Crystal Palace thrashed West Brom this afternoon at the Hawthorns, putting five goals past the Baggies and taking all three points back home to London.
As we’ve seen several times this season, the Baggies have a tendency to start off matches poorly and invite unnecessary pressure from the opposition; and Palace capitalised on that when Zaha whipped the ball into the box to have it deflect off of Furlong’s shin and past Johnstone for the opener.Embed from Getty Images
It was a tough goal to concede but Pereira should have done better defending against Zaha; instead, he went to ground, allowing the Ivorian plenty of time to weigh up his options.
There was a strong response from Slaven’s men, however, as they pushed forward, throwing everything at the Palace backline in order to grab an equaliser.
They came very close to getting one in the 18th minute when Phillips fizzed a cross towards Darnell Furlong in the box, whose header rattled the crossbar.
A counter-attack just before the half-hour mark saw Semi Ajayi pump a through-ball past the outstretched leg of Van Aanholt to Furlong, who pulled it back for Gallagher on the edge of the box; in a similar position to his goal against Sheffield United last week, the Chelsea loanee then struck it hard and low into the bottom corner to pull Albion level.Embed from Getty Images
Just when things were starting to look up for the Baggies, Pereira fell to ground under pressure from Van Aanholt and appeared to kick out at the defender in frustration. After a brief VAR check, Paul Tierney deemed it worthy of a red card, and so, Albion’s most creative player was sent down the tunnel.Embed from Getty Images
They were able to see out the level scoreline to half-time and Grady Diangana made way for Filip Krovinovic, whose job it was to plug the gap left by Pereira’s absence.
Around ten minutes later, Wilfried Zaha found himself inside of Albion’s penalty area, where he turned inside of his marker and curled the ball into the far corner.
It was a hammer-blow to the confidence of the players, who knew that they now had a mountain to climb with just ten men against an electric Palace side.
Christian Benteke, starting for Palace in his first match of the season, then nodded a dinked cross from Van Aanholt at the byline to put the Eagles even further in front.
At this point, Albion heads began to drop.
Eberechi Eze weaved his way into the penalty area and, after being challenged, saw the ball roll to Zaha who blasted home for his second of the game and Palace’s fourth.Embed from Getty Images
The final nail in the coffin came when Benteke turned Ajayi in the box and drilled it into the bottom corner, tying up a 5-1 victory for Roy Hodgson’s men.
It has to be said that Pereira’s departure just thirty minutes in was the catalyst for Palace’s five-star triumph over a vulnerable Baggies side. There was little that Bilic could do after that incident, and the Eagles had a field day for the rest of the match: slipping into the box with ease and passing it round the defence as if there wasn’t anybody there.
Match Ratings: Johnstone (4); Bartley (4), Ivanovic (4), Ajayi (4); Furlong (5), Sawyers (5), Gallagher (6), Phillips (6); Pereira (4); Diangana (5), Grant (5). Subs: O’Shea (5), Krovinovic (6), Robinson (5).
West Brom: Johnstone; Bartley, Ivanovic, Ajayi; Furlong, Sawyers (O’Shea 80), Gallagher, Phillips; Pereira (Red card 33); Diangana (Krovinovic 46), Grant (Robinson 62).
Subs (not used): Button, Gibbs, Grosicki, Austin
Booked: Sawyers (18), Gallagher (58)
Sent Off: Pereira (33)
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Clyne, Kouyate, Cahill, Aanholt; Schlupp (Ayew 74), Milivojevic, McArthur (Riedewald 73), Eze; Benteke, Zaha (Batshuayi 81).
Subs (not used): Butland, Sakho, Ward, Townsend
Booked: McArthur (49), Milivojevic (88)
Referee: Paul Tierney