Crystal Palace 1 Wolves 0 – Report

Hoping to build on the goalless draw at Chelsea in midweek, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side instead put in an abject performance at Selhurst Park.

They, again, desperately lacked a cutting edge and were punished, with Eze somehow squeezing the ball through Rui Patricio on the hour mark.

Wolves remain marooned in the bottom half, with 23 points from 21 games this season.

One step forward and two steps back is the phrase which firmly sums this up. This was woeful from Wolves.

Having got back to basics against the Blues on Wednesday night and stopped the rot in defence, the onus was on continuing that momentum back in the capital.

But they completely failed to do so. This was a worryingly bad showing, conceding such a sloppy goal and offering next to nothing in the final third in the second period – after a pretty quiet first half as well.

Patricio, although he was not the only one to blame, should never have let Eze’s shot past him.

It goes down as another mistake from the experienced shot-stopper and as Wolves hope to get back going quickly, perhaps the goalkeeping situation is worth seriously looking at. John Ruddy must feel he is worth a shout back in the league.

That, though, is just one of a mounting list of problems for Nuno. The midfield was ever so passive once more, and the substitutions simply did not work.

Palace could have, and should have, made it a comfortable victory towards the end as Wilfried Zaha rattled the woodwork.

Another one to add to the fairly lengthy list of awful displays from Wolves this season.

Wolves handed new signing Willian Jose his first start in attack as part of three changes to the side which drew with Chelsea.

Ki-Jana Hoever – who came on for the second half at Stamford Bridge – was also brought in alongside Joao Moutinho, with Adama Traore, Ruben Neves and the injured Rayan Ait-Nouri dropping out.

Romain Saiss was left out with a knock he has been struggling with over the past couple of weeks while Patrick Cutrone was also absent. A loan move for the striker to Spanish club Valencia is set to happen before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Palace, meanwhile, lined up in a familiar 4-4-2 formation – Michy Batshuayi and key man Zaha the pair up front.

There were a lot of eyes on Jose and the early signs were encouraging. The Brazilian made a clever run to latch onto Hoever’s through-ball and tried to cut it back to Daniel Podence, but a Palace shirt just got there first.

Pedro Neto was also released down the right flank by Podence and while his cross intended for Jose had too much on it, there was potential to cause significant problems for the hosts. Wolves were operating at a nice tempo, having some zip to their play.

The Eagles were not afraid to get bodies forward either. Full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Patrick van Aanholt were both bursting up the pitch, with the former rifling a shot over the crossbar and the latter engaging in a lively battle with Hoever.

Nuno’s charges, though, looked slightly more threatening. A peach of a cross from Hoever was begging to be tapped in from six yards but Jose did not react quickly enough – afterwards signalling to the Dutchman that he should have got on the end of it.

The sharp Real Sociedad loanee then smartly flicked a low cross into the path of Leander Dendoncker. However, the Belgian appeared to be in two minds over whether to shoot or take a touch, and the ball ended up bouncing off him and into the grateful arms of Vicente Guaita.

The first half then petered out from Wolves’ point of view. They almost shot themselves in the foot, too, as they cheaply gave the ball away to Batshuayi before Willy Boly raced across and stopped him in his tracks.

Batshuayi also saw a Clyne strike deflect into his path shortly before half-time, but he was unable to sort his feet out and guided his attempt over.

That was a let-off for Nuno’s lot, who needed to find another gear and come up with a ruthless streak in the second period.

The same trend continued, though, upon the restart. Wolves’ intensity had disappeared and the vast majority of passes were being played sideways or backwards.

A more ambitious move saw Podence pick out Jose, whose powerful attempt on the turn had to be tipped over by Guaita, but it was only a matter of time before a substitution was made.

But before Traore could enter the fray, Palace took the lead. Dendoncker was caught napping and Eze took advantage as his left-footed drive from the edge of the box went through Patricio – in what can only be considered a poor piece of goalkeeping from the Portuguese.

From there, Wolves proceeded to make simple passes look extremely difficult. Traore, Vitinha and Fabio Silva were all introduced, but to no avail.

The Eagles had the opportunity to double their lead, exposing Nuno’s men on the counter, but saw Zaha smack the woodwork after easily dribbling past Conor Coady.

Ultimately, the winless run goes on after a massively-below-par display from Wolves.

Palace (4-4-2): Guaita; Clyne (Ward, 85), Dann, Kouyate, van Aanholt; Ayew, McCarthy (Riedewald, 46), Milivojevic (c), Eze; Batshuayi (Townsend, 81), Zaha

Subs not used: Butland (gk), Cahill, Kelly, Mitchell, Mateta, Benteke

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Boly, Coady (c), Kilman; Hoever (Traore, 63), Moutinho (Silva, 78), Dendoncker, Semedo; Podence (Vitinha, 68), Jose, Neto

Subs not used: Ruddy (gk), Lonwijk, Bueno, Otasowie, Neves, Gibbs-White

Referee: Simon Hooper (Swindon)

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