The Warmdown: Five-star Palace dismantle ten-man West Brom
 (Photo by Mike Egerton - Pool/Getty Images)

The persistent problem holding back Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace became the catalyst for their successes on Sunday, and you will run out of superlatives for their attacking endeavours. 

Quality of possession allowed the Eagles' creative framework to showcase their ingenuity; it was an equanimous performance.

Wilfried Zaha's early cross that found its way to a Darnell Furlong's own goal was cancelled out by Conor Gallagher, whose low driven shot found the back of the net on the half-hour mark to give West Bromwich Albion a lifeline. 

A close first-half contest, overshadowed only by yet another controversial VAR dismissal to Matheus Pereira, was quickly forgotten about in the second half. 

A rare Christian Benteke double in a Wilfried Zaha show provided all three points for a Palace side who were without a win in two, lacking the cutting edge to mount any problems for their opposition. 

Plenty of positives to take away for Palace, who have a squad spine many Premier League teams should be envious of.  

  • Palace missed Zaha

Regularly regarded as the epitome of dull and defensive football, Hodgson guided his Palace side to five goals on the road, the first time the South London outfit has ever achieved this in a away top-flight fixture. 

At the heart of this achievement was Zaha. The Ivorian found himself in pockets of space in the attacking third, drawing fouls and linking up neatly with Benteke and Eberechi Eze, who had impressive games themselves.

Playing across the frontline in a role that allowed him to roam from his position suited Zaha. The 28-year-old played the role of executioner at The Hawthorns, as his two goals and one assist were enough to see him win the Man of the Match. 

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Zaha was the vital cog of the Eagles' control room; his importance is paramount to Hodgson's team. Before Sunday's showing, Palace had lost ten of their last twelve games in the Premier League when the Ivorian hasn't featured. 

This statistic is both positive and negative; it shows Palace's weaknesses without their main man but emphasises how good they can be with him in the fold. 

Eze was once again a breath of fresh for the Eagles and his importance could elevate over the next few months as Hodgson looks to alleviate the pressure when Zaha's sidelined. 

  • Christian Benteke found his feet

Out of touch, out of ideas, and out of confidence; that is usually how the Belgian strikers described. But Benteke was in fine form at The Hawthorns, where he registered two goals to kickstart his campaign.

Turning the Baggies defense inside out and unleashing a rifle into the back of the net, it was only his 4th goal in his last 53 games, but his confidence will have a morale boost.

Benteke's aerial prowess was also a valuable feature during their 5-1 triumph, as it proved to enable the more nimble players around him to make runs off him.

Talking to Londonnewsonline, Hodgson believes Christian Benteke sent a reminder of his previous scoring exploits- but urges the striker to be more consistent.

Hodgson said: "I would like to think it’s very important. I would like to think he’s going to get a lot of plaudits for his performance. It wasn’t just the goals – there were a lot of other aspects to his play which were good.

“He’s waited a long time if you like, he’s been on the bench for quite a while this season so far, without actually getting in and showing what he can do. That’s even going back into the lockdown period. He’s been patient but he’s never stopped working, to be fair to him.

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“Today, he showed the type of player he was when Palace bought him from Liverpool. He showed everyone out there that, 'I haven’t lost anything, I’m still Christian Benteke. You can still rely on me.’

“He’s now got to keep that going because the thing about players’ performances is that they need to be consistent. You can sit here like I am with you all, very happy that the two players who you mention (Benteke and Wilfried Zaha) have had good games, but I need them to have good games in the next three coming up as well. That’s the real test – that consistency and that reliability.”

  • Clyne has made an exceptional return to South London

Particularly in the second half, Hodgson didn't need his defenders for their defensive aptitude but rather their capacity to play the ball out of defence and hold a high line against a ten-man Baggies.

They achieved this well, and Nathaniel Clyne was at the heart of everything the defence achieved on Sunday. The returning right-back played with his head up and his spirit high.

Completing 81% of his passes, having a dribble success rate of 100%, and being the architect for one of five goals, Clyne put on an accomplished performance for his once international manager, Roy Hodgson. 

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The Englishman's positivity on the ball, along with Patrick Van Aanholt's surging runs forward on the other flank, complements Palace when they're on the front foot.

Bringing Clyne back to his boyhood club has proved to be an inspired signing, one that has seen a positive Palace outlook. 

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