Saints Shatter Palace
Southampton secured their first home win of the season over Crystal Palace to temporarily move into the Champions League places, as the Eagles plummeted to 19th, with only 3 points […]
Southampton secured their first home win of the season over Crystal Palace to temporarily move into the Champions League places, as the Eagles plummeted to 19th, with only 3 points from 6 games.
Saints have been in mixed form up to this match. Wins over Liverpool and West Brom had been tempered by dropping points at home to bottom of the table Sunderland.
Having spent £35m in the summer to ensure a top half finish, these are the sort of games Saints should be taking easily in their stride, and aside from a few nervy moments in the first half, there was no real danger from the visitors.
Palace, in contrast, had lost their best player of the summer in Wilfried Zaha, and replaced him up front with mediocrity in the form of Cameron Jerome (10 goals in last 85 PL games) and Marouane Chamakh (9 goals in 48 PL games). This poor forward line was one of the major proponents in Palace’s demise at St Mary’s.
Whilst Southampton started the game with their usual slow-paced possession based build up play, Crystal Palace looked to counter with the pace of Jimmy Kebe, who put in a good performance. Palace had the ball in numerous good positions in the first half, but a bit more composure would’ve put the ball on a plate for one of the other forwards.
Saint’s first chance arrived after 5 minutes, with Schniederlin almost squeezing the ball under the bar from a header following pinball in the box, with former Pompey defender Joel Ward clearing off the line. Rickie Lambert then went close, firing narrowly wide of the angle following good build up play from Italian centre forward Dani Osvaldo and Adam Lallana. Lambert then went close again from a free kick, which Palace keeper Julian Speroni looked less than comfortable with after it bounced in front of him.
Then came the big talking point of the game. Chamakh was put through on goal with only Boruc to beat. Having taken a heavy touch he threw himself to the ground, and was promptly booked for diving, with the previously buoyant away fans silenced as they realised no penalty was given. The half then petered out somewhat, with no notable chances or incidents to note.
Mauricio Pochettino must have then given the teamtalk to end all teamtalks, as Saints came out all guns blazing, with Dani Osvaldo slaloming around a couple of defenders before firing powerfully into the bottom corner to send St Mary’s into ecstasy. The lead was doubled almost immediately after as Osvaldo won a free kick, which Lambert curled beautifully into the top corner, giving Speroni no chance.
Holloway brought on the trio of Kevin Phillips, Cameron Jerome and Jerome Thomas to try to get back in the game, but by this point the contest was over, with only a glaring miss from Jerome and an offside goal from Rodriguez late on to come.