EPL

Resurgent Crystal Palace have faith in Glasner project, says Munoz

By Sports Desk May 09, 2024

Crystal Palace defender Daniel Munoz believes the Eagles are beginning to hit the levels they expected to reach under new boss Oliver Glasner, as they look to continue their strong form against Wolves on Saturday.

Palace are one of the form teams in the Premier League, with Monday's 4-0 rout of Manchester United making it four wins and one draw from their last five matches. 

Michael Olise netted twice as Palace demolished the Red Devils at Selhurst Park, recording their biggest league win over United since they managed a 5-0 success back in December 1972.

Palace can leapfrog Fulham and Wolves into 12th in the table with a victory on Saturday, and right-back Munoz says confidence is high within the squad.

"It was a very special win for all of us. Everyone is happy – the players, the fans, our families," Munoz said, reflecting on Monday's game.

"It was a great game. The team is getting to the level we all want and that is reflected on the pitch.

"I think the dressing room has started to believe. I think you can feel that belief from the new coach."

While Palace are ending a middling campaign on a high, Wolves have seen a fine season fizzle out somewhat, their European hopes fading amid a spate of injuries to key attackers.

Gary O'Neil's side will likely need to beat Palace to keep hopes of a top-half finish alive, and star forward Matheus Cunha says a strong finish will also help to build momentum for 2024-25.    

"I think six points would be very important," Cunha said, looking ahead to Wolves' final two games.

"It's hard, we play Liverpool and an important game against Crystal Palace at home – we have around the same points, so we need to play and get three points and keep focused.

"We've done an unbelievable season, but we cannot finish with a bad feeling. We need to win to make it feel like a good season and keep going for the next one."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wolves – Hwang Hee-chan

Following goals against Luton Town and Manchester City in his last two games, Hwang is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time. 

He has 12 goals overall this season, with only Raul Jimenez netting more in a single Premier League campaign for Wolves (13 in 2018-19, 17 in 2019-20).

Crystal Palace – Jean-Philippe Mateta

Since Glasner's first Premier League game in charge of Palace on February 24, only Cole Palmer (11) and Alexander Isak (10) have scored more goals in the competition than Mateta (nine). 

He has scored six goals in his last six league appearances, and with Olise and Eberechi Eze providing him with service, he should get plenty of chances at Molineux. 

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW 

Wolves have lost five of their last six Premier League games against Palace, including a 3-2 defeat at Selhurst Park in September's reverse fixture. However, the one exception was a 2-0 win in this exact fixture last campaign.

Palace have won 55 per cent of their Premier League games against Wolves (6/11), only managing a better ratio against Stoke City (70 per cent, 7/10) among teams they have faced at least 10 times in the competition.

However, with little to play for, it would be no surprise to see the spoils shared at Molineux; Wolves have not won their final home league game in any of the last three seasons (two draws, one defeat), having done so in six of their previous seven campaigns.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have not won their final away league game in any of the last four seasons, drawing one and losing three since triumphing 3-2 at Cardiff City in 2019.

Only bottom club Sheffield United (16) have scored fewer away goals in the Premier League than Palace (17) this season, so a repeat of Monday's free-flowing display may not be on the cards.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Wolves – 36.9%

Crystal Palace 33.1%

Draw – 30% 

Related items

  • Milan and Italy legend Gattuso appointed Hadjuk Split coach in surprise move Milan and Italy legend Gattuso appointed Hadjuk Split coach in surprise move

    Former Milan and Italy great Gennaro Gattuso has completed a surprise move to Hadjuk Split, taking over as head coach in Croatia.

    Gattuso, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, has signed a two-year deal with the Croatian giants.

    The 46-year-old will be officially welcomed at Poljud next week after Split announced his appointment on Wednesday.

    Gattuso's coaching career began as player-coach of his final club, Sion of the Swiss Super League, and he also had short spells in charge of Palermo and OFI Crete.

    The former midfielder then led Pisa to Serie B promotion before taking charge of old club Milan and subsequently joining Napoli, where he won the Coppa Italia in 2020.

