight status

Hull City’s relegation straight back to the Championship was confirmed on Sunday afternoon as a poor first-half display proved too difficult to over-turn at Selhurst Park.

Relegation to the Championship seems harsh on Hull City boss Marco Silva, who has transformed the side since arriving over Christmas, but even he was unable to fix the Tigers’ woeful away record.

In 19 fixtures on the road this season Hull have only managed one victory – which came in their opening away trip to Swansea City – and ended the season losing 15 of their last 18 away matches.

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Even since Silva took over Hull have only recorded two points from a possible 24 since his first away defeat at Stamford Bridge, finding the back of the net just three times during this period.

It seems a shame that – despite winning six of his eight matches at the KCOM since his arrival – Silva’s legacy will be known for losing their top-flight status; but Hull just haven’t been good enough.

Crystal Palace’s big players step up at the right time

Ask anybody who Crystal Palace’s main men have been during their battle to avoid the drop this year, and the majority would undoubtedly come out with Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke.

It was perhaps fitting then that, inside 35 first-half minutes, Palace’s impregnable duo came up with the goods when it mattered and scored a goal apiece to mathematically secure the Eagles’ survival.

Zaha capitalised on a horrible defensive slip from Andrea Ranocchia to give the hosts the lead after just 133 seconds, before Benteke powered in unmarked for his seventh header of the campaign.

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Benteke’s effort also took his tally to 15 Premier League goals – the most he’s scored in a campaign since his debut season in 2012/13 – and the impact his physical presence up front has had cannot be underestimated.

The downside for Sam Allardyce is that, with these two performing so consistently this year, there’s almost certainly set to be interest in the summer – particularly in Wilfried Zaha’s case with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham set to battle it out – but for now, it’s time to celebrate their great escape.

Hull City’s defence isn’t up to the job

Hull City’s defensive frailties were exploited once again at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke ensured that their next season will be spent back in the Championship.

The hosts’ opener was crafted from an individual error by Andrea Ranocchia, slipping and allowing Zaha all of the time in the world to compose himself and slot under Eldin Jakupovic, whilst Hull’s zonal marking failed once again as Christian Benteke freely nodded home.

Marco Silva’s insistency on maintaining a zonal marking system from set-pieces this season has horribly back-fired, with 21 of their 73 goals conceded coming from opposition dead ball situations alone.

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Hull’s misery was then simply compounded late on as they were caught on the counter twice by Palace – although by that point the away side looked defeated and resigned to their fate.

The 4-0 defeat at Selhurst Park now means that Hull City have conceded 73 goals this season, more than any other side in the league; and it’s these issues at the back that have ultimately cost them.

Should Marco Silva remain in charge for the start of the Championship season in August – which is by no means a dead cert – then he’ll have no choice but to make heavy investment in the back four.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Christine Sanjaya.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

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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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
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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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