After a win and a clean sheet last week, West Brom were back to the more familiar territory of losing, shipping goals and dodgy VAR calls.
Albion came into the match with confidence after beating Sheffield United in their last match and were looking to build on it. Palace had only won 1 in their last 4 and needed a win to arrest their little slide down the table.
West Brom left wingback Townsend was ruled out for a few games in mid-week meaning Phillips ( a right wingback by trade) having to fill in there, whilst Zaha and Eze started together for Palace in a very good looking front 4 for the away team.
Palace started the game better and were trying to force the issue, Zaha doing well to spin away from the Albion backline and thrash a shot high and wide. It was then Zaha who slid a lovely ball into the box which Furlong got a touch on to turn it into his own net giving Palace a deserved lead.
West Brom were undeterred however and created chances of their own. A Furlong header hit the woodwork off of a Phillips cross. An Ajayi pass found Furlong with acres of space to drive into, leading to him to the edge of the box where, on the second time of trying, found Gallagher whose lovely finish put West Brom level. 1-1.
Then VAR got involved. A freekick to West Brom 10 yards inside the Palace half turned into a red card for Pereira for violent conduct. No Palace player protested including Van Aanholt, the victim in this case. After the voices miles away in Stockley Park told the referee to check the monitors, he obliged and watched the slow motion replays, and deduced it deserved a red card. A decision that most can’t understand, and brings the score to West Brom 0-10 VAR.
West Brom’s game was rocked and resorted to holding on after this, which they managed to do to half time at least. 10 minutes after the break, Zaha gave Palace the lead after keeping alive an attack following a corner.
It was to get worse for West Brom, with it visible to see their heads had dropped. Benteke nodded in a cross from Van Aanholt to put Palace 3-1 ahead.
Eze then went on a wonderful run, getting past numerous attempts to dispossess him, and pulled in back to Zaha who finished off the opportunity. Eze’s run was worthy of a goal at the end of it.
There was time for one more goal for Palace, this one going to Benteke. He turned away from Ajayi and shot along the floor to make it a big 5-1 win away from home for Palace.
For West Brom its another case of VAR going against them when it did not need to intervene. Although Albion would not have lost heavily with 11vs11, it certainly doesn’t excuse losing 5-1 at home, with the heads dropping and poor defending a serious concern. Questions will be asked of Bilic and his position.
For Palace it was a big win on the road which pushes them into cluster of midtable teams. Player of the Match could have been easily have been Eze but Zaha just gets it.