Ralph Hasenhuttl

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Premier League players told to train at home

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Players from multiple Premier League clubs have been told to stay at home and train, a day after most returned to training as normal at their training grounds.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures on Monday as the UK changed its strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson said that “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel,” and added that people “should avoid pubs, clubs, theaters and other such social venues.”

Man United, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Southampton are among the PL clubs who have sent their players home with a special workout plan as the players are in constant contact with medical and fitness staff.

Plenty of teams have given their players time off and many are not returning to training until March 23 or 24, as Arsenal will return on the latter date as they self-isolate due to manager Mikel Arteta testing positive for coronavirus. Newcastle will not return until Mar. 30, while Tottenham’s players will only train on weekdays.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad have now been advised to follow individual fitness and conditioning programmes from home. Club medical and sports science staff will remain in regular contact with players and ensure they have the necessary equipment to maintain their fitness,” Southampton said in a statement.

Players from Chelsea are currently training in self-isolation due to Callum Hudson-Odoi testing positive for coronavirus but Mason Mount has apologized to Frank Lampard after ignoring those rules after being spotted playing five-a-side with West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice in London over the weekend.

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Southampton, Man City defy coronavirus ban to play tic-tac-toe

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Southampton and Man City made sure the Premier League was in action on Saturday as they played a virtual game of tic-tac-toe on social media.

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This game of tic-tac-toe between Southampton and Man City will live long in the memory and Gordon Simpson and Saints’ entire media team deserves a huge round of applause for setting this up.

Saints initiated the game and initially challenged Norwich City (who were supposed to be their opponents in the Premier League on Saturday before the games were called off) but there was no response.

Instead, Man City jumped in and wanted some of the action. Southampton duly obliged and a tense, tight game of tic-tac-toe (it’s called noughts and crosses in the UK, just so you know) which ended in a draw.

Cue plenty of banter from both sets of fans about tactics and calling for the manager to bring on certain players as subs, as both social media teams had plenty of fun with it.

Below is a thread of the key moments as Pep Guardiola‘s side will be disappointed with a draw away at Southampton as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side held on for a valuable point…


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Desperate West Ham punishes Southampton

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Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals shined for West Ham United in a 3-1 defeat of Southampton at the London Stadium on Saturday.

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Fornals set up two goals, and Antonio registered a goal and an assist. Jarrod Bowen and Sebastien Haller also scored for West Ham.

The Irons move out of the drop zone with 27 points, while Saints’ 34 points are nine clear of the bottom three.

Michael Obafemi scored Southampton’s goal.


Three things we learned

1. Fornals keeps rising: The ex-Villarreal man went his first 12 Premier League outings without a goal or assist, but now has two goals and five assists after Saturday’s pair of helpers.

2. Inspired Haller returns: The French center forward was absolutely monstrous on Saturday, and it’s not about his goal. Haller won 21 of 33 duels and 14 of those wins came in the air as David Moyes asked a lot of his big man. Haller had two key passes, two shots on target, and completed four of five dribbles. Key man.

3. Saints waste chance to improve UEL stock: Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men rarely looked ready to prevail in London, with key mistakes from center back Jack Stephens and Alex McCarthy thwarting a chance to go 10th.

Man of the Match: Fornals.


Bowen gave West Ham the lead off a Saints giveaway, as a lively Pablo Fornals sent the ex-Hull man through for a clever chipped finish.

Michail Antonio was a threatening presence and nearly had the Irons up two.

Saints made it 1-1 when Obafemi worked Ward-Prowse’s cutback beyond the reach of Fabianski.

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West Ham reclaimed the advantage before halftime.

Haller got his seventh goal of the season and first since New Year’s Day when he beat Alex McCarthy to Antonio’s cross and deposited the resulting loose ball.

Antonio was rewarded with a goal of his own in the 54th minute, Fornals again assisting a vital marker.

Southampton outclass Aston Villa

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Southampton outclassed Aston Villa to win 2-0 at St Mary’s on Saturday.

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In-form Shane Long struck early and Stuart Armstrong sealed the win in the 94th minute as Villa never looked likely to draw level.

