Looking to consolidate their mid-table status, Crystal Palace look for back-to-back wins on the short turnaround Tuesday when they host Bournemouth at Selhurst Park.
Palace (5-3-6) stopped a three-match losing streak Saturday with a professional 2-0 victory at Burnley. Wilfried Zaha and substitute Jeffrey Schlupp scored on either side of halftime for the Eagles, who also recorded their first clean sheet in seven league matches dating to a 2-0 victory over Norwich City on Sept. 28.
“There are teams in this league, probably certainly, not just on paper but on the field of play that do have a better chance of beating you with their resources and the quality of their players,” Palace boss Roy Hodgson said post-match.
“But we are through that period, and I don’t think we played badly through that period, but it was important we came out and gave similar performances to the ones we’ve been giving and hopefully get a result through that performance, which I think we did today.”
Zaha made the most of his only shot on target just before halftime as he ripped a left-footed shot from eight yards inside the near post on the left. Schlupp, who had entered the game in the 69th minute, also went near post for his marker nine minutes later to seal the victory.
While his name will undoubtedly come up again as a player who could move in the January window, Zaha does seem to have finally found a comfort zone after nearly going to Arsenal in the summer. The Ivory Coast international has scored goals in back-to-back league matches for the first time since a three-game run from Jan. 30-Feb. 23.
Hodgson’s side now look to avoid a fourth straight home defeat, though those three losses came to the top three teams in the table. Palace have not dropped four straight league contests at Selhurst Park since a run of five defeats from Dec. 14, 2016-Feb. 4, 2017.
Bournemouth (4-4-6) are now the side trying to end a three-match losing streak after a 3-2 loss at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The Cherries’ defence again failed them as Eddie Howe’s side have shipped seven goals in the defeats after posting three consecutive clean sheets prior to the slip in form.
“I think the key moments were the first two goals in the game. From our perspective, we’ve got to defend those situations better,” Howe told the Bournemouth Echo, displeased that both of Spurs first two goals came via Route One football.
“We didn’t and paid the ultimate price for it. It was a great effort from the lads in terms of coming back and showing the character needed because, at 3-0 down, it was a difficult moment for us. We ended up with one chance to try to get a point right at the end. The lads in general played well today but I thought the first two goals we conceded killed us.”
Substitute Harry Wilson scored both goals for Bournemouth, drilling a free kick and adding a second in stoppage time. The Liverpool loanee leads the Cherries with six goals and is pressing for a spot in Howe’s starting XI as the fixture list gets more congested.
“The free-kick was trademark Harry and the second goal was all about positioning from Arnaut’s (Danjuma) cutback,” Howe said. “He is a goalscorer, he’s scored some big goals for us already this season. Harry has come on and done himself no harm for the next game.”
Bournemouth are winless in their last four road matches (0-1-3) after winning two of their first three.
The home team won both matches last season, with Palace recording a 5-3 victory in the corresponding fixture. The Eagles rode a brace by Michy Batshuayi and an own goal by Jack Simpson to a 3-0 first-half lead, and Zaha assisted on second-half goals by Patrick Van Aanholt and Andros Townsend to keep Bournemouth at arm’s length.
Each side have two wins and split the points in the other four top-flight matches.