Eberechi Eze scored a fabulous free-kick
When Crystal Palace score first this season, they are unbeaten – winning four and drawing once.
Their primary objective for this match was simple: stop Leeds United from playing their way.
They did that, with Roy Hodgson’s men expertly taking advantage of set pieces and good fortune to score three times in the first half.
Before the match, Crystal Palace had scored with 14% of their efforts so far – their best shot conversion rate in a Premier League season on record – and their efficient form continued Saturday afternoon.
They let Leeds pass the ball and hold possession, but utilised the likes of Eze and Zaha to get forward on the counter well – and they did the damage.
Clash of philosophies
Whilst Palace have their own style of play under Roy Hodgson, so do Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa.
In the Premier League this season, only champions Liverpool have created more chances from open play than Leeds, and no team has registered as many miles travelled than Bielsa’s side.
Heading into the game, Crystal Palace had fewer shots than any other side in the Premier League this season, while only Liverpool had more than Leeds.
His quickfire pass-and-move style of football is attractive and fun to watch, but Crystal Palace negated Leeds effectively as the visitors sorely missed Kalvin Phillips.
In honesty, Leeds struggled to create anything in the second half.
Scott Dann scored the opener
Patrick Bamford seemingly became the first player to score in four consecutive away games to start a season for Leeds United with a delightful dink over Vicente Guaita, but it wasn’t to be.
The forward was harshly adjudged to be offside when he pointed to where he wanted the through ball, with his left arm deemed to be in the illegal position.
It was a truly perplexing decision, and once again, VAR was at the center of another controversy in the Premier League.
To make matters worse, Crystal Palace scored their second just minutes later, highlighting both the ruthless nature of the Premier League and the importance of such a decision.
Eze does it
What a game from the 22-year old winger.
Eberechi Eze tallied an assist for the opening goal thanks to his brilliant corner delivery that picked out Scott Dann, whose header cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and in.
However, it was his goal that deserved all the plaudits.
The Englishman bent his free-kick into the top corner of the net, sensationally scoring his first goal for Crystal Palace since his £17 million move from Queens Park Rangers.
The rise of Patrick Bamford has been astonishing to watch this season.
His disallowed goal was an excellent finish, as the 27-year old didn’t break stride as he chipped the ball past the helpless Guaita.
On the half-hour mark, Bamford got his goal with another fine piece of individual brilliance, controlling the ball with his chest and volleying into the corner.
It was his seventh goal of the season, a remarkable tally for a forward that has struggled in the Premier League before.
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