    Short tenures followed with Fiorentina, Valencia and Marseille before his sacking from the Ligue 1 side in February.

  • Southgate succession plan in place after Euro 2024 despite no approaches for England boss Southgate succession plan in place after Euro 2024 despite no approaches for England boss

    England have started to plan for life after Gareth Southgate but Football Association executive Mark Bullingham insists no approach has been made for the manager, nor has his future been decided.

    The Three Lions boss raised questions over his future after German media outlet BILD published an interview this week from Southgate, who suggested Euro 2024 this month is his last chance with England.

    Manchester United were reportedly interested in the 53-year-old as well before reaffirming their commitment to under-fire manager Erik ten Hag.

    As the European Championship awaits in Germany, Bullingham sought to ease any fears over the future of Southgate, though reiterated the FA has already thought through a succession plan.

    "Gareth has been really, really clear that he wants to talk about that after the tournament," Bullingham said.

    "And I don't want to provide any distraction for him and the team, and I want to respect the fact that he wants to talk about the future after the tournament.

     "I've seen some things about, 'Have we got a plan, haven't we?' Any organisation has a succession plan in place for their top employees, and we are no different to that.

    "A succession plan normally includes everything from what you do for the short-term cover, through to a process you follow, through to [drawing up] a candidate pool. We have that for all our top employees."

    Bullingham also assured that Southgate's future will not be dictated by success at Euro 2024, with the manager's contract set to expire in December.

    "[The team] could go further but be playing poorly or have a really unlucky result where you get a couple of red cards and hit the woodwork three times," the FA chief added.

    "I think setting an arbitrary figure isn't the right way to go. I think we step back and look at everything after the tournament."

    In a staunch defence of Southgate, Bullingham lauded the job the former England international has done, guiding the Three Lions to the Euro 2020 final and World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

    "I would say I think the world of Gareth, I think he has done a phenomenal job," Bullingham said.

    "I think he has transformed the fortunes of our team, and that's not just off the pitch, and you can see the culture, but also the performances on the pitch.

    "Since 1966, he has won about half of our knockout games, which is a measure we really use, so we value him massively."

    Should Southgate leave, Bullingham remains open to bringing in another homegrown talent to manage England.

    "We have two senior coaches," he continued. "One of them is English, one of them [England women's boss Sarina Wiegman] is not.

    "Any federation in the world would always want to have a pool of top homegrown talent playing and managing at any time."

  • Milan target Zirkzee called up for Netherlands squad at Euro 2024 Milan target Zirkzee called up for Netherlands squad at Euro 2024

    Joshua Zirkzee is reportedly drawing interest from Milan, Juventus and Manchester United, and will have the chance to further his stock after a late call-up for the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

    Oranje boss Ronald Koeman has lost Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners, as well as midfielder Marten de Roon, in the build-up to the tournament in Germany.

    Koeman criticised former club Barcelona for their handling of the injured De Jong before Koopmeiners' absence was also confirmed this week in another blow for the Netherlands.

    Ajax forward Brian Brobbey is another said to be struggling for fitness, forcing the Dutch to act swiftly with reinforcements.

    Zirkzee's inclusion was confirmed on Wednesday as the Netherlands added the striker to their international camp ahead of their tournament opener against Poland on Sunday.

    The 23-year-old does not have a single senior cap under his belt for the Netherlands, but did score seven goals in 19 caps for the Under-21 side.

    Zirkzee found the net 12 times in 37 appearances for Bologna in the 2023-24 campaign as the Serie A side qualified for next season's Champions League.

    That form has reportedly drawn interest from Erik ten Hag's Man Utd, Juventus – who appointed Thiago Motta as their new head coach on Wednesday – and Milan.

    Ian Maatsen, who reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund this year, is the other man brought in for the Netherlands to fill the void left by De Jong and Koopmeiners.

    The Netherlands also face Austria and France in Group D at Euro 2024, where Germany open the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.