Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton: Steven Davis ruins Roy Hodgson's return
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 16/09/17 5:19pm
Crystal Palace became the first team in Premier League history to lose their first five games without scoring as Roy Hodgson's tenure began with a 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
Four days on from Frank de Boer's sacking, former England boss Hodgson was tasked with lifting the Eagles' early-season slump, but Steven Davis' early strike extended their miserable start to the season.
Virgil van Dijk made his first appearance since January 22 following his summer transfer saga, coming off the bench to see out a victory which lifts Saints momentarily up to fifth in the Premier League.
Palace, meanwhile, remain rooted to the foot of the table ahead of games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
The sense of optimism which surrounded Selhurst Park following Hodgson's appointment evaporated within six minutes as Wayne Hennessey parried Dusan Tadic's driven cross to the feet of Davis, who poked the ball home beyond the outstretched leg of Palace full-back Joel Ward
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (6), Fosu-Mensah (6), Ward (6), Dann (6),Schlupp (6), Cabaye (6), McArthur (6), Loftus-Cheek (8), Townsend (6), Puncheon (6), Benteke (6).
Subs: Milivojevic (5), Sako (5).
Southampton: Forster (9), Soares (7), Yoshida (7), Hoedt (7), Bertrand (7), Davis (8), Romeu (7), Lemina (9), Redmond (8), Tadic (8), Long (7).
Subs: Ward-Prowse (5), Van Dijk (5),Gabbiadini (5).
Man of the match: Mario Lemina.
It proved to be a testing first half in the Palace hot-seat for Hodgson, whose misfiring attack added to his defensive concerns, with Christian Benteke firing Ruben Loftus-Cheek's cut-back straight at Fraser Forster on 18 minutes.
Chelsea loanee Loftus-Cheek provided a threat throughout, evading three Southampton defenders on 32 minutes, but his drive towards goal was blocked by Ryan Bertrand.
Saints remained on top though, as Tadic and Redmond almost doubled their lead before half-time.
Hodgson got into his side at the break and they responded with an early onslaught on the Southampton goal but, again, Forster proved impenetrable, thwarting Jason Puncheon with a sublime point-blank save on 49 minutes.
Southampton settled from there on, utilising Shane Long on the counter and containing Palace, whose threat in front of goal significantly reduced when Loftus-Cheek was substituted on 78 minutes.
Roy Hodgson made just one change to the final XI fielded by Frank de Boer, bringing in Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Chung-Yong Lee. Virgil van Dijk’s spell in the wilderness came to an end as he was named among the substitutes, while Mauricio Pellegrino reinstated Maya Yoshida, Shane Long, Dusan Tadic and Mario Lemina into the Southampton line-up after their defeat at Watford.
Van Dijk then came on for the final three minutes, drawing a line under a summer of speculation which has seen him linked with Liverpool, to earn Saints their first win in three, piling the pressure on Hodgson in the process.
- Crystal Palace are without a goal in 450 minutes this season, the longest ever run from the start of a Premier League campaign.
- The Eagles have failed to find the back of the net in six consecutive league games for the first since January 1995 (a run of nine), with three different managers taking charge during this run (Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer and Roy Hodgson).
- Southampton have won four of their last five meetings with Crystal Palace in all competitions, losing the other.
- Steven Davis scored his first Premier League goal since 15th May 2016 - also against Crystal Palace 489 days ago.
Roy Hodgson: "It was the worst possible start, conceding the goal so early, a team that's obviously a little bit nervous and anxious anyway becomes even more nervous and anxious.
"I'm learning all the time, in training and also in games. I learn what I know really, in that there is a lot of heart out there, a lot of pain when it's not going well and people care. They want to do better but we have got to mould ourselves into a better football team."
Mauricio Pellegrino: "We controlled the ball and that is something that we need because we have the quality of players to keep the ball and dominate the game. We also did really well defensively from the beginning until the end.
"They created a few chances at the start, but after that, I don't remember too many other clear chances for them. I think we should have scored another goal but I am happy with the performance."
Alan Pardew: "For me, there was a lack of personality on the pitch today as individuals and a team. I'm struggling to find something really positive to say aside from Ruben Loftus-Cheek was terrific in the time he had on the pitch and he was their best player.
"There were a few players I know very well out there looking a bit short on confidence. Roy has put disciplines in there and they have taken them too literally. They were too flat in the first half and too defensive minded as a group."
Man of the Match - Mario Lemina
A summer signing from Juventus, the midfielder showed his quality at Selhurst Park. Lemina played a part in June's Champions League final and shone for Saints, breaking up the play impressively and showing his passing range. A dominant presence.
Palace will look to avoid a repeat of their 3-0 opening-day defeat to Huddersfield when the Terriers head to Selhurst Park in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, before beginning a grueling run with a trip to Manchester City. Southampton, meanwhile, welcome Manchester United to St. Mary's on Saturday.