Wolves 1 – 3 C Palace

Crystal Palace moved above Wolves in the table with goals from an in-form attacking trio in a 3-1 win at Molineux Stadium.

Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta gave Palace a deserved two-goal lead in the first half but there was a brief scare for Palace when Matheus Cunha pulled one back midway through the second half with only Eberechi Eze’s goal taking Palace home.

Nawiro Ahmadah was sent off late on but avoided a penalty after another VAR check confirmed the foul was outside the penalty area and brought Palace to an end. Oliver Glasner’s team reaches 12th place in the table. Gary O’Neill’s Wolves have dropped to 13th.

Player ratings

Wolves: Bentley (6), Doherty (5), Semedo (6), Kilmane (6), Totti (5), Ait Nouri (6), Gomez (7), Lemina (7), Traore (5), Cunha (7) ), Hwang (6).

Submarines used: Bellegarde (6), Sarabia (6), Doyle (unavailable), Gonzalez (unavailable).

Crystal Palace: Henderson (7), Munoz (7), Klein (7), Andersen (7), Richards (7), Mitchell (7), Wharton (7), Hughes (6), Eze (8), Olise (9). Matita (8).

Submarines used: Ahmad (5), Edward (6), Guehi (6), Schlub (unavailable), Ward (unavailable).

Player of the match: Michael Ulysse

How did Palace win over Wolves?

Wolves started the game with the majority of possession, but that quickly became their problem. O’Neill’s side have lost the ball more times in their defensive third than any other team in the Premier League this season and Palace have exploited that weakness.

It took a few tries. Eze had one chance wide, while Olise did the same with a better chance. But Wolves kept gifting the ball to Palace in dangerous areas and Olise never missed the next hole, curling the ball into the far corner of the net.

Team news

  • Matt Doherty came on for Hugo Bueno and there was a second change for Wolves when Dan Bentley replaced the ill Jose Sa just before kick-off.
  • Mark Guehi had to wait for his return to the starting line-up as Oliver Glasner stuck with the side that produced such an impressive performance to beat Manchester United.

The movement for the second goal came from deep, with Daniel Munoz bursting down the right flank, and when Olise’s clever pass found Nathaniel Clyne inside the box, the defender’s deflected shot beat Daniel Bentley but bounced off the post. Mateta put in the rebound.

Mateta’s turnaround in form has been dramatic, with 10 goals in 12 appearances so far, and Palace’s form reflects their growing confidence under Glasner. On the other hand, Wolves made a great effort, even if Matt Doherty’s header bounced off the crossbar.

Jan Reckner Bellegarde and Pablo Sarabia were introduced as substitutes and they made an impact. Wolves pulled one back through Cunha when Hee-Chan Hwang was adjudged offside after a VAR check and the momentum was briefly with the home side.

Eberechi Eze restores Crystal Palace's two-goal lead against Wolverhampton
Eberechi Eze restored Crystal Palace’s two-goal lead against Wolves

But those hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed by Palace when the star duo came together. Olise passed the ball behind Max Kilman and Eze rounded Bentley before sending the ball into the back of the net. It looked like it but Wolves kept pressing.

Cunha’s driving run appeared to have earned a penalty but the foul was ruled to have been outside the penalty area after a VAR check. Ahmed is still seeing red for a second bookable violation. There was no going back. It’s Palace ending this season in style, with a fifth win in six games.

Glasner praises the “wonderful” palace.

Glasner praised his team for “defending with passion and desire” in their win over Wolves, but it was the coach’s influence that impressed him at Palace. Only Manchester City and Arsenal, the title contenders, have scored more points since his arrival.

He is a credit to his ideas. “Performance is not just about how you move the ball,” he explained. “It’s mental strength. That’s what we want to be. Every player knows what to do, whether in possession or possession, in transitions and in set-piece play.

“This is probably the biggest compliment to the players and the team to perform like this. Winning is the result, and the goal is to show our performance from the first second until the end. We showed how difficult it is to play against us.” We are and what a great team we are.”

Palace lost Will Hughes to injury early in the game when there was a clash with Wolves striker Matheus Cunha when the midfielder came in for a tackle. “Hopefully it won’t be that serious, or a knee-to-knee collision,” Glassner said. “Hopefully nothing is wrong with the ACL.”

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Oliver Glasner said the win was very good for Crystal Palace

O’Neill is disappointed with the defeat

“Really disappointing,” O’Neill said. “There’s been a few runs like that recently but it was really disappointing. We beat ourselves up, didn’t we? We started well and had some control, which resulted in us having the ball around our goal and them punishing us.”

“In the second half, to be fair to the players, we tried. We were a bit more realistic, more direct, got up the pitch easier. Lots and lots to learn from that really.” He added: “Our flaws and weaknesses are wide open for everyone to see.”

Playstyle was top of mind. “I’m disappointed in myself today, how a team we put together could achieve that in the first half. The players are incredibly brave, they keep playing no matter what. We in the side are trying to make them more direct.”

O’Neill hopes to adapt on the training ground and in the transfer market. “Sometimes, your flaws and weaknesses end up catching up with you. It seems that way right now.”

But his side were eventually welcomed back, and with Wolves moving 20 points clear of the relegation zone, he was keen to emphasize the positives from a Molineux season that has seen its highs and lows. “The part with the fans at the end really puts everything into perspective.”

What then?

The final day of the Premier League will take place on Sunday 19 May, with all matches starting at 4pm. Wolves head to Liverpool for Jurgen Klopp’s final match, while Crystal Palace takes on Aston Villa.

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