The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW30): Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
Watching live Premier League action from the BBC for the very first time brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings - this encounter between Bournemouth and Crystal Palace had the feel of a late-round FA Cup encounter.
As for the game itself, it was the first game of the day of 4 games that started with some excitement and quick goals as the trio of Premier League that preceded this (Watford vs. Leicester, Brighton vs. Arsenal and West Ham vs. Wolves) evening fixture were all 0-0 at half-time.
It only took 10 minutes of play for Crystal Palace to grind out their first big opportunity, when James McArthur, who was being dragged down, stabbed a pass to Wilfried Zaha who eventually powered a shot over the bar.
Less than a couple of minutes later, Zaha was in the thick of the action again and was brought down on the right-hand side of the box for a free-kick in range. Luka Milivojevic stepped up and curled a brilliant effort into the top-right of the net for the opening goal. Aaron Ramsdale got a slight of hand on the travelling ball but the free-kick was so good that there's not a lot the shot-stopper could have done.
Doubling down on Eddie Howe's misery this season, Bournemouth didn't wake up to Palace's good play when Zaha provided a key pass for Patrick van Aanholt, who dashed to the bye-line and cut-back for Jordan Ayew to finish well and double the lead.
The rest of the half saw Palace settle into a comfortable defensive shape as Bournemouth tried to get the cobwebs off their boots, though the home side went into the half-time break looking like a shrinking violet of a side, whilst the visitors zipped the ball around nicely and fully deserved their two-goal advantage.
The second-half dragged as Bournemouth tried to get back into the encounter, though it took until the 62nd minute for Nathan Ake to head their first effort on target, with Guaita forced into a comfortable save.
Palace were happy with the lead and let Bournemouth try attack them, with The Cherries having a few flashes at goal, including a poor free-kick attempt by Junior Stanislas, but it just wasn't Bournemouth's day and the second-half was purely about game management from the travelling side.
Palace could have further extended their lead had Wilfried Zaha made the most out of several counter-attacking opportunities, but overall it was a deserved win with a second-half that had very, very little to report on.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha (CRY)
Crystal Palace dominated Bournemouth from first minute to last, but the vocal point of the side was once again Wilfried Zaha. The game flowed through the Ivorian in the first-half and it was his involvement that led to both goals. Fouled for the first, with Milivojevic scoring brilliantly, and providing the key pass for van Aanholt for the second, this game might have lacked goals and excitement without the tricky winger on the left. Defensively, Zaha put in a dogged shift in the second-half, putting himself into tackles and dropping deeper to help PVA with Jack Stacey's advances from right-back. Once again in our match reports, quality prevails.
Insight and Analysis:
I've had the honour of reviewing a couple of historic Premier League matches today - the first live 3pm game in the UK in which Brighton beat Arsenal with a last-second winner by Neal Maupay, and later on in the day the first live league game that is shown live on BBC. Neither game disappointed.
Crystal Palace acted and played like a confident Premier League outfit that had several match winners littered across the pitch. Bournemouth were truly awful and were void of options and any goal threat whatsoever. The Cherries didn't play with any tempo and were out fought for virtually every ball.
Palace's left-hand side of Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt was superb, as was Milivojevic in the centre of the field. It was a comfortable win as you'll see in elite level football and if you're a Crystal Palace supporter tonight, you'll be buzzing about their final games of this belated season.
Based on the performances this weekend, Norwich and Bournemouth look like the prime contenders for the drop and with some tough fixtures for Eddie Howe to navigate, this might be the year which sees the plucky underdogs run out of steam.
Venue: The Vitality Stadium
Manager: Eddie Howe
GK: A. Ramsdale
DEF: J. Stacey
DEF: S. Cook
DEF: N. Ake
DEF: A. Smith
MID: J. Lerma
MID: H. Wilson (Danjuma 45')
MID: D. Brooks (Stanislas 61')
MID: L. Cook,
FOR: J. King (Solanke 49')
FOR: C. Wilson
Boruc, Rico, Kelly, Mepham, Surman, Gosling, Stanislas, Danjuma, Stanislas
Manager: Roy Hodgson
GK: V. Guaita
DEF: J. Ward
DEF: S. Dann
DEF: G. Cahill
DEF: P. Van Aanholt
MID: C. Kouyate
MID: L. Milivojevic (McCarthy 65')
MID: J. McArthur (Riedewald 89')
FOR: J. Ayew
FOR: C. Benteke (Townsend '76)
FOR: W. Zaha
Hennessey, Sakho, Riedewald, Mitchell, Taveres, McCarthy, Meyer, Townsend, Pierrick
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