Fulham continued their superb Premier League season as the Cottagers edged past Southampton on New Year’s Eve.
An unlucky James Ward-Prowse own goal put Fulham ahead but the Saints improved and their skipper curled home a beauty of a free kick to make it 1-1.
Saints looked the more likely to win it in the second half but Joao Palhinha scored an 88th minute winner as Aleksandar Mitrovic had a late penalty kick saved by Gavin Bazunu.
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Marco Silva’s Fulham move up to seventh place and have 25 points, while Southampton remain bottom of the Premier League with 12 points from their 17 games as they’ve now lost five league games in a row.
New Saints boss Nathan Jones has suffered three defeats in the three Premier League games he’s been in charge but this was by far their best display since he took over and Southampton can count themselves unlucky to be leaving Craven Cottage empty handed.
Much-improved Saints switch off
They were unlucky to be behind after a shot deflected off James Ward-Prowse and flew in and those are the kind of things which happen to you when you’re down the bottom of the table. But to their credit Saints hung in there and were deservedly level through a piece of Ward-Prowse magic with a free kick. They then had chances to win it and looked very dangerous. But Nathan Jones will be devastated his side switched off as a corner was flicked on and Palhinha was unmarked to score the winner. There were a lot of positives for Saints to take but with a massive home game coming up against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, they simply have to win that to give them more belief they can get out of the bottom three.
Stars of the show
Joao Palhinha: Popped up with the winner and got through so much defensive work. What a signing he’s been.
James Ward-Prowse: Unlucky with the own goal which hit him and went in. Stunning free kick to make it 1-1.
How to watch Fulham vs Southampton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday (Dec. 31)
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
FULL TIME: Fulham 2-1 Southampton – That was a tight, tense game but Fulham make it back-to-back wins. A draw was probably the fair result. Saints looked a lot better but it’s now three-straight defeats in three Premier League games for their new manager Nathan Jones.
PENALTY SAVE! After an awful error from Lyanco, a penalty kick is given but Gavin Bazunu saves Mitrovic’s spot kick. Still 2-1.
GOALLLL! Joao Palhinha heads home a corner at the back post after it was flicked on. Fulham lead 2-1 in the 88th minute. Southampton punished for switching off.
Tight and tense late on as both teams are trying to go for the win.
Moments later Southampton with a great chance to take the lead. JWP slots in Samuel Edozie but Fulham just clear the danger. The young winger is now down with an injury.
GOALLLL! James Ward-Prowse whips in a free kick from 30 yards out. A beauty from the Saints skipper. Just what his team needed.
Pereira flashes a shot just wide at the near posts as the hosts have started the second half well.
HALF TIME: Fulham 1-0 Southampton – Pretty even game but Saints didn’t take their chances and Fulham’s deflected shot went in. That’s the difference.
The main action has been Mitrovic wrestling off the ball with basically all of Southampton’s players.
GOALLL! From that resulting corner Andreas Pereira has a harmless shot towards goal which James Ward-Prowse tries to clear and it somehow flies in. Fulham lead 1-0 and the Premier League have marked that down as a Ward-Prowse own goal. That is the kind of thing which happens when you’re down at the bottom.
At the other end Antonee Robinson’s cross is cleared by Bella-Kotchap
Southampton flooding forward now as Edozie and Elyounoussi both come close.
CLOSE! Willian smashes a shot inches wide of the top corner. What a goal that would have been. Fulham have dominated possession early on.
Fulham’s fine start to the season just keeps on going and it all points to one thing: brilliant recruitment. After bouncing back to the Premier League at the first attempt, they made key signings in the summer and didn’t overdo it this time. The focus has been on quality, not quantity. Andreas Pereira, Joao Palhinha, Bernd Leno, Issa Diop and Willian have all added class and experience and they’re a balanced side and every single player knows exactly what their role is.
Southampton’s Nathan Jones doesn’t know what his best lineup or formation is and the negative vibes are swirling around the South Coast club. They are struggling to score goals, keep making silly mistakes at the back and after years of just doing enough to stay in the Premier League on a tight budget, their squad is looking extremely thin. Their owners Sport Republic (who arrived in January 2022) need to spend big in the upcoming window to provide Jones with a forward, center back and creative midfielder who can help push them up the league and out of the relegation zone.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Tim Ream has been excellent for Fulham this season, was brilliant for the USMNT at the World Cup and the 35-year-old scored his first Premier League goal against Crystal Palace last time out. There are so many players excelling for the Cottagers and Mitrovic is leading their hopes of a top 10 finish as only Ivan Toney, Harry Kane and Erling Haaland have scored more goals than him in the PL this season.
Southampton’s captain James Ward-Prowse scored their goal against Brighton but he has been struggling for form all season long. Che Adams is doing his best to lead the line, while young winger Sam Edozie has been excellent and looks like a real talent. Young goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has been struggling for form too.
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
Manor Solomon remains out after suffering a serious knee injury on his debut but is close to a return, while Neeskens Kebano is out after rupturing his Achilles. Layvin Kurzawa is still out. Harry Wilson and Daniel James are good options off the bench.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) December 31, 2022
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options
Who knows who will start for Saints? Tino Livramento is almost back after his ACL injury in April and when he returns, that will be a huge boost. Romeo Lavia is back on the bench after a knee injury and the young Belgian midfielder has been Southampton’s best player so far this season. Juan Larios and Theo Walcott are both struggling with respective hip and calf injuries, while goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has an ankle injury but could come back in soon when he is fit.
Today’s Saints 😇
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 31, 2022