Crystal Palace 3-2 Sheffield United: Brilliant, boundless talent from Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise

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You wonder if there would be such conjecture about Roy Hodgson’s position if Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise’s seasons weren’t so damaged by injury.

What brilliance. Boundless talent, the pair of them.

And here at Selhurst Park last night they dug their manager out of an almighty hole as Crystal Palace notched a win that should, for the time being, keep Hodgson safe.

The clash against Sheffield United was only the fourth time this season Eze and Olise have started a Premier League game together.

If only they’d been available more often. Palace wouldn’t be in the predicament they’re in if that was case.

In the 17th minute of the match Eberechi Eze levelled from Michael Olise’s excellent cross

In south London Hodgson¿s players - namely Eze and Olise - stood up for their underfire boss

In south London Hodgson’s players – namely Eze and Olise – stood up for their underfire boss

Olise looks likely to move on in the summer and his price tag will be soaring with these displays

Olise looks likely to move on in the summer and his price tag will be soaring with these displays

Eze looked dangerous every time he touched the ball at Selhurst Park

Eze looked dangerous every time he touched the ball at Selhurst Park 

‘If you take the best players out of any team (then there will be consequences),’ said Hodgson.

MATCH FACTS 

Palace (433): Henderson 5.5; Richards 5, Andersen 5.5, Guehi 6, Mitchell 6; Lerma 6.5, Hughes 6.5, Eze 8 (Ozoh 78); Olise 8.5 (Schlupp 70), Mateta 6.5 (Edouard 90), Ayew 6.5. Subs: Johnstone, Tomkins, Franca, Schlupp, Clyne, Edouard, Ahamada, Riedewald, Ozoh.

Hodgson: 6.5

Sheff Utd (4141): Grbic 6; Bogle 6, Ahmedhozic 6, Robinson 6 (Larouchi 82), Trusty 6.5; Costa 6; McAtee 7, Hamer 7 (Archer 88), Ben Slimane 6.5 (Norrington-Davies 46), Brereton 7 (Brooks 46 6); McBurnie 7 (Osula 64 6). Subs: Archer, Norwood, Foderingham, Osborn, Larouchi, Osula, Seriki. Booking: Robinson, Trusty.

Wilder: 6

So, with in mind, the sight of both Eze and Olise limping off during the latter stages of last night’s clash will fill Palace and Hodgson with the ultimate dread.

‘Eze concerns me slightly more than Michael Olise. Both of them were pretty upbeat after the game,’ explained Hodgson.

For now, Hodgson will be grateful that his irresistible twosome were healthy enough to lead Palace’s attacking assault in what was a significant three points against the Blades, whose relegation fears are compounding.

The opening 45 minutes was frantic, Ben Brereton Diaz firing the Blades ahead after 20 seconds to notch his second goal in as many top-flight games.

The move was sweet, Ollie McBurnie’s flick into Gustavo Hamer’s path was on point, the resultant switch out to Brereton just as effective.

The finish, when it arrived, was unerring – Diaz shifting inside Chris Richards before arrowing a finish beyond Dean Henderson’s reach.

The in-house cameras panned to a stoney-faced Palace chairman Steve Parish. A penny for his thoughts at that moment?

His mood improved in the 17th minute when Eze levelled from Olise’s excellent cross. But the fact United were back ahead just three minutes later when James McAtee’s effort from McBurnie’s pass deflected off Marc Guehi and past Henderson was symbolic of Palace’s fragility.

Under-pressure Hodgson will be grateful that his irresistible twosome were healthy

Under-pressure Hodgson will be grateful that his irresistible twosome were healthy

Ben Brereton Diaz fired the Blades ahead after 20 seconds to notch his second goal in as many top-flight games

Ben Brereton Diaz fired the Blades ahead after 20 seconds to notch his second goal in as many top-flight games

Parish is under pressure from certain circles to make a managerial change. That very moment encapsulated why.

Thankfully for Palace they have Eze and Olise – and the club’s two singing lights came to their rescue again in the 28th minute; the former stroking a beautiful left-foot finish past Ivo Grbic from his team-mate’s square pass for his second of the evening.

Chris Wilder was forced into a change early in the second half when goalkeeper Ivo Grbic, on his Premier League debut, was replaced by Wes Foderingham following a nasty collision with Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta despite Croatian’s desperate pleas to stay on the field.

Chris Wilder will be dissapointed his side came away with nothing from Selhurst Park

Chris Wilder will be dissapointed his side came away with nothing from Selhurst Park

But there was nothing the keeper could do to prevent Olise’s beautifully struck effort from the edge of the area in the 67th minute as Palace struck the decisive goal.

Hodgson endured some anxious moments, none more so than when Anel Ahemhodzic struck the crossbar in the dying seconds of normal time.

But, ultimately, Hodgson’s players – namely Eze and Olise – stood up for their underfire boss when he needed them most.

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