Crystal Palace 43%
Crystal Palace 11
Crystal Palace 4
Crystal Palace 8
Crystal Palace 15
Referee : Mike Dean
Attendance : 24,565
- Match Report
- Teams & Interviews
Crystal Palace v Saints
Selhurst Park, Friday 26th December 2014
> Another tactical triumph for Koeman
> Saints back in fourth place in the League
Match Report :
As a fair number of us seem to have been ill over Christmas, I thought that I would do this report from the point of view of the sick. It was a cracking Boxing Day performance by Saints and certainly contributed to me feeling a lot better. In the IBO Forum post match thread I saw shirleymush had posted the following :
Well that's cheered me up no end, I've been f_cking bedridden since Christmas Eve, but that could hardly have been more enjoyable.
Mane proving his worth gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. He was electrifying- MOTM. Scored one, made one and I hope the meanies will recognise how well he played. I also hope the bastard gets knocked out in the first round of the ACON and gets his arse back to Mushtown pronto.
Palace are completely devoid of imagination but had us under pressure once we'd taken the lead. As soon as we got to HT at 1-0 though I knew we'd win, as Koeman seems to be so good at sorting things out during the interval.
The football we played at the start of the second half was Saints at their best. JWP's movement, incisive passing and set piece delivery makes such a difference. Sublime pass for Mane's goal, great ball in for Toby's.
We won that game without key players being at their best and it was disappointing to let in a goal against a team that limited, but we had that cutting edge back, and yet another academy kid made his debut... although Jason McCarthy looks far too big to have come through our system and the first thing he did was hit a long ball (I'm going to include an extraneous exclamation mark here to denote that I'm not really judging him on the basis of either of these factors)!
This version of 3-5-2, with JWP playing closer to the front two, allowed us to dominate the game a lot more than we did against Everton. There could be an awkward conversation with Les Reed on the horizon if we keep having such success with it, although in reality I suspect ‘The Southampton Way’ is less about a formation than a philosophy.
26th December 2014
My abbreviated report :
I managed to separate myself from the rest of the family to watch the match and it was really worth the effort. From the off Saints looked sharp and purposeful. In particular Mané was causing all sorts of problems to the Palace defence. At the other end, Saints looked comfortable playing three central defenders in Alderweireld, Gardos and the impressively improved Yoshida.
We didn't have to wait too long for the first goal when, with a wonderfully weighted pass, James Ward-Prowse found Mané, who ran free, rounded the keeper and from an acute angle, slotted the ball home.
All too easy, but we had to wait a long time for the next goal. For the rest of the first half Palace stepped up the pressure, but on the rare occasions that they worked an opening, the impressive frame of Fraser Forster seemed to form an impregnable barrier.
Saints came out for the second half like a whirlwind and almost immediately there was a lovely piece of interplay between Mané and Bertrand, which ended with the left back thudding the ball in the net.
Almost straight from the kick-off Saints retrieved the ball and won a corner. Ward-Prowse swung in a great cross, which was always moving away from the goalie and there was Alderweireld rising to firmly head home his first goal for Saints.
To say that took the wind out of the Palace sails was an understatement and when Warnock took off crowd favourite Bolasie, with 20 minutes still to play he was greeted with chants of 'You don't know what you're doing' from the home fans.
The only blot on an otherwise faultless afternoon, was when a Palace corner was headed home, rather too easily by Dann, with less than five minutes to go. It didn't mean anything in the general scheme of things and Crystal Palace were well beaten.
Playing five across the back, with the full backs pushing forward, has suddenly made the team look more threatening going forward and more chances are being created. After two games using variations of this formation and with three goals scored by Saints in each, we fans can approach the Chelsea game in a slightly more positive frame of mind than before.
27th December 2014
After this went to press Crystal Palace announced that Neil Warnock had been sacked as manager with immediate effect, the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season. He lasted just four months.
01 Speroni, 03 Mariappa, 06 Dann, 27 Delaney Booked, 02 Ward, 18 McArthur, 15 Jedinak, 28 Ledley (Zaha - 67’ ), 42 Puncheon, 10 Campbell (Gayle - 49’ ), 07 Bolasie (Kelly - 72’ )
04 Hangeland, 11 Zaha, 13 Hennessey, 14 Thomas, 16 Gayle, 25 Bannan, 34 Kelly
23 Forster, 02 Clyne (McCarthy - 87’ ), 05 Gardos, 17 Alderweireld, 03 Yoshida, 21 Bertrand, 16 Ward-Prowse, 08 Davis (Wanyama - 56’ ), 04 Schneiderlin, 10 Mané, 19 Pellè (Long - 72’ )
01 Davis, 07 Long, 11 Tadic, 12 Wanyama, 28 Reed, 32 McCarthy, 33 Targett
Crystal Palace post-game interview with Ronald Koeman
A happy Ryan Bertrand post match
Toby Alderweireld on his first goal for Saints and Chelsea next up