Édouard fires Crystal Palace to home victory over Southampton
Patrick Vieira urged his Crystal Palace players to capitalise on their good run of form after they sealed their third straight home victorywith a 1-0 win over Southampton.
Odsonne Édouard slotted past Gavin Bazunu to break the deadlock late in the first half and it proved enough to hand the hosts all three points.
Palace’s fourth win of the season was the first that did not require them to come back after conceding an opener, a reversal of an emerging trend the manager embraced with a caveat.
“It’s always good,” said Vieira. “But, again, it’s really difficult to control the game from the start to the end and you’re always going to go through difficult periods.
“It can be in the first five, 10 minutes, it can be the last 10 minutes, but it’s about how we respond as a team. Having a clean sheet means that we did really well as a team to defend. Accepting that you’re going through a difficult period, it’s important to be behind the ball and to wait until we get our momentum back and we did it well.”
That momentum swung in Palace’s favour for much of the match after a period of early pressure from Southampton.
Che Adams was back in the visitors’ starting XI and shone brightest for his side, pinging one of their best opportunities off Vicente Guaita’s right post before the offside flag was raised.
Palace’s own attempt at an opener was also frustrated by the flag, Édouard beating Bazunu before Michael Olise was ruled to be offside in the buildup.
But Édouard finally broke through on 38 minutes when Wilfried Zaha dispossessed Lyanco and passed the ball to Tyrick Mitchell, who squared to the Frenchman for the finish.
It was enough to seal three consecutive wins at Selhurst Park for Palace for the first time since May 2018.
Next is a trip to West Ham then Nottingham Forest before the World Cup break, meaning this was their last at home until Boxing Day.
The Saints captain, James Ward-Prowse, eyed up an equaliser but dragged his shot wide as the game neared the 70th-minute mark. Substitute Jordan Ayew drove into the area on the right, only to waste the chance when he elected to pass.
That did not prove costly as Palace fended off five minutes of added time and Guaita punched away any hope of the sides sharing the points.
Vieira was quick to praise his goalscorer, who scored his third of the season. “He’s more involved in the game for us and is coming between the lines, and he is touching the ball and really getting involved in the last third.
“He’s capable of linking quite well with the players around him. So at the end you get rewarded by all this effort to score goals.”
Ralf Hasenhüttl blamed a lack of pace for why his side failed to share the points. “We played too slow,” he said. “We played with too many mistakes and the counter-pressing was very aggressive. When you don’t play quick enough when you get under pressure, this is how we conceded the goal.
“This is how we lost a few moments, a few balls, and in the second half we played much quicker and this was the difference.
“We made one change but then it was like nothing was much better.”