Sheffield United – Southampton was a one-sided encounter, as the Saints finally got back to winning ways.
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A penalty from James Ward-Prowse and a screamer from Che Adams secured a first win in 10 games for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, who had gone two months without a win in the league.
Sheffield United remain bottom of the table on 14 points and are 12 points from safety with 10 games to go.
Southampton now have 33 points and have eased any fears they will get sucked into the relegation battle late in the season.
Three things we learned from Sheffield United – Southampton
1. Saints can finally march on: This was a much-needed win for Saints. Hasenhuttl will be a relieved man, as the team who were in the top six when they beat Liverpool on Jan. 4 have been slumping since. They have been unlucky with injuries and decisions in tight games and they were never as bad as their form suggested. But the longer the winless run went on, you just never knew how far they would drop. Saints play at Man City in midweek, then they face Brighton, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Burnley in their next four and you’d fancy them to win at least two of those and push themselves towards the top 10.
2. Blades are done and dusted: We all know they’ve probably been relegated for a while, but this felt like the day Sheffield United were sent down. They didn’t have any energy from the start and made big mistakes, especially defensively, throughout. Defensive injuries have been a cruel blow on the Blades and with rumblings of discontent between Chris Wilder and Sheffield United’s owner, relegation would be a sad way for him to walk away from his boyhood club.
3. Ings injury a concern: Che Adams stood tall with a beautiful goal and an all-action display, but he was only on the pitch because Danny Ings went off with an injury in the first half. Saints losing their star striker to injury, again, will be concerning. It comes at a key point in the season as Saints have winnable games and an FA Cup quarterfinal against Bournemouth in the new few weeks. Ings will also be sweating on being called up by England in a few weeks and his future at his hometown club also remains up in the air as he has yet to sign a new contract. Ings is key to Saints, but maybe this is when they find out if they can cope without him, long term.
Man of the Match: Nathan Tella – Just his second start in the Premier League and he was pivotal. Won the penalty kick, fouled often and Sheffield United couldn’t cope with his pace. Another bright young talent coming through at Saints.
Southampton were dealt a big blow early on as Danny Ings went off with an injury and Che Adams replaced him.
Nathan Tella fired over after a mix-up at the back by the Blades, who caused Saints problems with their direct play.
Tella then won a penalty as Sheffield United’s high line was caught out and the young forward was tripped by Ethan Ampadu to give away the spot kick. Ward-Prowse slotted home the penalty as Saints took the lead.
Fraser Forster denied David McGoldrick with a great save, but the Blades forward was just offside, and McGoldrick then tried to lob Forster after a mistake from Ibrahima Diallo but he didn’t get enough height on his effort.
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Southampton surged into a 2-0 lead right at the start of the second half and their second goal came in spectacular fashion.
Stuart Armstrong chested the ball down to Adams and the former Sheffield United smashed home a stunner from over 25 yards out to double Saints’ lead in style.
Ramsdale denied Tella’s low shot from outside the box, then Takumi Minamino should have scored and Ramsdale denied Adams as Southampton were full of confidence late in the game.
Substitute Nathan Redmond was also denied by Ramsdale and Armstrong then dragged his shot wide after a brilliant run, as Sheffield United were totally outplayed.