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.

Transfer rumors: Willian, Alderweireld to Manchester United

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The transfer rumor mill is picking up steam this Monday, including some persistent whispers regarding two Premier League players with possible futures at Old Trafford.

Both of these make a lot of sense.

[ MORE: Nashville hires ex-Liverpool CEO ]

A day after Nemanja Matic stressed the need for experienced players at United, two good fits hit the rumor mill (again).

Matic’s old Chelsea pal Willian has interest from United if he seeks a way out of London — which seems likely — where he’s said to be ready to go if Antonio Conte remains as manager.

Then there’s Toby Alderweireld, whose been very strong at Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur but reportedly fallen out with current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

During a rut, the Tottenham manager claimed that Alderweireld was held out of Spurs’ lineup due to the form of the players in front of him.

Also from Sky, we’ll leave this quote from PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi on the idea of possibly selling Kylian Mbappe.

Al-Khelaifi told Canal+: “You want me to give you a number? More than €1bn! Yes, I said one billion! And even if you gave me a billion, I wouldn’t sell him.”

Pogba: Mourinho “made me progress in leadership”

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Paul Pogba says “we are never sure of anything but contractually, it’s sure” that he’ll remain at Manchester United.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from United’s most expensive transfer purchase, as many have linked him with a move away from Old Trafford.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

He also said he’s not worried about his relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho, and pointed out that his problems and growth in Manchester are a natural part of a player’s progression. From Sky Sports:

“There were times where I wasn’t playing, I was on the bench. There was a lot of talk, people thought it wasn’t working out,” Pogba added.

“But a coach and a player don’t have to be best friends, we don’t have to go to restaurants together. I had a few little problems too… football is sometimes all about the mental side. He put me on the bench and I gave my response on the pitch. I always give everything I’ve got.

“He made me progress in leadership. I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club, it’s important for me, it makes me grow to be also a leader in the France team.”

In a candid talk, the 25-year-old Pogba was asked about Paris Saint-Germain and told French television that he’d be open to representing the club in the future despite the fact that his parents are Marseille supporters.

Moore takes hold of West Brom’s promotion bid

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Darren Moore‘s spell as West Brom caretaker manager couldn’t quite pull off a miraculous run to Premier League safety, but the promise it contained has helped him to the first chance at earning promotion back to the top flight.

West Bromwich Albion announced Moore as its new manager on Monday, with the boss promising his Baggies would play attractive football while also being a side “that’s willing to fight and scrap for every ball.”

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Moore is also happy to carry a flame for minority coaches — called BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) — in England.

“If it does inspire others, I would be extremely proud,” he said. “I don’t just speak on behalf of BAME coaches but the young, aspiring British coaches across the board.”

Moore, 44, only lost one of his six PL matches as WBA boss, winning three times and inspiring many to wonder what would’ve happened had the Baggies’ pulled the plug on Alan Pardew — and Tony Pulis before him — earlier.

A center back in his playing career, Moore spent 18 seasons between a number of clubs including West Brom, Derby County, and Doncaster Rovers. He won promotion as a player twice with West Brom, and again with Derby.

Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan

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BRUSSELS (AP) Belgium left midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of its World Cup squad despite a standout season with Champions League semifinalist Roma.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has long had a difficult relationship with the stormy midfielder. But after being called up for a warm-up game in March against Saudi Arabia, expectations had been that he would be on the 28-man roster announced Monday.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

On top of the troubled relationship, Nainggolan was also the victim of the unparalleled wealth of talent the small nation has produced over the past few years.

Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were all named in the squad, which will be cut to 23 before the World Cup.