Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds United: Eze shines as Palace cruise to victory
(Photo by Matthew Childs - Getty images)

Crystal Palace moved up to sixth in the Premier League table after a convincing 4-1 drubbing of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United.  

Palace pressed from the first minute, seeing that pace and pressure caused Leeds to capitulate against Leicester City on Monday night.  

Story of the match

First half 

Roy Hodgson's side hounded Leeds from the first minute, closing down at every opportunity possible. The early persistence paid off after Wilfried Zaha won a corner for the home side after 12 minutes.

Eberechi Eze whipped in a tantalising ball for Scott Dann, who towered over two Leeds defenders, planting his header past Illan Meslier, and opening the scoring at Selhurst Park.  

However, Leeds hit back. Patrick Bamford, who endured a less than fruitful loan spell at Palace during the 2015/16 season, broke in-between Scott Dann and Cheikhou Kouyaté, leaving himself one-on one with Vicente Guaita. Bamford delicately chipped the ball over the on-rushing Guaita to bring the game level. But VAR had other ideas, adjudging Bamford to be slightly offside whilst timing his assault into the Palace area.  

Embed from Getty Images

Palace would continue their high intensity, winning a free kick on the edge of the Leeds area moments later. Eberechi Eze, who has struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot since arriving from Queens Park Rangers in the summer, sent his shot over the wall before it perfectly dipped into the top left-hand corner, opening his Palace account, and extending The Eagles' lead in the game.  

Under Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds never give up. Only minutes after Palace extended their lead, Patrick Bamford broke free into the Palace area. As a hush of silence fell over Selhurst Park - Bamford took one touch, before smashing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner past Guaita, taking his tally to seven for the season, and bringing his side back into the game. 

With Leeds pushing to bring the game level before half-time, Palace restored their two-goal lead, catching the Leeds defence and goalkeeper off guard. Wilfried Zaha played a wonderful ball down the left-hand side to Patrick Van Aanholt

The Dutch defender looked up, seeing Zaha bursting into the area, hungry to continue his impressive goal scoring start to the season. Van-Aanholt sent a cross low into the box, which took a wicked deflection off Helder Costa. This left Meslier in no man's land, as the French goalkeeper was rushing out of his goal to claim the cross, the ball would creep in narrowly at the near post, restoring Palace's two goal advantage.  

Embed from Getty Images

This was the first time the Eagles had scored three in the first half of a match since May 2019, when they defeated Bournemouth 5-3.  

Second half 

Leeds intense pressing tormented Palace in the opening minutes of the second half. Mateusz Klich latched onto an exquisite ball from substitute, Raphinha, which saw Klich bear down on Guaita's goal. The Polish international let rip from 25-yards out, arrowing his shot to the bottom right-hand side, forcing a smart save from the Spanish shot-stopper.  

The resulting corner led to pinball in the Palace area. Jack Harrison snatched at his shot, hammering his effort straight at Guaita.  

Palace, who showed free flowing attacking prowess throughout the game, countered Leeds moments later. Zaha had the freedom of the Leeds defence to drive towards, he played through Jordan Ayew who buried his chance underneath Meslier, creating a three-goal cushion for the south Londoners, heading into the final 15 minutes.  

Palace saw the game out. Roy Hodgson's side even had a flurry of chances to score the fifth, with Van Aanholt coming close twice in the final 10 minutes.  

Takeaways 

Leeds defensive problems  

Twice in a week, Leeds United have conceded four goals in a single game. Perhaps this has something to do with the absence of Kalvin Phillips?  

Bielsa was perplexed when the fourth goal went in, clearly furious at his sides defence performance.  

Embed from Getty Images

Leeds played into Palace's hands this afternoon. The quick, high intensity press left a barrage of open space for Palace to attack into, every chance the Eagles had to counter the Yorkshire side.  

Zaha, Ayew and Eze tormented Leeds, dancing around the last line of defence every time Palace pushed forward.  

Leeds move down to 14th place on goal difference.  

Eze starts to show his worth 

It has failed to be a seamless fit into Premier League life for Eberechi Eze, fighting for his place in the side with Jeffrey Schlupp, who Hodgson has preferred due to his defensive nous.  

However, today, Eze was Premier League quality; touch, pace and technique, something this Palace side was crying out for last season. 

He flourished in an attacking set-up, drifting in behind when Zaha and Ayew pressed forward. 

Palace move up to sixth in the Premier League table. 

Man of the Match: Jaïro Riedewald

Dubbed the Ruud Gullit reincarnation by Palace fans, Riedewald put in a performance that the Dutch legend would have been proud off today. 

Covering every blade of grass, smothering every Leeds attack, Riedewald has developed into the all-round midfielder this season.  

Embed from Getty Images

The 24-year-old seems to get better every week, receiving a resounding round of applause from the coaching staff and those in the executive area as he made way for James McCarthy

VAVEL Logo