Manager Roy Hodgson says Crystal Palace’s win over Bournemouth was an “attacking party” after his side ended the season with an eight-goal thriller at Selhurst Park.
Palace scored three times in the opening 37 minutes but were pegged back to 3-2, increased their lead to 4-2 only for Bournemouth to score again, before settling the game with a fifth goal in the 80th minute.
There were 33 shots in total – 17 by Palace and 16 by the Cherries – and both sides could have scored more.
“It was a fantastic end to the season,” said Hodgson.
“It is nice now that I am standing here on the right end of the result that we could offer that spectacle to our fans in the final game of the season.
“I thought at 3-0 we would have a relatively comfortable second half but that wasn’t the case. It was an attacking party out there.”
Michy Batshuayi, playing for Palace for the final time before his loan spell from Chelsea ends, opened the scoring in the 24th minute, capitalising on slack Bournemouth defending to volley home from six yards.
The Belgian slid in to convert Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross from close range eight minutes later before a Wilfried Zaha shot hit the post and rebounded in off Bournemouth defender Jack Simpson for an own goal.
Jefferson Lerma then crashed a stunning 30-yard shot in off the post just before the break and Jordon Ibe drilled into the bottom corner via a slight deflection 10 minutes after half-time to give the visitors hope.
Patrick van Aanholt restored a two-goal lead for Palace, only for Joshua King to bundle home at a 73rd-minute corner.
However, with 10 minutes remaining Zaha set up Andros Townsend who swept home to make sure of the three points for the hosts.
Palace win typical final-day encounter
With the two sides having little to play for other than positions in lower mid-table, it was no surprise they served up typical final-day performances, full of attacking intent and occasionally poor defending.
There were 33 shots in total – 17 by Palace and 16 by Bournemouth – and both sides could have added to the eight goals that were scored.
Batshuayi had only scored four goals in 12 games before Sunday’s game since joining on loan in January, but he took advantage of defensive lapses to add another two goals to his total.
Hodgson has previously said that he is unsure whether Palace will be able to sign the Belgian permanently in the summer, and it will be interesting to see whether the two goals persuade the Londoners to seek a deal.
Batshuayi’s fellow forward Zaha was another who impressed. He did not find the net himself but fed Van Aanholt smartly for Palace’s fourth and produced a fine surging run before setting up Townsend for the fifth.
He was given a standing ovation when substituted late on, and the home fans will hope it was not the final time they see the highly rated Ivorian in a Palace shirt.
The win means Palace end with their highest Premier League points total from a 38-game campaign and Zaha will surely be crucial if they are to improve on that next season.
Bournemouth’s season summed up in 90 minutes
Cherries manager Eddie Howe felt the game was a “summary of their season”.
There were fine moments such as Lerma’s spectacular strike, plus their ability to consistently create chances and respond to going behind – but they struggled defensively and were repeatedly hurt by Palace’s quick attacking players.
“We had a real low in the first half,” Howe said. “We didn’t defend well, didn’t react well to the first goal. We wobbled a little bit, maybe due to the inexperience in our team.
“We responded really well in the second half and could have scored more.
“We felt we could cut them open but unfortunately it was the same for their attacking play. They had pace on the counter-attack, something we struggled to handle.”
Bournemouth end the season having scored 56 goals – a figure only exceeded by the elite top six teams – but they also conceded 70. Only the bottom two sides, Fulham and Huddersfield, had a worse defensive record.
It has also been a strange campaign for Howe’s side, having taken 26 of their 45 points in their opening 18 games, and then struggling for much of the second half of the season.
They were eighth in the table in December but finish 14th, two places worse off than last year – although they finished only one point shy of their record top-flight points tally of 46 from 2016-17.
“It has to be seen as another season of progression,” Howe said.
“We have been able to withstand injuries to key players and blood some young players.
“The team has been in transition throughout the seasons so to maintain our Premier League status and at times play good football, it has been pleasing.”
Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Hodgson’s century of wins – the best stats
- Crystal Palace have scored five goals in a Premier League game for only the third time, and the first time since winning 5-0 v Leicester in April 2018.
- Bournemouth’s Premier League matches this season have featured a total of 126 goals (56 scored, 70 conceded), the most of any side in the competition this season.
- Roy Hodgson enjoyed his 100th Premier League win, becoming the oldest manager to reach that milestone at 71 years and 276 days.
- Palace striker Michy Batshuayi has ended on the winning side in all nine Premier League games where he has scored, with only Chris Smalling netting in more games with a 100% win record (Daniel Agger also on nine).
- Batshuayi has scored twice in each of his two Premier League appearances on the final day of the season, scoring two for Chelsea in May 2017 and a brace in this game.
- Andros Townsend has hit double figures for goal involvements in a Premier League season for the first time (six goals, four assists).