Jordan Ayew rescued a point for Crystal Palace, as the Eagles held Southampton to a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
Crystal Palace began the game in blistering fashion, as Wilfried Zaha handed his side the lead inside the first two minutes after being set up by Odsonne Edouard. After that, the Eagles came close to scoring twice, only to be denied by Southampton goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Caballero’s resolute showing in goal inspired those out in front to script a turnaround, and James Ward-Prowse got the game back on level terms with a scintillating free-kick. The Saints were in front shortly after, as Kyle Walker-Peters won the ball off Conor Gallagher before finding Armando Broja, who unleashed a fiery long-range effort to make it 2-1.
Crystal Palace regained control after the break but had to wait until the 65th minute to finally grab the equaliser, with Jordan Ayew ending his goal drought by scoring a close-range goal. Both sides traded blows in the game’s final quarter, but the deadlock was not broken again, as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Patrick Vieira’s men.
Jack Butland: 6/10
Butland was a surprise selection ahead of Vicente Guaita, and he did not justify Vieira’s decision. However, the Englishman had little chance of denying either James Ward-Prowse or Armando Broja, with the two strikes being deadly yet accurate.
Joel Ward: 6/10
Southampton largely pinned back the two Crystal Palace full-backs, and Ward had a lot of defending to do on Wednesday. And he did well for large parts of the proceedings, winning ten duels while completing six clearances. However, he was sloppy on the ball, losing possession 22 times while having a disappointing passing rate of 64 per cent, which ramped the pressure on him further.
James Tomkins: 7/10
Tomkins was kept busy throughout the game on Wednesday, but he came out unscathed for the most part. The experienced defender completed an astonishing eight clearances while making three big blocks to help Butland out. However, his output on the ball was sub-par, as he saw through only 77 per cent of his attempted passes.
Marc Guehi: 6/10
Guehi should have closed down Broja before he unleashed his ferocious shot, as he gave Butland no chance to save the effort. The youngster engaged in an intriguing tussle with his fellow Chelsea academy graduate, and his defensive output was solid, as he won seven duels while completing three clearances, two interceptions and two tackles.
Tyrick Mitchell: 6/10
Mitchell endured a difficult game against Southampton, as he was wasteful in possession, losing the ball a staggering 27 times despite hardly providing a creative threat. However, he put in the hard yards defensively, winning four duels. He has to do more in the final third, though.
Conor Gallagher: 6/10
Gallagher endured a game of hits and misses as he played a team-high two key passes. However, he lost the ball in a dangerous position leading up to Broja’s scintillating strike. At the same time, the Chelsea loanee also lost possession cheaply on several occasions – 23 times, in all. A rare blip.
Will Hughes: 7/10
Hughes’s run in the side continues, and he justified his selection early on by winning the ball in the build-up to Wilfried Zaha’s goal. However, the Englishman gave away the free-kick converted by Ward-Prowse for Southampton’s first. Besides those two moments, Hughes grafted all through the game and won six duels.
Cheikhou Kouyate: 6/10
Kouyate experienced an odd outing on Wednesday when the game passed him by for the most part. The Senegalese midfielder tried to cut out the threat of the Southampton midfielders as much as he could and won seven duels. However, his output on the ball left a lot to be desired, as he completed only 70 per cent of his attempted passes.
Jordan Ayew: 8/10
⚽️ This was Jordan Ayew’s 1st goal for Crystal Palace in 403 days.
The 30-year-old is the 🇬🇭 Ghanaian with the most goals (27) and most assists (13) in English Premier League history. pic.twitter.com/z6kL9x2WJT
— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) December 15, 2021
As always, Ayew put in the hard yards off the ball, helping Joel Ward immensely with his defensive output. However, the Ghanaian forward will fondly remember this game for a long time, as he found the back of the net for the first time in 43 Premier League games. Ayew will now hope to get on a scoring run.
Odsonne Edouard: 7/10
Edouard will be disgruntled to have missed his chances to score, and he should have found the back of the net at least once. However, the Frenchman was heavily involved in the goals that Crystal Palace netted, first setting up Zaha before seeing his shot rebound towards Ayew. He needs to score soon, though.
Wilfried Zaha: 8/10
Zaha still had a lot to do despite being put in a promising position by Edouard, and his finish was delightful. And as is usually the case with him, the Ivory Coast international was the most potent threat for Crystal Palace and should have had an assist to show for his efforts. However, he could not get into scoring positions all that much, which is a major shortcoming from Wednesday.
Wilfried Zaha has now scored eight Premier League goals in 2021:
Wilf strikes at Selhurst yet again.🦅 pic.twitter.com/tc1gjVj709
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) December 15, 2021
Christian Benteke: 6/10
Benteke did not see much of the ball despite spending 26 minutes on the pitch. The Belgian striker did not even complete a single pass. However, his bustling presence inside the Southampton box helped pull the Southampton defenders out of position before he scored.
Michael Olise: N/A
Introduced in place of Ayew, Olise kept things tight while linking up precisely with his teammates.
Joachim Andersen: N/A
Back in the side after an injury layoff, Andersen got a run-out late in the game to get some rhythm back.