Bournemouth’s struggles in 2017 continued as the Cherries slumped to their third defeat in all competitions this year against a well-drilled Crystal Palace outfit.
The win was Crystal Palace’s first under new manager Sam Allardyce, who had handed a debut to new signing Patrick van Aanholt in an attempt to tighten up the foundering defense of his.
The Dutchman made a flying start to the game and his impressive run down the left flank saw him pick out James McArthur, who managed to lay it off to Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian’s effort smacked against the woodwork and Bournemouth managed to get out of jail.
Palace looked more like a proper Sam Allardyce team than they have this season as they defended soundly, doing very well to deny Bournemouth any space to play with in front of the back four. All of the Cherries’ efforts to come close to notching up a goal went in vain.
Crucial goals at crucial times
The goal came early in the second half. After Artur Boruc punched away a corner, Jason Puncheon played the ball back in towards the box to allow Scott Dann to stab home the opener.
As Bournemouth plodded to get the leveller, Palace began relying on the break more often. Some chances though, did fall the Cherries’ way, but their failure to put them away cost them. Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere came the closest as his free-kick came out off the bar.
A Simon Francis gift to Andros Townsend handed Palace another opportunity late in the game. The Englishman managed to put in a deep cross into the box, as Christian Benteke headed the ball effortlessly past the helpless Boruc to double the advantage.
The win, in the end, seemed like an easy one for Palace. And nothing, apparently went right for Bournemouth. But here’s how the Eddie Howe’s men rated on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper and defence
Artur Boruc: 5 - The Polish stopper did make two saves during the game, but his passing at the back let him down, despite always being available to receive the ball from the pressed defenders.
Adam Smith: 4 - Was troubled by the combination of Puncheon and debutant van Aanholt throughout the game. Puncheon’s tendency to drift in agitated him and often dragged him out of position.
Simon Francis: 6 - The skipper’s error led to the second goal, but the Englishman had quite a decent game barring that. He won six aerial duels throughout the game.
Steve Cook: 5 - The former Brighton man, who has been one of Bournemouth’s best players this season, often failed to deal with Benteke’s presence. Won just a single tackle in the game.
Brad Smith: 6 - The Australian youngster had good first half and managed to close down and deal with the threat of Wilfried Zaha down his flank quite well.
Midfield and attack
Andy Surman: 7 - The 30-year-old, along with Jack Wilshere was running the show in the midfield, when Palace had dropped deep to defend. Played the second most number of passes in the game- 68.
Jack Wilshere: 7 - The Englishman was probably Bournemouth’s best player on the pitch and came close to scoring too. Had a passing percentage of 90 percent and played the most amount of passes in the game too at 71.
Ryan Fraser: 6 - Didn’t look too much of his usual, adventurous self and was kept quiet on the flank for a majority of the game. Could make only two attempts at dribbling throughout the game.
Joshua King: 6 - Did look like a potential threat of pulling something off and completed and most amount of dribbles in the game- 6. The former Manchester United man though, failed to break down the Palace defense.
Junior Stanislas: 3 - It was a game to forget for the former Burnley star and nothing went right for him. Could not complete a single dribble and was a real disappointment.
Benik Afobe: 5 - Although, the forward has only recaptured his form, he didn’t have a game that would jump out from the bunch against Palace. Was marked out and nullified by the Palace back five quite well.
Callum Wilson: 4 - Someone who had drawn links with West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle, Wilson came on for Afobe and failed to make an impact. He did, though, bring in energy to the side.
Jordan Ibe: 5 - The youngster, who has endured a disappointing season at Bournemouth, brought in more urgency to the side that needed a goal. Made three dribbles during his presence.
Harry Arter: 5 - His introduction for Stanislas allowed Jack Wilshere to play with more freedom. Arter did a decent job in playing out from the midfield.