On a bright Saturday afternoon in South East London, Southampton continued their unenviable run of poor opening day performances by losing to a spirited Crystal Palace side.
In truth, it was a lacklustre and wasteful performance from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men, a far cry from the imperious performances produced during project restart. Although Saints dominated possession, they looked susceptible to the counter throughout and a pacey Palace front three exploited the away side’s unnecessarily high line.
An early break down the right-hand side by a rejuvenated Andros Townsend, saw him look up and provide an inch perfect cross to an unmarked Zaha at the far post. The wantaway Ivorian took the chance first time and smartly steered the ball past a despairing McCarthy.
Southampton boss Hasenhuttl made a change at half time by introducing Jannik Vestergaard for an unusually subdued Bednarek. The giant Dane injected some impetus into proceedings and his performance was encouraging given the focus on his errors last season.
Nevertheless, Saints were unable to make their possession count, with Redmond guilty of spurning two guilt edged chances. Ings and Adams battled hard, but the absence of Armstrong meant there were merely scraps to feed off.
The final talking point (more on this later) was a decision by Jon Moss to send off Kyle Walker-Peters, which the former subsequently overturned upon a VAR review. Ironically, going down to ten men might have given Southampton a sense of urgency which was severely lacking.
Here’s three takeaways from the game at Selhurst Park: