Crystal Palace won their first game in almost two months as they produced one of the most comfortable football results of the weekend in the Premier League. The hosts put on a mediocre display in front of new Bournemouth owner Bill Foley and minority stakeholder Michael B Jordan, but Palace deservedly earned the three points in challenging conditions on the south coast. Ayew gave Palace the lead in the 19th minute when he guided in a Michael Olise corner, and the visitors took control when Eze expertly converted another superbly crafted Olise set-piece from the edge of the box (36).
Prior to kickoff, new Bournemouth owners Foley and actor Jordan were introduced on the field, but the Cherries weren’t particularly inspired by the Hollywood stardust. Before the game began in the midst of a heavy downpour, both teams honored Pele with a minute of ovation. When the ball dropped to Jeffrey Schlupp inside the box, Palace had an early chance, but his shot was deflected well past the left upright. Ayew rose highest to meet Olise’s corner and cushioned a header into the bottom right corner from the edge of the six-yard box after 19 minutes to give the visitors the lead. The home team had struggled to capitalize on a few early set pieces.
As he sent the ball across the goal’s face from the right, Olise attempted to set up another goal, but he was eventually unable in finding a teammate to put the ball past Mark Travers. After that, Palace gave up a free kick of their own, which was taken by Jaidon Anthony and floated to Kieffer Moore on the left side of the field. Vicente Guaita had to leap to stop the Cherries striker’s dangerous header into the box in order to prevent the possibility of an equalizer. After Olise again assisted a teammate from a well-put corner 36 minutes into the game, the Eagles increased their lead.
This time, it was Eze who sped forward and quickly curled a right-footed attempt from near the penalty spot into the bottom left corner. After the resumption, the rain stopped falling and so did the home crowd, whose team appeared calmer. In a scramble, Guaita managed to fend off numerous Bournemouth shots before Travers stopped Eze’s straight free-kick attempt at the other end. After Schlupp found Jean-Philippe Mateta, who then shot wide, the hosts could ultimately only find solace in the fact that the deficit did not grow. Siriki Dembele’s shot was denied by Guaita, Wilfried Zaha skied a late attempt, and the visitors survived four minutes of additional time to secure one of the football results with a clean sheet.
“We have, I believe, performed far below the standards we’ve set for the first time since I took over. I’m pretty disappointed in almost everything about today,” Gary O’Neil said. “The goals had me in a rage. If we defend the set plays as we have practiced, neither goal is achieved. Although we have had trouble defending set plays all season, they were avoidable today.”
“People who had doubted us, the team, or the players were relieved because, as I frequently say, I know my guys extremely well and am aware of their playing abilities,” Patrick Viera said. “The players’ trust is crucial to me and to everyone else at the club. We need to be aware of our identity as a football club. It is challenging because there will be ups and downs when you have a young group of players that are brand new to the Premier League. After the match against Fulham, I didn’t think we were the worst team, and I don’t think we’re the greatest team now.”
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