Midfielder sets up first home win of the season as Palace down Clarets
IT WILL never be a goal of the season contender but Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admits he will dream of it for years to come.
It meant they could finally wrestle the burden of being the Premier League’s worst home side off their shoulders.
James Mcarthur’s nothing 16thminute cross eluded everyone to curl into Burnley’s goal and lit the touchpaper for Palace’s first home win of the season.
Then if you wanted something special to round off your day Andros Townsend supplied it, with a stunning 20-yard left-footed thunderbolt that whistled past Joe Hart who, despite an early lapse, looked impressive.
Hodgson said: “I’ve seen those goals go in before, but this was special.
“I am sure only an old curmudgeon will deny us this moment.
“I was getting concerned about the result because of the chances we had and they didn’t go in.
“As for Andros’s goal, I have seen him do that so many times so it was not a surprise.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche (below) said: “The best side won. No question. We have lost the eye of the tiger, a bit like a boxer.
“We need to get back into that gym and I also need to do my job.
“We have got to start playing the way we once did again. I knew this seabe son would tough despite us finishing sevseason. enth last
“We’ve softened and need to toughen up again.”
It means Burnley are without a victory in seven games and have the worst away record in the division.
You hope, however, the Clarets’ board don’t panic and jettison Dyche.
Few could have achieved what he has with a squad, that in all honesty, has punched above its weight. Palace, meanwhile, had 29 shots on goal and won at a canter. It could have been more but for Hart’s acrobatics.
He was magnificent, but Palace held aces in Townsend, Max Meyer, Mcarthur and, of course, the mercurial Wilf Zaha.
Zaha (below) was simply stunning. It’s one of football’s great mysteries how Palace, and we are being kind here to a long-standing respected club, can keep a player like him.
He is zones ahead of his colleagues and most rivals. All tricks and menace. He was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing for Manchester United and few would doubt his wise head or eyes.
The man who made the decision to let him go should forever hold his head in shame. How United would love him now.
Zaha is a talent. Pure and simple. He makes things happen. He inspires.
As he did with new, emerging talent Meyer, who tried an audacious effort himself in the ninth minute, forcing Hart to make one of his many fine saves, diving left to palm out a 20-yard bender.
Few cannot have enjoyed what Burnley have brought to the top flight in recent years.
They love nothing better than breaking from defence and it’s a myth that they rely on just the long ball, playing decent onetouch football.
What is desperately missing is a cutting edge. They did not have one decent effort on goal – and Palace took advantage of it by closing down any moves of men
It was no surprise when they took the lead. How it ended in the goal still baffles. Mcarthur’s cross caught everyone by surprise and it simply rolled into the net, despite Meyer trying to claim it.
SAVING FACE Joe Hart makes one of a string of saves that kept the score down at Selhurst Park
SOARING EAGLES James Mcarthur celebrates after his goal (main picture and top) and Andros Townsend nets the second and is greeted by team-mate Aaron Wan-bissaka