Crys­tal Palace will re­gret their missed op­por­tu­ni­ties

CityPress - - Sport -

Crys­tal Palace’s woe­ful start to the 2017/18 Premier League sea­son con­tin­ued when they were beaten 1-0 by Southamp­ton at Sel­hurst Park in Lon­don yes­ter­day, and they were left to rue a num­ber of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Lin­ing up for the first time un­der for­mer Eng­land boss Roy Hodg­son, the tac­ti­cal shift that had been made by the team since the de­par­ture of Frank de Boer was clear.

Sit­ting deep in two com­pact lines of de­fence and mid­field, Palace were con­tent to let the Saints have the ma­jor­ity of pos­ses­sion.

But the more de­fen­sive ap­proach was ex­posed in the sixth minute, when Steven Davis slid in Dušan Tadić down the right flank and his cross into the box was palmed away at the near post into the cen­tre of the box.

This pre­sented Davis with the sim­ple task of tap­ping home into an empty net from the penalty spot, which he duly did, past a de­spair­ing Joel Ward.

De­spite not see­ing much of the ball, the home side had a good chance to equalise in the 18th minute, when Ruben Loftus-Cheek broke clear down the right from an An­dros Townsend pass and sent in a cross. Chris­tian Ben­teke got in front of his man and di­verted the ball on tar­get from close range, but a sprawl­ing Fraser Forster made a su­perb re­flex save.

The im­pres­sive Loftus-Cheek looked Palace’s most dan­ger­ous at­tack­ing player. The Chelsea loa­nee went close in the 30th minute as he broke for­ward with a trade­mark barn­storm­ing run, but hit a rasp­ing ef­fort just wide of the post from out­side the box.

Af­ter the break, the vis­i­tors were again in­debted to their gi­ant keeper Forster in the 49th minute. Af­ter a pe­riod of pres­sure, Jef­frey Schlupp sent in a cross from the left, which was met by Ja­son Pun­cheon on the edge of the small box. How­ever, once again, Southamp­ton’s num­ber one showed sharp re­flexes to palm the strike away from close range.

With the rain com­ing down heav­ily in Lon­don, Southamp­ton cre­ated very lit­tle in the sec­ond half of the con­test as Palace poured for­ward in search of their first goal of the cam­paign. Yet, for all their hus­tle and bus­tle, Hodg­son’s men seemed to lack the req­ui­site qual­ity in the fi­nal third.

With the time tick­ing past 78 min­utes, Palace went longer than any Premier League side at the start of the sea­son with­out scor­ing a goal – an un­wanted record for the strug­gling side from the Lon­don bor­ough of Croy­don.

It was largely a flat sec­ond 45 min­utes for both out­fits, with very lit­tle goal­mouth ac­tion to speak of.

Mauricio Pel­le­grino rang the changes for the away side as he ran down the clock. This in­cluded the in­tro­duc­tion of Vir­gil van Dijk, who was stopped from join­ing Liverpool ahead of this cam­paign. A faint cho­rus of boos greeted his ar­rival from trav­el­ling Saints sup­port­ers.

Nev­er­the­less, de­spite their des­per­ate need, Palace sim­ply could not con­jure up an open­ing in the clos­ing stages of the en­counter.

The re­sult means the Ea­gles make un­wanted his­tory with five de­feats in a row with­out scor­ing a goal.

TEAMtalk Me­dia –

EPL RE­SULTS

Crys­tal Palace 0-1 Southamp­ton Hud­der­s­field Town 1-1 Le­ices­ter City Liverpool 1-1 Burn­ley New­cas­tle United 2-1 Stoke City Wat­ford 0-6 Manch­ester City West­tbrom 0-0 Westham Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0-0 Swansea City

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