EPL

Michael Olise stars as Crystal Palace end winless run by beating Brentford

By Sports Desk December 30, 2023

Michael Olise scored in each half as Crystal Palace ended their eight-game winless streak with a 3-1 comeback victory over Brentford at a soggy Selhurst Park.

Under-pressure Roy Hodgson’s hosts bounced back from a sorry start to an afternoon that began with Keane Lewis-Potter’s opener for the Bees inside two minutes.

Olise ensured it was all square before the 15-minute mark and Eberechi Eze added another before the break – the first time Palace have scored more than one before half-time this season.

Neal Maupay came closest to clawing one back for the visitors, rattling the crossbar as the Bees staged a late surge, but Brentford could not stop themselves from slipping to a club-record fifth straight Premier League defeat.

In his programme notes, Hodgson expressed his “disappointment and frustration” at the fact he has “never had the opportunity” to work with a full squad this season.

The Eagles edged ever-closer to full strength on Saturday, with forward Odsonne Edouard returning to the matchday squad and influential duo Olise and Eze starting alongside each other for just the third time this campaign.

Palace had already conceded more top-flight opening goals in 2023 – 25 – than any other Premier League side, and they were swift victims once more in their final encounter of the calendar year.

Mathias Jensen flicked a neat back-heel to Mads Roerslev, who whipped a cross into the six-yard box for Lewis-Potter to finish, with the goal eventually given after a lengthy delay to check a possible offside.

The sides were all square after 14 minutes when Olise arrived at the far post to meet Jordan Ayew’s cross and volleyed into the top right corner.

Jefferson Lerma tried quickly to put the hosts ahead but fired straight at Brentford goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Dean Henderson bobbled but clung on to deny Lewis-Potter’s close-range effort at the other end as the Bees continued to apply pressure.

Olise got himself involved at the other end of the pitch, clearing a dangerous Lewis-Potter cross, before Nathan Collins bounced a header inches wide of Henderson’s right post.

Palace took the lead in the 39th minute, just as the half looked to have settled into a lull. Tyrick Mitchell took his time before flicking to Jean-Philippe Mateta, who in turn tapped it towards the onrushing Eze to send a strike into the bottom right corner.

Brentford swerved danger when Flekken slid in to prevent Ethan Pinnock’s backwards pass from crossing over his goal-line before half-time.

There were chances for both sides early in the second half before Olise patiently weaved through a crowd of blue shirts and fired home the Eagles’ third in the 58th minute.

Henderson punched away Saman Ghoddos’ effort to deny Brentford a quick reply, and Olise came close to a hat-trick when he sent the ball just wide of Flekken’s left post.

Brentford missed two big chances to narrow the deficit in quick succession, substitute Maupay clipping the crossbar before Yoane Wissa missed the target from six yards out.

A brilliant late save by Henderson preserved the two-goal lead before the final whistle blew on what was just the Eagles’ second home victory of the season.

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