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′)

Report: Ola Kamara wanted by mid-table La Liga outfit

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
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Columbus Crew star Ola Kamara is ready to leave the side, but he may not be moving inside of Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]

Metro.Us reporter Kristian Dyer says the Norwegian star is subject to a bid from a mid-table La Liga club. He’d been linked with a trade to Colorado as well.

Kamara, 28, came to MLS from Austria Wien and has since scored 34 goals in two seasons, a year after bagging 21 goals on loan for Molde in Norway.

Seventh place and 15th are separated by just four points in Spain’s top flight. Leganes and Espanyol are having the hardest time scoring goals, in terms of mildly educated speculation.

Transfer rumor roundup: Fred to Man City; Aubameyang wanted

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Could this January transfer window rival last season’s in terms of activity?

[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]

Last season saw Crystal Palace save its season and Hull City nearly do the same, Morgan Schneiderlin head to Everton, Leicester find a decent N'Golo Kante replacement, and much, much more.

This season has been less active, though Ross Barkley has headed to Chelsea while former club Everton nabbed Cenk Tosun and Liverpool added Virgil Van Dijk.

The BBC has news involving Napoli which could affect two Premier League clubs. The Neapolitans apparently want Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who wants to be an every week starter, to be a prime part of their push to end Juventus’ Serie A stranglehold.

That would unseat Pepe Reina, who’s been long linked with a reunion with former boss Pepe Reina at Newcastle United. Napoli currently has Luigi Sepe as a No. 2 to Reina, though UEFA Europa League fixtures mean it’s no guarantee Mignolet’s arrival would allow Reina to leave town.

Sky Sports says Manchester City would like to see Fred as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. Fred went 90 minutes for Shakhtar Donetsk in a pair of UEFA Champions League contests against City, including the 2-1 home win over the Premier League leaders’ B-squad on Dec. 6. The 24-year-old has two goals and two assists in league play, and could cost more than $25 million.

Don Balon proffers news that could unsettle Arsenal fans, as Real Madrid is apparently entering the bidding for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Florentino Perez would like an upgrade to Karim Benzema for his struggling La Liga super powers, and goodness knows Real will tempt Borussia Dortmund’s bank account.

One liners:

— The BBC also says Besiktas want Islam Slimani to join the club from Leicester City.

— Ola Kamara’s move from Columbus to another MLS team may be hijacked by La Liga.

Mourinho reportedly close to Man Utd contract extension

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Jose Mourinho is scheduling an extended stay at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Donovan unveiled by Leon ]

The 54-year-old has a contract through the end of next season, the dreaded third at a club for Mourinho, but reports say United is keen to keep him around through 2021.

Mourinho has not tasted a fourth season with a club despite winning league titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.

The 2019-20 season at Old Trafford would be Mourinho’s fourth. According to the BBC:

Talks have progressed well and it is now just a matter of time before Mourinho commits to remain at Old Trafford beyond the expiry of his present deal in 2019.

Somehow, this feels it should be deemed another loss for Antonio Conte.

Barkley ineligible to make Chelsea debut in FA Cup replay

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Ross Barkley was expected — and himself expected — to make his Chelsea debut on Wednesday, when the Blues host Championship side Norwich City in a third-round FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.

Alas, the 24-year-old English midfielder has been ruled ineligible due to a lesser-known and -applied rules surrounding transfers and player registration.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup | Wednesday preview ]

Barkley completed his move from Everton to Chelsea, for $20 million, on Jan. 5, the day before Chelsea and Norwich drew 0-0 at Carrow Road. In order to be eligible for Wednesday’s replay, Barkley is required to have completed his transfer prior to the noon cut-off the day prior to the original tie. While the time of official approval is unknown, Barkley’s move wasn’t announced by the club until after 5 p.m. in the UK.

As such, Chelsea will attempt to set up a behind-closed-doors friendly this week, in order to provide Barkley a bit of game action as he builds fitness and sharpness ahead of a potential debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Barkley hasn’t seen a single minute of first-team action this season after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the summer.