Hasenhuttl “unbelievably proud” of Southampton’s warriors

Leave a comment

Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed his 10-man Southampton side for digging deep to win away at Leicester City and drag themselves out of the relegation zone. 

Saints were 2-0 up at half time but had Yan Valery sent off in the 45th minute, putting them up against it in the second half. Leicester had 85 percent possession and 19 attempts at goal in the second period, but scored just once as Saints put in a valiant defensive display to secure a huge three points.

Speaking after the game, Hasenhuttl praised the mentality of his players and suggested they rather enjoyed the challenge.

“The second half was getting in the same compact with the defense and to try to defend,” Hasenhuttl said. “This manner and mainly the passion and the mentality was the winner of this game today. I thought we got too early 2-1, so it would be a long time then to get something here. The players enjoyed it. They felt the way we defend it is very difficult for the opponents to score. The longer the game went on, the more stable we were.”

Hasenhuttl also told BBC’s Match of the Day that he is “unbelievably proud” of his players.

“To be manager of this team, it’s a fantastic job,” Hasenhuttl said. “Today they showed their quality. To go 2-0 in the lead at Leicester is not easy and we defended with fantastic commitment.”

This feels like a massive moment in Southampton’s season.

Saints have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season but their players stood up to the challenge and were calm despite being pegged back to 2-1 with over 30 minutes remaining. Jan Bednarek, Oriol Romeu, Long, Jannik Vestergaard and Jack Stephens were all impressive as they made sure Hasenhuttl will have a selection dilemma in the weeks to come.

They were without regulars Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Charlie Austin (both suspended), Danny Ings, Michael Obafemi, Mario Lemina, Ryan Bertrand (all injured) and Maya Yoshida (on international duty at the Asian Cup) and had eight players from their famed academy in their 18-man squad. Callum Slattery made his Premier League debut as a sub, while Sam Gallagher played his first minutes of the PL season late on as Hasenhuttl’s squad was stretched to the limit.

No matter who was out there Saints’ players showed they are fighting for their new manager, and Hasenhuttl has now won three of his first seven PL games as Southampton manager. That equals as many victories as Mark Hughes, the man he replaced, managed in 22 matches as Saints boss.

Hasenhuttl has momentum and Southampton now have a favorable run of games with Everton, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City at home, plus a trip to Burnley. The next few weeks are pivotal for their chances of not only staying in the Premier League but pushing themselves into midtable.

Man City scores three in Southampton

Leave a comment
  • David Silva opens scoring
  • Saints level through Hojbjerg, who is later sent off
  • City scores a minute apart before halftime

Manchester City stopped its rot with a 3-1 win over Southampton at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

David Silva and Sergio Aguero scored to go along a James Ward-Prowse own goal, as City pulled to within seven points of Liverpool ahead of a big match on Thursday at the Etihad Stadium.

Saints are in 17th place, above victorious Burnley on goal differential, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored a wonderful goal in the first half but was sent off in the second for a high challenge.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Alex McCarthy stopped an early chance, and Southampton nearly had a gilt-edged opportunity were it not for an off-balance Charlie Austin.

That was when Saints’ hopes to a big hit, with Bernardo Silva finding David Silva alone in the heart of the box for a calm finish past McCarthy. Dave’s done this before.

Riyad Mahrez took a long dribble after City broke the Saints’ high press, but blazed an arrow wide despite the presence of Raheem Sterling to his left for a presumably easier finish.

Saints leveled the score line through Hojbjerg, who took the ball off Oleksandr Zinchenko, dribbled into the City box, kept space from Vincent Kompany, and sweetly struck a ball past Ederson.

Raheem Sterling put City back in front, albeit the own goal route and with no help from McCarthy’s slow reaction to a deflected pass.

Aguero went a more traditional route, nodding home from a cross to make it 3-1 into the break.

McCarthy denied Mahrez a chance at 4-1 in the 80th minute of a mostly quiet second half, which got a little louder when Hojbjerg was shown red in the 85th for a studs-up challenge on Fernandinho.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

PL Preview: Arsenal v. Burnley

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Arsenal’s 21-match unbeaten run now in the past, the Gunners are just looking to stay above water through the festive period, with defensive frailties taking a toll. They must piece together a back line to stay afloat as the Gunners host Burnley at the Emirates at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all out injured, leaving the defensive unit for the Gunners thinner than ever. Thankfully, Sokratis is back from suspension, but he and Laurent Koscielny are the only healthy center-backs on the roster.

[ WATCH LIVE: Arsenal v. Burnley on NBCSports.com ]

The unbeaten run came to an end last time out, falling to relegation-threatened Southampton 3-2 with Stephen Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka joining forces with Koscielny in a three-man back line. Twice Arsenal fought back from a one-goal deficit before Charlie Austin secured all three points for the Saints in the 85th minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also out injured for the Gunners, while Sead Kolasinac will be a gametime decision. Mesut Ozil is confirmed to be involved against Burnley after being left out of the squad in recent weeks for “tactical reasons” according to manager Unai Emery.

