Southampton

Southampton 1-4 Leicester: Foxes thrash sorry Saints

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  • Okazaki scores twice
  • King, Mahrez grab a goal each
  • Four wins on the spin for Leicester

Leicester City beat Southampton 4-1 at St Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday with former Saints boss Claude Puel seeing his side put on a show during his first return to Southampton.

The Foxes were 3-0 up at half time and it could’ve been more with Riyad Mahrez scoring a fine goal, then Shinji Okazaki and Andy King tapping home before the break.

Saints pulled one back through Maya Yoshida early in the second half as the hosts threatened an unlikely comeback but another devastating counter from Leicester saw Okazaki finish Southampton off.

With the win Leicester are in eighth place and five points off the top four with just one defeat in 12 games, while Saints have 18 points and are just four points above the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints started the game well as Maya Yoshida went close from two corners but Leicester always looked lively on the break and Jamie Vardy almost found Shinji Okazaki early on.

The home side didn’t heed that warning and Mahrez made it 1-0 to Leicester with a fine finish as he ran towards the box after two Saints players slipped up trying to tackle him, then struck low into the far corner from 25 yards out. Another beauty for the Mahrez collection.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Leicester took control of the game after going ahead with Okazaki’s deflected shot heading towards the top corner but Fraser Forster tipped wide.

Moments later the Japanese international through he had made it 2-0 but his shot was cleared off the line by Mario Lemina. Vardy was then brilliantly denied by Forster but soon after it was 2-0 as Christian Fuchs volleyed towards goal and Okazaki cleaned up in front of the net.

And it got worse for Saints as the Foxes flooded forward and from a set piece center back Harry Maguire whipped in a great cross for King to make it 3-0. Charlie Austin had a shot on target which Kasper Schmeichel beat away but that was as good as it got for Saints. A stunning first half for Leicester.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Saints were stunned and Manolo Gabbiadini came on at half time to try and salvage some pride.

They at least scored. A corner from the right found Yoshida and his header towards goal missed Tadic on the line and went in. 3-1. It should have been 3-2 soon after but somehow Schmeichel denied Austin from close range after a fine cross from Ryan Bertrand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Any hope of a remarkable Saints comeback was extinguished with 20 minutes to go as a poor cross-field ball from Cedric found Mahrez who played the ball to Vardy and his cross was swept home by Okazaki for his second and Leicester’s fourth goal of the game. Game over.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Giroud goal grabs point

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  • Austin produces three early chances, scores one
  • Arsenal with 67 percent possession
  • Giroud nods home equalizer

Southampton’s big striker Charlie Austin saw his early goal canceled out by Arsenal counterpart Olivier Giroud, as the Saints and Gunners split the spoils 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The point boosts Arsenal fifth with 29, while Southampton is 10th with 18.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Austin put Saints ahead in the third minute, driving his run forward to meet Dusan Tadic‘s chopped pass.

And he almost had a two on the scoreboard when Petr Cech made a sprawling stop on a similar enough low drive.

Arsenal had the better of the next 20 minutes, but the hosts came storming back just before the half hour mark. The intent and possession was there, but the touches sloppy in the box. It remained 1-0.

Fraser Forster came across his body to stop a low Aaron Ramsey drive in the 32nd minute.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal certainly produced its fair share of early shots, but it was Oriol Romeu who came close to an audacious second Southampton goal in the 62nd minute.

Ryan Bertrand came close to giving Saints a 2-0 lead when he dinked a ball over Cech only to see it meander wide of the far post.

Forster stopped an Alexis Sanchez free kick as the match hit the 85th minute.

Giroud got the job done in the 88th, coming off the bench to nod past Forster when Maya Yoshida mistimed his header.

WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. Arsenal

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Arsenal and Southampton whet the appetite for a double derby day when they meet at St. Mary’s sharing top end ambitions (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Yoshida (c), Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Højbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Redmond, Austin.

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

PL Sunday preview: Derby day in Manchester, Merseyside

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Sunday is derby day for two of the fiercest, longest-standing local rivalries in the Premier League. Need we say more?

[ PL ROUNDUP: Spurs bounce back in a big way; Leicester on fire ]

Southampton vs. Arsenal — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Arsenal turned in arguably their best performance of the season last weekend, and were hammered on the scoreboard, 3-1 by Manchester United. On the one hand, they’ll feel good about the performance; on the other hand, questions remain about their abilities to compete with other top-six sides. It was a fourth straight impressive performance by the Gunners, who over the last six weeks have stabilized (wins in five of their last seven) after a rocky first few games (one win from their opening three).

