Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester: Roy Hodgson's side all-but safe after emphatic win
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 28/04/18 8:31pm
Crystal Palace took a giant stride towards Premier League survival with an emphatic 5-0 victory against 10-man Leicester at Selhurst Park.
First-half goals from Wilfried Zaha (17) and James McArthur (38) put Roy Hodgson's side in firm control at the break, and their position was further strengthened when Marc Albrighton was shown a straight red card (56).
Late strikes from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt (84) and Christian Benteke (90) rounded off a brilliant afternoon for Palace, who secured their biggest win in the Premier League era.
Victory sees Palace, who looked destined for relegation after losing their opening seven matches of the season, move up to 38 points, six points clear of the relegation zone with only Southampton capable of catching them, while Leicester stay in ninth position.
Both sides started brightly and it was a tale of two goalline clearances in the opening stages as Kelechi Iheanacho blocked James Tomkins' header before Joel Ward brilliantly kept out Jamie Vardy's goal-bound effort.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (7), Ward (7), Tomkins (7), Sakho (7), Van Aanholt (7), Townsend (8), Cabaye (7), Milivojevic (7), McArthur (8), Loftus-Cheek (8), Zaha (9).
Subs: Schlupp (6), Chung-yong Lee (6), Benteke (7).
Leicester: Hamer (6), Albrighton (5), Morgan (6), Maguire (6), Chilwell (6), Mahrez (6), Choudhury (5), Ndidi (6), Gray (6), Iheanacho (5), Vardy (6).
Subs: Silva (6), Diabate (6), Dragovi(6).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha
Palace started to take control and Zaha was at the heart of it. Quick passing from Loftus-Cheek, Yohan Cabaye and then McArthur put the Ivory Coast forward in space, and he made no mistake, opening his body before burying a right-footed shot into the top corner.
Zaha almost doubled the advantage in the 29th minute but Ben Hamer, filling in for the injured Kasper Schmeichel, got down brilliantly to his left to palm the ball away from safety.
The second eventually came in the 38th minute and it was no more than Palace deserved. Zaha was involved again, this time teeing up McArthur, who produced a brilliant turn and shot to pick out the far corner.
Claude Puel reacted by bringing on Adrien Silva and Fousseni Diabate at the break but the visitors' challenge was well and truly ended when Albrighton was given his marching orders after dragging down Zaha as the last man.
The hosts put gloss on the result in the final 10 minutes, scoring three more goals to round off a jubilant afternoon for the Palace fans.
The result was put beyond any doubt in the 81st minute when Loftus-Cheek rounded Hamer for a tap-in after being played in behind Leicester's defence by Mamadou Sakho.
Crystal Palace were unchanged from the side that drew 0-0 at Watford last weekend.
Meanwhile, Leicester made two changes form their 0-0 draw with Southampton with Wes Morgan and Hamza Choudhury starting in place of Aleksandar Dragovic and Adrien Silva.
Three minutes later, Zaha's through-ball released substitute Jeffrey Schlupp. His shot as blocked by the onrushing Hamer but the rebound fell for Van Aanholt, who curled into the bottom right corner with his weaker right foot.
Benteke came off the bench and was brought down in the penalty area by Harry Maguire in stoppage time. Earlier in the season, he had defied team orders, by taking and missing a late penalty instead of Luka Milivojevic, costing victory in a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.
The Belgium international was afterwards heavily criticised, but this time Milivojevic stepped aside again, allowing him to score his first goal since late January and round of a brilliant afternoon for Palace.
- Crystal Palace have won two top-flight games in a season against the same opponent by a margin of at least three goals for the first time ever.
- Leicester shipped five goals without scoring themselves for the first time in the league since January 2004 (0-5 v Aston Villa in the top-flight).
- Leicester have picked up five red cards in the Premier League this season, more than any other side. The Foxes are the first side this season to see a player sent off against the same Premier League opposition both home and away.
- Only Chris Armstrong (23) has scored more Premier League goals for Crystal Palace than Zaha (21, level with Andrew Johnson).
- James McArthur has scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for only the third time in his career and the first since September 2016 (v Sunderland).
Man of the Match - Wilfried Zaha
Zaha produced another scintillating performance to inspire Palace to back-to-back home wins for the first time since April 2017.
The 25-year-old was a threat to Leicester all afternoon. He produced a brilliant finish to send his side on their way before picking out the pass to create McArthur's second.
He has now has scored four goals in his last four Premier League games. He has also scored and assisted in five Premier League games with Crystal Palace, more than any other player for the club.
In front of England boss Gareth Southgate, Loftus-Cheek impressed in midfield, playing 86 minutes and capping his fine display with a goal.Andros Townsend, who is an outside bet to be included in England’s World Cup squad, also put in an excellent display, playing 86 minutes and causing Leicester problems all afternoon with his pace.
For Leicester’s England contingent it was an afternoon to forget, Harry Maguire and Jamie vardy both played the full 90 minutes but with their side on the back foot, struggled to make an impression.
Crystal Palace's next match is against Stoke City next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am.
Leicester are also in action in the Premier League next Saturday. Claude Puel's side host West Ham United at the King Power Stadium (3pm).