Final Score: Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace edged past 7th-placed Clarets to continue their resurgence under Roy Hodgson and lift themselves to 12th place, five points clear of the drop zone. They outplayed Burnley in all departments and went about their business smartly and positively. This battle was clearly won by the side higher in confidence and in better form, as Sean Dyche’s side are winless in six games now.
Keeping all the stats away, Palace clearly had the better chances and should have seen the game off before the hour mark, if not half time. Apart from the decisive goal coming from the in-form Bakary Sako’s left boot, a penalty shout from the Mali international and a brave goal-line clearance from Ben Mee helped the dark horses to keep themselves in the game.
The Eagles have undoubtedly been one of the most improved sides in the league as they are behind the top half spot only due to goal difference. On this occasion too, they showed how dangerous they can be while going forward in numbers.
Crystal Palace Ratings
Wayne Hennessey: 8/10
Made one superb save when Barnes was clear on goal. Apart from that, he was very decisive and confident in goal. Made the routine saves without any fuss.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: 8.5/10
Barely provided any space down his side. The 20-year-old showed a lot of discipline while defending, not committing to challenges. A couple of crosses from him were dangerous.
Martin Kelly: 8/10
Very impressive, barely allowed the opposition forwards to get the better off him or run down his channel. Another satisfactory, convincing performance by Kelly.
James Tomkins: 7.5/10
Won the first ball many a time, blocked shots well and flourished in the partnership with Martin Kelly. Tomkins’ dual positioning with his partner clearly highlighted the work put on the training grounds.
Patrick Van Aanholt: 6.5/10
A typical Van Aanholt performance where he provided pace and skill going forward but left a few voids at the back that were asking to be exploited. His delivery and link up play though were excellent.
Luka Milivojevic: 8.5/10
Another player in very good form. He looked composed and safe in possession, held the ball well and was very influential in the middle as he directed the proceedings and created chances.
Jairo Riedewald: 6/10
Not at his best this evening. He dropped in too deep at times when his team actually had the momentum. His tackling too wasn’t the cleanest.
James McArthur: 8/10
Cleverly disguised himself as a third midfielder in order to draw attention from a defender and allow Van Aanholt to add width and stretch the Burnley defence. His passing and work rate were exceptional yet again.
Wilfried Zaha: 8.5/10
Zaha was the strongest of them all as he used his strength to shrug off players and weave his way past the opposition defence. He looked at his destructive best when he carried the ball forward.
Bakary Sako: 9/10
He doubled his pace with physicality and when he does that, Sako can be one of the most dangerous players on the pitch. He gave the Burnley centre-backs a run for their money, dragging them back and inviting them to challenges. Also, he is now Crystal Palace’s top scorer this campaign with 6 goals.
Christian Benteke: 6/10
Did the hard work, attacked the ball well, held up the play but couldn’t kill the game off or finish. One golden opportunity went in vain when the Belgian looped his header over the crossbar along with another shot of his, which only managed to meet the side netting.