Palace had a disappointing start to their festive programme after two early second half goals helped Southampton towards victory at Selhurst Park.
Southampton’s revival is in full swing after back to back victories. The Saints started brightly and threatened to score early on as centre half Toby Alderewield had an audacious effort tipped onto the bar by Julian Speroni.
The best opening for Palace in the first half was when former Southampton winger Jason Puncheon struck a shot straight at Fraser Forster from the edge of the box. The chance came when Joe Ledley’s ball over the top found Fraizer Campbell who nudged the ball onto Puncheon’s who failed to convert with his weaker foot.
Ronald Koeman’s men began to take control of the game and their possession paid off as Saints graduate James Ward-Prowse put through teammate Sadio Mane who took the ball round the Palace goalkeeper and passed the ball into the empty net.
Shortly after conceding, Yannick Bolasie was brought down and gave Mile Jedinak the opportunity to strike from the edge of the box, the Australian captain struck a low drive that didn’t trouble Fraser Forster too much.
The positives Palace could take from the first half that was Fraizer Campbell was looking dangerous and had a couple of chances to get Palace back into the game. The Mancunian saw his left footed effort fall wide of the post and was then later dubiously called offside after striking the bar from close range.
The Saints came out of the blocks flying after the break and killed the game off within the opening 10 minutes of the second half. On loan left back Ryan Bertrand found himself free on the edge of the box and volleyed home with his weaker foot. Their third goal came courtesy of a James Ward-Prowse assist once again, his perfectly timed corner fell straight on the head of Toby Alderweierld who lost his marker Joel Ward to head home.
Frazier Campbell hobbled off injured early in the second half and Neil Warnock looked to Dwight Gayle to try and change his sides luck.
Unfortunately the home sides luck didn’t change and Southampton continued to dominate the proceedings. Sadio Mane looked dangerous once again after his curling right foot effort went narrowly over the bar.
However, Palace did get a consolation goal thanks to Scott Dann. WIlfried Zaha, who had been brought on for Joe Ledley, was fouled and in the resulting free-kick Scott Dann headed home Mile Jedinak’s free kick. Palace looked to change the emphasis and get back into the game with chances falling to James McArthur and another to Scott Dann but the Eagles failed to convert.
Crystal Palace : Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Jedinak, McArthur, Ledley (Zaha, 66), Punchewon, Campbell (Gayle, 48), Bolasie (Kelly, 71).
Southampton : Forster, Yoshida, Alderweireld, Gardos, Clyne (McCarthy, 86), Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Davis (Wanyama, 55), Bertrand, Mane, Pelle (Long 71).
Referee M Dean (Wirral). Attendance 24,565.