MCARTHUR SPARK

Mid­fielder sets up first home win of the sea­son as Palace down Clarets

Irish Sunday Mirror - - FOOTBALL - By TONY STEN­SON at Sel­hurst Park

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

ace.

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

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