Eight Crystal Palace players registered FPL returns of six points or more on Saturday afternoon as the Eagles condemned Huddersfield Town to the drop.
While the end result of a Palace victory to nil was a largely anticipated one, Roy Hodgson’s side made heavy work of beating their Championship-bound visitors and spurned a succession of gilt-edged chances en route to a 2-0 win.
The hard-earned victory at least sets owners of Crystal Palace assets up for their forthcoming away matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United on Wednesday and Saturday; the Eagles have been better on the road this season and have scored almost twice as many league goals on their travels as they have at Selhurst Park.
We recap the events of what was only Palace’s fourth home win of the season in our Scout Notes article below.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield Town
- Goals: Luka Milivojevic (£6.3m), Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m)
- Assists: Wilfried Zaha (£6.9m) x2
Wilfried Zaha (£6.9m) now has nine attacking returns in his last ten Premier League starts after a brace of assists in his side’s win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Sergio Aguero (£11.9m) and – as of last night – Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) are the only FPL forwards who have been directly involved in more of their club’s goals in 2019.
The Ivory Coast international, who shook off a hamstring injury to play the full 90 minutes at Selhurst Park, won a 75th-minute penalty that Luka Milivojevic (£6.3m) subsequently converted and then set up Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) for the Eagles’ second goal close to full-time.
No Fantasy forward has registered more penalty box touches than Zaha this season and the former Manchester United winger was pushed up front alongside Michy Batshuayi (£6.5m) in the second half after starting the match on the left of a front three.
Roy Hodgson said after full-time:
At half-time, things were looking bleak. So I must give our team an awful lot of credit for the way they came out in the second half. We made a couple of slight adjustments and in the second half, we were much more like ourselves.
I was very pleased that the players’ determination shone through. We pulled ourselves together. I thought pushing Wilf up front, and bringing McArthur in, made a difference to our play.
League goals at Selhurst Park continue to elude Zaha and indeed he has only scored once in south London this season.
The positive news for Zaha’s owners is that Palace’s next two fixtures are away from home, where the lively winger has been much more productive in 2018/19.
Zaha wasted two glorious chances to double his home tally for the season, failing to get a shot away when rounding Ben Hamer (£3.9m) and then firing wide when through on goal again in the 86th minute.
The Ivory Coast international also teed up Andros Townsend (£5.9m) for a big chance in the second half, one of several spurned by the hosts as frustration mounted.
Hodgson said after the match:
We created some really, really good goal chances. At one stage, I was worried it was going to be one of those games when I’d be sitting here and you would be telling me about the incredible misses you thought we’d been guilty of and it would have cost us points.
Luckily, I can laugh the misses off, as we got two goals to win the game. I’m hoping that if we create have as many chances against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, we won’t miss them.
Townsend was one of the chief culprits, spoiling that potential Zaha assist by screwing wide from eight yards and then slicing off-target shortly after.
Batshuayi also saw a first-effort blocked, before Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m) shanked an effort wide of Hamer’s goal – both chances set up by the increasingly involved van Aanholt.
The Dutch left-back had forced Hamer into a flying save before latching onto Zaha’s pass to score his first league goal in almost exactly six months.
Van Aanholt hasn’t failed to score five or more Premier League goals in a single season since 2014/15 and it was, coincidentally, starting in March 2018 when the former Chelsea and Sunderland defender embarked on a run of five goals in ten Gameweeks.
Marcos Alonso (£6.4m) is the only FPL defender to attempt more shots than van Aanholt this season.
For a player who poses little threat from open play, Milivojevic is once again having a stellar season in FPL.
Saturday’s strike was his tenth of the season (as many as he managed in 2017/18), nine of which have come from the penalty spot.
Of the ten penalties that the Serbian midfielder has taken this season (he missed from 12 yards against Everton in Gameweek 9), Zaha has been fouled for half of them – emphasising just how important the Ivorian’s trickery is to Milivojevic’s own appeal as a Fantasy asset.
Zaha, who also won four spot-kicks in 2017/18, is perhaps unsurprisingly the most-fouled FPL forward of this season by quite some margin.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.5m) also recovered from injury to bank a clean sheet for his owners but it wasn’t all plain sailing for Palace, with out-of-position FPL defender Chris Lowe (£4.4m) twice forcing good saves out of Vicente Guaita (£4.2m) and striker Karlan Grant (£5.0m) spurning an excellent opportunity just before half-time.
The fact that Guaita picked up a save point, two bonus points and the Palace fans’ man of the match award was a tribute to the Terriers’ display but this was the 17th league match of the season (and eighth of 2019) that Huddersfield
Owners of Leicester City defenders will be therefore optimistic of a clean sheet when the Foxes face Jan Siewert’s side in Gameweek 33.
The Huddersfield boss said after full-time:
I think we did very well in the first half. We encountered tactical situations very well and had offensive possibilities against a team which has the quality of Wilfried Zaha, for example. It was really great to see the lads fighting for each other.
When you see this group on the pitch today, they made the home audience give them a round of applause after the game, even at half-time we were impressed. It was great for us to see that we did so many things right.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Wan-Bissaka; Tomkins, Dann, van Aanholt; Schlupp, Milivojevic, Meyer (McArthur 46′); Townsend (Kouyate 80′), Batshuayi (Benteke 73′), Zaha.
Huddersfield Town XI (4-4-1-1): Hamer; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo,
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