Premier League
HuddersfieldHuddersfield Town0Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace2

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Crystal Palace

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
'Costa del Huddersfield' - Snow storms hit Premier League grounds

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson hailed a "vitally important" victory as his side moved out of the Premier League's relegation zone and dragged opponents Huddersfield deep into trouble.

With Southampton in FA Cup action and Stoke losing at home to Everton, Hodgson's side capitalised with a thoroughly deserved victory - their first in eight games - at John Smith's Stadium.

"We have had a difficult run of games and not got any points but to get something here at least puts us back in some sort of equilibrium," Hodgson said.

"I don't think I have ever had a feeling we are on a slide. We are getting players back to fitness and our squad is looking like what it was when we were getting results.

"All the points teams get down near the bottom are vitally important."

Palace were on top throughout and opened the scoring in the first half through James Tomkins' close-range effort as Huddersfield failed to deal with Luka Milivojevic's corner, earned by the excellent Wilfried Zaha.

Having waved play on a few minutes earlier, referee Mike Dean did award a Palace penalty when Huddersfield defender Martin Jorgensen tripped Andros Townsend and Milivojevic converted from the spot.

It took the hosts until nine minutes from time for their first effort on target, a tame strike by Rajiv van La Parra which was easy for Wayne Hennessey to gather.

Palace moved two places up to 16th, with Town a place further in front but now just three points above the relegation zone.

Palace turn the tables

Premier League table showing Crystal Palace's climb up the table
Crystal Palace were the biggest winners on Saturday in the Premier League

Palace had been winless in their previous seven league games, including losing their last four, and had conceded 15 goals during that period.

But having kept only five clean sheets throughout the whole season, this was a welcome shutout and important three points against their fellow relegation candidates.

Their performance was built on defender Mamadou Sakho's leadership at the back, displaying what Palace have missed as the Frenchman made just his 12th league appearance of the season.

But goalscorer Tomkins also contributed significantly, making 11 clearances - more than any other player on the pitch - while young full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was unmatched in making six tackles and winning back the ball 12 times.

Zaha the key to survival?

Wilfried Zaha
Man of the match Zaha was a constant threat to Huddersfield

Palace have played nine games without winger Zaha this season and they have failed to claim a single point in those games.

He returned from injury in last week's narrow defeat by Chelsea and made an impressive contribution in this game against the Terriers.

His constant pace and trickery, with his darts down the wings stretching the play, caused the Huddersfield backline problems all game.

It was the Ivory Coast international's industry which led to the first goal, as he won a corner which Tomkins converted at the second attempt. In all, Zaha made a total of 74 sprints, more than any of his team-mates.

Zaha was taken off late on, but manager Hodgson said it was only a precaution as he had "taken one or two knocks" and the only way for Huddersfield "to stop him was to foul him".

He added: "He is so good at carrying the ball and we noticed that in the second half for us. He is an outlet for us. He got past people and drew fouls and that put us in their part of the field and gave our defenders a rest."

Striker Christian Benteke, though, also played his part with his hold-up play and by bringing team-mates into the action. On one occasion his lay-off fell for Andros Townsend but the winger struck his shot wide.

Benteke was also unlucky not to win a penalty for his side when he was dragged to the turf by Jorgensen and when they were awarded a spot-kick, Milivojevic struck his eighth of the campaign.

Win at Huddersfield vital - Hodgson

Goals win games but Terriers lack bite

Huddersfield have big problems and are now in a real scrap to preserve their top-flight status, having achieved promotion for the first time last season.

Although they have spent just eight days in the bottom three all season, they look like a side who will do well to stay up on this abject showing.

David Wagner's men have now failed to score in their last four league games and have collected just seven points in 2018 - only bottom side West Brom, who lost to Bournemouth, have fared worse with four.

"Credit to Crystal Palace; they deserved this win," Wagner said. "We were below par, particularly with the ball.

"There is no doubt about our attitude and effort - we fought - but in ball possession, we were not good enough. We were two steps too late today.

"It is important how you manage defeats and a disappointment like today. The good thing is that we know what we have done wrong and what we need to put right."

Visiting goalkeeper Hennessey had a comfortable afternoon in snowy conditions in West Yorkshire, not being called into action until the 81st minute when substitute van La Parra's strike rolled easily into his arms.

Skipper Jonathan Hogg also had a strike in injury time, but again Wales international Hennessey had no problems dealing with it.

Mili on the spot - the stats

  • Crystal Palace have won seven Premier League away points in 2018 (won two, drawn one, lost one), one more than they picked up in their previous 12 away games in 2017.
  • Huddersfield have failed to score in a league-high 17 different Premier League games this season.
  • The Terriers have drawn a blank in eight of their last 11 top-flight games.
  • Crystal Palace ended a seven-match winless run in the Premier League (drawn two, lost five), securing their first victory since a 1-0 win over Burnley in January.
  • Luka Milivojevic has scored more penalties than any other Premier League player this season (six).
  • Only Andy Johnson (11) has scored more penalties in a single Premier League season for Crystal Palace than Milivojevic.
  • Huddersfield did not record their first shot of the game until the 63rd minute.
  • James Tomkins scored his first away goal in the Premier League since November 2016 against Swansea.

What's next?

Huddersfield's next game in another huge one as they travel to Newcastle - who have one point more than them - on Saturday, 31 March (kick-off 15:00 BST). Palace host Liverpool on the same day (12:30 BST).

Line-ups

Huddersfield

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lössl
  • 33Hadergjonaj
  • 25M Jorgensen
  • 26SchindlerBooked at 83mins
  • 3MaloneSubstituted forLöweat 45'minutes
  • 6HoggBooked at 70mins
  • 10MooyBooked at 78mins
  • 23Quaner
  • 21PritchardSubstituted forKachungaat 71'minutes
  • 22InceSubstituted forvan La Parraat 61'minutes
  • 24Mounie

Substitutes

  • 2Smith
  • 8Billing
  • 9Kachunga
  • 13Coleman
  • 15Löwe
  • 17van La Parra
  • 20Depoitre

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Hennessey
  • 29Wan-BissakaBooked at 80mins
  • 5Tomkins
  • 12Sakho
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 18McArthur
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 15SchluppSubstituted forCabayeat 21'minutesBooked at 58mins
  • 10Townsend
  • 17Benteke
  • 11ZahaSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Cabaye
  • 8Loftus-Cheek
  • 14Lee
  • 16Cavalieri
  • 24Fosu-Mensah
  • 34Kelly
  • 44Riedewald
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
23,980

Match Stats

Home TeamHuddersfieldAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home6
Away18
Shots on Target
Home2
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home11
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Huddersfield Town 0, Crystal Palace 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Huddersfield Town 0, Crystal Palace 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Jonas Lössl.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  6. Post update

    Elias Kachunga (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).

  8. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Chris Löwe.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Wilfried Zaha because of an injury.

  11. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  12. Post update

    Delay in match Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Steve Mounie (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Chris Löwe with a cross following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Patrick van Aanholt.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rajiv van La Parra (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonathan Hogg.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross following a fast break.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Jonathan Hogg.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Booking

    Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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