Match Opinion: Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Three games in six days, we were tired, injury ravaged team but we came back to win!

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Palace travelled south to play their 3rd game in 6 days with tiredness and mounting injuries, could Palace win at Southampton for the first time since 1990?

Match Facts

General Information

  • Date: 2nd January 2018
  • Competition: English Premier League
  • Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium
  • Attendance: 28,411
  • Referee: S. Attwell

Match Result

Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace 
Yellow Cards Fosu-Mensah 57′
Red Cards
Long 17′ Goal Scorers McArthur 69′, Milivojevic 80′

The Expat Eagle’s Verdict

The last time Crystal Palace won at Southampton in the league was on 24th November 1990. Of course, back then it was at The Dell rather than St. Mary’s Stadium.

I remember the game well because 5 minutes before kick-off I joked with my two friends that Richard Shaw would score an own goal. Just five minutes into the game he did just that and both friends turned to me with a look of shock on their faces.

The two reasons I lived to tell the tale are that we ended up winning 3-2 and I drove us down there.

I had a similar prediction 15 minutes before kick off when I, like many other’s, predicted Shane Long would end his 1320 minute, or 11 months, goal drought. The other prediction was that the bloody world youth ice hockey match on Canadian TV would overrun and delay them showing our game. They did.

The game finally came onto my screen after about 13 minutes of play. Within 5 minutes we were a goal down and people on Twitter were jokingly asking for the ice hockey to come back on the stream.

In the first half, Palace were like the pitch. Boggy, slow and not nice to look at. Southampton had problems with drainage and water wasn’t able to leave the pitch as it was pissing down with rain. If I was a more cynical person I’d think they did it on purpose because they knew we’d be the more tired of the two teams…

The second half started much the same as the first ended. We looked leggy. Cabaye went off at half-time with van Aanholt replacing him. This saw us change formation to a 442. We still didn’t appear to be getting much joy when on 64 minutes Sako replaced Schlupp. Van Aanholt moved to left-back, Zaha back on the wing and Sako was up to with Benteke.

Benteke had yet another poor game but 5 minutes after the switch he won a header in the box which gave McArthur a chance at the far post to smash the ball into the roof of the net.

Game on!

Palace were very much the team in the ascendency and were pressing for a winner. Interestingly the Southampton manager had similar ideas and brought on two attacking substitutes in Gabbiadini and Redmond at a time when I was thinking he should be trying to keep things tight. No dought he wanted to give us something to think about. It didn’t work!

On the 80 minute mark, Townsend was running down the right wing. He passed to Sako in the box who played the ball back out to Townsend who then played a square ball across to Milivojevic, who was just outside the D.

There looked to be no danger and like myself, the Southampton players must have thought he’d make a pass. Instead, he hit the ball, first time, with the side of his boot and put the ball into the left-hand corner of the goal.

Had the goal been scored by a Hoddle or de Bryne people might say he passed it into the net. And that is exactly what I’ll say because the ball seemed to bounce on the goal line with the Southampton keeper on the other side of the goal.

All of my years of experience caught up with me and with 10 minutes left I went from enjoying the game to being anxious as hell waiting for the final whistle.

In the end, we got over the line safely, Southampton didn’t trouble our goal in the final minutes.

When the final whistle went Milivojevic bent over, fist pumped and screamed “YEAH!” which I think sums up the guy. Not taking anything away from the rest of the team but you could see that win, that goal meant everything to him.

Luka Milivojevic is everything a Crystal Palace player should be. He runs his arse off, never gives up, has flaws and is passionate about winning. He should be Crystal Palace captain!

The stats say Milivojevic ran over 12km versus Manchester City and another 11km versus Southampton. He ran the most of any Palace player in both games. That speaks volumes.

Just a note on why Milivojevic didn’t get stick from me for missing the penalty versus City. He had just run 12km and was knackered. He was the designated penalty taker. And he looked utterly heartbroken at the miss. The penalty was an awful one but he didn’t break a rule, argue with people to take it, do a stupid slow run-up, etc. I expect he’ll learn from his miss and not be cocky to think he can do the same thing again.

The last two misses by Bentekle and Milivojevic are chalk and cheese.

On the subject of Benteke, he had another awful game. In the first-half, he didn’t look like he wanted to be there. Sure he won the header for McArthur’s equaliser but other than that he had 2 goal attempts. One went wide and the other was blocked inside the D.

We need to file a missing person’s report because someone had taken our £30m striker and replaced him with a League 2 version.

On Twitter, someone said they wish we still had Fraizer Campbell. Someone else mocked the original poster by saying “No thanks, I prefer someone who can score goals!” to which the original poster came back “Me too and that ain’t Benteke!”

Verdict: The players dug in to come back from a goal down. It was their 3rd game in 6 days and we got 4 points from 9. I’m happy with that when you consider it was Arsenal, Manchester City and Southampton.

The goals can be found here.

Player Ratings

Southampton (4231) 6.60 Crystal Palace (4231) 6.84
McCarthy
Pied
Bertrand
Stephens
Yoshida (C)
Romeu
Hojbjerg
Ward-Prouse
Tadic
Boufal
Long
6.1
7.3
7.2
5.9
5.7
7.4
6.9
6.6
6.7
6.6
7.5
Hennessey
Fosu-Mensah
Schlupp
Tomkins
Kelly
McArthur
Milivojevic
Cabaye (C)
Townsend
Zaha
Benteke
6.6
6.2
6.3
6.8
6.6
7.8
7.8
5.7
8.0
6.9
7.6
Davis (Ward-Prouse 70′)
Gabbiadini (Hojbjerg 75′)
Redmond (Tadic 79′)
Bednarek
Lemina
Targett
Forster (G)
5.9
5.8
5.9
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
van Aanholt (Cabaye 46′)
Sako (Schlupp 64′)
Delaney
Lee Chung-Yong
Riedewald
Souare
Speroni (G)
6.5
6.2
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a

Match rating courtesy of WhoScored.

Match Statistics

Southampton
1-2
Crystal Palace
61
10
3
7
0
11
4
1
2
8
0
559
26
Ball Possession %
Goal Attempts
On Target
Off Target
Blocked Shots
Free Kicks
Corner Kicks
Offsides
Goalkeeper Saves
Fouls
Yellow Cards
Total Passes
Tackles
39
11
4
4
3
9
7
0
2
11
1
352
15

Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.

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