Eberechi Eze sinks Bournemouth to continue Crystal Palace’s revival | Premier League
Eberechi Eze’s double spoiled Bournemouth’s ambitions of guaranteeing Premier League safety as the midfielder inspired Crystal Palace to a 2-0 victory.
Gary O’Neil’s men needed just one point to make certain of another season in the top flight and looked bright to start with, but fell behind when Eze fired his side ahead late in the first half. Eze added a second for Crystal Palace after the break to wrap up the points . The only negative for Roy Hodgson’s men was seeing Wilfried Zaha forced off through injury.
Neither side was able to create any clearcut chances early on though Bournemouth frequently tested the fortitude of the centre-backs Marc Guéhi and Joachim Andersen. Michael Olise curled an effort wide of the far post from the edge of the area before his side were able to stave off a sustained wave of pressure from the visitors as the period ticked past the halfway point.
Joel Ward evaded two black shirts in the corner to set up Olise for a second attempt, coming closer with a cross to force Neto into a leaping grab.
Olise entered the afternoon with nine assists and nearly added another when he sent a cross to Zaha at the far post, who misdirected his effort from three yards out.
VAR was called in after an altercation between Andersen and Jefferson Lerma inside the Bournemouth area for a potential red card on the Palace defender, but the hosts remained at full strength after the review.
Palace made the breakthrough when Zaha battled his way past his marker at the edge of the area before cutting back to Jordan Ayew. He took a quick backwards touch to direct the ball to Eze, who gave Neto no chance as he fired home.
Will Hughes tested Neto early in the second half but the Selhurst Park faithful soon witnessed a worrying scene when Zaha, only recently recovered from a hamstring injury, pulled up and was replaced by Odsonne Édouard.
Zaha, out of contract at the end of this campaign, was treated to a rousing chant by the home support, possibly wondering if this would be the last time they would watch him walk off the pitch in a Palace shirt.
Eze bagged his second in the 58th minute with a solo effort. He collected the ball from Olise on the left before a mazy run through the centre put him in position to fire his 10th of the season into the top right.
Hodgson made clear he would not try to influence Gareth Southgate when it comes to his midfielder’s international future. He said: “It’s a question for Gareth I’m afraid, Gareth and [assistant manager] Steve Holland. I know they follow the team, our team closely, they follow the players, so what I’ve seen they will have seen and it will be totally and utterly up to them if they decide if what they’re seeing is what they’re looking for.
“No one would be happier for Ebs if he got selected, but I’m certainly not going to be the person who starts making those suggestions and telling the national team coach what he should do.”