Alex McCarthy

Redemption: Saints stun Leicester

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Southampton beat Leicester City 2-1 in a wild clash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The victory tasted even sweeter for Saints after their 9-0 humiliation at home against Leicester earlier this season.

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Dennis Praet gave Leicester the lead but Stuart Armstrong made it 1-1 and Danny Ings went close on several occasions before he sealed the win late on.

Saints had a penalty kick chalked off by VAR and Kelechi Iheanacho and Johnny Evans were both denied goals by the technology as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s warm embrace with Brendan Rodgers at the final whistle showed a man who has come back from the brink.

With the win, their sixth in their last nine games, Saints remain in 12th but are on 28 points and just three points off seventh. Leicester sit in second but could slip down to third by the end of the weekend.


3 things we learned

1. Redemption for Southampton: This victory will be sweet for every single person connected with Saints. They were humiliated 9-0 by Leicester earlier this season and Hasenhuttl’s side dominated this game throughout. They should have won easily but dug in and showed amazing character, just like they have done since that mauling, to keep their amazing recent run going.

2. Leicester running out of steam: The Foxes have now lost three of their last five games and the wheels are starting to come off a little. They missed the injured Wilfried Ndidi badly and Vardy and Maddison only showed flashes of their quality. The Foxes would have to have a dramatic collapse to finish outside the top four, but it looks like a top two finish could be out of the question.

3 Unlucky Ings strikes again: He hit the bar twice in the first half within 30 seconds and was denied brilliantly twice by Kasper Schmeichel and it looked like it wouldn’t be his day. But he delivered late on to take his amazing run to 10 goals in his last 11 games. Ings is on fire and so are Southampton and he will be called up by England in March. A gutsy display by Ings who could barely run in the final moments.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings – Scotsman Stuart Armstrong put in an amazing shift in midfield and probably deserved this award, but the work Ings put in and the way he kept going summed up his, and Southampton’s, superb return to form in recent months. What a story.


Saints should have taken the lead early on as Harvey Barnes gave the ball away and Ings was clean through on goal but Kasper Schmeichel denied him twice.

Leicester made the most of that reprieve as Ayoze Perez’s quick free kick found Jamie Vardy who crossed for Praet to finish at the back post.

But Southampton, much to their credit, kept plugging away and hit back in the first half as Armstrong’s shot took a big deflection off James Maddison and snuck in to make it 1-1.

Ings then came so close to scoring twice for Saints as he first hit the crossbar with a flicked effort at the near post, then moments later smashed the bar from distance as Leicester were pinned back.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Caglar Soyuncu then cleared off the line from Jack Stephens as Saints continued to look the more dangerous side.

Armstrong smashed over the bar and then a big movement of controversy arrived. Long was played in and was clean through but Caglar Soyuncu brought him down.

However, VAR intervened as Long was slightly offside when he was played in so the penalty was not given.

Che Adams came on and set up Ings to make it 2-1 as he nutmegged Kasper Schmeichel amid wild celebrations from the away fans.

The in-form striker should have wrapped it up again as Nathan Redmond played him in but Ings had a good effort which was brilliantly tipped wide by Schmeichel.

Demarai Gray was then denied by Alex McCarthy and Leicester thought they had grabbed a point when Johnny Evans nodded home in the 90th minute but VAR was used, again, and the goal was chalked not given as he was offside.

Southampton beat woeful Tottenham

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Southampton secured their fifth win in their last eight Premier League games as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day.

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Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side should have won by a more comfortable margin but Danny Ings‘ superb first half goal was enough to beat Jose Mourinho’s Spurs who were poor throughout.

To add insult to injury Harry Kane hobbled off injured as Spurs lost a great chance to make up ground in the top four race.

With the win Southampton move to 25 points for the season and up to 11th in the table, while Tottenham are on 30 points.


