Saints 2-0 Palace
Crystal Palace slipped to their third consecutive two nil defeat as two goals in two second half minutes guided Southampton to their first Premier League win at St Marys since March. Another Mile Jedinak mistake was punished by Osvaldo giving Pochettino’s men the lead just two minutes after the restart and just moments later England striker Rickie Lambert curled a free kick over Speroni’s wall and in off the post to seal the points.
There was controversy before the two goals, however. With twenty seven minutes on the clock Marouane Chamakh burst into the Southampton penalty area and with only Boruc to beat elected to try and round the Polish keeper. As the Palace number twenty nine knocked the ball past the stopper he looked for contact and found it but to the dislike of the referee who produced a yellow card for diving. The differing opinions of Holloway and Chamakh mirror the differing opinion of pundits and fans alike.
“Chamakh looks to have dived and I am not happy about that.”
“Chamakh looks to have dived and I am not happy about that” said Holloway. “He touched me, that is certain. The referee can’t tell me ‘no, he didnt’. I don’t think that the referee took into account that I had a chance to score” countered the Morocco centre forward. You’ve certainly seen them given, you’d be annoyed if it was given against Palace but you wouldn’t be surprised if it was given if it had happened at the other end of the pitch. In an ideal world, Chamakh would have just buried the keeper when he was twelve yards from goal. As it stand he has gone down very easily which is a little disappointing to see.
That being said a series of pundits said that it should have been a penalty. So, we can feel aggrieved.
“Panic on the streets of London” Morrissey, with The Smiths, once sang. This result has led to panic on the streets of South London, leaving most in a mood none to dissimilar to the mood of any given song by The Smiths (that’s “depressive” for my younger readers).
"As a majority of the Red N Blue Army appear to contemplate suicide, I actually sit here relatively relaxed."
As a majority of the Red N Blue Army appear to contemplate suicide, I actually sit here relatively relaxed. If you refer back to our Swansea Match Report you will see that Southampton are one of the teams that I fully expect to take four-six points from us this season. I will talk about this at more length in the next issue of Flying High Magazine and will thus keep it brief here by saying that the Saints are just simply not one of the teams that we need to beat to stay up.
Instead I will talk about Southampton’s start to last season. After six games they had three points, identical to Palace’s record this year. Furthermore, Southampton gained only one point in the next four games to sit on just four points and rock bottom of the Premier League after ten games. Come May Southampton were 14th in the table and fears of relegation were but distant memories. All of this was achieved with a mere eight victories. Think Hull, Cardiff, Newcastle, Stoke, West Ham, Norwich, Fulham and West Brom at home. All winnable games and all being played at a time when our squad should finally be settled state.
I implore you all. Don’t panic just yet!
Holloway has talked a lot about having sixteen new signings with a lack of time for them to gel. Whether or not you believe that he is to blame for signing said players too late or whether you believe that he selected the correct twenty five or not etc... The fact is that it has happened. Rome was not built in a day just as a brand new team cannot be expected to be brilliant over night.
"Muzza and Wilf accounted for 49% of our goals last season. Taking that sort of production out of any team is going to hurt."
It is not Ian Holloway’s fault that he has had to build an entire new squad! With Zaha heading to Manchester United and Glenn Murray picking up his long term injury, we have effectively lost the two players that got us promoted last season. Muzza and Wilf accounted for 49% of our goals last season. Taking that sort of production out of any team is going to hurt. It is not often that a team starts a season after promotion with a team that is worse than the one that achieved promotion. Sadly we are in this position and Holloway and his team have done the best they can to replace what we have lost in the off season.
There were once again more signs in the first half of this match that the team is starting to show some togetherness and understanding of each other’s play. Southampton were held at bay with relative ease in the first half and we could have easily gone into the break with a lead.
"We Could be sat on nine points now and all proclaiming Ian Holloway a genius."
Look at it this way. If, and I appreciate that they are big if’s, Gayle scores at Old Trafford at 0-0 when clean through and Chamakh scores in the first half of this game then there is a chance that we would be sat on nine points now and all proclaiming Ian Holloway a genius. Instead, individual mistakes are killing us. Jedinak gives the ball away at Old Trafford and suddenly we are down to ten men and a goal down and Jedinak gives that ball away at Southampton and is punished. This can even be extended to the Stoke match where we blow a lead with two shocking attempts at defending in our only real bad five minutes of the game. The concentration levels need to improve to eradicate these kind of mistakes but, taking into account these moments in isolation where taking our chances could have completely changes the game, perhaps we are not as far off the pace as many seem to think.
What did they say on Match of the Day?
“They haven’t done much wrong” said the Everton boss, Martinez. Meanwhile, Alan Hansen sat on his sofa at home and was furious at not getting the opportunity to spurt his rubbish once more on the BBC. Not much said about the Palace, so not much more to say.
Man of the Match: Joel Ward
I said at the start of the season that he is my tip for Palace ‘Player of the Season’ and I still stand by my statement. After missing two games through injury, he slotted straight back in as if he had never been away and Southampton got little change down our right hand side.
Another solid performance from the Palace fans in the crowd, occupying the corner of yet another next to silent Premier League stadium. I am old enough to remember the Dell and the atmosphere that was created there. I can only imagine that the older Southampton fans are embarrassed by the 2013 edition of their fans. No home win for six months, two nil up and silent? I’d still be partying and singing a day later if it was Palace.
Up Next: Liverpool
We have proved to be a bit of a bogey team for Liverpool in the past but I cant see much past another loss. I will, however, be looking for a little more spirit from the boys, a little more shirt earning and a performance that can give us a bit of confidence going into the following fixture, a must win home match against Fulham.