Christian Benteke

Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton: Eagles’ horrendous start continues

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  • Davis scores on 200th appearance
  • Palace lose fifth-straight
  • Roy Hodgson loses first game in charge
  • Palace set new record for goalless start

Southampton beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Steven Davis‘ first half strike was enough to separate the teams.

In his first game in charge of the Eagles after replacing Frank De Boer earlier this week, Roy Hodgson couldn’t turn Palace’s fortunes around as they’ve now set a new record as the first team in top-flight history to fail to score and lose all of their first five games to open a season.

The Eagles rarely threatened but Southampton’s Fraser Forster did step up either side of half time to make blocks from close range.

Palace have zero points and zero goals and face trips to Manchester City and Manchester United coming up next with Chelsea at home after that, while Saints have eight points on the season and host Man United next weekend.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It didn’t take long for Southampton to take the lead as a fluid move from the right saw Dusan Tadic cross and the ball rebounded to Davis who slotted home.

Forster then made a great save as a slip from Nathan Redmond allowed Palace to attack down the right but Christian Benteke‘s shot was blocked by Forster.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace went close as Ruben Loftus-Cheek smashed a low effort just wide but Saints continued to dominate possession as they went in ahead at the break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

At the start of the second half Palace went agonizingly close to scoring an equalizer but Forster again denied the Eagles with Jason Puncheon‘s shot blocked by the England international goalkeeper.

Saints came back into the game as Shane Long just failed to connect with a header and Oriol Romeu also nodded wide.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Dutch defenders Virgil Van Dijk came on in the closing stages for Southampton and made his first appearance since Jan. 22 after suffering a foot injury and then handing in a transfer request over the summer.

Van Dijk helped Saints eased to victory in the closing stages as they piled more misery on Palace.

Premier League preview: Crystal Palace vs. Southampton

Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images
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At this point, Crystal Palace will take anything they can get — a win, a point, a goal — as they’ve achieved none of the above through four games of the 2017-18 Premier League season. The Eagles’ latest attempt comes Saturday, when Southampton visit Selhurst Park (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

On Monday, Frank De Boer was fired after 77 days as first-team manager (just 32 of those days coming during the actual season), replaced by former Fulham, Liverpool and England boss Roy Hodgson, who last held a club job in 2012.

[ STREAM: Crystal Palace vs. Southampton ]

As for Saints, Saturday could see the return of Virgil Van Dijk following his summer-long transfer saga. The 26-year-old Dutch defender failed in his bid to force a move away from the South Coast — a betrayal which manager Mauricio Pellegrino admits could cost him the club captaincy — and is expected to be available for selection.

“He played 90 minutes the other day in a game,” Pellegrino said. “But (Friday) we will decide. Hopefully, he will be getting better every single week, but I am happy with that, because it’s not about just Virgil. Everybody, I think right now, is ready to be part of the team.”

INJURIES: Palace — OUT:Wilfried Zaha (knee), Bakary Sak0 (hamstring), Connor Wickham (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Mamadou Sakho (knee) | Southampton — OUT: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (personal leave)


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on battling relegation: “I believe the team will stay up – absolutely. I wouldn’t have dreamt of taking the job if I didn’t, or that I or my coaching staff wouldn’t be the right people to do that. Once the chairman made it clear that he thought that we were the right people, then there has never been a doubt in my mind, and this could be a very good year because if it ends up with us still in the Premier League and the fans happy, then that would make me very happy.”

Mauricio Pellegrino on the lack of goals: “I think the number of goals is there because we scored three goals and it’s a fact. But at the same time we created more chances and we deserve to score more goals because in the past three games, we deserved to score more goals than we did. It’s part of our job, football is sometimes efficiency, you have to convert these chances and I see the next game as the opportunity to keep improving.”


Prediction

Hodgson’s tactics should play to Palace’s strengths — dynamic wingers who cross the ball into the box for an aerially dominant striker, Christian Benteke — much more so than those of De Boer. Don’t be surprised to see Palace catch a bit of lightning in a bottle, especially once Zaha and Sakho return from injury in the next couple weeks.

What’s next for Crystal Palace?

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Roy Hodgson is expected to take over at Selhurst Park after Crystal Palace fired coach Frank De Boer after just 77 days on the job.

It’s a second successive short managerial stint for De Boer, who was fired after 85 days at Inter Milan but won four Eredivisie titles at Ajax between 2010-16.

[ MORE: De Boer fired ]

Here’s how De Boer has responded to his dismissal, via Instagram, “Very disappointed about the decision but never the less I want to thank the players, staff and the fans for their support. Good luck for the future.”

Palace was blown out at home to open the PL season, a 3-0 loss to Huddersfield Town, losing star forward Wilfried Zaha for four weeks in the process.

The Eagles then lost 1-0 at Liverpool, 2-0 to Swansea, and finally 1-0 at Burnley on Sunday. De Boer did lead Palace to a 2-1 EFL Cup win over Ipswich Town.

It’s another short stint for Palace, too, which has seen a manager oversee more than 100 matches since Neil Warnock from 2007-10. Since then, the Eagles have had nine full-time managers.

Should Hodgson be hired in time for this weekend, he’ll face early and stiff tests in his tenure.

Palace’s next five fixtures
Saturday vs. Southampton
Sept. 19 vs. Huddersfield Town (EFL Cup)
Sept. 23 at Manchester City
Sept. 30 at Manchester United
Oct. 14 vs. Chelsea

So, yeah, this is going to be quite a task for the new manager’s Eagles, who will be refined in the fire.

