Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, Southampton 1.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton
Crystal Palace became the first club in top-flight history to lose their opening five games without scoring as Roy Hodgson's first match as manager ended in defeat by Southampton.
The Eagles paid for slack defending in just the sixth minute when a Dusan Tadic cross-shot was parried to the feet of Steven Davis, who side-footed home from 10 yards.
Palace's direct approach was contained for the most part, though Saints keeper Fraser Forster did have to make point-blank saves to deny Christian Benteke and Jason Puncheon either side of half-time.
His resistance meant the hosts set a new top-flight record as they surpassed the 438 minutes Newcastle went without a goal at the start of the 2005-06 season.
Palace did not offer enough and allowed the away side to keep possession too easily as they secured a first win since 19 August.
Saints introduced Virgil van Dijk from the bench late on, the defender making his first appearance since declaring he wanted to leave in the summer.
His impact was minimal as his side easily saw out the closing stages, with Palace resorting to hopeful crosses and long balls, as they had for much of the afternoon.
Direct Palace lack cutting edge
Hodgson's appointment following the sacking of Frank de Boer failed to produce any notable increase in intensity or quality. In fact, Palace looked more threatening in De Boer's final game, a 1-0 defeat at Burnley.
The Dutchman had used a 3-5-2 formation in his opening three league games, switching to 4-3-3 at Turf Moor. Hodgson opted for 4-4-1-1, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek charged with playing close to Benteke.
It pointed a little to his days in charge of Fulham, where a pragmatic 4-4-2 proved hard to break down as he guided the Cottagers to safety against the odds in 2007-08.
But his side were anything but hard to get at in the early exchanges and Tadic easily found shooting space to allow Davis a tap-in for his first goal in 489 days.
The home side's brief seemed to be to play direct to Benteke, and it looked as though they would need a clever flick or fortunate bounce to create meaningful openings.
All too often their crosses were from deep, with Saints full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares rarely letting their rivals in behind them to deliver from dangerous areas.
What can Hodgson build on?
Loftus-Cheek was a positive for Palace - he fizzed an effort wide from range in the opening period and had a shot blocked by Bertrand after a powerful run. His late withdrawal prompted some booing.
He looks capable of delivering on his promise, and afterwards Hodgson pointed to the fact he also has key players such as Wilfried Zaha to return to his squad.
So there are plus points, and the atmosphere generated by Palace's fans before kick-off points to a fanbase which holds belief.
While their sides' play looked limited, they did create two chances which on any other day could have found the net. Benteke and later Puncheon should have done better when somehow Forster denied them.
Palace now join the Ipswich side of 1970-71 in going five games without a goal at the start of a season. But the Tractor Boys survived that season, a feat former Palace player Hodgson says he feels confident of replicating at Selhurst Park.
He acknowledged his new side "didn't play well enough" against Southampton but his belief in stating he will keep them up must now filter through to players. The fact their next three league games are against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea will test the legitimacy of his claim.
Saints build on solid foundation
Hodgson had his head in his hands during the first 45 minutes. Southampton, by contrast, may view this as a perfect day.
Van Dijk's first appearance of the season will begin the process of putting his transfer saga behind him, and Mauricio Pellegrino's side looked organised throughout as they secured a third clean sheet in five league games.
Forster will take the headlines, but Wesley Hoedt and Maya Yoshida were an almost impenetrable central-defensive pairing, and were protected superbly by Mario Lemina.
Lemina had 97 touches, made five tackles and won possession 15 times - doing all three more than anyone else on the field.
With him and Oriol Romeu protecting the back four, and the energy Davis showed in running more than 12 kilometres, it appears they have the foundations on which to build a fine season.
How far they go may well come down to their ability in the final third. All too often, Saints found excellent crossing positions - particularly through Tadic down the right - but failed to find a good final ball.
Their play was neat and their desire to get the ball down clear. It proved enough, and doubts over the impact Pellegrino has made in succeeding Claude Puel will ease a little.
Man of the match - Mario Lemina
450 minutes and counting - the stats
- Palace are without a goal in 450 minutes this season, the longest run from the start of a Premier League campaign.
- The Eagles have failed to find the back of the net in six consecutive league games for the first since January 1995 (a run of nine), with three different managers taking charge during this run (Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer and Roy Hodgson).
- Hodgson (70 years and 38 days) became the third manager to take charge of a Premier League game in his 70s after Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Robson.
- Steven Davis scored his first Premier League goal since 15 May 2016 - also against Palace 489 days ago.
- Davis has scored 15 goals in the Premier League. Only three other Northern Ireland players have netted more in the competition (Iain Dowie 33, Chris Brunt 24 and Keith Gillespie 17).
'We didn't deserve a fairytale' - manager reaction
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson:
"We didn't deserve a fairytale ending. We didn't play well enough. After the goal you could see the nerves and the anxiety. The only comfort I could take is that we got better as the game went on. The players care and they hurt and you couldn't say they weren't trying.
"It wasn't a game with loads of chances but they had too much possession and we allowed that because we weren't compact enough."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino: "The first half was good, we created chances. In the second-half they pressed higher but generally we controlled the game. Our spirit in every single action from the beginning to the end was there."
Crystal Palace host Huddersfield in the EFL Cup on Wednesday before travelling to Manchester City on Saturday, when Southampton will host Manchester United.
- 2WardBooked at 56mins
- 6DannBooked at 82mins
- 18McArthurBooked at 67minsSubstituted forMilivojevicat 69'minutes
- 7CabayeBooked at 33mins
- 42PuncheonBooked at 50mins
- 8Loftus-CheekSubstituted forSakoat 78'minutes
- 3van Aanholt
- 2Cédric Soares
- 11TadicSubstituted forvan Dijkat 87'minutes
- 22RedmondSubstituted forWard-Prowseat 85'minutes
- 7LongBooked at 77minsSubstituted forGabbiadiniat 90+2'minutes
- 17van Dijk
- Robert Madley
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, Southampton 1.
Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Crystal Palace).
Attempt missed. Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Scott Dann.
Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).
Substitution, Southampton. Manolo Gabbiadini replaces Shane Long.
Attempt blocked. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Dann.
Attempt saved. Cédric Soares (Southampton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Steven Davis.
Substitution, Southampton. Virgil van Dijk replaces Dusan Tadic.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Bakary Sako.
Substitution, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse replaces Nathan Redmond.
Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).
Attempt missed. Oriol Romeu (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Steven Davis with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Bakary Sako.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Attempt saved. Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye.
Shane Long (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Mario Lemina (Southampton).
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nathan Redmond (Southampton).
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).
Attempt missed. Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Steven Davis.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Luka Milivojevic replaces James McArthur.
James McArthur (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).
Mario Lemina (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).
Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).
Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Maya Yoshida (Southampton).
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Jeffrey Schlupp.