Crystal Palace secured their Premier League safety in emphatic fashion today as their 4-0 drubbing of Hull confirmed that the Tigers will be spending next season in the Championship.
Marco Silva knew that realistically his team had to win today to have any chance of staying up. The game got off to the worst possible start for Hull however when in the 2nd minute Wilfred Zaha latched on to an awful mistake by Ranocchia and calmly slotted the ball past Jakupovic.
There were chances at both ends and with Hull dominanting possession for most of the first half it seemed inevitable that they would get a goal back. However, sloppy passing and poor decision was a constant problem for Hull and they could not find a way through the Palace defence. Special mention must be given to the attacking players of Crystal Palace who so often tracked back and put in a vital block or tackle.
Palace doubled their leader in the 34th minute thanks to a Christian Benteke header from a corner.
This was the 14th goal which Hull have conceded from a corner this season- more than any other team in the league. The zonal marking which Silva employed simply did not work with it appearing that a single Hull player would often have to try and mark three Palace players all at once. This confusion led to Christian Benteke being given a clear run at goal and the space to jump and head the ball into the back of the net.
Hull were unlucky not to get a penalty soon after the goal for a clear handball by Jason Puncheon. Puncheon was either very lucky, or very clever, that his body was in the way so referee Martin Atkinson could not see what happened.
Marco Silva made a double substitution at halftime with Ranocchia and Robertson coming off for Maloney and Bowen. Silva was forced to use his third and final substitution early in the second half when Maguire fell awkwardly in a collision with Benteke.
Hull were still in the game and had many good periods of play in and around the Palace box. However, they seemed genuinely incapable of scoring. Grosicki had a particularly torrid afternoon with a number of his passes being over hit and was also at fault when he selfishly tried to pull off a very ambitious shot rather than pass to one his teammates: it was probably Hull’s best chance to get back in the game.
Palace were playing some lovely football, with the link-up play between Benteke, Zaha and Townsend particularly pleasing on the eye. Palace put any doubts to rest in the 83rd minute when after Dawson brought down Schlupp in the box Milivojevic calmly side-footed the resulting penalty into the bottom corner of the net.
After conceding again the Hull players visibly crumbled and lost heart. Palace rubbed salt into the wounds of the Hull team when Patrick Van Aanholt added a fourth in the 90th minute.
Marco Silva cut a dejected figure at the full-time whistle. It is unclear whether he will still be at Hull next season with rumours attaching him to Southampton picking up traction. For Sam Allardyce however it was another job well done. This is the sixth team which Big Sam has saved from relegation and although he has his critics, he cannot be under-appreciated as a manager.
Hull will now be looking to rebuild and prepare for life in the Championship again. Sam Allardyce however will be considering what he can do next to ensure that his team do not leave it quite so late to guarantee their safety next season and beyond.
Written by Dom Clarke.
for all of 90MAAT’s coverage of the remainder of the Premier League season in 2017.