Palais C 3 – 0 Norwich
Crystal Palace sentenced Norwich to a fifth straight Premier League unscoring defeat, with winners 3-0.
Norwich started with good intentions at Selhurst Park but shot himself in the foot when Kenny McLean fouled Will Hughes inside the box after seven minutes, which allowed Odsonne Edouard to score on the spot.
From that moment on, Norwich passed out when Jean-Philippe Mateta pulled home a second clinic for the hosts 38 minutes before Jeffrey Schlupp followed suit four minutes later to take the score to 3-0 .
It was an impressive day at the office for Palace – which was without Conor Gallagher and Wilfried Zaha, as well as manager Patrick Vieira – as it was more misery for the Canaries as they went through December without scoring.
Crystal Palace won their last Premier League game in a calendar year for the first time since 1992, seeing them overtake Brighton in ninth place. As for Norwich, they will see the bottom of the 2021 table with a huge task to survive relegation.
How Crystal Palace sailed to victory
Norwich got off to a good start at Selhurst Park but got a boost when Crystal Palace got a penalty kick in under seven minutes. Hughes looked to create space for a shot, but a hanging leg from McLean sent the midfielder. Edward lined him up and sent him around the corner, sending Angus Gunn to jump in the other direction.
After a five-minute delay due to a malfunction in referee technology around half an hour, Crystal Palace added their second. It was a good break with the hosts, with Edouard fed on the left. His square pass found Mateta in the middle, who swept from close range.
The third from Crystal Palace was not far either. Hughes took possession of Norwich again, feeding Tyrick Mitchell on the left. His pass found Edouard in the middle, who had three yellow shirts coming closer as he left the ball for Schlupp on his left. It was also an impressive finish from the striker as he sent the ball past the goal and into the far corner.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Ward (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (7), Hughes (8), Kouyate (7), Schlupp (8), Ayew (7), Edouard (7), Mateta (7).
Submarines used: Benteke (6), Tomkins (6)
Norwich: Gunn (6), Byram (5), Gibson (5), Sorensen (6), Giannoulis (5), Lees-Melou (6), Gilmour (6), McLean (5), Tzolis (6), Idah (5 ), Placheta (6).
Submarines used: Rowe, (6), Sargent (6), Williams (6)
Man of the match: Jeffrey Schlupp
Norwich had their best halftime chances with five minutes of added time. Vicente Guaita failed to stop a superb cross from Sam Byram on the left, which reached Christos Tzolis just behind. He tried to get into an open net, but Joel Ward threw his body in front of the ball to block. Then Byram sent a header over the crossbar on Placheta’s free-kick as Crystal Palace’s three first-half goals went unanswered.
Much like the first half, Norwich got off to a better start, but both keepers were quickly called upon. Angus Gunn made a sensational double save just before the hour mark, first stopping Schlupp’s weak effort with his legs before a similar second save in quick succession to negate Mateta. At the other end, Guaita jumped up to stop Placheta’s volley that had landed nicely in his way.
- Crystal Palace was without Conor Gallagher, who dropped out of the XI with James Tomkins and Wilfried Zaha suspended. Jack Butland also returned to the bench and was replaced by No.1 Vicente Guaita.
- Marc Guehi also returned with his partner Joachim Andersen in central defense, with Jeffrey Schlupp and Jean-Philippe Mateta also on the side.
- Norwich has made some big changes. Angus Gunn, Ben Gibson, Billy Gilmour, Kenny McLean and Przemyslaw Placheta retained their places, with six players entering the XI. Teemu Pukki and Max Aarons weren’t on the Norwich squad, missing a mix of injuries and illnesses, along with Todd Cantwell.
Crystal Palace believed they had scored a late fourth goal as substitute Christian Benteke returned home from close range after Norwich failed to clear a corner. However, he was flagged for offside and the goal was ruled out. VAR briefly verified the decision, but it was upheld.
However, the damage was done in the first half despite improvements for Norwich after the break as they finished the year at the bottom of the Premier League.
Man of the Match – Jeffrey Schlupp
One of the big questions when news of the team broke was how much Palace would miss Gallagher’s influence and goal threat. As it turned out, Schlupp adapted perfectly to Gallagher’s role at the forefront of the midfield, delivering an energetic performance full of quality and attacking intent.
He took his goal in the style of a very comfortable player in the opponents’ box – one of six shots he landed in 90 minutes of action. Special mention to Hughes too. His skillful pass through the heart of the Palace midfielder set the stage for a convincing victory.
- Crystal Palace has lost only once and scored 18 goals in their 10 home Premier League games under Patrick Vieira (17 pts), having lost five and only scored nine times on the previous 10 (11 pts).
- Norwich have scored just eight goals in their 19 Premier League games this season, the lowest total in a top-level season after 19 appearances alongside Leicester City in 1977-78.
- Norwich have conceded six Premier League penalty goals this season, more than any other team.
- Odsonne Edouard was directly involved in three goals for Crystal Palace against Norwich (1 goal, 2 assists), just one goal less than he managed in his previous 15 Premier League games combined (3 goals, 1 decisive pass).
Saturday January 1st 5:00 p.m.
Both teams are back in the Premier League on New Years Day. Crystal Palace host West Ham, live on Sky Sports; kick off at 5.30 p.m. Norwich will travel to Leicester on Sunday; kick off at 3 p.m.