Sofiane Boufal

West Brom 2-3 Southampton: Relegation scrap delivers drama

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  • First win in 13 PL games for Saints
  • West Brom slip to 20th place
  • Stephens scores for third-straight game

Southampton edged past West Bromwich Albion 3-2 in a classic relegation battle at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

On an emotional day for West Bromas they paid their respects to the late Cyrille Regis before the game, the home side took the lead early on as Ahmed Hegazi headed home. Yet Saints came roaring back as they scored twice in quick succession just before half time with a stunner from Mario Lemina and then Jack Stephens headed home.

James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick proved to be the pivotal goal as Salomon Rondon pulled a goal back late on but West Brom couldn’t draw level.

With the win, their first since November 26, Saints moved on to 26 points and up to 14th place, while West Brom slip to 20th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

West Brom had the perfect start as a corner from the right found Hegazi and he towered about Jack Stephens to head home the opener.

Saints responded well to going behind as Sofiane Boufal flashed a shot just wide of the post. Guido Carrillo then scuffed an effort wide for the visitors. Carrillo then nodded wide from Lemina’s cross and Saints continued to press with a bad mistake letting in Dusan Tadic but his deflected shot looped onto the top of the net.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

At the other end Daniel Sturridge smashed an effort across goal which just flew wide of the far post. Then, the game swung in Saints’ favor.

Ben Foster denied Guido Carrillo with a magnificent save but from the resulting corner the ball found Lemina over 25 yards out and the Gabonese midfielder drilled an unstoppable effort into the top corner to level things up.

Two minutes later James Ward-Prowse’s corner was flicked into the far corner by Stephens with the center back scoring for the third time this week after previously not netting in his first 37 games for Saints. What a turnaround at half time as Saints led 2-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Chris Brunt went close from a free kick for West Brom as he played the ball under the wall from the edge of the box but it clipped someone on the way through and went out from a corner.

Tadic went close to wrapping the game up for Saints as a long ball forward was misjudged but West Brom cleared.

Wesley Hoedt then strode forward and won a free kick on the edge of the box and after a slight disagreement between Boufal and his teammates, Ward-Prowse stepped up and put the free kick into the bottom corner and past Foster to make it 3-1 to Saints.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jay Rodriguez and Oliver Burke came on for Sturridge and Claudio Yacob to try and get West Brom back in the game but Saints should have extended their lead with Tadic not getting enough on his cross for Carrillo.

Rondon headed home 18 minutes from time to make it 2-3 and set up a tight finish. Jay Rodriguez went down in the box under a challenge from Bertrand as West Brom thought they should have a penalty, while at the other end Shane Long should have made it 4-2 but headed wide.

Saints held on, just, for their first win since November to breath new life into their season.

Southampton confirms capture of Monaco striker

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Southampton’s ailing attack has found itself a possible star, as Saints confirmed the capture of Monaco striker Guido Carrillo on Thursday.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright confirmed an agreed fee on Wednesday, and the 26-year-old Argentine was announced a day later with a three-and-a-half year contract.

Carrillo scored 18 goals during his three seasons at Monaco after starting his career under current Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino at Estudiantes.

“I obviously know the coaching staff, I’ve worked with them in Argentina and I also spoke with some players who were former teammates in Argentina, who are now playing in the Premier League and they told me all about the club and gave it a shining reference. Therefore, I had no doubts when I took the decision.”

Saints downfall this season has been a lack of finish as Charlie Austin‘s been hurt and both Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini have failed to deliver in front of goal. If Carrillo can feast on the spoils provided by Dusan Tadic, Sofiane Boufal, and others, Saints may quickly find themselves out of relegation trouble.

Spurs, Saints play to stalemate

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  • Bertrand forces Spurs own goal
  • Kane levels before halftime
  • Spurs stay fifth
  • Saints one point back of safety

Harry Kane made amends for a Davinson Sanchez own goal as Tottenham Hotspur drew Southampton 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Southampton is now winless in 11 Premier League matches, while Spurs are unbeaten in six.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs entered the game with Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out through sickness and several more not at 100 percent, and Sanchez was surely feeling ill when his sliding attempt to block a Ryan Bertrand cross beat his own keeper to the inside post.

