Palace 2-0 West Brom
Crystal Palace ended the season with a third straight win, inflicting a first defeat as manager on the Premier League Manager of the Month for April, Darren Moore.
The Premier League Player of the Month for April, Wilfried Zaha, opened the scoring twenty minutes from time, adjusting his feet brilliantly to tap home a Patrick van Aanholt centre.
Eight minutes later, van Aanholt scored for the third game running, rounding the keeper to cap off a fine Crystal Palace move.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to surpass Newcastle into tenth place, but an 11th place finish is nothing short of a miracle after the opening ten games of the season.
What an end to the season
Usually, I am ready for a season to end. Travelling up and down the country for ten months certainly gets a bit long in the tooth, and the summer rest is welcomed with open arms. But this year I am gutted that it has ended.
The football we have been treated to over the past few weeks has been a joy to behold at times and the results we’ve been picking up have had me smiling through the weeks. Just look at the form table for the last six games of the season – Crystal Palace sit proudly at the top of the Premier League.
Now, we must contend with our greatest rival – the Summer!
- Summer 1: Ian Holloway scatter-gunned the transfer window, ended up with 26 players, not enough tracksuits and a squad packed with rubbish.
- Summer 2: Tony Pulis dropped us in it.
- Summer 3: Well, that was ok I suppose.
- Summer 4: We persisted with Pardew and allowed him to complete his cull of leaders and characters in the squad.
- Summer 5: Sam Allardyce snaked off, and we ended up waiting six weeks for the disaster that was Frank de Boer to be appointed.
Please, let this summer pass without incident. Wrap Roy in cotton wool, send Zaha to an undisclosed paradise until the season starts and hope that Vicente Guaita doesn’t do a Mandanda.
Wilfried Zaha: "Crystal Palace is my home. I have no reason to leave"
Music to my ears!
Wilf scored another goal making it five in the last six games of the season. He ended the term with nine goals, a career high and surpassed Andy Johnson as the second most Premier League goals for Palace, moving to just one goal behind Chris Armstrong. In terms of goals in the top-flight, Ian Wright (28) would be his next target, before he guns for Mark Bright (39).
This match was his 287th appearance for Palace, taking him past Brighty and into 20th place all-time. If he stays fit for the entirety of next season, he will surpass Simon Rodger in 8th place on the all-time list. If he plays every game for Palace for the next ten years, he’ll surpass Jim Cannon – which shows just how ridiculous Cannon’s 660 appearances are.
Ignore the transfer rumours over the summer. Just sit back and laugh at them. Zaha will be wearing those beautiful kits next season, and it will be the season that he catapults himself and us into the stratosphere - I guarantee it.
Man of the Match: Patrick van Aanholt
I couldn’t choose between Pat, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, so I asked a colleague to pick a number between 1 and 3 and Pat came out as the selection. A goal, an assist and to go with a very solid defensive display as well.
Van Aanholt had a pass accuracy of 92.5% but was outpassed by both Wan-Bissaka (94.3%) and Loftus-Cheek (95.5%). Those are Barcelona-esque numbers for crying out loud.
Wan-Bissaka put in seven tackles, more than any other Palace player, and even led the team in dribble with four, the same amount as Loftus-Cheek.
You can plot a perfect path of Ruben finding his way back to fitness and Palace’s increased prowess going forward. The Chelsea loanee has been vital to the way we have been playing in the final third and in all my years of supporting Palace, I have never seen us be so inventive and so cute around the penalty area. When Pardew talked about “transition”, this is what he meant. We struggled to unlock teams and continuously lost at home as a result as they caught us on the counter. Under Roy, we look like we could score every time we go forward. Getting him back is essential next season.
"Sign him up!" chanted the Palace fans as Luka walked past him in an interview and said, "Stay at Palace." Let's hope we can tug at his heart and bring him back.
Goodbye and Thank You, Damien Delaney
History will look back very kindly on Damien Delaney. We’ve all joked about the long diagonals, and there was a couple of unsavoury incidents with fans a couple of seasons back. But they will, rightly, disappear from the memory over time and we will remember a man that stormed back from the brink of retirement and give us five years of blood and guts that have helped us on the path to where we are now.
There was a tear in my eye on Sunday when he spoke to us:
Were we saying goodbye to Yohan Cabaye? He certainly wasn’t behaving like someone that was leaving, but who knows. If we can half his weekly wages, keeping him would be a no-brainer in my opinion.
Joel Ward is also out of contract, but with his injury, it is hard to know what will happen. If that was to be his final day at Selhurst Park, it is sad that it was so understated. He is another player that has given his all and helped us so much in achieving what we have since 2012.
Lee Chung-yong got a last hurrah. Nobody that was there will ever forget his goal against Stoke City, and he seems to have been a character that the other players really liked. It is a shame that it never worked out for him at Palace and I wish him well in the future – unless he is playing for Brighton or against us, of course.
Then there was Jon Motson’s send off. There was a lot of negativity around Palace fans singing his name prior to the match on social media, but the response in the stadium showed that it was a very small minority.
His enthusiasm always made him a joy to listen to on TV and moments like Michael Owen scoring his hat-trick goal against Germany in Munich and Motson shouting: “and this is getting better and better and better!” will never be forgotten by me, nor will “Gray! 3-3! Andy Gray for Palace! They’re back in it!” and “Pardew, 4-3 Palace!”.
Best of luck in retirement, sir.
The man just oozes class. After a string of Manager’s that were all about themselves, it is so refreshing to have Roy at the helm. Here is what he had to say to us at the end of the match… Europe here we come!
Holmesdale Fanatics Displays
Bravo. The amount of effort that goes into these things is astronomical, and the displays make us all stand up a little bit taller. There is no better way to sign off this seasons match reports with the picture of the Hodgson display. Have a great summer, enjoy the World Cup and I'll be back in August.