Palace Grab Opening Win Of New Season At First Attempt

The Eagles got off the mark by taking all three points off a Southampton side that have had plenty success in recent trips to South London, but that was not to happen again as Roy Hodgson’s men ensured the visitors returned to the South Coast empty handed.


12th September 2020


Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU


Behind closed doors


REFEREE – Jonathan Moss

ASSISTANTS – Marc Perry, Dan Robathan, Simon Hooper (fourth official)

VAR – Craig Pawson, Nick Hopton (assistant)


BOOKINGS – Jeffrey Schlupp (41), Kyle Walker-Peters (50), James McCarthy (57)


Wilfried Zaha (13)


Vicente Guaita


The new season got off to a great start with all three points being secured by a single goal from Wilfried Zaha. This was a real team performance once again and a good way to start the eighth successive campaign for the club in the Premier League and there was no sign of any new names in the starting eleven. Roy Hodgson’s men proved difficult to break down and when the Saints did get through, there was our Spanish shot stopper in their way.


Red card shown to Kyle Walker-Peters was reduced to a yellow card after Jon Moss reviewed his decision on the pitch side monitor. A second goal for Zaha was ruled out after a lengthy review by VAR for offside – once again, we question the angle at which these offside lines are being drawn, so some things don’t change!


“I guess old habits are hard to forget. We had such a big build up to the match considering our recent form against Palace but then stumbled out of the gates as normal. It was not a disappointing result, more one that highlighted the need for a midfielder to play alongside James Ward-Prowse. It also showed us how important Stuart Armstrong is to the side – we just had zero creativity in a game that did not really offer much. I do not think either side looked particularly great to be honest but I had a feeling Andros Townsend would play a important role for you guys and he certainly did! Vicente Guaita also did his part to prevent us from equalising, so I have to give him credit. Hopefully we can get healthy and add to the squad to get us back on track!” St Mary’s Musings


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“Southampton have too often been our nemesis at Selhurst Park, so it was satisfying to put that particular albatross around our neck to bed. A solid all round performance built upon a water tight defence ensured we gained that all important initial three points of the season at the first attempt. A win achieved in a context of at least four starting eleven players missing made the result even more satisfying. With potential attacking combinations of Zaha, Batshuayi, Eze, Benteke, Ayew, Townsend and Schlupp available, I sense we won’t struggle with creating and hopefully converting goal scoring opportunities. Although the whole team put in a good shift, I thought Guaita, Dann and Kouyate deserved worthy mentions for their excellent individual performances. So it’s 9 more wins ASAP to ensure Premier League safety. Up the Palace!!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (8 – TEB MAN OF THE MATCH) – While Wilf will get the plaudits for scoring the goal that sealed the win, the Spaniard made two excellent saves to preserve a clean sheet and also contribute to the win.

2 JOEL WARD (7) – Solid at right back in the face of very little pressure for most of the match. Will need to be at his best this season as Nathan Ferguson will be keen to take his place.

6 SCOTT DANN (8) – Rolling back the years in a fantastic game at the heart of defence and led by example by proudly wearing the armband. Caused plenty of problems with a couple of headers in the opposition penalty area and on another day, may have hit the back of the net with one of them.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Suggestions are that he is a makeshift centre back but he looked very much at home alongside Dann, providing Hodgson with much needed options.

39 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – More preformances like this from the academy product and the injured Patrick van Aanholt may face a battle to get his place back in the side.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (7 – BOOKED!) – We are all for players facing up to a certain midfielder in the opposition line up, and McCarthy did just that. Replaced by 4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6) on 73 minutes to provide some fresh legs and to replace the Irishman who was on a yellow.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7) – Certainly not getting any younger but the Scotsman put in yet another engertic display. Found himself in a great position for a header on goal but could not get any power in it.

10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (8 – ASSIST!) – Good all round showing from the winger who worked up and down the line throughout the game. Provided a pin point cross to contribute to the winning goal.

15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6 – BOOKED!) – Got in plenty of good positions but on made one pass in his time on the pitch which suggests he was the one player that struggled. Replaced by 25 EBERECHI EZE (6) on 80 minutes who showed real glimpses of what we can expect from him by sitting down Walker-Peters on one occasion.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – GOAL!) – Scored the winner and had a goal disallowed for a narrow offiside call and continued his fine pre-season form into the new season.

9 JORDAN AYEW (6) – Looked a little out of sorts in the opener but it was not through any lack of effort. Had a great chance to score with a header, but like McArthur, could not get any power into th effort to test the keeper.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 7 Max Meyer, 23 Michy Batshuayi, 34 Martin Kelly, 35 Sam Woods


1 McCarthy, 2 Walker-Peters, 5 Stephens, 35 Bednarek, 3 Bertrand, 20 Smallbone, 8 Ward-Prowse, 6 Romeu, 11 Redmond, 10 Adams, 9 Ings

SUBSTITUTES – 44 Forster, 4 Vestergaard (replaced Bednarek on 45 minutes), 7 Long (replaced Adams on 85 minutes), 12 Djenepo (replaced Smallbone on 76 minutes), 14 Obafemi, 23 Tella, 29 Vodkins


ROY HODGSON “It was always going to be a tough opening fixture for us, but I am really pleased with how we approached it. I have to take my hat off to our goalkeeper for making a fantastic save, but I am very happy to get off to a good start against a team like Southampton with such good quality.”

RALF HASENHUTTL “When you don’t score, you don’t deserve anything. We had some chances yes, but the goalkeeper made a few saves.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Vicente Guaita (8.2) while the the most shots were from Danny Ings (3). The most tackles were by Tyrick Mitchell and Kyle Walker-Peters (6) while Jordan Ayew (4) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 7.03 – 6.55
  • Total shots: 5 – 9
  • Possession: 29.4% – 70.6%
  • Pass success: 52% – 79%
  • Dribbles: 10 – 6
  • Aerials won: 30 – 30
  • Tackles: 15 – 28
  • Corners: 7 – 3
  • Dispossessed: 23 – 10


Palace sit nicely in the table by taking all three points in the opening game of the season ahead of a trip to the South Coast to take on Bournemouth in the EFL Cup midweek and a trip to Old Trafford next weekend.


15/09/2020 Bournemouth (a) – EFL Cup

19/09/2020 Manchester United (a) – Premier League

26/09/2020 Everton (h) – Premier League


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