Crystal Palace Towering Alongside The Premier League’s Elite, Against All Odds

We’re four fixtures into the English Premier League season and the calendar has only just turned the page into September.

It has already been a wild ride that sees some familiarly at the top of the table. Liverpool leads with Manchester City a close second. Darlings from a couple seasons ago, Leicester City are in third. Wrapping up the top four is Crystal Palace with seven points from four matches.

Roy Hodgson has seen his boys rally for two victories in a row. While maximizing points in the matches is bound to make the manager happy, Hodgson will be particularly happy when the European transfer market closes.

Wilfried Zaha has been the subject of transfer speculation all summer. Hodgson has said he will stay, and so far he has to the delight of the fans and those surrounding the club. After a drab draw to open the season against Everton, Palace lost away to Sheffield United. This left the club with one point heading away to Old Trafford.

Crystal Palace isn’t usually a side that finds much success when they visit Old Trafford. The Eagles hadn’t won there since 1989. All of this changed in an exciting way last Saturday.

A stoppage-time goal was the difference in the memorable 2-1 victory. Paul Pogba turned the ball over late in the match, allowing Patrick van Aanholt to fire a shot past goalkeeper David De Gea. This seemed rather unlikely, especially given the realization that Palace had not captured a league win away at Manchester United in thirty years.

The match looked as if both sides would snatch a point from the affair. Minutes before the stoppage-time winner, Daniel James scored in the 89th minute to cancel Jordan Ayew’s goal in the first half. United may have controlled possession, but they were far from creative on the afternoon. Ayew’s goal in the 32nd minute punished them.

It was the first real chance of the match and Ayew wasn’t going to spoil it. A wild match that saw Marcus Rashford miss a penalty kick eventually saw Palace grab all three points in a historic win.

Crystal Palace then headed home to Selhurst Park to take on newly promoted Aston Villa. Aston Villa went down to ten when Trézéguet received his second yellow card of the match for a bad foul in the 54th minute. Jordan Ayew grabbed the winner in the 73rd minute with a shot to the bottom right corner of the net.

Controversy followed later in the game when Aston Villa had an equalizer disallowed. It remains to be seen how the table will look come the end of the English Premier League season, but one can’t deny that Palace has been quite surprising. Liverpool and Manchester City are the dominant two in English football at the moment, but the race for third and fourth is as open as ever.

Could it be that the Eagles will be playing Champions League football come next season? Time will tell for Roy Hodgson and the boys.