For Burnley, the Clarets have won just once over their last five matches, and would love to pick up points against the ailing Gunners before a critical run in the relegation battle, with games against Huddersfield Town and Fulham on the horizon. Sean Dyche‘s men will be without Aaron Lennon, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady are working to make a return.

Video preview

What they’re saying

Arsenal manager Emery on Burnley: “We have big respect for them. They are a good team, with good players. Defensively they are very hard and can play with a lot of long balls, a lot of crosses, to create chances to score.”

Burnley manager Dyche on playing bigger clubs: “If everyone thinks that every team in the Premier League is going to play the beautiful game, at the moment there’s only one winner and that’s Manchester City. We’ve got to find a way and we’ve done that consistently over the six years that I’ve been here. We’ve found a way of being successful. We’ve had to fight, we’ve had to work, we’ve played some good stuff at times, we’ve played some productive stuff, we’ve played some hard stuff, but we’ve found a way and I think that doesn’t change. When you’re playing these big clubs it’s very, very difficult. It’s more reality tactics rather than negative tactics for me.”

Prediction

Arsenal’s defensive woes will be taxing over the festive period, but at least two central defenders are healthy to play a normal back line. Barring any additional injuries during the match, the Gunners should be able to take down a sliding Burnley with no trouble, with Mesut Ozil back and playing a role. Look for Arsenal to win 2-0 and get back to winning ways.

Hasenhuttl praises ‘uncompromising’ Saints; Ings, Austin hail win

Leave a comment

To say that fiery Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was happy to snag his first Premier League win was an understatement.

And perhaps Hasenhuttl was understated himself in celebrating Saints’ first goal of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal, but he made up for it on the other two markers and after the final whistle saw Southampton move out of the drop zone.

[ RECAP: Southampton 3-2 Arsenal ]

“It’s amazing what the team can do in a week,” Hasenhuttl said. “It was very intensive, we had time to work on the basics and built the fundamentals for our game. I’m very proud of how focused and uncompromising they were, and when they had the chances, how merciless they were.”

Match-winner Charlie Austin, whose winning goal came with just minutes to play, gives his new boss credit for the victory.

“It’s great,” Austin said. “The gaffer’s brought in new ideas and it’s not just changed things in the changing room but around the whole club.”

“A new manager comes in. The lads get a rocket and start expressing themselves.”

Striker Danny Ings scored twice in the win before Austin nabbed the winner. For Ings, it was his first brace since Nov. 2014 when he was with Burnley.

The hometown hero, once released from the club as a youth, is maintaining a steady gait in the face of a rare win.

“We knew those crosses would be dangerous, we’ve been working on them all week, and I was there to put them away.”

“As a club we know the position we’ve put ourselves, and with the squad we’ve got it’s not good enough,” Ings said. “But if we keep showing resilience and hard work we can turn it round. It shows we’re moving in the right direction already.”

Saints go to Huddersfield Town next in a crucial clash near the bottom of the table, and a visit from in-form West Ham follows the relegation six-pointer.

 

Saints snap Arsenal unbeaten run at 22

Leave a comment
  • Austin scores late winner
  • Ings nets two headers
  • Mkhitaryan twice equalizes

Charlie Austin‘s late goal joined Danny Ings‘ brace as Southampton topped Arsenal 3-2 on Sunday at St. Mary’s to give Ralph Hasenhuttl his first win as Saints boss.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s two equalizers were not enough for Arsenal, who remains fifth with 43 points.

Saints move 17th with 12 points, pushing Burnley back into the Bottom Three.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal attacked first with Matteo Guendouzi setting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on goal, but Saints keeper Alex McCarthy cut down the distance considerably to block the shot.

Nathan Redmond won a corner for Saints in the 14th minute, but it led to nothing for the South Coast side. And Stuart Armstrong curled a shot that Bernd Leno fell to catch four minutes later.

Saints went ahead through Ings, nodding home a Matt Targett cross with authority for the first goal under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Mkhitaryan made it 1-1 when Nacho Monreal sent a cross to the penalty spot for a headed goal.

But Redmond’s cross put Ings in for a with a header that was either lucky, clever, or equal parts both. The brace was his first in the Premier League since Nov. 22, 2014, when he scored twice for Burnley against Stoke City.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Mkhitaryan had another answer for Arsenal, though, thanks to a shot that took a significant turn off of Jannik Vestegaard to leave McCarthy answerless. It was 2-2 with 37 minutes to play at St. Mary’s.

Arsenal had the better of the chances and the proverbial rub of the green when Saints did challenge, as Shane Long was viewed offside when Maya Yoshida scored late.

Mesut Ozil was well saved by McCarthy, and Aubameyang had a promising opportunity blocked as Saints worked hard for their point.

Would they get three? Yes! Austin was alone to nod home when Leno couldn’t reach Long’s cross.