After Jeffrey Schlupp’s opening goal, a wonder goal from Ebere Eze saw Crystal Palace return to winning ways and shock Sheffield United 2-0 at Selhurst Park. The side of Roy Hodgson had not been good since beating West Brom in early December, but they were assisted to their first win of the year by two first-half goals and a professional effort.
Blades coach Chris Wilder watched his side battle to build openings in the capital and their 15th loss of the season in the Premier League adds to their relegation fears. A convincing @CPFC #CRYSHU pic.twitter win. Com/6B2Gg5iOCo- Premier League (@premierleague) January 2, 2021 Amid photographs surfacing on social media showing the captain breaching corona virus laws with Fulham ace Aleksandar Mitrovic on New Year’s Eve, Luka Milivojevic was a prominent member of the Palace’s eleven. After 16 league games, Sheffield United had just two points and were missing many players due to injuries, suspensions and issues with Covid 19. The problems got even worse four minutes into the Selhurst Park game when a fast Wilfried Zaha advance down the left saw the Eagles attacker finally discover Christian Benteke and the striker played a perfectly weighted ball into the box for the opening goal. Our quickest goal since 2017 in the Premier League. 1-0 #CPFC | #CRYSHU pic.twitter.com/Q7kfDe4fFW- Palace of Crystals F.C. (@CPFC) January 2, 2021 Before bringing the ball past the post and into the net to raise his tally to two goals this season, the onrushing Schlupp was deflected. Without conceding a goal, the Blades’ streak stretched to 20 matches, which was also the last time they registered a top flight win – at Chelsea’s home on July 11. In the first half, although both teams were very intense on the ball, there were few opportunities, but the visitors managed to reach the Palace penalty area in the 29th minute. David McGoldrick, however, was easily found out and the hosts had better chances two minutes later when Benteke missed the ball after a good interplay between Zaha and Schlupp. When the goalscorer was ruled out by injury and Eze was replaced by him, the latter saw his afternoon end prematurely in the 40th minute. #CPFC | #CRYSHU pic.twitter.com/LbuiVbVXEB- Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) January 2, 2021 Four minutes later, when Jayden Bogle ran off and retrieved Ethan Ampadu’s pass, a mistake in focus by substitute Eze almost proved costly, but Vicente Guaita saved for Palace at the near post. Ex-Derby youngster Bogle was in action at the other end of the pitch soon after, making his Premier League debut, and was given a yellow card by referee Stuart Atwell for a cynical lunge on Zaha. At the end of the first period, there were five minutes of stoppage time after Lys Mousset had received early treatment, and the Eagles took advantage of the goal of the year to double their lead. Substitute Eze picked up a pass deep in his own half from James McArthur and skipped past Oliver Norwood before matching Ampadu and then finishing from 20 yards with a calculated flick into the bottom corner beyond Aaron Ramsdale. He makes his debut at the age of 16 at @premierleague. Pic.twitter.com/DqAk93ZdgF- Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) January 2, 2021It was a fantastic solo effort and still, when the packed winter fixture list seemingly caught up with Palace, Hodgson was compelled to make another adjustment in the opening minutes of the second half. Benteke, who had only returned last month to the starting eleven, was replaced in the 48th minute. Zaha was the next to need treatment, but when Rhian Brewster replaced Mousset, he was able to proceed and Wilder made his first substitution in the 61st minute. Just six players were on the bench for the Blades coach and one of them was 16-year-old Antwoine Hackford, who made his debut late on but was blocked by Joel Ward and thus found little consolation.