3 things we learned

1. Kane’s injury a huge concern: Harry Kane injured his hamstring as he scored a goal from an offside position and that is a big problem for Mourinho and Spurs. Heung-Min Son will step up as he returns from suspension but Kane’s absence will leave a massive hole in Tottenham’s attack. He’s not just a supreme goalscorer and he doesn’t get enough credit for his hold-up play and creativity in the final third. At a pivotal point in the season the last thing Spurs wanted was Kane injuring his hamstring after the busy festive period.

2. Spurs’ woeful defending continues: Tottenham haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home in the Premier League for one year. One year. They’ve now conceded 18 goals since Mourinho arrived and a coach who prides himself on his defensive organization was miserable on the sidelines at St Mary’s. He needs to add new defenders across his back four in January or this summer because he’s tried pretty much every combination possible and it isn’t working. Vertonghen and Alderweireld were run ragged by Southampton’s pacy attackers and that is a reoccurring theme for whoever Spurs play against.

3. Saints’ improved defense, Ings deliver: Danny Ings is in the form of his life for his hometown club. He has scored 12 goals in his last 14 starts for Saints and has been hugely important to Southampton’s turnaround in form, but just as important has been their defensive improvement. Their clean sheet against Spurs was their first at home since February last year against Fulham. Bednarek and Stephens have been rocks at the heart of their defense and Cedric and Bertrand solid at full back. Saints have found the right balance at the back and their season has taken off with shutouts wins at Chelsea on Boxing Day and then against Spurs on New Year’s Day.

Man of the Match: Jack Stephens – Yet another towering display from the center back who has been ever present after their 9-0 drubbing by Leicester. Kept Kane quiet and held everything together. A massive performance, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ings also brilliant.


Southampton had a great chance to take the lead but Cedric, totally unmarked, headed wide at the back post after Ryan Bertrand found him.

At the other end Harry Kane’s shot deflected towards the top corner but Alex McCarthy saved well.

Nathan Redmond then dribbled into the box and his low shot was saved by Paulo Gazzaniga and Spurs cleared just as Stuart Armstrong looked set to tap home the rebound.

Ings then put Southampton ahead as one long ball over the top caught out Tottenham’s defense and Ings lobbed the ball over Toby Alderweireld‘s head with his first touch and finished with his second.

Tanguy Ndombele was forced off with an early injury and Dele Alli went down in the box looking for a penalty kick but Spurs couldn’t get going.

Alderweireld deflected Redmond’s shot wide after great work from Armstrong as Saints ripped open Spurs’ defense time and time again in the first half.

Spurs improved going forward at the end of the first half as Kane’s shot from distance was spilled by McCarthy but Southampton’s goalkeeper redeemed himself as he saved at the feet of Alli. From the resulting corner Jan Vertonghen smashed over the bar as a glorious chance came and went.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At the start of the second half Redmond volleyed over the bar as he was left completely unmarked by Spurs.

Saints then had a big shout for a penalty kick for a handball on Alderweireld but Mike Dean didn’t award it and VAR was used and didn’t overturn his decision.

Tottenham had plenty of the ball but struggled to carve out any clear chances, as Kane then injured himself.

Spurs’ captain stretched to flick home a free kick but the offside flag went up and not only was the goal disallowed but Kane hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

Late on Tottenham threw everything at Southampton but the hosts held on fairly comfortably to seal a huge win in their battle against relegation.

Southampton held by Crystal Palace

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Southampton and Crystal Palace drew 1-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday in an even, tight battle on the South Coast.

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James Tomkins gave Palace the lead at the start of the second half but Danny Ings equalized late on as the Eagles held on to grab a point against the surging Saints.

With the point Southampton have 22 for the season, while Palace have 27 points.


3 things we learned

1. Peak away day Palace: This was a vintage away day display from Palace, who scored from a set piece, looked dangerous on the counter and solid in defense. Until Martin Kelly’s poor back pass they didn’t look likely to concede and in the end they held on for a point. Palace’s away form has always ben superb and that was no different at St Mary’s.

