Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth: Great escape is on

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  • Tadic scores twice to be the hero
  • Southampton grab just their second win in last 22 games
  • Saints one point from safety with three games to go

Dusan Tadic was the hero as Southampton beat Bournemouth 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday in a huge win for Saints.

Tadic put Saints ahead but Josh King equalized for Bournemouth right on half time, but Tadic then won the game with a magical strike as Saints couldn’t finish Bournemouth off and had Alex McCarthy to thank for a stunning save late on.

With the win (their first at home since November and Mark Hughes’ first PL win in charge) Saints momentarily moved just one point behind Swansea who sit one place above them just out of the relegation zone. The Saints have 33 points, while Bournemouth have 38 points.

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Southampton went ahead with a rapid counter attack as Mario Lemina broke, then fed Tadic to slot home as St Mary’s erupted. 1-0 to Saints.

The home side then took the game by the scuff of the neck.

Lemina’s rasping drive from distance was then tipped wide by Asmir Begovic and moments later Charlie Austin went down in the box under a challenge from Begovic but no penalty kick was given.

Nathan Ake then had a great chance to equalize for Bournemouth as he turned in the box but Alex McCarthy stopped well down low with his left leg.

Right on half time Bournemouth equalized as a corner from the right was flicked to the back post and King hooked home to stun St Mary’s. 1-1.

After the break Bournemouth did plenty of pressing as Lewis Cook‘s long-range effort was pushed away from McCarthy, but then Saints broke again in devastating fashion and regained the lead.

Tadic picked up the ball 40 yards out, ran towards goals and sent a powerful toe punt towards the far corner which flew past Begovic to make it 2-1.

Saints almost made it 3-1 when Tadic’s shot deflected off Austin and went goalwards but Begovic made a smart reaction stop, then Tadic played in Ryan Bertrand but his weak attempt was saved by Begovic and Austin then smashed into the side-netting.

The chances kept coming for Saints as Shane Long and Lemina combined but Bournemouth’s defense scrambled to clear the danger.

Late on Bournemouth pushed hard for an equalizer as substitute Jermain Defoe was denied by Maya Yoshida and then Wesley Hoedt made a great last-ditch tackle.

And then McCarthy came up big with a wonderful save in stoppage time from Ryan Fraser‘s deflected shot as Saints held on for a huge win.

Southampton believe their great escape is well and truly on as they have dragged plenty of other teams into the relegation scrap.

Three things we learned: Chelsea v. Southampton

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LONDON — Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0 in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday, with the Blues setting up an FA Cup final clash with Manchester United on May 19.

Antonio Conte‘s side scored twice in the second half with Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata on the scoresheet against a sorry Saints outfit.

Here’s what we learned as Chelsea have set up a tasty clash with Jose Mourinho next month.


GIROUD AN ELEGANT ASSASSIN

Olivier Giroud is quickly becoming a cult hero at Chelsea. The Frenchman dribbled delicately around three Southampton defenders and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy before prodding home to put his side ahead.

It was a elegant, yet clumsy, goal and summed up Giroud’s penchant for delivering goals of the highest difficulty.

Giroud has now been involved in 22 goals in 26 FA Cup appearances (15 goals, 7 assists), more than any other player in the completion since his debut in 2013.

The Frenchman is now pushing hard to be Chelsea’s first-choice central striker ahead of Alvaro Morata, although the Spaniard did grab a goal late on to wrap up the win.

Giroud has scored four goals in 13 appearances in all competitions since arriving from Arsenal in January but the way he holds the ball up and links with Eden Hazard is a huge plus for Conte. Giroud could also start up top with Morata if Chelsea tweak their system and at the age of 31 there is still plenty of life left in him and not just as a late sub, the role Conte earmarked for him.


COULD CONTE STAY…

Antonio Conte will likely still leave Chelsea at the end of the season but the Italian coach seems to badly want his time at Chelsea to end with a trophy.

But here’s a thought: if Chelsea beat Man United and somehow make it into the top four at Tottenham’s expense (they are five points back with four games to go), will he remain in charge for the final year of his three-year contract?

The Blues cruised into the FA Cup final and looked fired up from the start as Eden Hazard pulled the strings and Giroud made a nuisance of himself.

Conte’s comments all season long suggest he will depart Chelsea this summer and seek a new project, but if he does so after winning the FA Cup (after being runners up last season) to go along with the PL title he won last season, and then finishing fifth, that’s not a bad two years in the PL.

The Italian will depart with his pride and reputation intact even if he doesn’t defeat his old foe Mourinho in the final next month.


SOUTHAMPTON’S STRUGGLES

Saints are in the Premier League’s relegation zone for a reason and their total lack of confidence was clear for all to see at Wembley.

Mark Hughes‘ men have four games left to save themselves but it almost seems as if Saints’ players have resigned themselves to relegation from the Premier League despite sitting just four points from safety. One win in their last 21 PL games (that came against West Brom) tells the story of a side crumbling before our eyes.

After they shipped 12 goals in four Premier League, all of them defeats, Hughes has set Saints up in a 5-3-1-1 formation to try and make them tougher to break down.

