Morning all! Sports Mole
's live Premier League coverage continues from Selhurst Park as bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace
welcome Southampton. Roy Hodgson
is now in charge of Palace following the sacking of Frank de Boer
earlier this week, and the former England boss will be looking for a positive start to his tenure. It is a massive football match. Stay tuned for all of the action!
This afternoon will be the 105th meeting between Palace and Southampton in all competitions. Southampton lead the head-to-head 44 wins to Palace's 38, while the remaining 22 fixtures have finished level. Both teams won their home game in this particular match-up last season, with Palace securing a 3-0 victory when they welcomed the Saints to this stadium in December 2016.
Right, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Selhurst Park. What does Hodgson's first Palace XI look like? What about Southampton, does Virgil van Dijk feature?
PALACE: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Fosu-Mensah, Schlupp; Loftus-Cheek, McArthur, Cabaye; Puncheon, Benteke, Townsend
SAINTS: Forster; Cedric, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Davis, Lemina; Tadic, Long, Redmond
Palace boss Hodgson has made just the one change from the team that started last weekend's defeat at Burnley, with fit-again Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing Chung-Yong Lee, who has dropped to the bench. Jason Puncheon will once again support Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend in the final third, while on-loan Manchester United defender Ruben Loftus-Cheek keeps his spot.
Meanwhile, Southampton's side shows four changes from the one that started against Watford last weekend. Dusan Tadic, Shane Long, Maya Yoshida and Mario Lemina all come into the first XI, with James-Ward Prowse, Jack Stephens, Manolo Gabbiadini and Sofiane Boufal dropping to the bench. Netherlands centre-back Virgil van Dijk is back on the Southampton bench this afternoon.
So there we have it. The teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff at Selhurst Park. I shall speak about Southampton a bit later, but let's start with Palace. There is no getting away from the fact that the Eagles have made an absolutely disastrous start to the 2017-18 campaign.
Indeed, Palace are rock bottom of the Premier League table on zero points. They lost 3-0 at home to Huddersfield Town on the opening weekend of the season, before suffering a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool. The capital club then lost 2-0 at home to Swansea City, before going down 1-0 at Burnley last weekend. As it transpired, the clash at Turf Moor proved the end of the line for De Boer.
De Boer, appointed in the summer, was given just four Premier League matches to prove his worth, and a disastrous start to the season saw the Dutchman lose his position. Hodgson has returned to management for the first time since leaving the England post following Euro 2016. The 70-year-old will bring a wealth of experience to a team that needs lifting, and that starts this afternoon.
Palace could become the first club in top-flight history to lose their opening five league games without scoring a single goal, and worryingly, the Eagles have lost eight of their last nine league matches dating back to last season. There is simply no downplaying the importance of this match when considering the fixtures that will arrive over the next few weeks.
Indeed, next up for Palace after this one is a trip to Manchester City next weekend, before visiting Manchester United on September 30. They will then welcome Chelsea immediately after the international break, before travelling to Newcastle United on October 21. Something needs to change for Palace, or they risk being cut adrift, even at this early stage of the season.
Southampton, meanwhile, currently sit 13th in the table having collected five points from their four matches thus far. They opened the season with a 0-0 draw at home to Swansea City, before beating West Ham United 3-2 on August 19 as Mauricio Pellegrino secured his first win as Saints boss.
The Saints were then held to a goalless draw at Huddersfield on August 26, and will enter this match off the back of a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Watford last weekend. It has been a hit-and-miss start to the new campaign, but Pellegrino's side will be in the mood to pour more misery on Palace.
That said, Southampton have actually failed to score in nine of their last 12 Premier League matches, and they did not manage an attempt on target until the 92nd minute of their defeat to Watford last weekend. It would be fair to say that the team is still warming up, but there is no question that they have the talent to cause Palace all sorts of problems this afternoon.
As expected, there is a brilliant atmosphere inside Selhurst Park this afternoon. A win would be massive for Palace, but Southampton will not be in the mood for any favours. Long, Tadic and Redmond form a dangerous front three for the visitors, who will look to get the ball down and play.
Here we go then - the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken, and the flags have been exchanged. We are just about ready to get this key Premier League clash underway. Game on!
KICKOFF! Palace get things underway on home soil...
... Loftus-Cheek delivers an early cross into Townsend as Palace make a bright start to the match, but the latter can only poke harmlessly wide of the post. Bright opening minute from the home side.
It has been a high-tempo start to the match, with both teams keen to gain an early control of the possession. Townsend is again involved as the Englishman looks to meet a long pass from Loftus-Cheek, but Hoedt is across to confront the winger. There is already a nice feel about this game.
