Wilfried Zaha starred alongside Jean-Philippe Mateta to down Wolves in a crunch Premier League fixture at the Molineux.
Wolves were dealt another blow in their pursuit of European football as they suffered a third consecutive Premier League defeat – yet again to a team from London. The Midlands outfit had lost their previous two to Arsenal and West Ham United ahead of the meeting with Crystal Palace.
Palace started the game firing on all cylinders, threatening the Wolves defence early on. They got their reward around the 19th minute when Jean-Philippe Mateta bundled home the opener after a terrific pass by Conor Gallagher found Wilfried Zaha, who squared it to Mateta to finish the chance at the second time of asking.
Fifteen minutes later, Jeffrey Schlupp was fouled in the box by Max Kilman, whose outstretched leg tripped the Ghanaian after a driving run into the area. Zaha doubled the lead from the penalty spot, and Palace were in the comfort zone Patrick Vieira would have wanted.
Despite a few efforts in a period when Wolves dominated the game, Vieira’s side held on to finish the game with their two-goal lead intact. Here’s how the Crystal Palace stars fared in their comfortable win away to Wolves at the Molineux.
Vicente Guaita: 5/10
With Wolves’ attackers being underwhelming, Guaita barely had anything to do all day. His handling remained up to the mark, and he also made one good save in the second period with his face.
Nathaniel Clyne: 6.5/10
Clyne finally produced a performance worthy of his past reputation. Yet again in the side due to Joel Ward’s absence, the former Liverpool full-back put in a stellar display in the final third from his flank.
Joachim Andersen: 7.5/10
Andersen keeps growing into the role of a top centre-half at Crystal Palace, with yet another superb performance in central defence. Since his team took a comfortable two-goal lead, Andersen was immense in dealing with whatever Wolves were throwing at him, marshalling the backline with aplomb.
Marc Guehi: 7/10
Guehi was very important in the win and played an equally important role to Andersen at the back. While he was not as spectacular as the Dane, the centre-back still did a great job keeping the clean sheet intact. He also helped progress the ball well.
Tyrick Mitchell: 6/10
Mitchell continued his improved form, proving crucial with his link-up play with Zaha. He was also strong in defending his area.
Cheikhou Kouyate: 6.5/10
Defensively, Kouyate did his job well in breaking up play and using his physicality to get an advantage whenever necessary. He was instrumental in slowing the game’s pace, especially when Wolves were looking to get a stronghold on the proceedings.
Jeffrey Schlupp: 8/10
Great away win!?? pic.twitter.com/5c1HjXKogi
— Jeffrey Schlupp (@Jeffrey_Schlupp) March 5, 2022
A terrific display from the midfielder. His physical presence and pace helped Crystal Palace control the midfield, while his ability to retain the ball in the area was helpful for his team. He also won the crucial penalty after a direct run into the box.
Conor Gallagher: 8/10
Gallagher put some bad days behind him and came back stronger with a scintillating display against Wolves. His threaded pass opened up the chance for the first goal. Even otherwise, he was instrumental in helping the team move the ball forward with precision.
Michael Olise: 6.5/10
Olise was again a solid threat from the right-hand side. He used his trickery and quick feet to trouble the Wolves defence. His output on the ball often brought others into play to create dangerous, nervy situations for the home side.
Jean-Philippe Mateta: 7/10
Mateta is yet to convince in a Crystal Palace shirt fully, yet he continues to justify his regular selection in the team these days. He got the opener in scrappy style, but is also providing a dangerous presence in the final third, with his physicality playing a key role.
Wilfried Zaha: 8/10
Zaha was back to his best, producing a menacing display against Wolves. He played an important role in setting up the first goal and thumped his spot-kick beyond Jose Sa’s reach.
Wilfried Zaha's first-half by numbers vs. Wolves:
100% take-on success
88% pass accuracy
8 passes in the final third
6 touches in the opp. box (=most)
4 duels won
3 chances created (most)
3 posssessions won
Tearing apart Wolves. ? pic.twitter.com/CDGATdbDou
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2022
Luka Milivojevic: N/A
With Wolves unable to create or threaten in the last part of the game, Vieira took no chances and sent in players to see out the clash. Milivojevic did not have much to do, although his presence assured a tidy end to the match.
Christian Benteke: N/A
Benteke always proves his importance in winning aerial balls, although he did not have much of an impact here.
Will Hughes: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.