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Southampton vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well!

On Saturday 30th of April I went to my first away game in a while, we made the trip to St Mary’s to face Southampton. This was my PA Mechelle’s first ever game, so I was hoping she’d bring some luck!

Both teams are in contention for the top 10 positions in the Premier League table so both teams should have been highly motivated going into the game. Southampton’s last home game was a 1-0 win over Arsenal following a 6-0 battering against Chelsea; they failed to pick any points up against Burnley and held Brighton to a 2-2 draw, so just like us the Saints have had a wavy past few weeks. In the reverse fixture we had to settle for a 2-2 draw after taking the lead early but having to work hard for a late equaliser following 2 quick succession goals from the visitors.

As we were nearing the end of the season it is expected for players to be rested as the fatigue starts to kick in. Vieira chose this game to rest Zaha replacing him with Eze, leaving Schlupp to fill in his place in the midfield. Olise and Mitchell (who was returning from an injury) were also left on the bench as Ayew and Ward kept their places in the starting line-up.

The journey took a lot longer than expected due to high amounts of traffic around the stadium, I did manage to watch the under 18's secure a 2-2 draw against Chelsea on route. We actually missed the entry time for the car park so was denied entry. It was a bit of a nightmare trying to find somewhere to park but thankfully there was a local car business who allowed us to park in their car park, if we didn’t find this we would have probably missed the start of the game so was extremely thankful for them people! It was only a short walk to the stadium, and we was escorted straight to our seat arriving as the players were walking out!

We didn’t really see the opening few minutes due to problems with our seat and having to move to another one. Once we were finally settled we was already 1-0 down in the space of 10 minutes, disappointingly it was from yet another corner. A Ward-Prowse corner found Romeu at the back post, no Palace player could reach the ball and the Southampton midfielder could direct a strong header into the back of the net. Their dominance continued for the first 25 minutes of the half with Palace struggling to get out of our own half. Gallagher started brightly putting himself about all over the pitch trying to win the ball back, it’s going to be a real shame seeing him in a Chelsea shirt next season. Mateta too had a decent start testing the keeper on multiple occasions, still haven’t had the chance to do the ‘BOOM’ for him. There were so many fouls throughout the whole 90 minutes it was difficult for either team to find a rhythm. Che Adams had a chance to run into clear space towards Guaita after a ball was played over the top, Clyne showed real good pace to get back and tighten the angle for his cross leaving it to be intercepted and cleared by Andersen. It seemed too easy for the Southampton players to turn and get a shot off in the box, whereas at the other end of the pitch it was like we was too scared to shoot, we needed to at least try! Multiple times we failed to pass to any of our players, giving the ball away cheaply, it’s these kind of mistakes that can cost games so I’m sure Vieira wouldn’t have been too pleased. We woke up in the second portion of the first half, creating more and more chances but again we still the lacked final ball. There were so many times where Ayew was in good positions but decided to just hold on to the ball rather than playing the pass, he would then have the ball taken off of him! Our final chance of the half saw Conor’s cross deflected over bar, Eze’s corner frustratingly didn’t find any Palace player as it flew all the way over everyone.

1-0 down at halftime. Some sloppy mistakes in the early stages, we grew into the game with all the chances falling to us, but we just couldn’t get through a well-structured Southampton team. Needed to go into the second half with the momentum we ended the first with!

A much stronger start to the second half saw us finally able to assert some dominance. Some early play down the right which saw Ayew and Gallagher linking up on route to the box. Gallagher tried to pull the ball back to the centre of the box but failed to do so, he felt there was an arm involved but the referee was uninterested. Another huge chance as a throw in was played short, Ayew whipped the ball into the box which forced an initial save straight into path of Schlupp; he should’ve shot first time as he gave the defender time to make the block. Southampton continued to cause us some issues but the boys in yellow was able to meet the demands. Like I said it was the first time my PA had been to a football match, she said to me ‘I just want to see a goal so I can see how the Palace fans react’ within 20 seconds her wishes were met. On the hour mark the ball once again was worked nicely down the right, Ayew played a heavy ball to Clyne which looked like it was going out, he managed to keep it in and pull it back into the box finding Eze who could slot it into the back of the net with a fantastic finish through the legs of the keeper for his first goal of the season and in front of the fans!! The away end which was already carrying the atmosphere got 10x louder as we saw route to the top 10 after a well-deserved equaliser. An instant substitution saw Zaha come on in replace of Mateta as we continued to push for the winner. Another huge penalty shout after Gallagher was taken out in the box, again the ref was somehow uninterested it looked like an obvious foul. With 20 minutes remaining the ‘Michael Olise’ chants began giving Vieira a gentle nudge to get him on the pitch. On the 73rd minute the sub was finally made Olise being introduced in replace of Schlupp who had a good game. The team on the pitch was full of attacking threats making it a very exciting final 15 minutes! Guaita was pretty untroubled in the latter stages of the game with most of the Southampton chances going wide or over the bar. Our final substitution saw Hughes replace Eze, Ebere got a huge applause as he walked past the away section of the stadium back to the bench after his MOTM performance. Hughes’ first touch was a strike that had to be blocked by the Southampton defender, what an introduction it could’ve been! Four minutes added time was awarded as we continued to look like the stronger team, if we couldn’t find the winning goal we would’ve left disappointed. Within 2 minutes Wilfried Zaha once again became the hero! McArthur played the ball into Zaha just outside the box as he had his back to goal, using his strength to shield the defender he was able to spin around and send the ball into the back of the net off the post, taking us back to South London with all 3 points! The classic cupped ear celebration came out as Southampton fans began to leave; I’ve never seen so many fans leave so fast! Final score was 2-1 to Palace a well-deserved win!

Not the greatest of starts from us but very pleased with our attitudes at the end of the first half and whole of the second half as we asserted our dominance. Very pleased for Eze who was having a slow start to the season after returning from injury finally got on the scoresheet, hopefully it builds his confidence for the end of the season! Also happy for Zaha as he got his 12th goal this season in his 400th game for the Eagles. We now only have 4 games remaining of the 21/22 season, which we should be picking some good points up in and hopefully making the top 10 (we are currently 12th)!

After the game we waited for the crowd to clear to make it an easier walk back to the car. While we were waiting some of the players (late subs and ones that didn’t play) came back out to do a warm down on the pitch. My PA tried to get their attention, but they gave the impression they were too entitled to give their time up (even the Southampton groundsman tried to get them over), after a win you would think they would be in high spirits and want to celebrate with their fans who have travelled to support them, but no they couldn’t even spare a few minutes. My PA had a great first game and really enjoyed the atmosphere, although she wasn’t best pleased with the players afterwards! The journey home was a lot less stressful than the way up there, it still took a long time after a tiring day, but it was definitely worth it!

The next game I’m attending is tomorrow (Monday 2nd of May) watching the Under 23’s face Leicester, I’m not sure if I will be writing about that or not as I have a lot of college deadlines to meet so may not have time. If I do not my next post will be on the Watford game on Saturday 7th of May so look out for that!

Thank you for reading, if you travelled down south I hope you had a great day too!

Ellie Xx

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