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Crystal Palace: Joel Ward disappointed against Southampton

Crystal Palace produced a disappointing display on Saturday as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Premier League strugglers Southampton courtesy of a 2-1 defeat.

Patrick Vieira’s side reached the semi-finals last season and were no doubt hoping for a similar run in this year’s competition but failed at the first hurdle against a Saints side who were on a terrible run of form.

The game looked to be heading Palace’s way when Odsonne Edouard handed the Eagles an early lead but James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick deceived Vicente Guaita for an equaliser shortly before half-time.

The Spaniard was culpable once again in the second half as Adam Armstrong robbed him on the edge of his area before rolling the ball into an empty net for the winning goal.

While the goalkeeper’s performance was a matter of concern for Vieira, it was arguably Joel Ward who was the game’s most disappointing performer on Saturday.

As per Sofascore, the right-back would earn a shocking 6.1/10 rating for his display, with only Guaita rated lower (6.0) of every player to feature in the game from both sides.

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The experienced full-back had a woeful time in possession, losing the ball on 23 occasions in his 73 minutes on the pitch, which was the joint-most with Romain Perraud of any player in the game.

Armstrong’s pace on the left wing caused Ward a lot of problems in the game, emphasised by him winning just 50% of his duels at Selhurst Park, while his limitations going forward were also cruelly exposed, as he completed none of his three attempted dribbles.

It was definitely the defender’s passing that let him down the most, as none of his five long balls found their mark, while his only attempted cross in the game also went astray.

In the end, he would register a pass success rate of just 63% which is a significant decrease on the 75.4% he has averaged in the Premier League so far campaign, emphasising just how poor he was in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Considering Vieira had a 33-year-old Ward at right-back and a 31-year-old Clyne out of position at left-back, it seems clear which areas the Frenchman needs to look to improve in this month’s transfer window.