Because Nathan Jones’ team needed three points to get off the bottom of the Premier League table, it may have seemed strange to say before kickoff that Southampton needed the win more than Nottingham Forest. Saints had a chance to resurrect their survival bid against a Forest team that had only scored once and had yet to win away from home. It didn’t seem likely.
Premier League hits and misses: Can Southampton recover?
They were shut out for the sixth time in a row in league play. This season, St Mary’s has six points from a possible 27. Jones was hired in November after Ralph Hasenhuttl was fired. It will only get worse unless Southampton’s board of directors backs him up with quality January signings. His team appears to be headed for Championship football next season, a division he is familiar with.
Wednesday’s game demonstrated how far Crystal Palace still has to go. Patrick Vieira is bringing in new blood to his aging squad. Youth is preferred, but it can be disastrous in the Premier League. Vieira’s assessment is sound. Crystal Palace had 19 shots to Tottenham’s 14, as well as more final third entries and passes. Despite their final-third brilliance, Spurs only had four shots on target.
Tottenham’s only shot on goal in the second half went wide. Tottenham won thanks to Harry Kane’s second-half performance. Spurs overcame Crystal Palace’s dominance and capitalized on their opportunities, which is the key to Premier League success. These qualities are required for Vieira’s team.
Wilfried Zaha has been Crystal Palace’s talisman on numerous occasions, including against Tottenham, but he is not as consistent as he or his team would like. Crystal Palace has passion, talent, and drive, but despite starkly different performances, two bruising home defeats will have taught them game management and taking opportunities. Tottenham had the second half Antonio Conte desired after a poor start. Wednesday’s win at a difficult away venue was a good start, but he needs to find team consistency if he wants to stay in the top four.