(STATS) – Crystal Palace look to build on an encouraging performance Tuesday when they host Southampton at Selhurst Park on a quick turnaround.
The Eagles (7-9-7) are unbeaten in their last five league matches, drawing the previous four after nicking a late point at reigning champions Manchester City on Saturday. An own goal by City’s Fernandinho, under duress from Connor Wickham, gave Palace a 2-2 draw as Everton loanee Cenk Tosun claimed the other marker.
“It would’ve been cruel to have lost it. I thought we held out well. And our defence was still strong until the equaliser came,” manager Roy Hodgson told the club’s official website. “Unfortunately for us it came after such a fine piece of play: the cross and movement from Agüero. There are certain goals where you just have to hold your hand up sometimes and say ‘I don’t quite know what we could’ve done better to stop that.’
“But for them to then go and get the second one so quickly afterwards and look like all our hard work was in vain, it was wonderful to see the lads not give up and accept, if you like, what many people thought should’ve been their fate and to get back and get an equaliser. In a way, I suppose, I’m happier with 2-2 than 1-1.”
For Tosun, whom Palace pursued before his eventual signing with the Toffees, his first Palace start could not have gone better. The Turkey international had logged just 328 minutes in eight matches with Everton this term, failing to impress both Marco Silva and new boss Carlo Ancelotti before being loaned out. But he showed composure in his goal, nodding past Ederson after Gary Cahill had headed James McCarthy’s corner back across goal.
“[It was a] very important point for us. I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all the lads because everybody ran until the last second, even after the 2-1, nobody gave up and I think we deserved a point here. I think we played a solid game today; we knew City would have more possession than us but I’m happy with the point.
“It was a great feeling to score a goal on my first start. As a striker you need confidence and confidence comes with the goals.”
Offence is still an issue to a degree for Palace, whose 22 goals are tied for third-lowest in the top flight. They are averaging less than a goal per match at Selhurst Park, totaling 10 while still getting points in eight of their 11 contests there (4-4-3).
Southampton (8-4-11) looked poised to continue their recent upswing Saturday hosting Wolverhampton and were two to the good on 35 minutes courtesy Jan Bednarek and Shane Long. But the Saints broke down to a degree defensively and caught no breaks from VAR as Wolves struck for three goals in a 23-minute span of the second half and consigned Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team to defeat.
“For us, it’s important we look forward,” Hasenhuttl told the club’s official website, ruing the VAR decision that led to a penalty for Wolves’ equaliser. “With what happened today, we must be very critical with ourselves, but there are sometimes moments like this in football, and you have to learn. On Tuesday we have the next difficult game, against Palace, and we must do a better job. I know that we can do it. The players are not happy at the moment, and we must stand up again and have a look at what is the starting XI on Tuesday.”
Striker Danny Ings was largely neutralised by Wolves, getting only one shot that was not on frame in 90 minutes. Enjoying his best season in the Premier League with 14 goals, Ings has not gone back-to-back league matches without a goal since Oct. 25 and Nov. 2 versus Leicester City and Manchester City, respectively.
Palace’s run of draws began with a 1-1 stalemate on Dec. 28 at St Mary’s, with Ings’ goal in the 74th minute canceling out one by James Tomkins five minutes into the second half. Southampton have had the upper hand in this rivalry of late, winning 12 of the last 20 league meetings (12-2-6) – including five of the last seven at Selhurst Park (5-0-2).