With a narrow win over West Ham and two draws against Swansea and Huddersfield, Southampton crashed to Watford at the St.Mary’s and as pressure was starting to build slowly on the pragmatic Pellegrino, their course was set to steer them into a lowly Crystal Palace who have come fresh from a managerial change.
The game, however, was extremely narrow and could have shifted anyway but it went in favour of Southampton who lead through an early goal from Davis and held on nervously for a crucial victory. Here’s how the team from the South Coast has been rated:-
GK: Fraser Forster – 7.5/10
Had to make crucial saves to keep Southampton in the lead. His quick reflex save against Benteke and a lunging save in the second half were priceless. A clean-sheet is superb for him!
RB: Cedric Soares – 7/10
His work rate was really pleasing to see as he marched up and down on a consistent basis. Attacked more than his fellow fullback and was tidy while defending against Puncheon. Sweet performance.
CB: Wesley Hoedt – 7/10
Complimented Yoshida very well and held his own against the Palace attack although he was troubled by Loftus-Cheek a bit. Needs to be consistent with Van Dijk lurking to start again.
CB: Maya Yoshida – 7/10
Aerially really neat today and got a lot of balls clear as well. Stood his ground resiliently and got the job done. He’s improved so much that it’s really good to watch.
LB: Ryan Bertrand – 6/10
Much more silent than Cedric and had a rough time against Townsend. A little disappointing that he didn’t trouble Palace much while going forward.
CM: Oriol Romeu – 7/10
Crucial for Southampton as he pressed well on occasions but Cabaye often troubled him as well. Not much noticeable as the game went on due to the quick tempo.
CM: Mario Lemina – 9/10
He was absolutely fantastic today. He was everywhere trying to win the ball back, pitching in with tackles, playing the ball along and ensuring the flow of the game was never disrupted from his side. Top notch and the man of the match without a doubt!
RM: Dusan Tadic – 8/10
Crucial in the buildup to Southampton’s only goal as he got the shot away initially before the keeper saved it and it landed to Davis. He kept Schlupp on his toes all afternoon and did a superb job.
CAM: Steven Davis – 7/10
Good work rate and showed alertness to take his goal. Important off the ball as well with his movement and pressing.
LM: Nathan Redmond – 6/10
Not really involved down the left as the game wore on. Got his shot away in the earlier moments of the match which went straight at Hennessey. Should have combined and worked better with Bertrand.
ST: Shane Long – 7/10
Tactically he was really important for Southampton today. He ensured that the counters came in quick and he took good positions to bring himself into the game. Created a good dimension. He might come in handy like this over the course of the season.
CM: James Ward-Prowse – 5/10
Came on late and hardly made a difference.
CM: Virgil Van Dijk – 5/10
Signs that he will start soon for Southampton. Didn’t do much after coming on.
FW: Manolo Gabbiadini – 5/10
Much like the other substitutes, came on too late.