2. VAR debate rumbles on: Wilfried Zaha and Palace were livid at a goal being disallowed in the first half as his armpit was offside as he crosses for Max Meyer to slot home. There have been so many marginal offside calls in the PL over the festive period and although the debate over whether the offside rule should be tweaked rumbles on, you can’t argue with the technology proving players are offside.

3. Ings leads Saints’ charge: He now has 11 goals in his last 13 appearances and 12 for the season, as only Jamie Vardy has more Premier League goals than Ings this season. Rested against Chelsea on Boxing Day, he came back into the team and went close on several occasions before slotting home to grab a point for his hometown club. Ings is on fire and he is the difference between Saints staying up or going down this season.

Man of the Match: Vicente Guaita – Palace’s goalkeeper made a string of saves in the second half to deny Saints and grab a point for his side.


VAR chalked off a goal for Palace early on as Zaha dazzled down the left and crossed for Max Meyer to finish but the replays showed that Zaha’s armpit was offside and the goal didn’t stand.

Southampton grew into the game as James Tomkins cleared brilliantly with Che Adams lurking, then Jan Bednarek couldn’t convert at the back post.

Jordan Ayew had a half chance which Alex McCarthy saved easily, as the visitors continued to look dangerous on the break.

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At the start of the second half Palace took the lead as Luka Milivojevic‘s free kick was on the money and Tomkins sent home a header off the bar and in.

Southampton had plenty of the ball in the second half but struggled to break Palace down as Cedric‘s header was close but then Martin Kelly gave Saints a gift. His back pass was latched onto by Ings who slotted home to make it 1-1, as Southampton’s first shot on target was successful.

Substitute Moussa Djenepo then went on a mazy run into the box which ended in him curling a shot on goal but it was too close to Vicente Guaita who tipped it over.

Ings then flicked a header on goal at the near post which Guaita saved and he flicked another over as Saints laid siege to the Palace goal late on.

Guaita then saved James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick and Milivojevic then slid in to deny Ings late on as the points were shared.

Southampton shock Chelsea

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Southampton shocked Chelsea by winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day as Frank Lampard‘s Blues continued their Jekyll and Hyde form.

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After winning at top four rivals Tottenham last time out, Chelsea were sluggish against Saints and were punished as Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond scored in each half to lead Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side to a big victory.

With the win Southampton move on to 21 points, while Chelsea stay on 32 points.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 not the way forward for Chelsea: Frank Lampard stuck with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Spurs on Sunday, but it was a surprise he went with it at home against Southampton. Chelsea have now lost 2-0 to Saints and 1-0 against West Ham and Bournemouth in their last four home games at Stamford Bridge and their young team has been a little naive. Lampard’s admission that they will be in the transfer market in January seems to have unsettled some of his players as their transfer ban is now over.

2. Saints alive and kicking: Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now won four of their last six games but this was the most impressive victory of the lot. Away from home against Chelsea, Saints took the game to the Blues and their high-pressing style unnerved Chelsea. Danny Ings, their leading goalscorer, was left out and the young forward duo of Che Adams and Michael Obafemi delivered with grit and the latter with a fine goal. This was Southampton’s first clean sheet in 14 games and back-to-back wins have taken them from the relegation zone to eyeing a top 10 finish. There is still a long season ahead but Saints have finally got going.

3. Pulisic’s lack of game time concerning: When USMNT winger Pulisic didn’t start against Spurs on Sunday we assumed he was being rested to play against Southampton. He came on for the final 25 minutes and did well, winning free kicks and firing just wide, and you have to imagine he will start against Arsenal on Sunday. If he doesn’t that will be even more concerning.

Man of the Match: Jack Stephens – Won the battle against Tammy Abraham and he led the Southampton defense calmly. What a turnaround in his career over the last few months.


Early on Southampton were comfortable enough without having a clear chance on goal and the first big chance of the game came to Chelsea.

Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s shot was deflected wide by Jack Stephens and from the resulting corner Fikayo Tomori headed straight at Alex McCarthy.

