Southampton 1-1 Manchester United: Points shared at St. Mary’s (video)

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Southampton and Manchester drew 1-1 on the final day of the 2013-14 Premier League season at St. Mary’s Stadium.

The home side took the lead just before the half hour mark as Rickie Lambert slotted home expertly after Saints dominated the opening 45 minutes. After the break United improved drastically and Juan Mata bent in superb free kick to level things up. Danny Welbeck and Mata had good chances to clinch the win, but United ended their horrendous season by drawing.

Saints finish the season in eighth place, their best-ever season in the PL, while United finish in seventh which is their worst-ever season in the PL as they’ve finished outside of the top four and will not play European soccer next season.

A nightmare season is finally over for United, as they hand their PL crown over to their ‘noisy neighbors’ Manchester City.

MORE: Final Premier League standings

source: AP
Mata curls in an unstoppable free kick into the top corner.

Saints started well and should have had a penalty as Luke Shaw played the ball into Rickie Lambert who flicked it onto Adam Lallana who tried to get by Nemanja Vidic yet the Man United skipper looked to have clearly handle the ball but referee Mike Dean waved away the appeals. The home side continued to dominate as Victor Wanyama and Rickie Lambert had a sniff at goal, with United wasteful in possession and Saints’ players oozing confidence in front of England’s national team manager Roy Hodgson. Luke Shaw rose highest in the box to head just over the bar as Saints pressed for the opener. Moments later Lallana tried to bend an effort in on goal

Just before the half hour marks Saints deservedly went ahead as a long ball forward saw Lambert battled with Vidic in the air and Steven Davis picked up the pieces and played in Lambert who have David de Gea and slotted home his 14th goal of the season. Manchester United tried to respond as Vidic, who was covered in blood after getting an elbow from Lambert, headed over and Chris Smalling had a shot on goal. Saints could have gone 2-0 up just before the interval as Lallana glided in from the left flank and put a teasing ball across the box that Steven Davis couldn’t quite get on the end of.

United were let back into the game 10 minutes after half time as Victor Wanyama hacked down Danny Welbeck on the edge of the box and Mata stepped up to curl home a beautiful free kick into the top corner. That goal spurred United into life as Welbeck headed over soon after as the Red Devils took the game to Saints. In the second half it was all United and Darren Fletcher should have done better with a free header in the box and punished Southampton for some slack defending.

Late on United pushed hard to try and grab a winner but Welbeck fired over and Mata got an acrobatic effort all wrong, as the sides drew 1-1 for the second time this season.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw (Chambers, 80′), Wanyama, Cork (Gallagher, 60′), Schneiderlin, Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 69′), Lambert

Goal: (Lambert 28′)

Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Januzaj, Fletcher, Kagawa (Carrick, 45′), Welbeck; Mata (Valencia, 89′); van Persie (Hernandez, 68′)

Goal: (Mata, 54′)

WATCH: Knee slide celebration goes face plant for RSL’s Mulholland

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We’d ask Luke Mulholland to take a bow, but we’re unsure how that would turn out.

The Englishman celebrated his 16th Real Salt Lake goal with a knee slide turned face plant on Sunday, and it was immediately clear he shared in the laughter it caused at Rio Tinto and on screens around the world.

[ RECAP: RSL 2-0 Seattle ]

Mulholland helped RSL continued it’s improbable red-hot run into the playoff picture with his third goal of the season on Saturday night against Seattle with a run in front of a defender to punch home a cross.

On his way to the corner flag for a nice slide, the pitch decided to rebel against his knees and sent him face-first into the Earth.

WATCH LIVE: Brighton hosts Newcastle United

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Newcastle United looks to continue its rich vein of form when it visits some old friends at Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has led both clubs to Premier League promotion during his managerial career.

He’ll keep ex-Newcastle keeper Tim Krul on the bench in favor of Australian backstop Mathew Ryan.

As for Newcastle, the Magpies are unchanged from last week’s win over Stoke City.

LINEUPS

Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross; Hemed. Subs: Krul, Rosenior, Huenemeier, Schelotto, Izquierdo, Murphy, Brown.

Newcastle United: Elliot; Mbemba, Clark, Lascelles, Yedlin; Ritchie, Hayden, Merino, Atsu; Perez, JoseluSubs: Darlow, Gamez, Manquillo, Diame, Murphy, Shelvey, Gayle.

Steven Gerrard didn’t want any part of Coutinho in training

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Steven Gerrard has issued some fairly hilarious comments regarding former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho.

The Premier League legend admits there were days in training that the sight of the Brazilian wizard on the other side of the pitch made him lash out.

[ MORE: Palace fans must be patient ]

It seems Gerrard wanted nothing to do with marking Coutinho in small-sided games, and the idea of “Stevie G” spouting off in frustration when Brendan Rodgers posted Coutinho across from him is a wonderful mental picture.

From The Liverpool Echo:

“He’s impossible to defend against,” Gerrard told BT Sport after Saturday’s game.

“I mean when I used to train against him, I’d hate it if I was on the opposite five-a-side team. I wouldn’t go near him. And sometimes I’d say to him: ‘Keep away from me! He can embarrass you [as a defender]. He can stand you up, he can both ways, he’s got such a low centre of gravity. He’s sharp, he’s quick and he’s two or three steps ahead of defenders. He’s so, so clever.”

Again, the vision of Gerrard throwing his hands up with a “Nope, not having this today” is amazing. Even if exaggerated, we love it. We picture that old meme with the office worked tossing papers through the air.

Patience with Hodgson required by Palace

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Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is 0-2 in his new gig and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t exactly within touching distance.

The latest defeat is a 5-0 blowout at Manchester City, and the immediate road ahead is sobering: at Manchester United and home to Chelsea. Following a trip to Newcastle, who is in form, the Eagles have matches vs. West Ham, at Spurs, and versus Everton.

[ MORE: Premier League Sat. roundup ]

Palace is 0-6 overall and the first team in the history of the Premier League to go goalless through its first six matches.

Palace fired Frank De Boer after four league matches and a summer in which the club failed to add much to its squad.

And Hodgson is feeling his way through the dark. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this is the timing of Palace’s change.

From the BBC:

“I am learning about the team all the time and they are learning,” said Hodgson.

“Our focus has to be in May. By the latter part of the season the players must know what we are looking for. They should feel stronger by then.”

To be shooting for May has to be overwhelming for the Selhurst Park faithful but may indicate their most reasonable promise of life in the Premier League.

Palace fans cannot afford to get caught up in how Sam Allardyce saved them a year ago, because his turnaround coincided with the Eagles’ purchases of Luka MilivojevicMamadou Sakho, and Patrick Van Aanholt. An influx of talent does not save a season alone, but we’re fairly sure Alan Pardew would’ve relished the chance to work with two new backs and a stabilizing center midfielder.

Remember that Allardyce then retired, which says something given his willingness to bask in any light in which he can claim a modicum of credit.

So Hodgson, known for his relentless training methods, needs to be given his time. Palace will likely have at-most one point after the next two PL matches, and they may have not scored yet. History can be daunting, but supporters need to exhale and realize the road ahead is long.