It was 1-1 within moments, as Kane rose over Manolo Gabbiadini after losing mark Jack Stephens on a corner kick.

James Ward-Prowse was fortunate to avoid a card when he kicked out at Jan Vertonghen following a slide tackle from the Spurs center back.

Stephens just missed making up for his error when he zipped onto Ward-Prowse’s free kick but headed just wide of the far upper 90.

Mario Lemina forced Vorm into a save after a 41st minute set-up by Gabbiadini.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ward-Prowse tried his luck from 25 yards to start the second half, but Vorm saw the ball the whole way into his arms.

Spurs grew into the second half, and Dele Alli lashed wide of the near post in the 65th minute. Vertonghen buzzed the tower with a left-footed shot five minutes later.

Would anything give as the match progressed, with Spurs inserting Erik Lamela and Saints opting for Sofiane Boufal and 17-year-old debutant Michael Obafemi?

Good work from Kane and Sissoko ended with an on-the-doorstep Lamela shooting off a Saints defender and out, poorly adjudged to be a goal kick.

Obafemi misjudged a chance to redirect a cross past Vorm in the 87th minute, and Cedric ventured a laser wide of the goal as Saints looked for a winner. Boufal was then blocked by Sanchez after taking a touch too much in the box.

Kane had late opportunity for Spurs, but dragged his shot or pass through the six without a receiver.

Roundtable: Discussing the best of 2017

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As 2017 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on what has happened in the Premier League and elsewhere in the soccer world over the past 12 months.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Below we take a look back at 2017, as our writers select their top moments.


Top Premier League moment

Joe Prince-Wright: Being at West Brom to see Chelsea win the Premier League title in May was pretty special. It was a game which summed up why they won the title last season. They ground out victories time and time again and Michy Batshuayi‘s late winner sparked an unexpected party as it seemed like they’d have to wait a few more days to win the trophy. From Antonio Conte‘s press conference after the game being gatecrashed by Diego Costa, John Terry and David Luiz to the celebrations with the fans at the end of the game, it was a moment which really stood out and epitomized the incredible turnaround Conte led after the shambles of 12 months before.

Nick Mendola: Honestly, given the way Chelsea’s players bailed on Jose Mourinho, to see that same bunch enabling fiery Antonio Conte to don an inflatable crown as PL champion might be it for me.

Matt Reed: The Clarets stunning Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on opening day. Burnley has since proven that its a worthy top-10 side, but losing Gary Cahill in the early minutes to a red card and then the subsequent effects were just unimaginable in London.


Top Premier League player

JPW: I have to go with Harry Kane. Yes, Kevin De Bruyne and David De Gea have also been superb, but Kane’s goalscoring record of 39 PL goals in 2017 to set a new record says it all. Consistently he has delivered on a historic level.

NM: It’s been Harry Kane, David De Gea, and Eden Hazard, and I’m *just* tabbing Hazard based on his resurgent last season and success with a wider variety of attackers (though I’m certainly not holding squad stability against Kane).

MR: Kevin De Bruyne has been a marvel to watch evolve, and now he’s really becoming not just one of the best Premier League players, but one of the top talents in the world. The Belgian has been deadly in front of goal, but what’s been even more impressive is his ability to create for his teammates.


Most memorable Premier League goal

JPW: Emre Can‘s incredible flying volley takes some beating, as does Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick way back on New Year’s Day 2017, but I’m going with Sofiane Boufal‘s solo goal for Southampton against West Brom. I was at St Mary’s that day and the crescendo of noise as he got closer and closer to goal, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake, will always stay with me. Utter bedlam when the ball hit the back of the net.

