Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

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.

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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 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.

West Ham outlasts wasteful Southampton

Haller West Ham
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images
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West Ham United allayed some of the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini by holding on for a 1-0 defeat of Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

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Sebastien Haller scored the lone goal and Michail Antonio had one pulled back by VAR, but Saints missed myriad promising chances to draw level.

West Ham moves 15th with 19 points, while Saints remain behind 17th place Aston Villa on goal difference.

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Three things we learned

1. Haller ends drought: Sebastien Haller’s early season honeymoon at West Ham was the thing of dreams. The big money Eintracht Frankfurt signing scored five times in seven matches. His chemistry with Felipe Anderson and company was wonderful. Then came eight matches without a goal and just one start in three matches. Manuel Pellegrini played him in attack with and not instead of Michail Antonio, and the pair delivered a goal.

2. Saints fail reward their own production: Southampton, quite frankly, should’ve claimed at least one point. Yes, West Ham also misused chances to score when it was 1-0 in its favor, but Saints had extreme problems in finishing what should’ve been great team goals. Ings hit the bar, which, yeah it happens, but Stephens and Hojbjerg’s second half chances have this 2-1 on another day.

There were similarities to their last outing, a 2-1 loss at Newcastle.

3. Antonio and Haller an answer for Pellegrini? Manuel Pellegrini likely bought himself more time with the win, but it wasn’t as convincing as it could’ve been had Antonio not been denied by VAR or Haller’s header not been saved by McCarthy. The big men were a problematic duo for the Southampton defense, and Pellegrini may opt to combine them again in future days.

Man of the Match: Antonio was a handful as usual, winning a half-dozen aerials and completed just as many dribbles.


Declan Rice had a first minute goal ruled offside (and properly so).

Sebastien Haller hit a glorious bass to Michail Antonio in the 17th minute, but the striker’s poor touch caused a handball.

Two West Ham players appeared to be fouled in the box on the same play, but Martin Atkinson saw nothing and VAR stayed with him.

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The Irons took the lead on a well-worked team goal, Antonio crossing to the back post for Pablo Fornals. He headed back for Haller, who kissed the ball off the far post.

Fornals looked to have his first Premier League goal in the bag one minute after the break, but was defied by Alex McCarthy.

Antonio had it 2-0 for a moment, but VAR spotted his handling of the ball early in the dribble that led to his would-be marker.

Danny Ings struck a ball off the cross bar and Long butchered the rebound as Saints bid for an equalizer.

McCarthy made an outstanding save on an off-balance Haller header in the 78th, while substitute Andriy Yarmolenko couldn’t keep his 79th minute effort under the bar.

Jack Stephens made the least of a terrific set-up in the 81st minute, though he would’ve had to do well to level the score.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the next to miss a back post effort, wide of the frame.

Southampton secure crucial win, beat Norwich

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SOUTHAMPTON — Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Southampton beat Norwich City 2-1 at St Mary’s Stadium as the hosts held on for a vital win in a proper relegation battle.

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Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand put Saints 2-0 up and they totally dominated the game until Teemu Pukki struck to set up a nervy finish.

Southampton did hold on to secure back-to-backs wins for the first time since March, which have propelled Southampton out of the relegation zone as they now have 15 points. Norwich remain in 19th are now four points below Southampton.


3 things we learned

1. Local lad Ings on fire: Danny Ings is one of their own, and he is their best hope of staying up this season. Ings has scored 10 goals this season and after a terrible run of injuries, he is fit and firing. Ings grew up a few miles from St Mary’s and he has now scored in Saints’ last four PL games, as they face Newcastle, Villa and West Ham next. If he can keep this run going, Saints can start looking up the table and away from the bottom three.

2. Hasenhuttl’s anniversary celebrated with high press: It has been one year since Hasenhuttl took charge of Southampton and there have been lots of ups and downs. His anniversary was celebrated with the way he wanted to play, as Saints pressed Norwich high in the first half and that won them the game. Hasenhuttl then made smart subs, just like he did in the big win against Watford, to see out the game. The Austrian continues to learn how to do get it done as Saints’ back-to-back wins marked his one-year in charge in style.

3. Cantwell and Pukki are Norwich’s best hope: Cantwell’s runs caused Saints problems and the one decent chance Pukki had he finished it. Norwich’s two stars from this season almost grabbed them a point, but it was too little too late for Daniel Farke‘s men who played without the attacking panache they’ve showed throughout this season.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings – He ran Norwich ragged in the first half and set the tone for Saints’ front line. Ings is on fire, is clinical and aside from his scoring he sets the trap for their high-press. He is Southampton’s talisman.


