Crystal Palace set another unwanted record as they became the first side in English top-flight history to lose their opening five games without scoring, after going down 0-1 to Southampton in Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge.
Saints captain Steven Davis scored the only goal of the game to condemn Palace to yet another soul-destroying misery at Selhurst Park. The South Londoners are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and are already four points from safety, with trips to the high-flying Manchester clubs and a London derby at home to the champions Chelsea to follow. Palace are staring at the horror of becoming the first side to lose their opening eight games in a Premier League season after Portsmouth’s slump to relegation in 2009/2010.
With very little difference between the Eagles and their triumphant opponents, the slimmest of margins proved to cruelly deny the home side any goals or points once again. After outplaying Burnley last Sunday in Frank de Boer’s final game in charge, Palace continued where they left off by getting on the front foot and desperately trying to free themselves from next-to-nothing confidence. As it was at Turf Moor, another poor goal was surrendered early on as Northern Irishman Davis swept in after Wayne Hennessey’s weak parry into a danger area from Dusan Tadic’s cross-come-shot.
The early goal set the tone for Palace as they struggled to get on top of a resolute Southampton side and chased the game. Christian Benteke, Jason Puncheon and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were all guilty of wasting excellent chances but it wasn’t to be once again. The home crowd took up its usual pessimism and resignation to defeat as the game went on, as Hodgson and his men succumbed to further bad luck. If Palace are to somehow get out of this mess, the former England boss will have to use all of his experience from his 41-year managerial career.
Palace have now lost 9 of their last 10 Premier League games without scoring, with the survival clincher at home to Hull City last season being the only exception. They continue to disappoint at Selhurst Park, picking up a shocking 29 points from a possible 90 in the last 30 league matches. An average points total of 0.85 in the last two calendar years is only second worst to Rotherham United.
The club seems rotten to the core, and perhaps relegation is deserved based on these horrifying statistics. A real mess and something no football fan deserves to see. At the end of the day, it’s still our team, our Palace. It never gets any easier seeing us fall to pieces like this. Keep supporting us no matter how hard it is, that’s what sets us apart from the rest. Come on Roy’s boys!