Sunday’s match brought the Premier League relegation battle to a close, as Hull became the third and final team to book their ticket to the championship, after a crushing defeat against Crystal Palace.
Location : Selhurst Park
Referee : Martin Atkinson
4 - 0
Big Sam's Record Continues
It wasn’t clean, it wasn’t easy. But once again Sam Allardyce has defied the odds and kept another team in the Premier League. For the club, this means another year of massive income, in order to invest in players and infrastructure, to secure a place in the richest league in the world. For Sam Allardyce, it means a hefty bonus, likely in the region of several million pounds.
Sunday’s performance for Crystal Palace was arguably their best for the last year, and the victory will mean everything for the Palace faithful. The style of play whilst not exactly attractive, with Crystal Palace sitting back and allowing Hull much freedom in the centre of the pitch, was certainly efficient. Once again the whole team performed as an outfit, sticking to their roles and prevented Hull from earning any clear cut chances, in fact, the defensive dominance meant Hull weren’t afforded a shot on target all match.
Going forward Palace have rarely had problems this season, being the 9th top goalscorers in the league, largely thanks to the attacking prowess of Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha, and that was no different today. Once again the front men were firing on all cylinders, creating a plethora of chances, then with Palace’s constant threat from set pieces, the whole team were often able to capitalize on any chance they got.
Next week’s match against Manchester United is more or less a formality, but crucially, for both involved. With United’s presence in the Europa league being their only way into next season’s Champions League, it is looking likely that Mourinho will rest important players. This presents Palace with an opportunity to gain even more positions, and potentially even reach the likes of 11th place, resulting in a lovely cash windfall for the club.
A Good Fight, But Not Good Enough For Hull
You have to feel sorry for Hull City. The board took a bold approach in appointing Marco Silva in January, and the Portuguese boss did incredibly well for the team he had to work with. But the poor performances in the early season have taken their toll, and the club misses out with a game to spare.
Yet, it was almost predictable that they would be relegated, going all the way back to last Summer when Steve Bruce left the club. Hull were always in a dire spot. Their January signings helped to a degree, with the likes of Grosicki, Evandro, and Ranocchia all helping turn the club around, but it was too large a job.
Now the main target for the club has to be keeping hold of Marco Silva, who has only lost at home once with Hull. If he stays at the club, then they have the best chance to bounce straight back up the Prem. If not, then it could be some years before we see The Tigers back.
STARTING LINE UP
Some last minute fitness tests spelled out good news for Palace, as both Tomkins and Cabaye returned from injury. Gone are the days of playing 4 fullbacks in defence
Schlupp takes up the coveted left-back spot, from Van Aanholt.
STARTING LINE UP
After losing to Sunderland, Marco Silva has decided that the 4-4-2 wasn’t worthwhile, and returned to his usual 4-2-3-1.
3rd Minute– It’s a must-win match for Hull, and they’ve made the worst possible start. Andrea Ranocchia fails to clear a simple long ball, and Crystal Palace’s player of the season, Wilfried Zaha, is on hand to slot home under the keeper. 1-0 Palace
Maguire- “Hey captain, they’ve got a corner, should we mark Benteke?”
Dawson- “Nah, I’m sure it will be fine”
37th Minute– Yet another case for a video referee. Jason Puncheon is defending a free kick and caught in two minds as to whether he’s a goalkeeper or a midfielder. He decides both, and it really should’ve been a penalty for handball.
85th Minute– I love a good clearing header, and now I love Jeffrey Schlupp twice as much as before, as he heads clear two crosses, before running the length of the pitch and baiting Dawson into fouling inside the box, penalty given. Once again Milivojevic is given the honours and he makes no mistake. 3-0 Palace
90th Minute– Two substitutes combine, as McArthur cuts a ball straight through the defence for wingback Van Aanholt, who makes no mistake and scores his second of the season. He should really be a winger rather than a fullback… 4-0 Palace
Man Of The Match
Whilst both Puncheon and Benteke had solid games today, it seems only fair to give the MoTM to the Wilfried Zaha. The winger put all nerves to rest with his early goal, and he was a constant menace to Hull.
The Eagles season closes at the theatre of dreams, as they travel to Manchester United.
A match between two teams with nothing to play for, Hull host Tottenham for their final match of the season.