Saints frustrated Chelsea in the first half and then took the lead as 19-year-old Obafemi turned, settled himself and curled home a stunner into the top corner.

Cesar Azpilicueta’s flick at the near post from a corner almost snuck in as McCarthy tipped the ball away.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Mason Mount came on at half time for Kurt Zouma as Chelsea switched their formation to a 4-2-3-1 and Tammy Abraham slammed a shot into the side-netting from close range.

At the other end Nathan Redmond broke free and crossed for Che Adams but Tomori cleared superbly at the back post.

Redmond then spurned a great chance as he was clean through but Kepa saved down low.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic came on for the final 25 minutes to try and salvage something for Chelsea but then Southampton killed the game off.

A break found Redmond and he calmly dinked over Kepa and in to seal a shock win for Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

Southampton hammer Aston Villa

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Southampton beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park on Saturday in a massive win in the relegation battle.

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Saints raced into a 3-0 lead at Villa with in-form Danny Ings scoring twice and Jack Stephens grabbing another, and although Jack Grealish scored a beauty late on it was too little, too late for Villa.

With the win Southampton jump out of the relegation zone and have 18 points for the season, while Villa slip into the bottom three after their fourth defeat in arow in the Premier League.


3 things we learned

1. McGinn’s injury hits Villa hard: It looked like a really nasty injury to John McGinn in just third third minute as he caught his left ankle in the turf and required lengthy treatment. The Scotsman has been influential for Villa this season and if he is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines that is a big blow for the Midlands giants. Jack Grealish is rightly praised as Villa’s main man going forward but McGinn makes them tick.

2. Danny Ings is on fire: He has scored seven goals in his last seven Premier League games and is only the third Saints player to score 10 or more goals before Christmas in PL history. He is the main reason Saints are sitting out of the bottom three as the approach the midway point. The local lad is doing good, and Ings is so sharp and is finally benefitting from a stretch of not being injured. Right now he looks certain to get a call-up for the England national team in March and although Gareth Southgate isn’t short of options in attack, Ings’ pace and ability to be in the right place in the right time is Jamie Vardy-esque. Vardy probably isn’t going to come out of retirement for EURO 2020, so Ings would be a great option.

3. Dean Smith‘s honeymoon period over: He is a Villa fan and got them promoted back to the Premier League, so Dean Smith will always have the thanks of the Villa faithful. But his honeymoon period is definitely over. After a summer of big spending plenty was expected of this Villa team but they aren’t delivering on that promise. Calls from Villa fans for Smith to be fired have started and defensively they continue to leak goals, while Wesley just isn’t providing the attacking fulcrum they need.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings – Two goals and he continues his fine start to the season. A constant pest and he could have scored four or five on Saturday.


Villa lost John McGinn just three minutes into the game as he caught his studs in the turf and injured his left ankle as he spent plenty of time getting treatment.

The home side had the first big chance as Alex McCarthy denied Anwar El Ghazi, then Shane Long somehow headed over from two yards out as Ryan Bertrand flashed a ball across the box.

Southampton then took the lead as Long was played in over the top by Redmond and his shot was saved by Tom Heaton but Ings was on hand to tap home.

Saints were well on top by this point and Jack Stephens crossed for Long but he couldn’t finish and moments later Long’s header almost snuck in off Kortney Hause.

Frederic Guilbert had a shot on half time which Alex McCarthy pushed over as Villa tried to get going after a poor first half.

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Southampton grabbed a third at the start of the second half as Villa only half cleared and Ings pounced on some hesitancy to rifle home his second and Saints’ third of the game.

Ings almost got in again but Redmond overhit his pass and he then smashed a shot into the near post, as Villa left plenty of gaps as they piled forward in search of a way back into the game.

Grealish smashed home an unstoppable effort from distance to make it 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.

Saints should have wrapped up the win but Ings had a shot saved and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s follow-up was over the bar.

Grealish had a late effort from distance which McCarthy tipped over the bar as the home side finished well but the damage was done in the first half.