Premier League
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0SunderlandSunderland1

Crystal Palace 0-1 Sunderland

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Jermain Defoe scores
Jermain Defoe (centre) capitalises on an error by Scott Dann (left)

Sunderland claimed their first away win of the season as Jermain Defoe's goal earned them victory at Crystal Palace.

The game seemed to be heading towards a draw, but in the 80th minute Defoe nicked the ball from the indecisive Scott Dann and poked in.

Prior to that, Sunderland had the best chances, defender Sebastian Coates going closest when his header was cleared off the line by Yohan Cabaye.

Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon superbly denied Cabaye after the goal.

The win moved the Black Cats up one place to 18th in the Premier League table on nine points, one behind north-east rivals Newcastle. Palace remain 10th on 19 points.

Patience a virtue for Black Cats

The goal eventually came as a result of Yannick Bolasie losing control of the ball in midfield as he tried to perform another trick, and team-mate's Dann's ambling at the back.

Sunderland clean sheet pleases Allardyce

The hard-working Defoe, who fired wide in the first half, chased down the Palace defender, pushed the ball past keeper Wayne Hennessey and slotted in.

It was his seventh goal of the season, and underlines his importance to the club despite recent reports suggesting he might leave in January. external-link

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said: "He is a classy finisher. If you want somebody to chase down what looks a lost cause [it is him].

"Defoe not giving up is why the defender and the goalkeeper messed up."

Excellent defence pays dividends for Allardyce

Prior to the match both managers stated how Sunderland would set up at the back - Palace boss Alan Pardew said it would be five while Allardyce said he would pick four.

It actually flitted from a 3-5-1-1 formation to a 5-3-1-1, although the graphic below seems to suggest Allardyce opted for an 8-1-1.

For a manager whose side conceded six goals against Everton in their last away outing, his conservatism was understandable, especially against the potent and pacy attack of Palace.

The tactic worked. Palace had plenty of possession but their attacks - led by Wilfried Zaha and Bolasie - often broke down around the area, and balls that found their way into the box were cut out by Sunderland's three centre-backs.

However, the graphic does not tell the full story. The Black Cats were dangerous on the counter-attack and looked far fitter than they did in the 6-2 loss at Goodison Park, catching Palace out on the break on several occasions.

If Steven Fletcher, Defoe or Patrick van Aanholt had provided more assured final touches, Sunderland would have been ahead in the first half.

Positions map
The right-hand side graphic demonstrates the high concentration of players Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce had playing deep during the match

Clean sheets the key for Black Cats boss

This was only Sunderland's second clean sheet in 15 games in all competitions this season, following the 3-0 win over Newcastle in October.

"It was a good solid defensive performance," Allardyce said.

"Going five at the back was something that we thought about a lot. Palace have a real threat in Bolasie and Zaha and if we played wing-backs they would go tight and stop them working their magic.

"It is no coincidence - two clean sheets, two victories and a very, very valuable three points.

"We have been conceding on average three goals a game and that just has to stop.

"Hopefully the message is getting through to the players that we have to be resilient as a team, dig in and work hard out of possession."

Happy 150th for Big Sam

It was also a good day for Allardyce on a personal level as he recorded his 150th win in the top flight.

Only four managers have won more games in the Premier League - Sir Alex Ferguson (528), Arsene Wenger (422), Harry Redknapp (236) and David Moyes (190).

Sam Allardyce

'Final pass let us down'

Pardew gave credit to Sunderland and their gameplan, but rued a lack of incisiveness in attack from his team.

Alan Pardew frustrated by defeat

"We got a lot of the ball, a lot of possession," he said. "Unfortunately we could not create a sweet moment tonight and things went the wrong way for us.

"Our crossing and final pass let us down. It was a simplistic game they played but they did it well.

"Dann tried to take Defoe and edge him out, but Defoe checked his run and got on the other side of him.

"Dann has been magnificent for us. We will have to pick ourselves up for Saturday."

Stats you need to know

  • Nine of Crystal Palace's 13 Premier League games this season have been goalless at half-time
  • Defoe has now scored seven goals in nine starts for Sunderland in all competitions this season
  • Ten of the 13 goals the Eagles have conceded in the Premier League this season have come in the second half
  • This was only Sunderland's second win in their last 16 top-flight games (D5 L9)
  • Palace have won only three of their past 11 Premier League home games (W3 D1 L7)

Coming up next

Sunderland are at home to Stoke on Saturday, before facing Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in December.

Palace manager Pardew welcomes former club Newcastle next week.


Crystal Palace

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2Ward
  • 6DannBooked at 66mins
  • 27Delaney
  • 23Souaré
  • 7Cabaye
  • 18McArthur
  • 10Bolasie
  • 42PuncheonSubstituted forSakoat 45'minutesSubstituted forBamfordat 69'minutes
  • 11Zaha
  • 21WickhamSubstituted forChamakhat 76'minutes


  • 1Speroni
  • 8Bamford
  • 15Jedinak
  • 26Sako
  • 28Ledley
  • 29Chamakh
  • 34Kelly


Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 22Coates
  • 16O'Shea
  • 15Kaboul
  • 2JonesBooked at 53mins
  • 7LarssonSubstituted forWatmoreat 60'minutes
  • 21M'VilaBooked at 67mins
  • 6Cattermole
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 26FletcherSubstituted forLensat 59'minutes
  • 18DefoeBooked at 57minsSubstituted forGrahamat 86'minutes


  • 11Johnson
  • 17Lens
  • 19Graham
  • 20Toivonen
  • 24Yedlin
  • 25Mannone
  • 41Watmore
Martin Atkinson

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamSunderland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, Sunderland 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, Sunderland 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

  4. Post update

    Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jeremain Lens (Sunderland).

  6. Post update

    Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Danny Graham (Sunderland).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

  9. Post update

    Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

  11. Post update

    Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Hand ball by Pape Souaré (Crystal Palace).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace).

  14. Post update

    John O'Shea (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Sebastián Coates.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Sebastián Coates.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. James McArthur (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Sebastián Coates.

  19. Post update

    Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Duncan Watmore (Sunderland).

As It Stood

2Man Utd138321991027
3Man City1382327131426
6West Ham136342420421
10Crystal Palace136161413119
12West Brom135261217-517
20Aston Villa1312101024-145
View full Premier League table

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