It has undoubtedly been a season of turmoil so far for Crystal Palace. Since they returned to the Premier League in 2013, however, there have been plenty of sweeter moments. The fop five Crystal Palace matches since 2013 will make for more pleasant reading than recent results.
Sunderland 1-4 Crystal Palace, 2014-15
Any supporter who attended the Stadium of Light for this match will appreciate its inclusion. Palace were in the form of their lives in the league, and this was the eighth win in 12 games since Alan Pardew took over as manager.
It is also momentous due to Yannick Bolasie’s hat-trick; his first and only Premier League treble so far. All three goals came in an 11-minute spell which sparked pandemonium for the travelling fans, and Glenn Murray scored the other in a thoroughly convincing performance.
It is not often that Palace score four goals in the league, so this game is certainly one to savour for years to come. Ultimately, these days, it serves as a reminder of the time that they could produce quality performances and score goals; a far cry from the current debacle.
Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea, 2013-14
In Palace’s first season back and they looked consigned to relegation earlier in the season. In this game, however, John Terry’s own goal gave them a surprise win and took them five points clear of the bottom three. The fact that this win came against Chelsea, who were top of the table at the time, made it even sweeter. This was the height of the Tony Pulis miracle. Not only did Palace win, they deserved it.
This was a team which could graft for three points and they were hungry for a crucial victory. It was a resolute performance, highlighted by the fact that Chelsea only had two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes. After some abject recent performances, this result gave the players the confidence to go on a five-match winning run to secure safety. If was the first time that Palace had ever beaten Chelsea in the Premier League.
Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace, 2016-17
The opposition and outcome were both the same, but the circumstances in which Palace pulled off this victory were completely different. Chelsea had been so dominant over the course of the season, winning the league with relative ease; on the whole, Palace had been weak.
Sam Allardyce’s side got the win against a team that hadn’t lost at home in any competition since September. This April Fool’s Day victory was no joke. Palace went behind to Cesc Fabregas’ goal, which makes the fact that they pulled off victory all the more remarkable. Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke turned the game around with two brilliant goals in their own right: Zaha’s using individual brilliance; Benteke’s sheer tenacity.
The Eagles were under pressure for the majority of the game, and this makes the win all the more satisfying. It doesn’t get much better than nicking a win at the home of the impending champions. This one was vital in securing safety and capped a very good four-match winning streak.
Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool, 2013-14
This match was the most entertaining game seen at Selhurst Park in this stint in the top flight. On a footballing level, it put the nail in the coffin of Liverpool’s title challenge. It also led to Luis Suarez crying on the pitch at the end, and an extreme sense of schadenfreude from rival fans.
Liverpool had been threatening all game, and went ahead through Joe Allen on 18 minutes. A Damien Delaney own goal and a good finish from Suarez made it 3-0 after 55 minutes. The Liverpool players were frantically trying to collect the ball after scoring. They smelt blood and wanted to improve their goal difference.
That all changed when Delaney atoned for his mishap with a deflected, long-range strike into the top corner of Simon Mignolet’s net. Then the delirium really began. Dwight Gayle wrote himself into Palace folklore with two goals in the last ten minutes to send Selhurst Park into raptures. The stadium, which had been a cauldron of noise all season, completely exploded.
Palace had come from three goals down to level against a top team. Despite not even winning the game, no supporter will ever forget this result.
Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal, 2016-17
This was Palace’s most convincing performance against a top club, and possibly of any in the last few years. Not only did they comfortably outscore Arsenal, the performance was completely flawless. Overlooking Arsenal’s deficiencies, the fact that the North Londoners didn’t have a shot on target in the second half is testament to the South Londoners’ dominance.
The second goal, scored by Yohan Cabaye in the 63rd minute, was the pick of the bunch; a looping effort from the edge of the area over a sprawling Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal. Andros Townsend’s close-range finish and a Luka Milivojevic penalty secured the rout.
It came in the midst of a revival, as once again Palace needed to be saved from the drop to the Championship. One would never have guessed that here, as Palace displayed true quality despite surrendering the majority of possession to their top four-chasing opposition. Regardles, they had the better chances, were more committed in reaching first and second balls and were simply too athletic for Arsenal.The atmosphere was raucous and the football followed suit.
The previous four entries contain a win over a relegated side, two tight wins over Chelsea and a draw against Liverpool. This victory was completely different. Palace have never been known to dominate matches, but they did here against a side containing the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil. This is a night that will live long in the memory.
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