Crystal Palace secured a pivotal Premier League victory on Saturday as they edged past West Bromwich Albion 1-0.
The win came courtesy of a Luka Milivojevic penalty after Baggies defender Darnell Furlong had handled the ball in the area.
The Serbian proved to be the match-winner in more ways than one as he put in a dominant midfield showing for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.
According to WhoScored, the £10.8m-rated midfielder was a crucial defensive influence in the centre of the park, producing a huge four tackles. This was more than centre-back Gary Cahill as no other player on the entire pitch managed to produce more tackles.
He was also an extremely positive presence on the ball, making 39 passes throughout the 90 minutes, more than anyone in the Palace team.
Milivojevic’s influence did not end there though as he also produced a further four clearances, an interception and a block. That role was pivotal then as the Baggies, who are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League, ramped up the pressure in search of an equalising goal.
Speaking of pressure, the former Olympiakos man stayed cool to convert at the key moment for the Eagles.
Eventually awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR delay, he beat Sam Johnstone with consummate ease, sending the West Brom stopper the wrong way and coolly slotting home into the bottom-right corner of the net for what was surprisingly his first Premier League goal of the campaign.
Considering Palace’s position in the table and the long delay, that spot-kick was certainly pressurised. Hodgson’s men now sit comfortably 11 points above the relegation zone thanks to the penalty and, of course, the victory, the key to that being midfielder Luka Milivojevic.