Belfast Telegraph

Crystal Palace v Southampton - Story of the match

Crystal Palace beat Southampton 3-0 to end a damaging run of six successive Premier League defeats and ease the pressure on manager Alan Pardew.

Two goals from Christian Benteke and another from James Tomkins - players Pardew had spent so much money recruiting - secured three vital points at Selhurst Park.

After previously being kept out of the relegation zone only on goal difference, moving to 13th in the table is a step forward. Southampton remain above them in 11th - but were unusually flat while pursuing their third win in a week.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"86 mins: Palace 3-0 Southampton. Another Benteke tap-in, this time from Puncheon's cut-back. Game over; job saved" - PA reporter Declan Warrington.

https://twitter.com/decwarrington/status/805090133687070721

STAR MAN

Christian Benteke. The striker's positioning and work-rate - particularly given he was often isolated by Palace's 4-3-3 often becoming a 4-5-1 - was excellent and contributed much to the two goals he scored. He also relieved pressure as a much-needed outlet. The finest players perform in the most important of fixtures, and this was one of those.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

It may not matter if Alan Pardew is a good manager or not: he appears a lucky one. Few under such pressure would oversee such a crucial game in which his team would create a two-goal lead with two such fortuitous goals. Regardless, there is little question he deserved that luck. The work done on set-pieces paid off, and his decision to reshuffle his defence - dropping Martin Kelly, starting James Tomkins at right-back and Joel Ward on the left - was rewarded with a rare clean sheet.

Southampton did not seem particularly motivated, and again struggled in front of goal, neither of which reflected well on manager Claude Puel. His decision to substitute Charlie Austin at 2-0 down was also strange.

DATA POINT

Palace's clean sheet was their first since August 23, in the EFL Cup at home to Blackpool. Their last in the Premier League came against Everton on April 13. Eighteen goals had been conceded during their run of six straight defeats.

PLAYER RATINGS

CRYSTAL PALACE

Wayne Hennessey: 8 (Out of 10)

James Tomkins: 8

Scott Dann: 7

Damien Delaney: 8

Joel Ward: 7

James McArthur: 6

Joe Ledley: 6

Wilfried Zaha: 7

Jason Puncheon: 8

Andros Townsend: 7

Christian Benteke: 9

Subs

Martin Kelly (for Tomkins, 89mins): 5

Mathieu Flamini (for McArthur, 89mins): 5

Bakary Sako (for Townsend, 89mins): 5

SOUTHAMPTON

Fraser Forster: 5

Cedric Soares: 6

Jose Fonte: 6

Virgin van Dijk: 7

Ryan Bertrand: 7

Oriol Romeu: 6

James Ward-Prowse: 6

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 6

Nathan Redmond: 6

Sofiane Boufal: 7

Charlie Austin: 6

Subs

Josh Sims (for Hojbjerg, 59mins): 6

Sam McQueen (for Austin, 76mins): 5

Shane Long (for Boufal, 76mins): 5

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Hull v Crystal Palace, Premier League, December 10

Southampton v Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Europa League, December 8

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