Palace prove too strong for Norwich as Eagles soar to comfortable victory

The home side were depleted but put the Canaries to the sword with a first-half blitz at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta scored in the 3-0 win over Norwich (Steven Paston/PA)

Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta scored in the 3-0 win over Norwich (Steven Paston/PA)

By George Sessions, PA

First-half goals from Odsonne Edouard, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jeffrey Schlupp helped Crystal Palace secure a 3-0 win over Norwich despite the continued absence of boss Patrick Vieira.

Eagles manager Vieira tested positive for Covid-19 last week and was one of several missing for the hosts, including Conor Gallagher and Wilfried Zaha, but they were still too strong for the Canaries.

It was another painful defeat for the visitors, a fifth in a row, and means Dean Smith’s side end the year at the bottom of the Premier League with the signs suggesting that is where they will remain.

Both teams named two goalkeepers among the substitutes and were still unable to fill their respective benches due to coronavirus cases and injuries.

Smith threatened changes after Norwich’s 5-0 thrashing at home to Arsenal and made six of them, but did not get the start he hoped for with Palace able to win a penalty with their first attack.

Will Hughes turned nicely in the area and went down following a challenge by Kenny McLean after seven minutes, which saw referee Paul Tierney point to the spot.

Edouard took responsibility with usual penalty taker Zaha absent due to suspension and slotted home from 12 yards to end his goal drought dating back to October.

It meant the Canaries – without leading marksman Teemu Pukki – had to find a solution to a season-long issue, having scored in just six of their previous 18 league games, to avoid another defeat.

The problems almost immediately increased for the visitors but Mateta and Schlupp had efforts which failed to test Angus Gunn.

A brief respite occurred for the basement club when referee Tierney needed close to seven minutes to fix a technical issue which stopped him from being able to communicate with fourth official John Brooks but more pain was on the horizon for Smith’s side at Selhurst Park.

It could have been different had Jacob Sorensen connected better with a Pierre Lees-Melou cross but seconds after that opportunity Palace went down the other end and doubled their advantage.

Tyrick Mitchell picked out the run of Edouard, who cut back for Mateta and the Mainz loanee drilled into the bottom corner after 38 minutes.

It saw Mateta repay the faith of manager Vieira after the French forward had struggled for not just goals but also appearances since a temporary switch at the start of 2021 but the first-half action was not over.

Edouard was involved again for the Eagles’ third with a dangerous run into the area resulting in the ball ricocheting to Schlupp and the Ghana international rifled home from a tight angle to inflict more misery on Norwich.

The Canaries, having been booed off by the away fans despite Sam Byram hitting the crossbar with a header late in the half, introduced Brandon Williams at the break and still it was Gunn who was the busier of the goalkeepers.

Norwich stopper Gunn prevented it from being 4-0 with a fine double-save to deny Schlupp and then Mateta’s follow-up just before the hour mark before his opposite number Vicente Guaita had to be alert to thwart a stinging drive by Przemyslaw Placheta.

There was a positive for the Norfolk club with 22 minutes left when teenager Jonathan Rowe was brought on for his debut but they suffered a 13th league loss while Palace move up to ninth.

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