Report: Crystal Palace 3-0 Southampton

By SFC Media time Sat 03 Dec Palace vs Saints
Sat 03 Dec 3PM
Premier League
Crystal Palace
Benteke [33' 85'] Tomkins [36']
Tomkins (37') McArthur (55') Benteke (70')
yellow card
Austin (51')
Referee: Neil Swarbrick | Venue: Selhurst Park | Attendance: 25,393

Southampton were defeated at Selhurst Park for the second time in as many seasons with a 3-0 loss in south London.

All three strikes were close range finishes which eased the pressure on Palace who had lost all of their previous six Premier League games.

Although there hadn’t been much to choose between the teams in the first half, Palace struck twice in the opening 45 minutes through Christian Benteke and James Tomkins which gave the hosts some much needed breathing space.

Saints were improved in the second half, but couldn’t find a way through, leaving Palace to put the icing on their cake with a third goal with five minutes remaining from Benteke, ensuring that Claude Puel's men remain without an away win in the league since September. 

José Fonte, Oriol Romeu and Charlie Austin were among those who returned to the starting line up from the midweek win over Arsenal in the EFL Cup.

The visitors got the game under way in their changed strip of black and grey, but despite a confident looking start from Saints, it took a little while for the contest to settle.

The only chance of the opening 20 minutes seeing Scott Dann make a block on Sofiane Boufal’s shot after the Moroccan’s neat turn on the edge of the area.

Boufal’s trickery continued to open up the Palace backline, with his skill creating a shooting opportunity for Bertrand in the 23rd minute, and the full back saw his strike deflected into the side-netting off James McArthur’s leg.

Saints were comfortable in possession, and remained untroubled early on, with Zaha’s cross from the right headed narrowly wide of the target by Benteke.

Zaha and fellow Eagles winger Andros Townsend switched flanks, but the goal that changed the flow of the game then arrived on 33 minutes.

Fonte’s pass back to Forster bounced off the ‘keeper’s right foot as he attempted to clear with his left, and the ball broke kindly for Benteke who tapped the ball into the net from a couple of yards out to give the hosts a surprise lead.

Fraser Forster during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Southampton at Selhurst Park, London, England on 3 December 2016. Photo by Matt Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Forster reflects on Palace's opener

Still reeling from that setback, Saints fell further behind just three minutes later. A corner from Puncheon fell invitingly for the onrushing James Tomkins who crashed in a close range finish to double the hosts’ advantage.

Although shocked by the quickfire goals, Saints responded well, and had three good chances inside the last five minutes of the first half. Boufal tested Hennessey from distance, and then in stoppage time Redmond fired narrowly over from the right, before Højbjerg volleyed just wide of the left post.

Joel Ward worked Forster as Palace set about increasing their lead after the interval, but Saints soon got back up to speed, with Boufal shooting over at the far post from Redmond's cross, and then Austin saw a shot deflected behind for a corner.

Fonte felt he could have had a penalty when Scott Dann tussled with him inside the Palace area, and there was an even stronger claim when Ward-Prowse’s shot deflected off the arm of an Eagles defender.

Before the hour mark Højbjerg was withdrawn in favour of Josh Sims, with the youngster placed further up the pitch alongside Austin in a change of shape from Puel.

In the 66th minute Sims was played into the area by Boufal, and the Saints academy graduate was afforded space to cut back onto his left foot, but couldn’t keep his shot down with his effort going over the bar.

Sofiane Boufal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Southampton at Selhurst Park, London, England on 3 December 2016. Photo by Matt Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Boufal takes the game to the hosts in the second half

Ryan Bertrand fired a low shot on target which Hennessey got across to, before Saints went for broke in the final 20 minutes of action.

Shane Long and Sam McQueen were introduced for Boufal and Austin. Long’s first touch saw his header at the near post turned behind for a corner.

The following set piece saw Van Dijk’s header loop back off the crossbar, with McQueen then teeing up Fonte for a shot at goal, but the defender placed his shot wide from inside the area.

The contest was sealed with five minutes remaining when Benteke was on hand to convert from six yards out after Puncheon’s persistence on the left created the space for Palace to wrap up all three points.

Crystal Palace

Head to Head Stats

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Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey (GK)
Joel Ward
James Tomkins yellow card goal
replace Martin Kelly (89′)
Damien Delaney
Scott Dann (C)
Joe Ledley
Andros Townsend
replace Bakary Sako (80′)
Jason Puncheon
James McArthur yellow card
replace Mathieu Flamini (89′)
Wilfried Zaha
Christian Benteke yellow card goal goal
Martin Kelly
Fraizer Campbell
Julian Speroni
Lee Chung-yong
Ezekiel Fryers
Mathieu Flamini
Bakary Sako


Fraser Forster (GK)
Virgil van Dijk
José Fonte (C)
Ryan Bertrand
Cédric Soares
James Ward-Prowse
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
replace Josh Sims (59′)
Oriol Romeu
Sofiane Boufal
replace Shane Long (76′)
Charlie Austin yellow card
replace Sam McQueen (76′)
Nathan Redmond
Jordy Clasie
Sam McQueen
Stuart Taylor
Josh Sims
Steven Davis
Shane Long
Maya Yoshida
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