Crystal Palace will regret their missed opportunities
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 –
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