In a game with virtually nothing on the line, you would have expected a match with both sides playing without fear, but that was not the case when ?Crystal Palace hosted the already relegated ?West Brom on Sunday.
?Palace played some sublime football at times but West Brom offered nothing in return. T
?West Brom nearly took the lead early on as Gregorz Krychowiak struck a volley just wide of the left hand post, but from then on it was all Crystal Palace.
Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first half, with the most clear cut coming midway through the first period. A fine stop from Ben Foster in the West Brom goal prevented Wilfried Zaha giving Palace the lead.
But the opening did eventually come. Loftus Cheek released Patrick Van Aanholt down the left hand side who raced to the byline and pulled a teasing cross into the box for Zaha to side-foot home.
Crystal Palace did not settle for just the one goal lead though. Substitute Christian Benteke had a chance to convert a header but couldn’t generate the power he needed, while Patrick Van Aanholt topped off a fantastic performance after taking it round Ben Foster and converting to make it 2-0 to Roy Hodgson’s side.
Palace were well deserving of the lead, but West Brom showed exactly why they have finished the season in the bottom three. The midlands club struggled all afternoon and did not create anything to trouble Palace after the early stages.
The Eagles will finish the season in 11th level on points with Newcastle, who sit a place above them on goal difference. The Croydon outfit will be more than content with their final league position after losing their first seven games of the season without scoring.
The game against West Brom was a perfect embodiment of how far they have come since Roy Hodgson took over and the performance merited the chants of “He’s Roy Hodgson, he’s one of our own” that rang around Selhurst Park in the second half.