Southampton v Crystal Palace
30th January 2019
Another game, another goal for James Ward-Prowse
IBO Reporter : channonite
Intro and Team
Hopes were high leading up to the game, Saints were resurgent after all and Crystal Palace are, well, inconsistent. With the ten day break since the last game, much was being made about the players recovery from various knocks and the hard work being put in on the training pitch. Funny thing is that Saints have history of being a bit crap after breaks like this and they didn't do anything in this match to dispel that impression.
Good Ralph seems to have settled on a goalkeeper and back line which will probably continue barring injury for the rest of the season. Maybe Maya Yoshida will get a look-in when he returns from international duty. The wing backs are now Yan Valery on the right, following Cédric's departure and Targett on the left, pending Ryan Bertrand's recovery from his back injury.
The midfield looks similarly settled with Romeu, Højbjerg and Ward-Prowse, while the front two are Redmond and Ings. Although Ings does not seem to be able to make a whole 90 minutes, but there is always Shane Long to come on for the last twenty, or thirty minutes and run about a bit.
Right before kick-off there was a moving moment of silence for Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala, recently signed from Nantes by Cardiff, who had disappeared while flying in a light plane from Nantes to South Wales.
The warning signs were there early on as Saints struggled to cope with the pace of the Crystal Palace forwards. Not only that, but the defence was looking strangely disorganised and in virtually their first assault on the Saints goal Vestergaard was forced to head behind for a corner, but it could so easily have gone in the net.
Saints went up to the other end, with Højbjerg sending a challenging pass to Ings, who was out wide on the right. Ings sent a teasing cross in, but there was not a single Saints player anywhere near the opposition penalty area.
From this botched attack Palace quickly broke and found Zaha on the left testing Valery. Although beaten for pace, the young Frenchman still managed to tackle and dispossess the Palace forward.
It was all of 20 minutes before Saints managed to mount any sort of serious threat on goal, when Ings found Højbjerg and the Dane's shot was on target, but tipped around the post by the goalkeeper.
All the time Saints were needlessly giving the ball away and Palace started to up the pressure, working the ball quickly around the pitch and there was a sense of nervousness among the Saints fans. When the home side did manage to get the ball, they began to give a good impression of the previous managers 'tactics', passing sideways and back.
Eventually the Palace pressure told, five minutes before half-time, with at least five of their players involved in and around the Saints penalty area, before Zaha hit a powerful drive into the bottom far corner of the goal. 0-1 and it was deservedly so.
Half-time was a time for the crowd to puzzle over why the team was so poor, having been so good against Everton in the last home match.
The second half just wasn't much of an improvement, with Palace all over Saints and a second goal for them looked just a matter of time. Fortunately their forwards were even more wasteful of the chances they were creating than Saints are.
In fact it wasn't until 15 minutes into the half that Hasenhüttl decided to change things and replaced Valery with Armstrong. Ward-Prowse dropped into the right wing-back position. Immediately Saints looked more threatening, but were still not playing well. When they were playing out from the back, Ward-Prowse kept finding himself standing in acres of space forlornly holding his arms up, but instead the defenders ploughed their way up through a congested middle of the pitch.
Eventually Hasenhüttl decided to go for it and with less than 20 minutes left replaced Vestergaard with Elyounoussi.
Still Ward-Prowse was ignored out on the right wing. He was standing screaming for someone to pass to him. It went on so long that there were a considerable number of the normally reserved members of the Kingsland Stand on their feet, also screaming and pointing at Saints No16. It didn't help, maybe he had become invisible? It certainly seemed that way as he wandered up the right, when almost all the other players were on the left. Meanwhile Højbjerg was on the byline and spotted Ward-Prowse, slotting an inch perfect pass to him. Advancing unchallenged, JWP unleashed a fierce shot, which rifled into the net. 1-1. Simple. That is three matches in a row that he has scored.
Now Saints looked as though they meant business and threatened with a great passage of play, culminating in Armstrong's shot being pushed away by the diving Guaita in the Palace goal.
The game became real end to end stuff in the last few minutes, until with just three minutes of normal time left, Zaha got involved in a tussle with Ward-Prowse on the Saints right wing. The referee, Andre Marriner came over to find a ranting Zaha and various players trying to calm him down. Marriner showed him a yellow card, only for Zaha to continue mouthing off and applauding the referee. Marriner pulled out the yellow card that he had only just put away, followed quickly by a red. Still Zaha carried on and eventually was persuaded to leave the field, still sarcastically applauding the referee on his way off. All completely self-inflicted pain.
The game ran down without and further incident and the final whistle sounded with the honours even. 1-1.
Man of the Match
Only one contender for me. With his third goal in as many matches and another tremendous performance, a round of applause please for James Ward-Prowse
Zaha just about to be shown a red, after his petulance earned him two successive yellows. Ridiculous.
Before the start there was a moving silence to remember the Argentinian player Emiliano Sala, recently signed by Cardiff, who’s light plane disappeared the previous week on a flight from Nantes to South Wales
35 Bednarek - Booked 59'
4 Vestergaard (Elyounoussi 75')
43 Valery (Armstrong 62')
23 Højbjerg - Booked 37' (Slattery 84')
29 Wan-Bissaka - Booked 47'
5 Tomkins (Dann 90'+1)
3 van Aanholt
8 Kouyaté (Schlupp 71')
4 Milivojevic - Booked 35'
14 J Ayew
11 Zaha - Dismissed 87'
Wednesday 30th January
- Ward-Prowse 77'
- Zaha 41'
Referee: Andre Marriner
- Southampton 59%
- Crystal Palace 41%
- Southampton 13
- Crystal Palace 15
Shots on Target
- Southampton 4
- Crystal Palace 3
- Southampton 3
- Crystal Palace 8
- Southampton 11
- Crystal Palace 8