Eze and Olise come to the rescue for Crystal Palace, securing an important victory against Sheffield United.

Eze and Olise come to the rescue for Crystal Palace, securing an important victory against Sheffield United.

What a crisis, right? Roy Hodgson has experienced everything in his long career as a manager, but even he must have been worried when Ben Brereton Díaz scored for Sheffield United within the first 30 seconds.

Fortunately, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise delivered impressive performances in only their fourth game together this season, saving Crystal Palace and relieving the pressure on Hodgson following a string of disappointing outcomes.

Steve Parish, the chairman, had stated that the 76-year-old’s fate would be determined by their performance against Chris Wilder’s team. Despite falling behind twice, they were able to equalize through two goals from a revitalized Eze after James McAtee scored Sheffield United’s second goal. However, it was Olise’s spectacular strike that ultimately stole the spotlight.

The hosts’ only setback occurred when both players had to be replaced due to injury towards the end of the game. Hodgson acknowledged that Eze’s availability for their upcoming match against their rivals Brighton on Saturday may be uncertain.

“We were exceptional in our offensive play while both players were on the field,” stated the manager of Crystal Palace. “They are very valuable assets who are committed to long-term contracts. Our responsibility is to improve our team so they don’t feel the need to seek opportunities elsewhere.”

After facing harsh criticism from fans following their humiliating 5-0 loss to Arsenal 10 days ago, Parish’s response was to spend a significant amount of money. This included the acquisition of Colombian right-back Daniel Muñoz on Tuesday morning, as well as agreeing to a fee of over £20m for Blackburn teenager Adam Wharton. Despite the positive news of Olise and Ayew’s return from injury and the Africa Cup of Nations respectively, the mood in south London was dampened when they conceded a goal within the first 22 seconds of the match against the bottom team in the Premier League.

A clever routine straight from the training ground that fooled ­Palace’s players into thinking they were about to punt the ball into the corner allowed Gustavo Hamer to race on to a flick from Oli McBurnie and deliver a brilliant through ball. There was still plenty for Brereton Díaz to do but the Chile forward made it look simple as he curled home his second goal since joining on loan from Villarreal from the edge of the box. Selhurst Park was stunned into silence.

Michael Olise celebrates scoring the winner for Crystal Palace

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Eze once again proved to be the key player for Palace, saving them after they gave up an early goal to Brentford in his final game of December. The France Under-21 forward was a constant threat to his opponent Auston Trusty in the first fifteen minutes, and his efforts paid off when he received a perfect cross and volleyed it into the net past Sheffield United’s new goalkeeper, Ivo Grbic.

However, Palace’s hopes of using this opportunity for a comeback were unfounded. In a matter of three minutes, the away team regained their lead when McAtee’s shot was deflected off Marc Guéhi and landed in the goal past Henderson, after Eze had carelessly lost possession. Despite his mistake, the English midfielder redeemed himself by scoring the equalizer in a chaotic sequence of events, skillfully curling Olise’s pass into the net from just outside the box with his less dominant left foot.

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Grbic, who endured a baptism of fire on his debut last week when he conceded five times against Brighton in the FA Cup, needed lengthy treatment at the start of the second half after being clattered by Jean-Philippe Mateta. The Croatia international was extremely reluctant to leave the pitch and pleaded with medical staff to let him continue but was eventually replaced by the former Palace goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.

Eze created an opening for Olise with a skillful pass in the opposite direction, which Foderingham was able to block at the near post. Mateta then attempted a shot from a difficult angle, but it went over the goal. Finally, Olise got his chance when the ball deflected to him and he quickly scored past Foderingham, hitting the far post. He celebrated his goal with excitement, but was substituted shortly after as a safety measure.

Wilder acknowledged that it would have been beneficial for Olise to have more rest time, but in this league, that is the challenge we face. He expressed that when facing opponents with a combined value of over £50m, there are moments where you simply have to accept defeat.

Eze’s winding sprint could have resolved the situation, but Foderingham’s quick save at the goal post prevented it. Unfortunately, he also had to leave the game due to an injury. Palace then had to endure a fierce attack from United in the final minutes, but Hodgson was able to rejoice in a crucial triumph as Ahmedhodzic’s header hit the crossbar.

Source: theguardian.com