Crystal Palace edge West Brom to move third in Premier League
Yannick Bolasie’s first goal at Selhurst Park in over two-and-a-half years set Crystal Palace on their way to taking all three points after defeating a steely West Brom side 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year-old has recently signed a new deal with the Eagles and was a constant thorn in the side of a stubborn Baggies defence – putting Alan Pardew’s side ahead before the points were wrapped up as Yohan Cabaye’s penalty sealed the win.
After the game, Pardew praised the character of his side after they eventually broke down a dogged West Brom defense. "West Brom are a tremendously defensive side in the way they set up and the discipline and you have to admire that," he told BT Sport. "I was really pleased to get that second goal because it gives you that little rubber stamp of the performance because it’s as well as we’ve played really."
All-but one of West Brom’s eight points earned ahead of this clash have come away from home and they had not even shipped a goal on their travels in the Barclays Premier League before their trip to south London. Baggies manager Tony Pulis, returning to Selhurst Park for the second time since leaving on the eve of last season, set his stall out to maintain that record, with his side frustrating the Palace attack for large periods.
But, in the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon and Bolasie, Pardew has a trio who can unlock most defenses and that was the story here as the latter scored his first goal of the campaign and his first at Selhurst Park since New Year’s day 2013 in a victory over Wolves in the Championship.
The warning signs for Pulis’ men was quick in coming as Congo international Bolasie was involved from the start, cutting in from the left but shooting straight at Boaz Myhill. Zaha was the next to try his luck, picking up a long pass from Puncheon but only able to hit the side-netting once he had burst into the box.
West Brom had started out resolutely at the back but were hit by another injury to their defense as Jonny Evans was replaced after 25 minutes before Chris Brunt was caught in the face by an accidental elbow from Zaha, forcing him off for treatment on a bloody nose.
Cabaye, the match-winner at Watford last Sunday, tried his luck with a swinging volley but again it was too close to Myhill to cause the Baggies stopper any concern. The reshuffle at the back for the visitors opened up the chance for Palace to push forward and Zaha finally tested Myhill with a close-range shot the goalkeeper pushed behind for a corner.
Moments later and it was almost a carbon copy as the England winger skipped past Brunt before drawing another smart stop out of an increasingly busier Myhill – who got through to half-time with his clean-sheet in tact. Referee Jonathan Moss was unmoved when Palace wanted a penalty as Cabaye’s free-kick struck the arm of half-time substitute Craig Gardner inside the box before Palace’s pressure finally paid off as Bolasie timed his run perfectly to head home Cabaye’s cross as the back post.
Zaha was booked for an altercation with Claudio Yacob but moments later he showed why he is back in Pardew’s good books as he burst past Brunt to earn a penalty just as he did at Watford — with Cabaye again on hand to convert from 12 yards.
A disappointed Tony Pulis said: "I just can’t believe thats the same team that started and played so well at Aston Villa. "The contrast between the Villa performance and today was chalk and cheese." On the decision to substitute Saido Berahino at halftime, he added: "Saido was one of a number of players who never turned up today."