NM: Honorable mention to Wayne Rooney‘s half-field goal and Emre Can’s overhead kick, but Eden Hazard’s half-field dribble against Arsenal — capped by fooling Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech — was out of this world.

MR: It’s arguable that other goals were better, but Wayne Rooney’s half-field scorcher against West Ham was certainly the most memorable. Great technique. Brilliant first-time effort. Nothing else to really say.


Most surprising Premier League moment

JPW: It’s probably how ordinary Manchester United have been in the Premier League in 2017. Yes, they focused on the Europa League and cup competitions last season, but there’s be little progress in their style of play or the way Jose Mourinho is setting them up. I thought they’d be much further along than they are right now.

NM: Claudio Ranieri being fired by Leicester City less than a year after engineering perhaps the most memorable championship season in soccer history. Given the players went on to fail Craig Shakespeare, proving it wasn’t about the manager, they should remain ashamed.

MR: Less than 12 months removed from winning the title, Claudio Ranieri’s firing in February wasn’t as much a shock as Leicester’s poor form. Ultimately the Foxes survived relegation, but nobody could have expected that the team would be forced into such sweeping changes after completing their historic feat a season prior.


Top three players on the planet

JPW: Wow. This is tough. I have to go with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but the third place is so tough. Harry Kane probably deserves to be there because he has more goals than anyone else at the top level in 2017, but how do you leave out Neymar or Kevin De Bruyne? I’m going to give Kane the nod. 1) Messi, 2) Ronaldo, 3) Kane.

NM: 1. Lionel Messi – When you’re the greatest ever, you’re the greatest of the year. 2. Neymar – His Brazil work shows that it’s not just about being a part of two great tridents. 3. Harry Kane – Can’t deny what he’s done for Spurs, and England.

MR: In terms of form, you could very easily argue that Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne belong on this list, but when it comes to sustainability, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are still the best of the best. We’ve all been waiting for Messi and Ronaldo to drop off in form for some time now, but it just doesn’t seem to happen. Even this season, when Real isn’t at its best, Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in all competitions.


Most memorable soccer moment, globally

JPW: The Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain Champions League Round of 16 second leg was bonkers. The way Barca somehow came back from the dead to win 6-1 on the night with two goals in stoppage time sealing their passage to the last eight was remarkable. It didn’t seem possible.

NM: The United States and its overly confident head coach Bruce Arena getting overrun by Trinidad and Tobago’s B Team and eliminated from World Cup qualification. Yep. Still angry.

MR: 6-1. In one of the most high-profile matches in last season’s Champions League, Barcelona stormed back from dead and advanced to the quarterfinals after its six-goal effort against PSG. The fact that Neymar went on to join PSG later in the year only added fuel to fire for any potential future meetings between the two clubs.


Top moments in U.S. Soccer/Major League Soccer

JPW: Obviously the most memorable moment of 2017 for the USMNT was not making the World Cup after that horrendous display against Trinidad & Tobago’s reserve squad. It will take us all a very, very long time to forget that. On the positive side of things, seeing the rise of Christian Pulisic has been superb and he is exceeding what we all expected him to achieve at such a young age. In MLS, there’s no doubting that Toronto FC winning MLS Cup was a huge moment. Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco have delivered what was expected and they did it in style with a record breaking season. We are seeing the start of another MLS dynasty, I’m sure of it.

NM: I have a lot of admiration for the way Toronto FC made good on the promise of 2016 by winning every competition it entered in 2017 (especially with oft-criticized USMNT stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore doing plenty along the way) and essentially anything Christian Pulisic did was wonderful this season (One of the few players who looked good even when the USMNT was throwing up all over itself). The continued development of other U.S. youngsters (Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams) is also encouraging but not quite to the level of top moment.

MR: It certainly wasn’t the best moment by any stretch, but we’ll remember the USMNT missing out on the 2018 World Cup for a very, very long time. Not just because of the magnitude of our nation being left out of the tournament, but the way in which everything fell apart at the most critical points in the World Cup qualifying cycle.

