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Crystal Palace vs Southampton 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Sorry this is a late post I haven’t been feeling 100% recently so haven’t had a chance to write. I also missed the last home game due to illness but supported from home, what a great game it was too! Palace came away with the 3 points after beating Everton 3-1 and ending our 3-game losing streak. Gallagher found himself on the scoresheet twice including a wonder-strike in the closing stages of the game, and Tomkins was also on the scoresheet after a long wait.

This week’s opponents were Southampton and we hosted them on Wednesday 15th of

December, so was obviously an evening kick-off. Southampton’s last game was a 3-0 lose to Arsenal, and went into the game 15th with 16 points having not won in their past 5 games.

The game was a 7.30 kick-off, and it was surprisingly warm for a December evening! The only change we had to our team since the previous match was Butland coming into goal for his first Premier League start for the Eagles in replace of Guaita, I’m pretty sure he’s done something to his hand but he was on the bench so hopefully it’s nothing serious. Gallagher got a huge cheer when his name was read out after his efforts at the weekend.

The game started with Southampton having an attempt to play into their final third, they couldn’t get through so resulted to going backwards, after some great closing down by Hughes in the midfield we won the ball back. He played the ball into Ayew who quickly played it into Edouard, Zaha was advancing down the wing where he picked up the ball, their wing back was out of position so he only had the centre back to beat, after some nice foot work in the box he was finally able to get a shot off and it fired into the back of the net! 2 minutes in and we were already 1-0 up, dream start for us really. Was this the start of a high scoring game for us? “la la la la, wahey hey,

Wilfried Zaha.” rang around the stadium, I don’t think there’s any chance of him leaving us now, hopefully the time has passed, so the rumours might finally stop! We won a free kick out wide which was whipped in by Gallagher, it was initially flicked away by a Southampton head but the ball found Tomkins who had just drifted away from the group, he bought it down perfectly, but his shot was saved by the Saints keeper and eventually cleared. Kouyate lost his footing in the middle of the park, allowing the Southampton player to get away with the ball, he was able to pass it in behind to his teammate who had a clear run towards goal, but his shot went straight into row Z! In the 23rd minute we should’ve been 2-0 up, Zaha was able to run into space down the left wing once again and whip the ball low into the path of Edouard, he wasn’t able to get a strong enough connection and then his scuffed shot went well wide of the far post. Southampton worked the ball round nicely in the middle of the park, with none of our boys able to stop their passes, this led to a foul being conceded as Hughes tripped his man up - it was in a very dangerous area just outside the D of our box. There was really only one man who was going to take this being James Ward-Prowse, frustratingly his strike did find the back of the net, Butland got fingertips to it but had no chance keeping it out. 1-1 and we’d let them back into the game. It went from bad to worse for us. In the matter of minutes, we found ourselves 2-1 down, Gallagher got caught on the ball in the midfield and passed it back to the Southampton player who had the space to have a shot from outside the box which went straight into the far side of the net. It was super frustrating after we had such a strong start and was controlling the game for the opening period! This goal gave Southampton a lot of confidence and they now looked to be the better team hunting for a third goal. We won a free kick late in the half after a foul on Gallagher but this was completely wasted as it went over everyone and straight out for a goal kick. The game ended 1-1 at half time.

In the first half of the half we were the first to every ball in the midfield and really testing the opposition, but when we found ourselves in a losing position we seemed shell shocked and like we didn’t know what to do which was slightly worrying. Vieira really needed a strong half time team talk to motivate and wake everyone up!

The second half began with Edouard taking the first kick. There was almost another dream start for Zaha as he found himself in the same position as the first half, cutting inside down the wing after receiving the ball from Gallagher, but this time his shot was stopped by Ward-Prowse. We started the half pretty well again with Zaha looking determined to get us back in the game, he passed the ball into Gallagher but he was surrounded by Southampton players so had no room to get a shot off. It was a much lower tempo in the second half with neither team creating any clear-cut chances, there were quite a lot of fouls too from both teams so it was hard to find a rhythm. Joel Ward was our captain once again, I think he’s a slightly questionable choice as in the second half when he was playing right in front of us we didn’t see him attempt to motivate the players enough, but I guess it could be due to his experience. A Southampton pass out was cut out by Hughes in the air, his header found the head of Kouyate, who flicked it onto Ayew, who finally headed it down into the path of Edouard, his initial shot was blocked by the keeper but fell back into his path where he played it off the keeper and out for a corner. Although they were still in a losing position they still had the noise of the Palace fans to try keep them motivated. Our first substitution of the game came in the 64th minute, it was an attacking move as Benteke came on for Kouyate. It was instant impact for the Belgium, in the 65th minute Zaha picked up the ball outside the box and passed it into the path of Edouard who was advancing into the box down the left side, he linked up with Benteke before getting the ball back before managing to sort his feet out and get a shot off, his shot was saved but at the far post was an advancing Ayew, who after 43 games got himself a goal! His shot flew straight into the far corner of the net! Finally, Ayew got a goal to his name, he really deserved it after the effort he’d been putting into the matches recently. Our second substitution of the day came in the 75th minute, goal scorer Ayew was replaced by Olise, he got a well-deserved standing ovation by SelhurstPark. Our third and final substitution came in the 81st minute, Tomkins had been booked so Vieira went for the safe route and took him off for Andersen who had recently returned from injury so was nice to see him back on the pitch! His partnership with Guehi is vital to our team which has shown in our recent results since he’s been out! I feel like before the substitution we were falling back into the mentality of just passing the ball back and playing round the back, when we really should be looking to go on for the winner! Mitchell did a great job of recovering to prevent a counter attack, he sprinted over from his position to left back to pick up the ball off the opponent before passing it out to Zaha; Zaha then passed it out to Olise on the half way line but he was completely taken out by the Southampton defender, who was then booked. In the closing stages of the game Mitchell tried a through ball for Zaha but it was just over hit! Ward managed to wriggle through a load of defenders before whipping the ball into the box where Benteke was waiting, but it was just too high but still did worry the keeper and caused a punch out! Stoppage time was pretty end to end but neither team again creating any clear chances, and the game ended 2-2.

Yet another draw but we can’t really complain after we simply allowed the opposition to get back into the game and get their 2 goals in quick concession after a poor period from us, thankfully we actually got back to competing and battling with the opponents in the second half and managed to get the second goal to take a point away. Very happy for Ayew hopefully this gives him even more confidence for the upcoming games over the Christmas break, we have West Ham at home in a few weeks and Jordan scored a wonderful goal against them on Boxing Day a few years back at Selhurst Park! 👀 We are currently sitting 11th in the table with 20 points, but have some games coming up where we should be taking points from.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 59.6% possession, Southampton had 40.4%

• Palace had a total of 9 shots with 6 on target.

• Southampton had 15 shots with 4 on target.

Our next game at home that I would be attending is supposed to be against Norwich on Tuesday 28th of December, but with the uncertainty of COVID I’m not sure what will happen with the games.

Thank you for reading, hope you have a great Christmas (and new year if there isn’t another post before then)!

Ellie Xx

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