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Report: Palace enter New Year with a bang in Norwich triumph

3
Édouard 8'
Mateta 38'
Schlupp 42'
0

Crystal Palace ended a landmark year for the club in style on Tuesday afternoon, confidently beating Norwich City 3-0 through a trio of goalscorers.

Summary

  • Assistant manager Osian Roberts makes four changes to the side which kicked-off against Tottenham Hotspur

  • Palace take the lead after seven minutes through an Odsonne Edouard penalty won by Will Hughes

  • Hughes, Jordan Ayew, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jeffrey Schlupp put Norwich under pressure midway through the first-half

  • Sam Byram is booked for three cynical fouls on Cheikhou Kouyaté as the midfielder raced towards goal on the break

  • Palace add a second through Mateta, who strikes Edouard’s squared ball home first time

  • Schlupp makes it three with a well-taken effort from a tight angle

  • Joel Ward makes a characteristic body-on-the-line block to deny Christos Tzolis

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 3-0 Norwich City

  • Palace begin the second-half well and Schlupp forces Byram then ‘keeper Angus Gunn into action

  • Vicente Guaita makes an instinctive save to deny Pryzemyslaw Placheta from close out

  • Christian Benteke finds the net in the 86th-minute, but is ruled offside

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 3-0 Norwich City

Palace would always be facing an uphill battle in this clash, competing with a depleted squad just two days after a 10-man fight against fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

But they approached the fixture trying to counter their disadvantage, attacking the game shortly after kick-off and earning a penalty just six minutes in. Will Hughes and Jordan Ayew had linked-up around the outside of Norwich’s box for a while before the ball fell to Tyrick Mitchell high up the pitch.

The left-back played it forward to Hughes, who, a yard or two inside the area, was felled by Kenny McLean. Odsonne Edouard stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and duly struck it low to Angus Gunn’s right, earning Palace another early lead.

Given the circumstances the hosts didn’t bomb forward after going ahead but built their pressure steadily, enjoying another spell on top 10 minutes later in which Hughes and Ayew both had promising crosses dealt with before Jean-Philippe Mateta hit the side netting and Jeffrey Schlupp took just too long to strike in the box, seeing his effort deflected by Ben Gibson.

After a lengthy break while referee Paul Tierney addressed a technical issue, Norwich created their first major chance when Pierre Lees-Melou swung in a dangerous cross no one in yellow was able to meet. Palace collected the ball and reacted swiftly, moving play down the pitch in a damaging counter-attack.

Edouard picked up possession on the left and squared it to Mateta, who struck home low first time before wheeling away and thwacking the corner flag in trademark style.

The hosts’ second only added to their confidence and, when Schlupp received the ball at an incredibly tight angle, he was only ever going to further Norwich’s deficit. For Palace’s third Hughes and Edouard were again involved in a promising attack – with the latter dancing inside the box before losing possession. But Schlupp was well placed to react and squeezed the ball home from a shallow angle with a first-time effort to increase his side’s advantage.

That’s not to say Palace’s backline was left to enjoy a quiet afternoon, however, and when Vicente Guaita allowed a cross in the box to bounce Joel Ward was forced to block Christos Tzolis from turning into a near-open net.

Palace began the second-half as they hoped to continue, forcing Byram into a smart defensive header to stop Schlupp’s cutely chipped cross from causing a problem at the back post.

After this effort the game settled into a more natural pace as Palace’s three-goal lead 55 minutes in largely killed any expectations of further action.

But Norwich ‘keeper Gunn remained alert all the same and produced a commendable double save when first Schlupp then Mateta drove the ball goal-bound.

Gunn’s actions were mirrored shortly after by Guaita, who acted heroically after relative inaction to block Pryzemyslaw Placheta 10 yards out.

Chances continued to fall for either side but both failed to make the most of several half-promising sights at goal – the ball sailed successively too high or too wide in front of the Holmesdale and Whitehorse Lane.

Otherwise the match returned to the quiet rhythm of a forgone conclusion.

With minutes left on the clock, Palace's remedy to the game's closing inertia, substitute Christian Benteke, struck the back of the net but was rightly adjudged to be offside.

So the final whistle confirmed what the half-time one had effectively done before: a 3-0 Crystal Palace victory, seeing out 2021 in style and teeing up a strong start to the New Year in four days' time.

Palace: Guaita, Mitchell, Guéhi, Andersen (Tomkins 83), Ward, Kouyaté, Hughes (Milivojevic 73), Schlupp, Ayew, Mateta (Benteke 80), Edouard.

Subs not used: Butland, Matthews, Kelly, Ferguson, Riedewald.

Norwich: Gunn, Byram, Gibson, Gilmour, Tzolis (Rowe 68), Sørensen, Lees-Melou, McLean, Giannoulis (Williams 45), Placheta (Sargent 80), Idah.

Subs not used: McGovern, McCracken, Dowell, Kabak, Mumba.