In MLS, Toronto FC’s treble was the first of its kind. While some will argue that having the Canadian Championship count is a bit of a stretch, TFC was the best team from start to finish this MLS season, and they’ve built a squad that could contend for various titles in the future.


Pick your ultimate Best XI from World Soccer in 2017

Joe Prince-Wright
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
Defenders: Cezar Azpilicueta, Sergio Ramos, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, N'Golo Kante, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane

Nick Mendola
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Jan Vertonghen, Mats Hummels
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Toni Kroos, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Neymar

Matt Reed
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
Defenders: Cezar Azpilicueta, Sergio Ramos, Giorgio Chiellini, David Alaba
Midfielders: Andres Iniesta, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar


Your main hope/wish for the soccer world in 2018

JPW: That the 2018 World Cup becomes a true celebration of everything that is great about the Beautiful Game rather than turning into a VAR nightmare. The biggest stars will be on show and there are at least six legitimate contenders to win the trophy. I cannot wait for the World Cup.

NM: That U.S. Soccer’s new president sees his job as an honor and not keys to a palace, and that he finds the manager — or finds the people to find the manager — who believes in choosing the best players with the best mentalities, not beholden to or singularly opposed to a league.

MR: Teams like Man City and Barcelona are well-deserved leaders of their respective leagues, but I’d like to see the title races in the five major European divisions tighten a bit just for competition’s sake. Outside of Serie A, England, Spain, Germany and France already appear decided, which makes for a somewhat unexciting second half of the season.

Tottenham 5-2 Southampton: All hail Harry Kane

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  • Harry Kane has scored 39 PL goals in 2017
  • Kane has 56 goals in all competitions in 2017 for club and country, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues
  • Spurs move into top four; Saints with 1 win in 11

Tottenham Hotspur beat Southampton 5-2 on Boxing Day as Harry Kane scored a hat trick to become highest scorer in Premier League history in a single calendar year.

Kane struck twice in the first half and once late on to complete a stunning hat trick as his incredible 2017 comes to an end.

Southampton’s consolation goals came from Sofiane Boufal and Dusan Tadic as they’re now winless in seven games and just two points above the relegation zone on 19 points. Spurs are now in fourth on 37 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Early on Kane had a glorious chance to open the scoring. A sloppy pass from Southampton let in Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen with the latter crossing for Kane but his effort hit the side-netting from close range.

Eriksen then had the ball in the net but his effort was correctly chalked off for being in an offside position. Dele Alli volleyed over soon as Spurs pressed hard and Saints planned to hit them on the break.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Spurs did go ahead after 22 minutes with Kane scoring his record-breaking 37th Premier League of the calendar year.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fouled Danny Rose on the edge of the box and from Eriksen’s subsequent free kick Kane nodded home. A historic moment.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Saints nearly drew level in comical fashion soon after as Sofiane Boufal’s shot was pushed into the air by Hugo Lloris, then Rose’s header backed to him slipped through the goalkeepers hands, hit the post and his leg and somehow stayed out.

Kane then doubled his and Spurs’ tally before the break with as Alli fed Son and his cross found Kane to tap home his 38th PL goal and 55th for club and country in all competitions in 2017.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After the break Saints had two decent chances to get back into the game with Shane Long racing clear but fluffing his shot, then Mario Lemina dancing inside and smashing a wonderful effort against the crossbar. That brief moment of hope soon dissipated for Saints as two lightning counter attacks from Tottenham finished things off.

A break away saw Alli place an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, then a bad giveaway from Nathan Redmond saw Alli feed Son and he finished to make it 4-0.

Boufal then hammered home at the near post to grab a consolation goal for Saints as Lloris was beaten at his near post.

Kane sealed yet another hat trick with a lovely dinked finish and despite substitute Tadic scoring a lobbed finish to make it 5-2.

Saints went close on multiple occasions late on as Spurs switched off, but Kane ended the game soon before they showed any real attacking intent.