Southampton started well as they pinned Norwich back but Kenny McLean had the first real chance of the game but he dragged a shot just wide.

At the other end Shane Long was causing problems as his header was on target and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took an age to shoot when running through on goal.

Southampton took the lead as James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick was flicked in at the near post by red-hot Ings to send St Mary’s wild.

Before the break Norwich tried to get back into the game with Todd Cantwell pulling the strings but at the other end Moussa Djenepo fired just over for Saints. Ings had a shot deflected wide for a corner before the break as the home side continued to look the more dangerous. They doubled their lead from that corner as Long flicked the ball on to Bertrand who made it 2-0.

Hojbjerg forced Tim Krul into a fine stop before the break as the hosts dominated the first half.

At half time Norwich made a double change with Marco Stiepermann and Alex Tettey coming on for Ibrahim Amadou and Tom Trybull as Canaries boss Daniel Farke try to spring his side into life.

A massive moment in the game arrived as Shane Long was clearly pushed in the back by Max Aarons but no penalty kick was given and VAR wasn’t used.

Norwich improved as Pukki came into the game and forced Alex McCarthy to save, then Ings smashed a volley inches wide of the far post.

Pukki then buried his first chance of the game as one ball from Tettey carved open the Southampton defense and the Canaries were back in it.

Cedric smashed a shot on goal which Krul saved as Saints tried to hit Norwich on the break with Nathan Redmond also going close, but the Canaries were dominant in the final minutes of the game.

Sam Byram lashed wide late on as Southampton held on for a vital three points which secured wild scenes at the final whistle.

Southampton’s late show rekindles belief

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SOUTHAMPTON — For the first 60 minutes Southampton’s players were being heckled and booed by their own fans.

30 minutes later they were given a standing ovation off the pitch after launching a heroic comeback to secure their first home win since April and beat relegation rivals Watford 2-1 in a pivotal clash at St Mary’s.

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Boy, did Southampton need this. They now have belief they can get out of the bottom three and salvage their season as they have four crucial games coming up against Norwich, Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa.

Speaking after the game Ralph Hasenhuttl puffed out his cheeks as he sat down in the press conference room. Relief was the key word.

“There is a tonne of weight falling off the shoulders, there were tonnes of weight here today, you could feel it from the first moment. We couldn’t move. It was completely different to last weekend,” Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports. “The subs had a good impact and gave us fresh energy. Then it was a completely different second half, an unbelievable turnaround for the table. Sofiane Boufal on one side and Moussa Djenepo on the other gave us good quality.”

Southampton’s players were relieved at the final whistle and local lad Danny Ings, who has now scored eight goals in his last nine games in all competitions, added that the way the atmosphere turned inspired the players.

“It’s a massive result. It has been a very tough week for everyone at the club. To go 1-0 down and then to comeback and win shows the character of the lads. The atmosphere was great in the end and we deserved the points,” Ings told Sky Sports.

Hasenhuttl was asked if the atmosphere early on at St Mary’s impacted the performance of his team, and he issued a rallying cry to his players.

“We didn’t show that we create chances. We need chances to lift them and when we had a small one they were immediately there. We have to create them and you cannot demand them supporting you if you don’t show them anything,” Hasenhuttl said. “You have to show them then you get something. In the second half we showed and they were immediately there. This is what lifts everybody. First we must look at ourselves and what we can do better and the rest comes by the side.”

Saints were a team transformed in the second half as Moussa Djenepo and Sofiane Boufal pushed on down the wings, Danny Ings was a menace in the middle and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg won the ball back time and time again as they pinned Watford back.

Hasenhuttl admitted the second half was how he wants Saints to play all the time as they enter a season-defining few weeks in their season.

“We wanted to play like this from the beginning, it was the same shape. The players didn’t play how we want them to play and like they can play and we conceded a goal in that moment. I have analyzed more than I wanted to,” Hasenhuttl said. “It is more important to have this win now, to have this first three points at home. Last two games from a results side were okay, now we have a big home game against Norwich where we have to do it again.”

Brave is a word Hasenhuttl has being using a lot lately and his Southampton players dug deep at a crucial period late in the game against Watford.

He knows this is only the start but if they continue to be brave, Saints’ belief that they will stay in the Premier League will continue to rise.

“We have chances to take points every weekend and we must be more brave like today and when we are we have our quality to score, and we have our quality to win games,” Hasenhuttl added.