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Mateta ´finishing everything that comes to him´ as Palace rout Villa

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 May 2024

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Jean-Philippe Mateta is “finishing everything that comes to him”, according to his Crystal Palace team-mate Eberechi Eze.

Palace thumped fourth-placed Aston Villa 5-0 at home on the last day of the Premier League season to seal an unlikely top-10 finish, with Mateta scoring a hat-trick and Eze adding two goals of his own.

They ended the season with a seven-match unbeaten run under Oliver Glasner, who made a huge impact after replacing Roy Hodgson in February.

Mateta has been a huge beneficiary, as since Glasner’s first game in charge on February 24, he has scored 13 Premier League goals, which is more than any other player in the competition.

He ended the campaign with 16 top-flight goals, putting him level with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen in the scoring charts. Only Andrew Johnson has netted more for the Eagles across a single campaign in the competition, when he netted 21 in 2004-05.

“He is what I’m playing for,” Eze said about Mateta, per Palace’s official website.

“He is finishing everything that comes to him, which makes our life a lot easier when I’m playing for him, so it’s good.

“I did come close [to a hat-trick myself], but the most important thing is putting in good performances. We’re all going to flourish, we’re all going to have games where we score.

“We’re preparing the work and we’re doing the work before we go on to the pitch, so we’re enjoying it, that’s the main thing.”

The match also saw Mateta become just the second Frenchman to score in seven home Premier League home appearances in a row, after Thierry Henry for Arsenal between May and October 2004.

Eze has also finished the season with a flourish, ending the campaign with 11 goals and four assists.

Mateta is among those who have called for him to earn a place in the England squad for Euro 2024.

“Of course it’s an honour [to play for your country],” said Eze. “It would be a great experience.

“I think it is a dream for any player to play in any big tournament. But the main thing, I’m being realistic. It is what it is: if I get a call, I get a call.

“But the main thing is doing what I need to do for my club, and that’s the performance.”

Villa are the first side to concede five or more goals in their first and final matches of a top-flight season since Manchester City in 1962-63, having been beaten 5-1 at Newcastle on the opening weekend.

But they were magnificent in between those two losses, enjoying a campaign to remember as they qualified for the Champions League, confounding pre-season expectations.

“Thank you to our supporters because even today they were with us,” said Villa boss Unai Emery after Sunday’s loss.

“We achieved our objective on Tuesday [when UCL qualification was confirmed] and we did everything we could with our supporters in Villa Park on Monday [in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool].

“They were travelling here to be with us, supporting us so we are disappointed with the result, but we have to accept it.

“We have to be happy and share with our supporters the whole season, not just today. Every match is very important and we lost, but we’d achieved our target.

“We have to accept it and keep going forward. Now it’s time to rest and try to follow our players with their national teams and prepare as best as possible the next season.

“We have to enjoy the season we did and we’re very excited for the next season, but we have to take our time now.”

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SoccerNews

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