During their Roy Hodgson resurgence at the tail end of last season, Crystal Palace finally made a habit of winning matches they were dominating. They carried that knack with them as they put Wolves to the sword in the beating sun at Selhurst Park.
The visitors were unadventurous and unthreatening for so much of the afternoon, and Palace deserved their victory. Yet it took them until the 56th minute to edge themselves in front.
Tyrick Mitchell put in another positive display and crossed for Odsonne Edouard, who stabbed past Jose Sa. It was a lead Palace had been long deserved but couldn’t muster in a goalless and frustrating first half.
Wolves levelled just nine minutes later when substitute Hwang Hee-chan’s awkward header flew past Sam Johnstone, but Palace — to their credit — did not panic and simply recycled the attacking phases that had earned them the lead in the first place.
One clear difference was that Wolves had been pillaged of their best player, Matheus Nunes. Manchester City went with Nunes rather than Eberechi Eze, and it was typical that the England international was one of Palace’s finest performers on the day.
Sa palmed Eze’s free-kick away from danger, but Wolves only half-cleared. Joel Ward, who was excellent throughout, played the ball to Jean-Philippe Mateta, who glanced on for Eze to squeeze the ball past Sa.
Palace craved a third goal to double their lead, and in the end they were mightily grateful to have scored one. Edouard slotted past an unmoved Sa for his second of the afternoon.
The Palace fans were singing and dancing in the sun, enjoying a comfortable victory — until Matheus Cunha’s header made for a nervous finish and brought up 3-2 in the 96th minute.
But Palace had done their hard work, had already turned Wolves over, and held on to claim three precious points. In Edouard, they may have found a reliable finisher who can replace the goals of Wilfried Zaha.