MATCH WINNER: Eagle Yohan Cabaye celebrates his strike
IF YOU’RE in desperate need of a dose of va va voom before the Christmas holidays then Selhurst Park is certainly the place you – as Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabaye personified it to the highest quality.
The duo combined intelligently throughout the game and it comes as no surprise that their telepathic understanding between one another transpired once more. A solitary goal from Cabaye, assisted by Bolasie, proved to be the difference in this encounter as the Saints were luckless in their prayer for a win.
Prior to the match the home contingent were getting into the festive spirit as they played a host of Christmas songs. 'The bells
Were Ringing Out For Christmas' proved a popular choice, but as for Southampton the alarm bells are starting to ring as their winless streak shows no sign of improving.
Palace arrived on home soil having never beaten Southampton during the Premier League era. The last time the Eagles clinched a win over the Saints at Selhurst Park dates back to December 2008.
The number one song at the time was Leonia Lewis' 'Run' and boy Alan Pardew’s men were certainly giving the visitors a run for their money during the early stages of the game.
The source of Palace’s goals have predominately come from main orchestrators Bolasie and Cabaye and they both had glorious chances to add to their goalscoring tally.
Bolasie attacked Southampton’s defence intermittently, winning the odd flick-on as a result. But his menacing threat nearly reaped its rewards when a curling effort from the edge of the away side's box forced Saints goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to make a smart stop.
The resultant corner-kick, taken by Cabaye, caused all sorts of dilemmas for Ronald Koeman’s defence – and when the ball eventually found its way back to the Frenchman his half volley stung the palms of Gazzaniga. Corner-kick take two.
Another beautifully weighted cross triggered chaos around the away goal and this time it was Connor Wickham, whose header called Southampton’s stop-stopper into action once more. It was safe to safe Gazzaniga was keeping the away team in the game having made a raft of impressive saves to repel the home side's attack.
Barring their recent indifferent form, Koeman’s defence were defending in a foolhardy nature. This is one of the leagues most parsimonious defences but they looked a shadow of that.
Chances were at a premium for Southampton, but a rare breakaway initiated by Sadio Mane saw the highly-rated midfielder play a superb pass to an onrushing Shane Long, ghosting in at the back-post. The striker controlled neatly and cut in and favoured right-foot only to see his attempt on goal sail wide of the mark.
A flash of brilliance from Mane was always within his locker as he once more started another attack for the visitors. Mane’s clever backheel found its way to Cedric Soares, who whipped in a delightful cross from the right flank prompting Steven Davis to comprehensively outjump his marker forcing a seldom threatened Wayne Hennessey to make a spectacular save – further showcasing why he is Palace’s No.1.
But the home side made sure that was not permitted to happen again. Their menacing football temporarily stalled, however talisman Cabaye made sure it was something more enduring as the interval loomed.
A lateral run down the right channel from Bolasie saw Southampton’s chief tormentor swivel past Maya Yoshida, who was flummoxed by the elusive movement, and delivered a cross into the box where an unmarked Cabaye nonchalantly slotted it home.
Palace’s impetus showed no sign of ebbing in the second-half. They mustered numerous efforts on goal and it's hard to believe the scoreline was still within Southampton’s reach.
The hosts have lost four home matches in the league so far, only Premier League strugglers Aston Villa, with five, have lost more. But this is proving to be a thing of the past – as they aimed to give the Selhurst Park faithful an early Christmas threat.
The influential Bolasie made another surging run down the left byline and when he got into the opposition's box he unselfishly pulled it back to Zaha on the edge of the box, who hurriedly blasted it over the bar. His endeavours deserved a goal.
Palace laid siege on their opponents goal as the clock ticked down. The referee added three excruciating minutes of added time and Long agonisingly missed from close range. It just wasn’t their day.
The home side held on and it is safe to say the Eagles are flying high.