Much Sunday’s opponent, who are comfortably slotted into the top-four battle, Southampton find themselves in a familiar place as a mid-table side with very little hope of catching the elites of the PL, and in very little danger of sliding into a relegation battle. Saints have hit-or-miss at home this season, as Mauricio Pellegrino‘s side has won 11 of its 16 point at St. Mary’s Stadium, site of Sunday’s clash, but have also lost three of eight games at the ground, by a combined score of 7-1.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric (hamstring) | Arsenal — OUT: Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Santi Cazorla (achilles)

Liverpool vs. Everton — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Red-hot Liverpool (nine games unbeaten in all competitions, with seven wins; six games unbeaten in the PL, with five wins) welcome a suddenly resurgent and re-energized Everton side (riding back-to-back PL wins for the first time all season) to Anfield for the 229th Merseyside derby.

Only first-and second-place sides Manchester City (46) and Man United (35) have scored more goals this season than the rabid attack of Liverpool (33), but it’s those pesky defensive struggles (once again) which have held Jurgen Klopp‘s side back from putting forth a genuine title challenge. There have been massive improvements in recent weeks, though, as the Reds have conceded just three goals during their current six-game run in the league. As if they need anymore confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash, history also happens to be on their side: Liverpool haven’t lost a derby at Anfield in 17 outings.

As for the Toffees, Sam Allardyce is in charge now, and they’ve won all three games since his appointment — though he’s only actually managed one of the three. Allardyce’s debut saw Everton grind out a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend, though they were far from dominant in doing so. Alas, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are wonderful signs for a side which managed only 13 goals in as many games to start the season.

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Joel Matip (leg), Nathaniel Clyne (back); QUESTIONABLE: Adam Lallana (fitness), Alberto Moreno (ankle) | Everton — OUT: Leighton Baines (calf), James McCarthy (hamstring), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee)

Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

No PL side has ever won 14 straight games in the league, a feat Man City can achieve on Sunday, and can do so against their most hated local rivals to boot. Undoubtedly, Jose Mourinho has thought of nothing other than Pep Guardiola‘s quest for history this week, and will set out to ruin the party by any means necessary.

Without the services of star midfielder Paul Pogba (suspension), expect a heavy dose of bludgeoning courtesy of Marouane Fellaini, who is set to return after two weeks out with a knee injury. The absences are truly a shame, as United have appeared — when healthy — to be genuinely capable of matching City stride for stride at the very top of their game. While City have scored nine more goals than the Red Devils — two two sides were on a nearly identical scoring pace prior to Pogba’s injury back in mid-September — United’s defense is predictably best in the league once again.

What’s more, a City win at Old Trafford feels as though it would — even 16 games into the season — all but end the title race, as Guardiola’s men would go 11 points clear of United, their closest title rivals.

For the first time all season, City fell to defeat in the Champions League on Wednesday. Prior to that loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, they had won 20 straight games across all competitions and were unbeaten in 22. Having already secured the top spot in the group, Guardiola elected to rest a handful of regular starters with Sunday’s showdown presumably in mind. As for what this particular derby means for the Citizens and their fans, defender Vincent Kompany believes the tables have turned 180 degrees in recent years.

“I think to every player it means more than any other game,” he said this week. “It started as something that was way more important for the City fans than the United fans. At this moment in time, we are the team they want to beat more than any other team.”

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Paul Pogba (suspension), Eric Bailly (groin) | Man City — OUT: John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (knee)

Adam Smith reveals referee apologized for incorrect penalty decision

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A contentious moment in the 1-1 draw between Bournemouth and Southampton has resulted in a refereeing controversy.

In the first half, with Bournemouth dominating the match but the game still scoreless, Adam Smith went down in the box under a heavy challenge from Sofiane Boufal. The replay showed Smith clearly get to the ball first before Boufal made heavy contact with Smith’s feet, but instead of a penalty given, match referee Jon Moss gave Smith a yellow card for diving.

[ RECAP: Bournemouth and Southampton share the spoils ]

The yellow card is Smith’s fifth of the season, meaning he will miss Bournemouth’s next match on the road against Crystal Palace.

After the match, Smith called the decision “disappointing,” and then when pressed further by the post-match interviewer, revealed he received an apology from the referee for an incorrect decision.

“I’ve kind of jumped to go over it and then he’s took me down,” Smith said after the match, “so for the ref to book me is disappointing, and it doesn’t help because that’s my fifth booking now and I miss the next game, so I’m not sure if they can rescind it or not but that’s very disappointing.”

“I spoke to him [the referee] after and he apologized and said it was a penalty. I don’t mind him admitting it, but the fact that he’s booked me as well and it’s probably not going to get rescinded is disappointing because I’m going to miss the next game.”

The decision sparked debate between NBC studio analysts Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle, with Mustoe claiming it was a clear penalty, while Earl countered that Smith’s overreaction and intent to dive before the contact arrived warranted the caution for diving.