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CRYSTAL PALACE recorded their biggest win ever in the Premier League on Saturday with a 5-0 thumping of Leicester City at Selhurst Park.
Wilfried Zaha, who was vilified at Vicarage Road for his perceived “play-acting,” made sure that only his football could be the point of discussion this week, with a well-taken goal and assist as Palace dominated the first half.
The second half began and Leicester huffed and puffed but were poor with their final ball, often crossing straight into the grateful arms of Wayne Hennessey.
On the hour mark, Marc Albrighton was sent off for denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the Ivorian reined in on his loose touch and was through on goal.
The decision effectively finished the game for the Foxes, who had already looked toothless up until that point.
Matters were made worse as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Patrick van Aanholt got in on the act with well-taken third and fourth goals late-on.
“We lost a lot of duels/battles in the last 20-25 minutes before half-time. We lost the balance in our team with too much space between our lines,” said a disappointed Claude Puel.
“With N’Didi [injury], the sending off, the penalty, we didn’t have solutions to address the balance in the team, we tried to come back into the game without a good balance and conceded three goals in the last 10 minutes.”
Christian Benteke came off the bench and was heavily involved with Palace’s fifth goal. The Belgian latched onto a pass in the box and was bundled over by Harry Maguire.
Luka Milivojevic has been Palace’s spot-kick taker but the Serbian gave Benteke the honours and the Belgian slotted it straight down the middle to score his first league goal at Selhurst Park this season.
Roy Hodgson was proud of the result and mentality shown by his players this season as they’ve all but confirmed their Premier League status.
“For the players to not use injuries as an excuse, to not get into that way of thinking that odds are stacked against us and fate is not on our side — I think that is the thing probably which gives me the most satisfaction,” said Hodgson.
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