Julian Speroni’s record-equalling appearance for Palace proved a disappointing one after his error led to Sadio Mane scoring Southampton’s opening goal, and thereafter Graziano Pelle, Ryan Bertrand and Steven Davis added further goals to secure the comfortable victory that takes them up to fifth place. Jason Puncheon notched for the Eagles.
Manchester United can yet overtake Southampton by defeating Bournemouth in their rearranged fixture, but the guarantee of European competition unquestionably represents success for Ronald Koeman’s team.
In preparation for next week’s FA Cup final against United, Alan Pardew rested Wayne Hennessey, Scott Dann, Wilfried Zaha, Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham, the players who this season have represented the core of his team.
The Palace manager had spoken in the week of having half an eye on their fixture at Wembley, and also of selecting Speroni on sentiment to allow him to level John Jackson’s club record, for a goalkeeper, of 388 appearances in all competitions.