Rugby Tonight: Exclusive Q&A with England coach Eddie JonesJun 14
Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke double up as five-star Palace punish Baggies
Zaha scored twice on his return to the Eagles side, with Benteke also bagging a brace.
Wilfried Zaha returned to inspire Crystal Palace to a 5-1 demolition of 10-man West Brom.
The star forward grabbed a brace on his comeback after recovering from coronavirus, as Palace scored five away from home in the Premier League for the first time.
Christian Benteke also netted twice after Darnell Furlong’s own goal put the visitors ahead at The Hawthorns.
Conor Gallagher levelled in the first half before Matheus Pereira’s controversial first-half red card allowed the Eagles to take control.
They climbed to 11th but inflicted more Premier League misery on the Baggies, who remain in the bottom three.
Albion have won just once this season and now face the next three games without Pereira, following his dismissal for appearing to kick Patrick Van Aanholt.
Without Zaha, Palace lost to Burnley and Newcastle and he underlined his importance from the start.
First, he skimmed the bar after a fine turn and it was a warning Albion failed to heed as the Eagles took the lead after eight minutes.
Kyle Bartley chopped down Jeff Schlupp and Luka Milivojevic’s quick free-kick allowed Zaha to spin away from the slipping Pereira.
He delivered a dangerous low cross and the sliding Furlong could only steer it into his own net.
It was early blow but the Baggies responded well and Pereira’s sharp volley was straight at Vicente Guaita.
Furlong then thumped a header against the bar before Gallagher levelled after half an hour.
Semi Ajayi’s fine pass sent Furlong clear on the right and, after his first cross was blocked, he found the unmarked Gallagher – who had a medical at Palace in the summer before they pulled out of a loan move – to sweep into the bottom corner from 16 yards.
Yet Albion’s recovery fell apart just four minutes later when Pereira saw red.
The forward was bundled over by Van Aanholt and, while he was on the ground, appeared to catch the defender in the stomach with his boot.
After a VAR check, referee Paul Tierney also consulted his monitor and sent the Baggies star off.
It was a soft dismissal but Palace looked to take advantage and Gary Cahill’s shot was blocked before Ebere Eze curled wide.
Albion boss Slaven Bilic replaced Grady Diangana with Filip Krovinovic at the break but, after Sam Johnstone had beaten away Van Aanholt’s drive, Palace took control with two quickfire goals.
The first came 10 minutes into the second half as Zaha restored the Eagles’ lead when he cut inside and curled beyond Johnstone from 16 yards.
Four minutes later it was 3-1 when Benteke stooped to head in Van Aanholt’s cross for just his third goal of 2020.
The visitors were enjoying themselves and Zaha got a second with 68 minutes gone when he stabbed in after Eze’s barnstorming run into the box.
Albion’s 10 men, their confidence shot, had been blown away in the second half by impressive Palace and, after Zaha went off, they completed the rout with eight minutes left.
Nathaniel Clyne’s simple pass found Benteke and he was allowed to turn in the area and find the bottom corner.