That said, much like Sam Allardyce was able to lead Palace to safety with a January transfer window in which he signed season-changing players Luka Milivojević and Mamadou Sakho, this is not a lost cause.

Given Palace had a meager schedule to start the season, but there’s a lot of promise beyond the zeroes on its side of the scoreboard and lack of points on the table.

The positives:

— Palace’s 14.3 shots per game rank ninth in the PL, while it’s allowed the fifth-fewest shots per game (10.8).

The Eagles are eighth in key passes, yet have not recorded an assist.

— It’s possession percentage is eighth at 50.1 percent, and Palace is second in dribbles per game at 15.3.

— Palace is tops in the PL with 19.8 interceptions per game, and sixth in the PL with 18.8 aerials won per game.

Most of this has come without Zaha, and the new Palace boss can trot out a lineup with Christian Benteke, Yohan Cabaye, Milivojevic, Sakho, Andros Townsend, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

So, we suspect, Palace is going to be just fine. And De Boer is probably right to feel a bit hard done-by.

Now maybe he was despised in the room — players do have the power these days — but this is a questionable firing by Palace, one that looks certain to “overcome” by time. Looking at the fixtures. Palace will sit Bottom Three come mid-October unless it has another run of beating top teams, as it did last winter.

Frank de Boer defiant; “unbelievable” Palace didn’t win

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Frank De Boer looked like a man who knows his time is running out at Crystal Palace.

Just four games into the season the Dutchman is feeling the pressure as he’s lost all four games and the Eagles have yet to score a goal with reports stating he could be sacked in the coming days.

They lost 1-0 at Burnley on Sunday as an early defensive mistake cost them dear and de Boer’s side missed several glorious chances as Scott Dann and Christian Benteke were both off target.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game the Dutch legend looked slightly shocked his side had taken nothing away from the game.

“There was only one team who deserved the win today and it was us,” de Boer said. “But that’s football. Sometimes you don’t always get what you deserve but we can also blame ourselves to give a goal away and not scoring our opportunities.”

“We controlled the game and then you have to reward yourself with the first goal. When the referee whistles for the last time and you think, ‘we don’t have any goals and we don’t have any points right now’ it is unbelievable when you see this game. The most important thing, I think, is that if you play like this every week, you get what you deserve and that’s going to be points.”

He was then asked about his future at Palace.

“The only thing I can control is to work very hard with the boys and that is what I am going to do and hopefully for a long time,” de Boer said. “I saw the team fighting for each other and playing with more confidence and that is what I want. The only thing we didn’t do was score.”

It is tough to disagree with FDB but the stats don’t paint a pretty picture.

Dann had two chances cleared off the line and the center back missed another header from five yards out, while Andros Townsend created numerous chances from out wide but the Eagles never looked confident enough to finish their chances. Townsend and captain Jason Puncheon backed de Boer after the game but Palace do appear to be struggling to adapt to the ideas of the former Ajax and Inter Milan boss.

It would seem extremely harsh for Palace’s owners to task de Boer with changing the identity of their play but only give him four PL games to do it before sacking him, but the Eagles have had success in firing managers in the past and this situation seems to be more dire than others.

Time is ticking for de Boer who mixed things up and showed his possession-based style can also be direct when needed. If Palace do not beat Southampton on Saturday then it could be curtains for the Dutchman as they have trips to Manchester City and Manchester United followed up by a home game against Chelsea coming up.

Palace could well be 0-8 before they know it.

Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace: Pressure mounts on Frank de Boer

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  • Wood scores game-winner early
  • Burnley’s first home win of season
  • Four-straight defeats for Palace
  • Eagles still without a PL goal

Crystal Palace lost a fourth-straight game to start the Premier League season as Frank De Boer‘s beleaguered side went down 1-0 at Burnley on Sunday.

A horrendous mistake let Chris Wood in early on to score the only goal of the game and Palace missed several golden chances with Scott Dan twice having efforts cleared off the line and he also missed an open goal late on.

With the win Burnley move on to seven points for the season, while Palace have zero.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Burnley were ahead less than three minutes into the game after a disastrous back pass from Chung-Yong Lee.

The Palace midfielder completely under-hit his back pass and Wood got there before goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey as he curled home into an empty net for his second goal in as many games for Burnley since arriving from Leeds United for a club-record fee.

De Boer’s nightmare continued.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace responded well to going behind with Dann having an effort cleared off the line and Christian Benteke nodding wide.

At the other end Sam Vokes went close as he flicked a header just wide with the home side looking largely comfortable as they led at half time. A big negative did arrive for Burnley before break though with captain and goalkeeper Tom Heaton subbed out after he appeared to dislocate his left shoulder.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

For large spells of the second half Palace dominated possession but Burnley looked fairly comfortable to sit back and hit the Eagles on the break.

A glorious chance arrived with less than 20 minutes to go as the ball found Jeffrey Schlupp in the box but he fired over under no pressure from 15 yards.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Ashley Barnes curled a shot towards the far corner which Hennessey saved superbly as Burnley came close to wrapping up the three points and at the other end Pope made a vital intervention.

Benteke raced onto a loose ball but Pope saved superbly and then Dann had a shot blocked superbly by James Tarkowski.

It just wasn’t to be, once again, for Palace who lost for the fourth-straight game to start the season.