Hennessey is down to collect a weak shot from Davis after a little bit of pressure from Southampton. Long found Lemina inside the Palace box, but the latter's shot was blocked.
GOAL! Palace 0-1 Southampton (Davis)
Southampton make the breakthrough in the sixth minute of action as Davis finds the bottom corner after Hennessey had palmed a Tadic cross into his own box! Disaster for Palace once again!
Hodgson would have wanted Palace to keep things tight in the opening 15, 20 minutes, but the home side are already playing catch-up. There is no question that Palace miss Wilfried Zaha, but they still have more than enough in the final third to upset this Southampton defence this afternoon.
Southampton are playing the better football at the moment as the Saints continue to move the ball in Palace's half of the field. McArthur is the latest Palace player to get caught in the middle of midfield.
Half-chance for Long as the Southampton striker meets a cross from Tadic, but the Republic of Ireland international's header was always wide of the post. Palace really need to wake up here.
Just a reminder that Palace have not scored a single Premier League goal this season. There is no question that there are goals in this team, but as it stands, they are heading for another defeat.
I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals in this match, especially with Southampton more than prepared to commit four, five players forward to each attack. This Palace defence looks extremely nervous, but Townsend is carrying the fight down the other end of the field.
SAVE! Super save from Forster as the Southampton goalkeeper keeps out a close-range effort from Benteke, who had met a cross from Loftus-Cheek. Had to score there!
Palace threaten from the resulting corner, but Loftus-Cheek cannot get a clear header on the ball, and Southampton eventually clear after the second set piece. Better from the home side there.
Lemina finds some space just outside the Palace box, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Not too much to report from Palace since Benteke had that brilliant chance to level.
SAVE! Hennessey keeps out a powerful strike from Redmond.
The Southampton supporters are in fine voice at the moment, and why not. The Saints have been excellent in the opening 24 minutes of this match. As for Palace, the work-rate has been there, but the Eagles are just lacking that bit of quality in the final third. Townsend has been their biggest threat.
Cabaye misses the Southampton goal with an effort from distance.
So, 27 minutes on the clock at Selhurst, and Southampton still lead courtesy of that early strike from Davis, who finished into the bottom corner from inside the Palace box. The home side have shown bits and pieces in the final third, but Southampton have been comfortable for long spells.
Penalty shout for Palace as McArthur goes down inside the box under pressure from Cedric, but the referee is not interested. Better from the home side as they start to force the issue here.
WIDE! Loftus-Cheek fires wide after a smart link-up with Benteke!
Again it is brilliant work from Loftus-Cheek, but the midfielder's final strike is blocked after Southampton had managed to get bodies in the way. Good couple of minutes for Loftus-Cheek.
Palace are very much on the front foot at the moment as they continue to commit players in the final third, but Southampton are holding strong, and the visitors have a big counter-attack threat.
BOOKING! Cabaye (Palace) is booked for a late tackle on Lemina.
Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining, and Palace are still waiting for their first Premier League goal of the season. Southampton have been impressive thus far this afternoon.
Ward has a problem for Palace after challenging Redmond inside the penalty box.
Scrap that - Ward is back on his feet. Looked pretty serious at one point!
Benteke is obviously the target for Palace this afternoon, but the quality into the Belgian has not been great. You do get the feeling that Palace need to score the game's next goal if they are to have any chance of picking up a positive result this afternoon. A second for Southampton would be a killer!
Possession for Palace in the last few minutes, but Southampton are pretty comfortable at the back as the visitors continue to clear their lines. We are into the final moments of the first period here.
Ward makes a smart block from a Tadic shot as Palace come close to conceding a second in the latter stages of the first half. Southampton are finishing the first period on the front foot.
SAVE! Hennessey is down to keep out Redmond's low shot.
WIDE! Townsend fires wide of the near post after breaking into the Saints box!
HALF-TIME: Palace 0-1 Southampton
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Southampton leading Palace 1-0 courtesy of an early goal from Davis. Palace have shown bits and pieces in the final third, but the visitors have been comfortable for long spells. More misery for Palace as things stand here.
STATISTICS! Southampton have dominated the possession with 63%, while the visitors managed eight attempts in the first period - three of which were on target. As for Palace, the hosts hit the target once from seven attempts in the opening 45 minutes. Just the one booking - Cabaye (33 min).