With the win Southampton move on to 34 points for the season and are in the race for European qualification. Villa are just one point above the drop zone.


3 things we learned

1. Saints almost safe: Ralph Hasenhuttl said he will start sorting out a new contract for himself and his players when they reach 36 points. They are now on 34 as they showed just enough class to get past Aston Villa. A clean sheet will delight Hasenhuttl as his team never really looked like conceding against a poor Villa outfit. Saints have played well in recent weeks without getting the points they deserved but on Saturday they dug deep to grab all three points. With a favorable run of games coming up, Saints are finally looking up the table.

2. Sky is the limit for Djenepo: He is one of the most exciting players to watch as the Mali international dribbles and wriggles his way towards goal. He could have scored a couple but set up Long’s goal and his potential is limitless. He is still just 21 years old and has a huge future in the game.

3. Reina, Grealish are Villa’s big hopes: Jack Grealish did his best to get Villa going, as he has done all season, but he had no real hope from his teammates as Villa were pretty wretched. Late on they chucked everything at Saints but even then they couldn’t break through. Pepe Reina made several fine stops from Southampton’s players at one end, even though his loose passing at the back put them under severe pressure. Villa head to Wembley next weekend to play in the League Cup final against Man City and that is a free-hit. Their main aim is to stay in the Premier League and they are now just one point off the bottom three.

Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong – He finished off his lung-bursting run in the 94th minute to slot home Saints’ second and the Scotsman was tireless in linking together midfield and attack. Long and Ings set the tempo and Armstrong and Djenepo back them up so well.


Southampton almost took the lead early on as Will Smallbone, making his Premier League debut, saw his shot deflect onto the post and out.

The hosts did take the lead soon after as great work from Moussa Djenepo down the left saw him cross for Long who bundled home the ball. VAR checked the goal for handball but it stood.

Saints continued to dominate as Ryan Bertrand‘s header set up Ings who bundled his way through on goal but Pepe Reina produced a top save to deny him, then Djenepo fired over from Long’s cross.

Villa did improve a little as half time approached with Mbwana Samatta scoring from an offside position and Grealish trying to get on the ball as much as he could.

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Jack Stephens flicked just over from a superb Ryan Bertrand free kick and then Stuart Armstrong rounded Reina but sent his shot into the side-netting.

Reina denied Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s volley at one end while at the other Samatta’s deflected shot looped just over.

Substitute Che Adams fired just wide late on as Southampton were a threat on the break as Villa poured forward in search of an equalizer.

A frantic finish saw Adams have a shot cleared off the line at one end then Villa flashed a shot wide at the other. Reina then came up for a late corner kick and Saints cleared, leading to a wonderful ball for Adams who set up Armstrong to slot home and send St Mary’s wild.

Saints on Storm Dennis-affected loss: ‘Lot of scrapping, fighting, not a lot of playing’

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Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard thought his side went unrewarded for a scrappy effort on a miserable day.

The weather was one thing, as Storm Dennis sent strong winds and fierce rain to the 2-1 loss to Burnley at St. Mary’s.

VAR’s decision not to overturn an ungiven penalty on the field is stuck firmly in Jannik Vestergaard’s craw.

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While manager Ralph Hasenhuttl wasn’t drawn into much of a discussion on the incident, saying, “It’s boring to discuss this to be honest, there is no clear line.”

Vestergaard was ready to share his thoughts.

“No explanations because the decisions are famously decided by the Video Assistant Referee,” he said. “I think it’s a pen. I don’t know what the exact rules but I think he had his arm wide of his body. The ref chose not to give it and we have to create more chances.”

Vestergaard also says the weather affected both teams and was sure the game wasn’t a spectacle of entertaining football (He was correct).

“It turned into quite a battle. Balls flying high in the wind, very very difficult to foresee where they would come down. Lot of fighting for second balls, technical mistakes. Lot of scrapping, lot of fighting, not a lot of playing. I don’t think it was a great game to watch. We tried to accept the circumstances and make the best of it.”

Saints have a nice run of fixtures ahead, but would’ve wanted and probably should’ve had a result on Saturday at home. With fifth place possibly being a Champions League spot, this one will sting for days.