Palace 4-0 Hull
Crystal Palace finally confirmed a record-breaking 5th consecutive top-flight season with a resounding victory over Hull City – consigning Marco Silva’s men to the Championship in the process.
Wilfried Zaha scored after just three minutes to calm the nerves inside Selhurst Park. The highly sought-after winger stole in to take advantage of Andrea Ranocchia’s comical error and reach seven league goals in a season for the first time in his career.
It took the hosts just over half an hour to double the lead when Christian Benteke scored his seventh header of the season. It was the big Belgian’s 17th goal in all competitions this term, seeing him repaying some of the £30m record transfer fees that the Club splashed on him in the summer.
Hull City should have had the opportunity to go in only one goal behind. However, Martin Atkinson missed Jason Puncheon’s handball inside the penalty area and waved away the frantic penalty appeals.
The referee would not make the same mistake in the second-half, awarding Palace a penalty for a foul on Jeffrey Schlupp by Michael Dawson. Luka Milivojevic converted the spot-kick five minutes from time and the stadium was in full party mode by the time Patrick van Aanholt made it four in stoppage time.
Karma’s a Bitch
I wanted to feel bad for Hull when Puncheon’s blatant handball went unpunished, but I couldn’t. We know all too well what it is like to be in the relegation zone and feeling like every decision is going against you – it’s horrible.
However, back in December, the way that Robert Snodgrass dived for a penalty and admitted that he dived, but was happy to dust himself off and score the penalty means that I lost my ability to give a f***.
At the other end, there is no doubt that the foul on Schlupp was a penalty. This was the 4th penalty that Martin Atkinson has awarded us since our return to the Premier League. No referee has given us more. That being said, our record when he is the referee was terrible before this one. We’d only scored four times in the nine matches that he has taken charge of, two of which were penalties and one of which was a Troy Deeney own goal.
Last Selhurst Park Hurrahs?
I think that it is safe to say that when Damien Delaney replaced James Tomkins with five minutes to go, we were seeing the last minutes of the Irishman in a Palace shirt. Sadly, this season has been one too far for the centre-back and with his contract ending this summer, he will probably head to the States for one last, well deserved, payday. I endeavour to write a piece on Delaney’s Palace career, so look out for that. Briefly, I will say, thanks for your efforts in a Palace shirt. Undoubtedly you were one of the main reasons that we earned promotion and then stayed in the Premier League. I think that we were good for each other and that history will look back on you kindly.
Fraizer Campbell didn’t make it onto the field, which means that his Selhurst Park days in red and blue are at an end. If rumours are to be believed, he could return next season in a Brighton shirt, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. I think that it is fair to say that his Palace career didn’t go as well as any of us would have liked. What has impressed me about Fraizer, however, is that he has never seemed downtrodden about the circumstances. Every goal that we score when he is on the bench, he can be seen celebrating as vigorously as a fan in the stand, and when he has made it on to the field, no one would ever question that he put in 100%. Best of luck to him in the future – unless it’s with Brighton, of course.
Is it just me, or did Yohan Cabaye look like he was saying goodbye when he was substituted? He very deliberately applauded all four sides of the stadium and waved at the Holmesdale. The optimist in me says that he was just killing off as much clock as he possibly could, but I fear that that was not the case. From the first moment that Sam Allardyce turned up, Yo has been a different man to the one that we saw under Pardew. He has become the man that we thought Pardew has signed. It is not a coincidence that we scored four goals with him back in the team. It is not a coincidence that Luka and Punch rediscovered their form with him back in the team. He makes the shape work perfectly, and that means that it is key that we keep hold of him for next season.
I am not even going to address the slim chance that that was the last time that we would see Wilf in a Palace shirt at Selhurst Park.
Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon
Nobody made more tackles, interceptions or key passes than Punch. Basically, he ran the show. With the (deliberately) limited ball that Palace had, Puncheon was either the one winning it back of the one directing the impending counter attacks. Considering that he got the lowest whoscored.com rating of any player this season last week, this was the perfect comeback. If only he could have added the elusive goal with that free-kick at the end.
Barring a slight lull during the first twenty minutes of the second-half, the atmosphere was pretty good. With the excellent Holmesdale Fanatics display at the start of the match and the lap from the players at the end of the match, it made for a memorable day.
After the game, Puncheon, Zaha and Campbell all went to the Holmesdale Pub. You get this in non-league and at the odd lower league teams – but there is no other Premier League team that has their captain and star player heading to the pub after a game to celebrate with the fans. Every Club like to think that they are special in their own little way, but I KNOW that we are special.
This sort of behaviour isn’t a one off. Players and managers have been joining us in the pubs for years. I’ve even seen one of our captains signing Elvis on karaoke at a fans Player of the Year after party. I am sure that Vincent Kompany, Theo Walcott and John Terry would rather kill themselves than put that sort of effort in.
Up Next: Manchester United
One year to the day since Mark Clattenburg and a dancing Alan Pardew handed United the FA Cup; it is time to break the hoodoo. I don’t care if it is against their kids, lets beat them once and for all.
Come on you Palace!