Swansea City v Southampton - Premier League

Swansea City 0-1 Southampton: Late Lambert goal wins it for Saints (video)

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Southampton beat Swansea 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday as Rickie Lambert’s stoppage time strike sealed all three points for Saints.

Coming into the match Swansea were safe from relegation and Southampton could finish now higher than eighth place so predictably both sides felt their way into the match. Early on Swansea had two great chances to scores as Pablo Hernandez and Wilfried Bony came close but both missed. At the other end Southampton’s teenage striker Sam Gallagher headed over from close range as the away side pushed to go ahead.

Late on Saints pressed for the winner and substitute Lambert was in the right place at the right time to hand Saints their best-ever points tally in the Premier League. With the win they remain eighth with 55 points from 37 games, while Swansea are 13th on 39 points.

MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Early on Swansea started superbly as Jonjo Shelvey dispossessed Steven Davis on the edge of his own box in the fifth minute but Hernandez saw his shot well saved by Artur Bourc and then Bony glanced a header just wide as the Swans were in the ascendancy.

Saints woke up after that slow start and teenage striker Gallagher was proving a handful up front. In the 33rd minute he should have put Southampton ahead as the energetic Nathaniel Clyne surged down the right flank and found Gallagher unmarked but he headed over the bar from six-yards out. That sparked Swansea into life as Bony was then played in moments later but blasted his effort over the bar with both teams pressing for the opener before the break.

In the second half Swansea tried to get hold of the ball but Saints kept pouring forward down the flanks and a surging run from Luke Shaw saw the England international pull the ball back for Adam Lallana but a last-ditch bloke thwarted Saints’ skipper from giving his side the lead. It all got a bit scrappy after that as meaty challenges flew in as both teams were safe of relegation and seemed happy to spray the ball around.

Rickie Lambert replaced Lallana for the final 30 minutes as Saints went to two up front in order to try and bag a late win away at the Liberty. Morgan Schneiderlin drilled a low left-footed shot towards goal but Michel Vorm saved easily as the two teams battled it out in the sun in South Wales.

The game looked to be petering out but in stoppage time a chipped ball from Steven Davis saw Ashley Williams try to clear the ball but it hooked it over his own ‘keeper and Rickie Lambert was stood on the line to shoulder the ball into the net.


Swansea City: Vorm, Tiendalli (Taylor, 77′), Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, de Guzman (Dyer, 65′), Hernandez (Emnes, 77′), Routledge, Bony. Subs: Tremmel, Taylor, Bartley, Fulton, Dyer, Emnes, Vazquez.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama, Cork (Reed, 86′), Schneiderlin, Davis, Lallana (Lambert, 61′), Gallagher (Ward-Prowse, 78′)

Goal: Lambert (90′)

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.