Saints 1-0 Crystal Palace
There were early signs that Southampton’s recent misfortunes were likely to turn against Crystal Palace: only Alderweireld remains missing (although Davis is curiously relegated to the bench these days) while the visitors had Jedinak and Murray suspended, to add to injuries to the effective Chamakh, amongst others. A lot of fans have seen enough of a side short on confidence in the past few weeks and the crowd at St. Mary’s seemed less than the official 28,351 – and to be honest the no-shows didn’t miss terribly much.
Djuričić got the start ahead of Tadić and supplied a couple of early runs before fading, as is his wont. Alan Pardew’s side may have concluded this was a game to attack after the interval, and Forster would have been relieved that Puncheon’s powerful shot was close enough to him to save. The keeper soon had to save from Bolasie as well, and Fonte didn’t help things as he was caught in possession trying to clear, allowing Zaha to go even closer with a shot against the post.
It may have woken Saints up, or maybe the introduction of Tadić for Elia gee-ed them up as a decent enough chance was finally created – Yoshida failed to get sufficient on a cross from Schneiderlin. Then Long came on for the forlorn Pellè, followed, crucially, by Ward-Prowse for Djuričić. It made the difference thanks to Speroni spilling the midfielder’s shot and Mané, always our most threatening forward, was first to the loose ball. On came Ameobi as Palace switched to the sort of tactic that had seen them victorious in the Cup, but a Premier League win against the Saints still eludes them as Saints held on for a morale boosting three points ahead of their break in Switzerland: “we don’t train, we do different activities – in the snow,” according to Ronnie.
LSSC Man of the Match: Sadio Mané, because that goal was more important than individual performances.