Crystal Palace 1-0 Wolves Report

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Wolves slumped to a fifth defeat in eight games as Eberechi Eze’s strike gave Crystal Palace all three points in a tight contest at Selhurst Park.

The defeat sees Wolves dragged into a potential relegation battle with teams around them gaining points. 

The away side were in desperate need for three points after an impressive draw at Chelsea and were playing a team they had an impeccable record against. 

 

Match Report

Willian Jose was introduced into the side for his first start since signing from Real Sociedad, with Nelson Semedo starting on the left after his solid performance there last time out. Ki-Jana Hoever also came into the team at right-wing back with Joao Moutinho starting instead of Ruben Neves in midfield.

Despite all the changes for fresh energy the first half was distinctively average and devoid of any creativity. Willian Jose was cut a frustrated figure with no real service to feed off, with Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence shut out by the lack of a fluid transition between the midfield and forward line (a common theme that has not been fixed). 

Crystal Palace were the only team who created a chance of note, as Michy Batshuayi somehow skied an effort from 10 yards after a deflected shot fell to him. Wolves could not get any possession in the Crystal Palace half, and considering this side has an impeccable record against the Eagles, they were certainly struggling to keep them from soaring.

The end of the half came at a good time for them to reset and go again in the second half. Wolves did indeed come out firing as they looked to attack with more vigor, and they were unlucky to not take the lead. Daniel Podence put a peach of a cross into the box and Willian Jose saw his fine effort saved brilliantly by Vincente Guaita. It looked like it could be a sign of things to come from the away side as their second-half performances have shown before. 

Despite their brighter start, however, it was Wolves who fell behind on 60 minutes. Nathaniel Clyne saw his pass deflected to Jordan Ayew who passed it across the edge of the box to Eze, he picked his spot and smashed a bullet shot into the net past a helpless Rui Patricio. It was a goal that signified the defensive issues still vivid in their play as they were far too slow to close Eze down and made no attempt to block the shot.

Even with the goal Wolves were still unbelievably poor, all summarised when Moutinho passed the ball straight out of play from a five-yard distance. They were sloppy in possession and lacked any confidence to play with a real conviction – something we are not used to with Nuno’s side. They looked more devoid of ideas as the game went on.

Palace could have doubled their advantage later on in the game as they struck Wolves on the counter, but Wilfried Zaha saw his shot from 10 yards strike the underside of the bar and fall to Batshuayi who skied his shot on the rebound from 16 yards.

Wolves were not done yet as they managed to fashion another chance for Jose, but his header was again well saved by Guaita. The most disappointing aspect was that that was the only clear-cut chance they created in the second half. The lack of potency was and still is a real concern.

They ended the game with a whimper and look like a team in real trouble of falling into an endless pit of poor results and a lack of confidence. 

 

Man of the Match – N/A

I know this might seem a tad petty but I honestly cannot think of any player who particularly stood out enough for me to give them man of the match. Everyone looked off the boil and lack the real desire to get out of the rut we find ourselves in. 

Final Thoughts

Oh Wolves. It’s becoming increasingly difficult and depressing to watch, a team that has given us so many great memories reduced to a lack of goalscoring nouse and a team plagued with defensive issues. Nuno has a huge job on his hands but the players also have to take accountability, they are far better than what they are showing and in my eyes, they are letting Nuno down. Whilst the head coach is not blameless for his increasingly negative tactics, everyone at the club has some semblance of responsibility to try and turn the fortunes of this sinking ship around. 

Tom Parker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.