It is working, at least defensively, with a 0-0 draw at Leicester on Thursday, but going forward they totally lack any cohesion and only created three real chances on Sunday as Shane Long made a hash of a great opportunity, Charlie Austin hit the post and Nathan Redmond tested Willy Caballero.

Saints are in a really bad place as they now have to find a way to stop themselves hurtling towards relegation. Their game at home against Bournemouth next weekend is a must win. Simple.

Chelsea joins Man Utd in FA Cup Final

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Chelsea will meet old pal Jose Mourinho in the FA Cup Final after beating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata scored the goals for Antonio Conte‘s men, whose date with Manchester United comes at the same venue on May 19.

Southampton will turn its attention back to the relegation battle, four points behind 17th place Swansea City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Willian hit the cross bar with an early effort as Chelsea looked very much up for the semifinal.

Olivier Giroud had a 39th minute chance zip wide of the frame, as Chelsea posted nine of the first half’s 11 shot attempts while holding 60 percent possession.

Saints would have been happy to get to the locker room at nil-nil.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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Twenty-eight seconds into the second half: That’s when Giroud scored, with Chelsea’s first long ball knocked down by Eden Hazard on the edge of the 18 and played to the Frenchman.

Giroud cut between two Saints defenders and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to stab home with his right foot.

Hazard curled an effort of his own wide in the 48th minute.

Saints snapped to life, and Shane Long touched around Wily Caballero but too strong to equalize at Wembley.

Nathan Redmond forced a wild save out of Caballero in the 72nd minute, and nearly claimed the corner.

McCarthy tipped a Hazard shot over the bar minutes later.

Morata put it to bed on a cross from his in-tune assist man Cesar Azpilicueta.

The finish was thrilling nevertheless, with Charlie Austin hitting the far post and Saints getting a goal line clearance at the other end.

Marcos Alonso charged by English FA

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Marcos Alonso has been charged with violent conduct by the English Football Associaton after stamping on Shane Long during Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Southampton on Saturday.

The Spanish left back lunged in at Long just before half time and referee Mike Dean missed the incident despite being close to the scene with a clear view.

Below is the statement from the FA as Alonso could miss the next three games for Chelsea, which include the Premier League trip to Burnley on Thursday, the FA Cup semifinal against Southampton on Sunday and the league game at Swansea next Saturday.

Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso has been charged with violent conduct following an incident with Southampton’s Shane Long. It happened in the 43rd minute of Saturday’s game [14/04/18] and was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

He has until 6pm on Wednesday [18/04/18] to respond to the charge.

Off the ball incidents which are not seen at the time are referred by The FA to a panel of three former elite match officials. Each panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision of the panel must be unanimous.

If the charge is upheld on Alonso, then Southampton will at least know he will be missing for the FA Cup semifinal as Chelsea will have their options at left wing back limited.

Yet the fact that Dean didn’t see the incident and send Alonso off at the time hurt Saints, as the Spaniard was pivotal in Chelsea’s comeback as his cross found Olivier Giroud for the first goal and playing against 10-men would have certainly helped Saints to victory in their desperate battle against relegation.

 

Southampton 2-3 Chelsea: Stunning Blues comeback

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  • Giroud jumps off bench, scores twice
  • Southampton blow 2-0 lead
  • Chelsea close gap on top four to seven points

Chelsea fought back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton 3-2 on Saturday at St Mary’s as the Blues scored three goals in eight minutes to turn the game on its head.

Saints went 1-0 up through Dusan Tadic, then Jan Bednarek doubled the lead on his Premier League debut as the home side looked to be powering to victory. Then Olivier Giroud rescued Chelsea off the bench as he pulled one back, before Eden Hazard equalized and then Giroud scored the winner.

The victory has Chelsea seven points off the top four, while Saints remain in the bottom three after their stunning collapse as they’ve now lost all three games under Mark Hughes.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints started the game well and were rewarded after a fine piece of play from Ryan Bertrand.

The former Chelsea left back surged forward from left back and kept his composure brilliantly to pick out Tadic to finish. 1-0 to the Saints.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Chelsea improved as the first half wore on with a corner almost catching out Alex McCarthy but he clawed it away well.

Southampton were dangerous on the break with Shane Long‘s pace as James Ward-Prowse forced a good stop out of Thibaut Courtois but Chelsea had plenty of possession but couldn’t break down a stubborn Saints defense in the first half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After a nasty tackle from Marcos Alonso on Long just before half time, Long went close after the break as he raced clear, turned Andreas Christensen but his looping shot was touched over by Courtois.

At the other end Chelsea started to click through the gears as McCarthy spilled a low shot then palmed an effort from Eden Hazard wide at the near post. Saints then made it 2-0 as Ward-Prowse fine free kick from the right picked out Bednarek at the back post and he finished superbly on his Premier League debut to send St Mary’s wild.

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Then Chelsea came roaring back.

First Giroud flicked in a header with 20 minutes to go after jumping off the bench, then Hazard made it 2-2 soon after as Southampton imploded.

Giroud then drilled home a fine low finish to cap a stunning period of three goals in eight minutes for Chelsea as the Blues grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.