BENCH WATCH! Palace boss Hodgson has limited attacking options on his bench this afternoon, although Lee and Sako are both available in the second period. Southampton, meanwhile, have the likes of Boufal, Gabbiadini, Ward-Prowse and Van Dijk on what is a very strong bench at Selhurst.
RESTART! Southampton resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.
You do get the feeling that Palace need to score the next goal if they are to have any chance of picking up a positive result this afternoon. A second for Southampton, and that might well be game over, even at this stage of the match. Not too much to report since the restart at Selhurst Park.
CHANCES! Loftus-Cheek delivers a brilliant cross into the Southampton box, but there are no takers! Puncheon then meets a low cross from Schlupp, but Forster makes the save!
BOOKING! Puncheon (Palace) is booked for a late challenge on Tadic.
There is no question that Loftus-Cheek has been the star man for Palace this afternoon. You sense that if Palace are to get back into this match, it will involve Loftus-Cheek in some way. Better from Palace.
I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals in this match, especially with the numbers that Palace are throwing forward. Still 1-0 Southampton with 54 minutes on the clock here.
Southampton are attempting to time waste in this match - a little bit early for that! The referee is aware, however, and has already had a couple of words. Still more than 35 minutes of football to play in the capital as the rain starts to fall. Southampton seem to have woken up again here.
Couple of half-chances for Southampton, but Long cannot grow to each a cross from Cedric, before Redmond has a strike blocked. Much better from the visitors here.
BOOKING! Ward (Palace) is booked for a foul on Davis.
The rain is really coming down now as both teams continue to commit players in the final third. Long collects a deep pass from Davis, and Southampton eventually settle for a corner kick here.
The surface has quickened up due to the rain, and that might mean some defensive mistakes. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, but Palace are enjoying possession once again. Benteke and Loftus-Cheek are playing very close together at the moment.
Benteke heads harmlessly wide after meeting a deep pass from Cabaye.
Benteke is asked to chase a pass from Loftus-Cheek, but Yoshida is across to make the clearance as Southampton continue to resist the pressure. Still 1-0 to the visitors with 63 minutes played.
More pressure from Southampton as Cedric has a long-range strike blocked behind.
Little over 20 minutes of football remaining this afternoon, and Palace are still waiting for their first Premier League goal of the season. Something has to give in the final 20 minutes of this game.
BOOKING! McArthur (Palace) is booked for a foul on Bertrand.
Brilliant from Loftus-Cheek once again, but the final pass is astray as Southampton clear their lines.
PALACE SUB! Miliviojevic replaces McArthur for Palace.
Good pressure from Palace in the last few minutes, but Southampton have been excellent at the back this afternoon, and the visitors continue to clear their lines with 72 minutes on the clock.
Loftus-Cheek continues to look the most likely for the home side, but the on-loan Chelsea midfielder needs some support. Southampton are sitting very, very deep at the moment.
Palace fans... I wish I could bring some good news, but that is not the case at the moment. Southampton are comfortable, despite not seeing too much of the ball as things stand here.
Cabaye delivers a free kick into the Southampton box, but the danger is cleared once again. Palace need to be very careful that they do not concede a second on the counter-attack here.
BOOKING! Long (Southampton) is booked for dissent.
PALACE SUB! Sako replaces Loftus-Cheek, who has been Palace's star man.
Southampton's Romeu heads over from a corner as Palace give away a decent chance.
Benteke continues to win headers, but his teammates are not picking up the second balls.
BOOKING! Dann (Palace) is booked for pulling Long to the deck.
You just get the feeling that there is going to be a late goal in this match. Palace are committing all sorts of numbers forward, but that is leaving space down the other end for Southampton to break.
SOUTHAMPTON SUB! Ward-Prowse replaces Redmond for Southampton.
Dann delivers a dangerous cross into the Southampton box, but it falls kindly for Forster.
SOUTHAMPTON SUB! Van Dijk replaces Tadic for Southampton.
Southampton have about 25 defenders on the field for the final few minutes here!
SAVE! Hennessey is down to keep out Cedric's low strike.
Cedric hammers the ball clear as Palace deliver once again into the Southampton box.
Forster collects Schlupp's header as the clock continues to tick on here.
SOUTHAMPTON SUB! Gabbiadini replaces Long for the visitors.
We are into the second of five additional minutes at the end of the 90 here.
Southampton take their time with a throw-in as we approach the final moments.
Ward's effort is wide of the post, and that might be that for this match.
FULL-TIME: Palace 0-1 Southampton
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Southampton running out 1-0 winners over Palace, who remain bottom of the table on zero points and zero goals. More misery for the Eagles! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again!