Townsend up­stages Zaha to pun­ish Burn­ley

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Tom Pren­tki at Sel­hurst Park

Such is Crys­tal Palace’s re­liance on Wil­fried Zaha that it is rare for him to be eclipsed by a team-mate. But An­dros Townsend was the game’s stand­out player in this first home win of the sea­son against an in­sipid Burn­ley.

That is not to say that Zaha failed to shine. He was, as ever, at the heart of much of their best work and was des­per­ately un­lucky not to score him­self af­ter rat­tling the un­der­side of the cross­bar in the sec­ond half.

Townsend is deputis­ing for in­jured Chris­tian Ben­teke as cen­tre-for­ward with the wide po­si­tions be­ing his more fa­mil­iar habi­tat. But even be­fore his won­der­ful 77th-minute strike into the top cor­ner from the edge of the area, Townsend had caught the eye with his tire­less run­ning and ex­cel­lent link play.

“He’s got it in his locker. We know that and we’ve seen it. It’s no sur­prise to me when he cuts in and pro­duces that sort of shot. It’s just a ques­tion of whether he can get it on tar­get,” said man­ager Roy Hodg­son. “It would be a very cur­mud­geonly per­son who de­nied us the right to win this game to­day. It’s not of­ten you have 30 at­tempts on goal [it was 29], nine on tar­get. We were clearly the bet­ter team from start to fin­ish.”

Burn­ley failed to muster a shot on tar­get and ap­peared to have lit­tle in­ten­tion of try­ing to win the game. Sean Dy­che ad­mit­ted that his play­ers had “lost the eye of the tiger” and they are now seven matches with­out a win.

“They were good. They de­served it, they cre­ated chances,” said Dy­che. “I knew in the sum­mer that this would be a re­ally tough sea­son.”

It took Palace 16 min­utes to go in front, in for­tu­itous fash­ion, when James McArthur’s cross eluded ev­ery­one and went in off the far post. In­cred­i­bly, that was the first Palace goal from open play at Sel­hurst Park this sea­son – but they could have reached dou­ble fig­ures, such was their dom­i­nance. They should have been fur­ther ahead by half-time, with Max Meyer twice go­ing close af­ter cut­ting in from the left.

There was no change af­ter the break and, with no sign of a Burn­ley fight­back, the pres­sure in­ten­si­fied. Ben Mee bril­liantly de­nied McArthur a sec­ond goal as he ex­e­cuted a last-ditch block, while Luka Milivo­je­vic some­how con­trived to miss af­ter a clever pass from Pa­trick van Aan­holt to find him.

Zaha called Hart into ac­tion at the start of the sec­ond half with one of his char­ac­ter­is­tic jink­ing runs, cul­mi­nat­ing with a shot from close range. He again went close af­ter Townsend found him to the right of goal but the Ivo­rian fired over.

It looked as though a sin­gle goal would de­cide it be­fore Cheikhou Kouy­ate picked out Townsend on the left touch­line. He burst across the pitch and struck a pow­er­ful ris­ing drive that gave Hart no chance. Wil­fried who?

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