Fulham – Crystal Palace was a routine away win, as the Cottagers looked decent early but Palace punished them for not taking their chances.
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Wilfried Zaha set up Jairo Riedewald for the opener and scored the second himself as Roy Hodgson (the oldest manager in the PL) showed his experience as his injury-hit team were set up perfectly to win at Fulham. Tom Cairney smashed him in stoppage time to make it 2-1, but Fulham were second best as they had Aboubakar Kamara sent off late on.
As for Scott Parker (the youngest manager in the PL), his side have yet to win this season and look set for a long, hard relegation battle.
3 things we learned: Fulham – Crystal Palace
1. Zaha stepping up for Palace: Zaha has scored five goals in his first six games of this season and that equals his amount from his previous 41 games for the Eagles. He is feeling it this season and Palace, with all of their injuries, need him to step up. Zaha is doing that and that have 10 points from a possible 18 to start the season. Solid. With a run of winnable games coming up, Zaha will be licking his chops.
2. Fulham lacking belief: They played pretty well early on as Ademola Lookman hit both posts and USMNT left back Antonee Robinson surged forward down the left, but there was just no belief in this performance. Aleksandar Mitrovic looked disinterested and Scott Parker’s side are now looking for their first win of the season after just one point from their first six game. Fulham are easy on the eye but lack a cutting edge at both ends of the pitch and, most importantly, they don’t seem to have belief in what they’re doing.
3. Palace may increase expectation levels: With games against Wolves, Leeds, Burnley, Newcastle, West Brom, Tottenham and West Ham in their next six, all of a sudden Palace may be thinking about a lot more than just staying in the Premier League this season. Of course, that is always their main aim, but for so long now they’ve flirted with a push for European qualification. With Zaha in form and a solid defensive unit, which will be boosted by the return of many injured players. Roy Hodgson continues to exceed expectations.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha – A goal and an assist as he was a real threat on the break all game long. What a great start to the season he’s had as he’s back to his best.
Fulham started really well and did all the pressing as they pinned Palace back. However, Palace took the lead with their first big chance of the game as a long ball over the top found Zahe.
Palace’s talisman was first denied by Areola, then Palace recycled the ball and Zaha brilliantly found Riedewald who tucked home his first Palace goal.
The Dutchman has been at Palace for four years, and was an unlikely scorer. Despite that setback Fulham kept pushing forward with Robinson making some good runs down the left as Lookman saw his shot deflected onto the post by Vicente Guiata.
Lookman and Fulham continued to look lively, but Zaha and Palace were always dangerous on the break. Lookman hit the post for a second time and then Mitrovic somehow stuck the rebound over. At the other end Batshuayi had the ball in the net but was offside as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.
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In the second half Zaha ran free but flashed a shot across goal as Fulham started to take more chances going forward.
That led to Palace grabbing their second goal as Townsend found Batshuayi with a lovely through ball and his cross to the back post was tapped in by Zaha, who clattered into the post in the process.
Tyrick Mitchell and Jeffrey Schlupp were both denied by Areola as Palace continued to look more dangerous, even though Fulham had more of the ball. And that sentence, ladies and gents, summed up Fulham – Crystal Palace.
To rub further salt into Fulham’s wounds substitute Aboubakar Kamara was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Eberechi Eze after referee Graham Scott used VAR via the pitch-side monitor. Cairney did smash home a beauty deep into stoppage time for Fulham, but that was no more than a consolation.