With Roy tinkering with the formation and with the personnel, Palace secured a vital away win at a lacklustre Wolves. A fluid 4-3-3/4-5-1 set up saw the Eagles surprise the midlands side by pressing high and keeping possession well. Mike Scott looks at how the players performed…

Vicente Guaita- 7

Although he didn’t have a great deal to do, he made some decent regulation saves and was solid with crosses. And another clean sheet for him…

Patrick Van Aanholt – 7

A strong shift from the Dutchman, who dealt with Doherty and Costa well, easily outdid them for pace and broke upfield plenty to be the extra man available for the cross.

Mamadou Sakho – 7

The formation Hodgson chose to use had huge advantages going forward, but meant the defence was exposed to the counter. On the rare occasions that Wolves did break with purpose, Sakho was there to mop up. And he was the central figure in Palace build up moves from the back. He even got in a crossing position once. That must be a first. OK, the cross was rubbish, but…

James Tomkins – 7

Every bit as talismanic at the back as Sakho, Tomkins also got involved with Palace’s plethora of corners, narrowly mistiming a header at the back post that could’ve opened the scoring.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 8

What threat did come from Wolves tended to come down the right with Castro (sorry, Jonny) and Wan-Bissaka was there time and again to stop moves in their tracks. Aside from one error of judgment that saw him try to shepherd a ball out that he lost out on, he was flawless again. And was up in their third as much as back in Palace’s. He needs to stop doing this, or we’re going to lose him to a big club in 6 months’ time.

Luka Milivojevic – 7

Palace rarely have as much time on the ball in midfield, or control of the game in the middle of the pitch as Wolves offered them. Luka took full advantage and he could concentrate on creating moves going forward. He got forward himself more than usual too.

And obviously, he was never going to miss the penalty.

Cheikhou Kouyate – 7

The 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation seemed to suit Kouyate, because he stayed back and marshalled things whilst allowing more freedom to the others, especially McArthur. Let’s all pray that Roy enjoyed this and will keep doing it…

James McArthur – 6

McArthur is losing a point for his terrible dive in the box – the second he’s been caught doing in the last few weeks. Aside from that, he looked like the McArthur of last season, because of Kouyate freeing up the Scotsman to make his hazy runs forward.

Andros Townsend – 8

The last few weeks has seen Townsend look like the talisman for Palace. Again, he was at the centre of most of the good work the side produced. He seemed to relish drifting between forward and winger duties, linking up well with both Wan-Bissaka and Ayew.

Wilfried Zaha – 7

The shit this man gets from opposition supporters is ridiculous. He was pantomime villain again, being booed as he got the better of Bennett and Coady. He was closely marked, so didn’t get much his own way, but defenders being magnetically stuck to him allowed much more space for Ayew and Townsend. Plus, he won the penalty…

Jordan Ayew – 7

AYEW SCORED. A GOAL. A REAL GOAL. Needless to say, the Back of the Nest crew were stunned and various “If Ayew scores I will buy everyone a curry…” promises now need to be followed up. But, it was more that that. The formation suited his strengths much better. He wasn’t a target man, he was running down the wings, but with support.


Connor Wickham – 5

Came on for Ayew with 3 minutes to go, he had little time to impact the game.

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