Saints 2-3 Palace
Alan Pardew maintained his 100% start as Crystal Palace manager with an impressive 3-2 win at his former club Southampton. Twice the Eagles fell behind but this is nothing new for the travelling team as they have now trailed in each of their last three games only to end up the victor.
Graziano Pelle opened the scoring on 9 minutes, prodding home a poorly defender corner, and this kicked start a frantic period with 4 goals in 11 first half minutes. Man of the match Marouane Chamakh levelled just 2 minutes later as a flowing Palace move ended with Frasier Forster in the Saints goal parrying a Yaya Sanogo shot into his six yard box where the Moroccan reacted quickest to slide in the equaliser.
A mere 5 minutes later Palace gifted Southampton a second lead when Scott Dann prodded past his own goalkeeper but again the lead was short lived as Sanogo's deflected shot made it 2-2 on 21 minutes.
Then came the final goal and goal of the game on 39 minutes. Joel Ward nipped in front of Elia to break up a Southampton move and found Zaha. The winger strode forward and Ward overlapped. Zaha returned the ball to Ward who clipped a delightful ball in behind the defence and found Chamakh who had made a run from deep. The former Arsenal man expertly controlled on his chest, rounded the keeper and slotted home from a tight angle.
Wayne Hennessey made a superb stop late on to deny Elia from the edge of the box as Palace held on to claim a place in the 5th round of the FA Cup for the first time in 5 years.
A run of games and he is turning back into the Wilfried Zaha that we all know and love. He played an important part in all three goals and was completely unplayable at points. Great vision and weight of pass created the first, an outrageously good first touch created the second and his drive at the Southampton defence created the third.
It has been talked about a lot but if we can get him back on a permanent deal then we should as if he is recapturing the form that got him the move to Manchester United then I would rather it be us that benefit from it long term than which ever team United might sell to in the future.
Back at right back and back to his best. Most will remember his game for the Chamakh assist but some of the tackles that he made in this game were top drawer. Completely outshone his opposite number Nathaniel Clyne on the day.
His excellent save from Elia aside, I am not sure that he did himself any favours yesterday.
There is a myth amongst Palace fans that Julian Speroni does not command his area when in fact he has caught the fourth most crosses in the Premier League this season. Sure you could argue that we potentially have more crosses put into our box but with Joe Hart ahead of him in this stat this could rubbish that argument.
Both goals that we conceded yesterday shows that Wayne has some way to go yet before he can replace Speroni in an all around sense. Just because he is tall it does not automatically make him a commanding goalkeeper.
Don't get me wrong. I have seen enough of Hennessey to hope that he sticks around and eventually takes over as our number one, but I would not be so quick to write of Speroni just yet.
Man of the Match: Marouane Chamakh
On Holmesdale Radio last week I was defending what seemed the minority opinion that 'if Chamakh is fit then he has to start'. A large majority of the contacts into the show and most of the presenters on it seemed to disagree. Sometimes it is nice to be able to say 'I told you so'.
What summed up his performance yesterday was not his goals, work rate and all around team play. It was the fact that we completely lost a grip when he was taken off. We were in control of the game up until the moment he was substituted and from that point on Southampton had next to all of the ball and applied pressure on us that they had not been able to do previously in the game.
People laugh at me, especially Arsenal supporting mates, but I don't care what you think when I say that he, technically speaking, is the best player we have had at the club since Attilio Lombardo.
It was so good in the first half that this happened.
Good effort whoever you are lad! I've certainly never thrown up in the middle of a goal celebration before!
Up Next: Everton - Game number 200!
This match will be my 200th consecutive Palace match and, somewhat incredulously, a win could see us move 3 points clear of the Toffees with 23 games of the season gone!
Look out for Flying High Magazine as well as this will include my highlights, and lowlights, from this 200 game period.
Come on you Palace!