Crystal Palace 3-1 Brentford. Michael Olise’s classy double helped Crystal Palace to a crucial Premier League victory over Brentford which will ease the pressure on boss Roy Hodgson.
Keane Lewis-Potter gave Brentford an early lead but Olise equalised shortly after with a stylish volley.
Eberechi Eze put Palace ahead before Olise increased the margin of victory after the break with a solo effort.
The win sees Palace end a run of eight games without victory as Brentford slip to their fifth consecutive league defeat.
Brentford’s energetic start saw them take the lead as Lewis-Potter scored from close range.
Mathias Jensen sent Danish compatriot Mads Roerslev scurrying down the right with a deft flick and an early ball into the area was met flush on the volley by the sliding Lewis-Potter.
There was a three-and-a-half-minute wait for the Video Assistant Referee (var) to check whether Lewis-Potter was on side before the goal was awarded.
Palace were unflustered and achieved parity soon afterwards through the impressive Olise – the standout player in the contest.
Jordan Ayew’s deep cross picked out Olise at the back post and from a tight angle, mid-air, he volleyed on his instep across goal and into the net.
Palace ensured their superiority in the remainder of the first half counted when they took the lead six minutes before the interval.
A smart dummy from Jean-Philippe Mateta from Tyrick Mitchell’s pass was picked up by Eze, who struck a low shot that wrong-footed Mark Flekken.
Olise effectively sealed the result with a fine individual goal after the interval, bewitching five Brentford defenders with his trickery when he cut inside before striking a low shot into the corner of the net.
The 22-year-old, who now has five goals and seven assists in his past 16 Premier League starts, twice went close to hat-trick but curled wide and saw a low cross shot blocked.
Selhurst Park’s loyalty to its elder statesman manager has been tested with the fissures of discontent seemingly growing in recent weeks.
Hodgson made a faux pas when he called the Palace fans “spoiled” after a prickly reaction from supporters to a home defeat by Bournemouth in early December.
The 76-year-old showed contrition after putting his foot in his mouth, but vultures were circling for the Eagles boss after a dismal run of results.
Before this encounter they were winless in their last eight league games, with their solitary victory on home turf this season coming way back on 3 September.
Former Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper and ex-Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui have both reportedly been primed to replace Hodgson if things went awry in this game.
During a sticky spell for Hodgson there have been some decent performances – not least a 2-2 draw at champions Manchester City – but he had lamented results which have not gone their way.
Hodgson may have cut a twitchy figure on the sidelines as he patrolled his technical area on a drizzly late December afternoon, tempered goal celebrations aside, but his Palace side played with a swagger and purpose against the Bees.
A confident and relaxed display was spearheaded by the brilliant and dynamic Olise, who played as if he has an even higher ceiling than he showed here.
Equally Palace’s defensive fortitude when Brentford upped the ante in the final 15 minutes, including a fine save from Dean Henderson to deny Neal Maupay, will have encouraged Hodgson for the challenges ahead.
Barring something out of the ordinary in the next 48 hours, Hodgson looks on course to continue his management career into a 48th year at least.
source – BBC