It was a night to forget for Crystal Palace as Wolverhampton Wanderers moved past them in the Premier League table with an assured 2-0 win at Molineux.
The south London side went into the game sitting one place above Wolves in eighth due to their superior goal difference, but Nuno Espirito Santo's men exposed them at both ends of the pitch.
Rayan Ait-Nouri opened the scoring on an impressive competitive debut for Wolves with a low strike that he hit first-time while rushing into the box with 18 minutes on the clock.
Then less than ten minutes later Daniel Podence met Ruben Neves' low cross with a composed finish to double their lead.
The 25-year-old Podence was central to much of their play, while their talisman Raul Jimenez, who they have recently been reliant upon for goals, played more of a supporting role often dropping deep to get the ball and help bring it out wide.
Despite having eleven shots on goal, the visitors rarely troubled Wolves. A penalty being overturned for offside and Michy Batshuayi having a goal disallowed for that same reason for the third game in a row denied Palace an opportunity to get back into the game in the first half.
After the break, the Eagles were slightly improved but still did not look like scoring and a wild challenge from their captain Luka Milivojevic on Joao Moutinho made things go from bad to worse as he was sent off in the closing stages after a lengthy VAR check.
The win moves Wolves up to third in the table level on 13 points with joint league leaders Everton and Liverpool having played a game more. They await a trip to Leicester next Sunday, while Crystal Palace will play host to Leeds the day before.
Rayan Ait Nouri of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Daniel Podence (Wolves) - It is very hard to choose just one player given that this was probably Wolves' best performance of the season so far. Nelson Semedo was constantly involved on the right and one of his crosses led to the opening goal, Ait-Nouri had a stellar debut on the other side of the pitch and the central midfield duo of Leander Dendoncker and Ruben Neves dominated the centre of the park. But Podence really ran the show today. After joining from Olympiacos in January he was devoid of starting opportunities in the second half of last season, but the sale of Diogo Jota to Liverpool has given him an increased role in the team and although he has started this season well, that did not really translate into an end product until today. He is such an enjoyable footballer to watch, with an abundance of technical ability, and he was pivotal to so many of Wolves' attacking moves. His deftly taken first-time finish from close range that sent the Palace 'keeper Guaita the other way was the cherry on top for what was a magnificent performance.
TALKING POINT - ARE HODGSON'S TACTICS TOO RIGID AND PREDICTABLE?
Roy Hodgson is a very experienced manager who has achieved a lot in his career but performances like this do make you question whether he is the right man to take Crystal Palace forward. Over the past few seasons he has shown limited tactical flexibility and they have been largely reliant on individual displays of brilliance, predominantly from Wilfried Zaha, to bail them out. It must surely frustrate Palace fans that Eberechi Eze who they beat multiple other Premier League clubs to sign for nearly £20million has not been given ample opportunity to prove himself as a starter, while there are doubts over whether 4-4-2 is a suitable system for the modern Premier League.
It is understandable that they may not have a particularly big budget compared to some of the top clubs in the league, but considering that the likes of Burnley and Southampton have arguably shown more promise and ambition on a similarly frugal budget gives Hodgson very little excuse. Perhaps it is time to bring in a younger, more innovative manager to make the most out of this admittedly limited squad.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio 7, Boly 7, Coady 7, Kilman 7, Semedo 8, Ait-Nouri 9, Dendoncker 7, Neves 8, Neto 8, Podence 9, Jimenez 7...Subs: Moutinho 6, Traore 6, Silva N/A
Crystal Palace: Guaita 6, Van Aanholt 6, Clyne 5, Dann 6, Kouyate 6, Riedewald 6, Milivojevic 4, Townsend 6, Schlupp 5, Zaha 5, Batshuayi 5...Subs: Eze 6, Ayew 6, Benteke N/A
18' - GOAL!!! Less than two minutes after Palace have a goal disallowed and less than 20 minutes into his Premier League debut, Ait-Nouri puts Wolves a goal ahead! Semedo's cross is eventually cleared out to the young left-back and he strikes it first time on his left foot as he rushes into the box and the ball bounces into the bottom right corner at speed.
24' - OOHH!! Wolves go close again as Dendoncker's shot from range ricochets off the woodwork! The pass was a bit difficult to control, but he did well to tame it and hit it on the half volley, with the dipping shot almost beating Guaita.
27' - GOAL!!! Podence makes it two goals to nil with a very calm, composed finish! Jimenez brings the ball from deep, plays it out wide to Neves in acres of space, then the midfielder's low cross reaches Podence who sends Guaita the wrong way with his deft first-touch finish.
37' - IT'S A PENALTY!! Zaha plays a through ball into Van Aanholt in the box and he's clipped by Willy Boly and a penalty is given. Some suggestions that Van Aanholt may have initiated the contact, but the referee Martin Atkinson is adamant he was fouled.
40' - WAIT, IT'S BEEN OVERTURNED!! A VAR check shows that Van Aanholt was offside when he made his run and it's more misery for Crystal Palace as their penalty gets overturned.
45+1' - WOW!! Not 100% sure if that's a pass or shot... Podence has the ball in lots of space about 40 yards from goal and either notices Palace 'keeper Guaita is off his line or the run into space from Jimenez and floats the ball into the box. It very nearly ends up in the top right corner of the net but Guaita manages to get a hand to it.
47' - CLOSE!! Big opportunity for Palace after the restart as a clearance from a Milivojevic free-kick falls to Townsend. He tests Patricio with a deflected volley from range but it's well saved.
60' - CLOSE!! Neto picks out Dendoncker at the far post with a deep cross, but his first time volley sails wide and it's a missed opportunity for Wolves to wrap up the game.
87' - AND HE'S OFF! Sizeable delay as VAR checks whether Martin Atkinson should have shown Milivojevic a red card for his studs-up challenge on Moutinho and he goes over to the monitor to take a closer look at it. After doing so, he rightfully sends off the Crystal Palace captain for what was a very dangerous tackle.