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May 17 2021 1.20pm

Player ratings: Palace v Leicester

May 1 2018

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Crystal Palace recorded their biggest win of the season (and biggest in their Premier League history) as they thrashed Leicester City 5-0. Mike Scott scores the players.

All sorts of stats and statistics were circling around before the game, including news of Yohan Cabayeís 200th English league appearance and the fact that the starting XI was the most settled of the season, with the same side chosen for a third game in a row.

By the end of the game, the Eagles had registered their biggest victory of the season, beating the 3-0 away against the same opposition back in DecemberÖ

Wayne Hennessey - 8

With news that Wayne Hennessey is signing a new contract, the Welshman pulled another decent display out that will help his cause even more. It was hardly his busiest afternoon, but he was alert in the very first minute to scramble a dire back pass from Sakho away before Jamie Vardy pounced. That really set the tone for the day. He looked assured when he was called on and did everything that was asked of him.

Joel Ward - 7

Ward made one of the best goal line clearances of the season to deny Jamie Vardy after quarter of an hour. Close ups of Vardy showed the face of a man who just had to marvel at the athleticism of the effort. But, it was actually Ward who played him onside in the first place; that was virtually his only error in the game though and he and McArthur worked tirelessly in the first half to stop Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell, who looked threatening in spells.

James Tomkins - 8

Palaceís third home clean sheet of the season (the others being the draw with Manchester City and the 1-0 win over Burnley) will have pleased Tomkins, who put in another excellent display. He was unlucky to not score a few minutes in after Ben Hamer made a meal of a punch out and hit it towards the Palace centre back. He didnít have a great deal of aerial threat to deal with, because despite Leicester being a big team, they only managed two corners and few crosses. Him and Sakho did more than enough to neutralise threats otherwise.

Mamadou Sakho - 8

Had Vardy beaten Hennessey to the ball a few seconds in and slotted the ball home for an away lead, the game might have been very different. But, as many people have pointed out recently, he wouldnít probably be a Palace player if he didnít make the odd mistake. Otherwise, he stopped everything. He kept both Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho very quiet, which not many people can claim to have done. He set up a beautiful goal too. Not enough credit is given to him for his passing skills under pressure.

Patrick van Aanholt - 8

Once the initial threat from the visitors died out (and Van Aanholt looked solid for that, except for a couple of occasions where he didnít seem to track back after getting up field), Van Aanholt played a key role in many of the Palace moves. He was heavily involved in the second and, of course, scored a beauty himself. Games like this suit him down to the ground.

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Luka Milivojevic - 7

Milivojevic has been in irresistible form recently; this time around, he had a quieter than usual game, mainly because of how little Leicester threatened. Early on the defence did look slightly more vulnerable to counter attacks than they often do, but they looked to have tightened things up by a few minutes in. As the game went on, Milivojevic got further up the field for longer periods than he gets to in most games. Some very telling dead balls again, too.

Yohan Cabaye - 7

Aside from a booking, Cabaye had another influential game to mark his 200th English league appearance, proving that when Palace are on top he really does shine. He played some penetrative balls to the front men, particularly Townsend, and it was his quick interplay that gave Palace time and space. His free kicks and corners occasionally again looked too slow and looping, but they were a good foil to Milivojevicís quicker deliveries.

James McArthur - 9

Leicester did not seem to enjoy Palaceís quick passing and pressure and no one did more to put them off their stride than McArthur. He scored a beauty, could have had at least one more when he hit the side netting and he set up the opener. He was involved in nearly everything of note that Palace created. Aside from that, he covered the area in front and around Ward excellently early on, when Demarai Gray threatened to cause problems.

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With just under 10 minutes to go, Jeffrey Schlupp (7) came on in his place and itís great to see the options Hodgson now has with a nearly fit squad. It was his surging run that ended in Van Aanholtís goal, too.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 9

Earlier in the season, with injuries the major Palace concern, there was real concern that there are not enough ball carrying players in the squad to cover when ZAHA is injured. Loftus-Cheek gave a lesson in exactly how to carry the ball with strength and intent against Leicester and he caused them so many problems that there have been unprecedented levels of calls to sign him at any cost. His goal was superb, he work with ZAHA was excellent. One of his best games so far in a red and blue shirt.

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Lee Chung-yong (6) came on as a late sub for Loftus-Cheek. He didnít have a great deal of time to make much impact, but his beaming grin after the penalty summed up feeling around the ground.

Andros Townsend - 8

With Loftus-Cheek, McArthur and ZAHA playing so well and creating the headlines, Townsend went about doing what he does best, going under the radar a little more, whilst adding to the headaches of the Foxes defence at times too. He set up ZAHA for what could have been his second, but for a rare save from Ben Hamer; the two of them were at again on a break they should have scored from just before Loftus-Cheekís goal. He covered well again too, doing his shift in front of the back four.

With five minutes to go, he was sacrificed for Christian Benteke (8), who did all he could in the small window of time he had; he won a penalty. Then he scored a penalty. His first home goal of the seasonÖ


Loftus-Cheek will take the lionís share of column inches on the game Monday morning, with the England boss watching him, but ZAHA was just as crucial to the emphaticness of the win. The opening goal was one of the best from a Palace side in recent years; ZAHAís finish was excellent. His speed and determination forced Marc Albrighton into the challenge that got him red carded. He was the one who set McArthur up for his goal. But, more than all of that, he played just off the last man for much of the game, allowing the midfielders to get much further forward than they often get a chance to do. He was enough of a handful to keep the entire defence busy, leaving everyone else to run riot.

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