Stunning Saints romp to Palace win

By SFC Media Tue 21 Jan Crystal Palace v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Stuart Armstrong
Tue 21 Jan 7.30PM
Premier League
Crystal Palace
0
Southampton
2
Redmond [22'] Armstrong [48']
Tomkins (74')
Romeu (71') Redmond (74')
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: Selhurst Park | Attendance: 23,739

Southampton produced a majestic performance at Selhurst Park to chalk up their fourth away win in a row, as strikes of supreme quality from Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong saw them continue their incredible climb up the table.

Only three days on from surrendering a two-goal lead at home to Wolves, Saints showed no ill-effects from that result, dominating from start to finish in south London.

In truth, the final scoreline did little justice to the gulf between the sides on this particular night, as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men put together one of their finest performances of the season to date, earning a result that moved them up to ninth in the table.

It also marked only the second time in the Premier League that they have won four away games in succession – the last time coming in the 2014/15 campaign – and means they have now taken 16 points from the last 21 available.

Hasenhüttl made two changes from the side that faced Wolves at the weekend, as Jan Bednarek missed out with an achilles injury, while Danny Ings was named among the subs to help protect him during another packed period in the fixture schedule.

It meant a return to the heart of defence for Jannik Vestergaard, while Michael Obafemi was back in the starting XI for the first time since he scored in the 2-0 win at Chelsea on Boxing Day.

Saints enjoyed an incredibly assured start to the game, dominating the ball and pinning Palace deep in their own territory. Yet, for all their good work and control of the game, they struggled to create an opening.

In the end, it was Palace who had the first opportunity, on 18 minutes, although it was one gifted to them by the visitors, as Vestergaard was pressed by Jordan Ayew 30 yards out, resulting in him losing the ball, which fell to Cenk Tosun with a clear run on Alex McCarthy’s goal. Fortunately for Saints, though, Tosun blazed over with just McCarthy to beat.

Shortly after, Hasenhüttl was forced into a change, as Cédric, who had been injured in an earlier tackle by Jairo Riedewald, was unable to continue. Oriol Romeu was sent on in his place, necessitating a reshuffle that saw James Ward-Prowse switch to right-back.

Nathan Redmond nets a stunner to put Southampton in front (Photo: Matt Watson)

It didn’t halt Saints, though, and they took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute with a goal of incredible quality from Redmond.

Receiving a pass from Jack Stephens about 25 yards out, he spun Gary Cahill, then shifted across to his right while holding off James McArthur, before firing an unstoppable effort back across goal from the edge of the area that gave a full-stretch Vicente Guaita no chance, as it arrowed majestically into the top corner.

It was almost 2-0 on 27 minutes, as Saints put together a sharp move down the left, with Redmond releasing Ryan Bertrand, who squared for Armstrong, only for his first-time shot, which may have taken a slight nick off James McCarthy, to be tipped over by Guaita.

On Saints pushed, and Armstrong again went close in the 31st minute, taking a pass 20 yards out from the influential Redmond, spinning onto his right foot and drilling a low shot just wide of the post, with Guaita struggling to get there.

The visitors’ dominance of the game was by now starting to cause frustration among the home crowd, although the second goal was still proving elusive.

There was a good opportunity to get it with fewer than five minutes remaining in the half, as Saints launched a superb counter-attack that ended with Redmond slipping in Shane Long, but he took too heavy a touch as he knocked it past the on-rushing Guaita and couldn’t reach the ball before it went out of play for a goal kick.

As referee Andre Marriner signalled for the interval – moments after Long had glanced a Ward-Prowse near-post corner into the side netting – the only thing that would have disappointed Hasenhüttl is that the advantage his side held was not even greater.

The half-time break didn’t bring an end to the incidents either, as a VAR check for possible violent conduct came about when Wilfried Zaha poked a finger into the face of Ward-Prowse, close to his eye, as they walked towards the tunnel. However, the officials in Stockley Park decided it did not warrant a red card.

Stuart Armstrong celebrates Southampton's second goal (Photo: Matt Watson)

Nonetheless, that reprieve for Palace did little to change the course of the game following the restart, and Saints deservedly doubled their lead within three minutes of play getting underway, as Armstrong produced another pearler.

Redmond found the midfielder in space 25 yards out, and, from a central position, Armstrong took a touch onto his right foot and bent a shot that started towards the middle of the goal, curled past the body of Cahill, then the outstretched arm of Guaita and inside the far post.

Saints weren’t far away from a third goal on 56 minutes, as a near-post corner from Bertrand was flicked towards the byline by Long, who then cut it back to the edge of the six-yard box, where Vestergaard stuck out a leg and looped the ball just past the far post.

Palace finally got another sniff of goal on the hour mark, as a loose ball fell into the path of Jordan Ayew inside the box, but Bertrand ensured the two-goal cushion remained with a spectacular block.

The excellent Ryan Bertrand on the ball at Selhurst Park (Photo: Matt Watson)

Seconds later, Saints should have finished the game.

Long pressed and won the ball high up the pitch, knocking it into the path of Obafemi, who then played him clean through, but the forward put his first-time shot from the edge of the area straight at Guaita in the middle of the goal.

Perhaps not wanting to let any momentum shift, Hasenhüttl decided to send top scorer Ings on for the final 20 minutes, as he replaced Long.

The Saints boss then made his final change in the 84th minute, as Obafemi made way for Ché Adams.

Shortly afterwards, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg looked to outdo both Redmond and Armstrong goals with an audacious chip from distance, as he caught Guaita off his line, but his effort was slightly off target.

It was an effort that was perhaps indicative of the confidence coursing through the team, though, and – unlike a few days earlier at St Mary's – there was never any doubt that Saints would see this result to its conclusion, as they celebrated yet another impressive victory.

Crystal Palace

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    44
    56
  • Shots
    6
    15
  • Shots on target
    0
    6
  • Corners
    0
    8
  • Passes Complete
    231
    317

Crystal Palace

31
Vicente Guaita (GK)
34
Martin Kelly
Joel Ward (62′)
24
Gary Cahill
5
James Tomkins (C)
44
Jairo Riedewald
11
Wilfried Zaha
22
James McCarthy
18
James McArthur
8
Cheikhou Kouyaté
Max Meyer (62′)
9
Jordan Ayew
20
Cenk Tosun
Connor Wickham (69′)
13
Wayne Hennessey
21
Connor Wickham
38
Giovanni McGregor
6
Scott Dann
7
Max Meyer
40
Brandon Pierrick
2
Joel Ward

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
21
Ryan Bertrand
4
Jannik Vestergaard
5
Jack Stephens
2
Cédric Soares
Oriol Romeu (21′)
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
17
Stuart Armstrong
20
Michael Obafemi
Che Adams (84′)
7
Shane Long
Danny Ings (70′)
3
Maya Yoshida
28
Angus Gunn
14
Oriol Romeu
12
Moussa Djenepo
10
Che Adams
19
Sofiane Boufal
9
Danny Ings
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