Second half goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg helped Southampton to their first league win of the season, beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.
There was little between either side in the first half, as clear chances were at a premium. Wayne Hennessey had to be alert to prevent Southampton taking the lead through an own goal, tipping Luka Milivojevic’s header over, while Christian Benteke should’ve given Crystal Palace the lead with a header of his own, but current direct it on target after Alex McCarthy flapped at a cross.
The second half however was far more entertaining, as Danny Ings broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart. It could’ve been more for the Saints, with Charlie Austin seeing his penalty saved and Mohammed Elyounoussi hitting the bar as they looked to extend their lead.
Palace had plenty of opportunities for an equaliser, the best being when James McArthur rattled the woodwork from distance, but couldn’t find a way past new England team member Alex McCarthy as Hojbjerg wrapped up the game in added time.
Key Talking Point
Despite the best efforts of Roy Hodgson’s side, the Eagles looked bereft of real quality in the final third throughout the game, with the absence of Wilfried Zaha a telling one.
Prior to today’s game, Palace had lost their last 12 Premier League games when the Ivorian was unavailable, and he looked a big miss for the home side who couldn’t apply the finishing touch in the final third when the quality was needed.
It will be a worry for Hodgson when his star player is unavailable in the future, as some of his squad failed to step up to help fill the void left by Zaha.
Starting XI: Hennessey (8); Wan-Bissaka (6), Kelly (6), Sakho (5), Van Aanholt (6); Townsend, Milivojevic (6), McArthur (8), Schlupp (6); Benteke (5), Ayew (5)
Substitutes: Kouyate (6), Meyer (6), Sorloth (6)
STAR MAN – One man who definitely didn’t deserve to be on the losing side was James McArthur, who was excellent in midfield for the Eagles.
Playing in a two alongside Milivojevic, the the Scot proved he could do it all in the middle of the park, offering energy, industry and often the quality on the ball to try and get his side back into the game.
He was desperately unlucky to see his curling effort strike the woodwork in the second half, as his display deserved a goal, while Wayne Hennessey deserves a mention for a number of key saves, including from the penalty to deny Charlie Austin.
WORST PLAYER – It was another tough afternoon for Christian Benteke, who simply can’t buy a goal at the minute.
His latest blank in front of goal means it’s three goals in his last 35 Premier League appearances, as the Belgian striker looks bereft of both confidence and the shooting instinct that helped him make a name for himself at Aston Villa.
Benteke spurned a number of great chances for Palace, which could’ve earned Palace at least a point, yet his misses means it’s a third consecutive defeat for his side.
Key Talking Point
After a rather drab first half, Southampton came out the blocks well in the second half, scoring two minutes after the restart, with the link up between Ings and Shane Long a real positive for Hughes side.
While Long challenged Soares’ long ball, Ings peeled off looking for the second ball, and was rewarded, beating Martin Kelly and slotting past Hennessey to take the lead. There were glimpses of a genuine partnership between the two throughout the game, which could bode well for the Saints, who will look to kick on after registering their first league win.
Starting XI: McCarthy (8*); Soares (6), Vestergaard (6), Hoedt (6), Bertrand (6); Elyounoussi (5), Hojbjerg (7), Lemina (7), Redmond (6); Long (7), Ings (8)
Substitutes: Austin (5), Targett (6), Romeu (6)
STAR MAN – Ings broke the deadlock and Hojbjerg confirmed the win, but Alex McCarthy made sure of the three points with a number of crucial saves to keep his side in front.
Denying Benteke on more than one occasion in the game, he was a big reason as to why the Saints left Selhurst Park with the win, and will now head with the England squad full of confidence following his impressive start to the season.
WORST PLAYER – Struggling to adapt after his summer move from Basel, Mohammed Elyounoussi looked off the pace against Crystal Palace.
The winger failed to get into the game on the whole, who eventually got the hook with just under 20 minutes remaining as Hughes looked to sure up his side.
He could’ve departed the game with a goal, but fired his rebound off the crossbar after Hennessey saved Nathan Redmond’s initial effort when he should’ve scored, summing up his afternoon at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace drop to 15th in the table following their third consecutive league defeat, and will have to wait two weeks before their next game due to the international break, when they travel to Huddersfield.
For Southampton, they jump up to 10th after their first league win, and will be full confidence for their home game against Brighton once the international break is over.
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Original Article: https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/09/01/crystal-palace-0-2-southampton-report-ratings-reaction-saints-record-first-league-win
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