Stuart Armstrong

Southampton cruise past Palace

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Southampton continued their incredible run of form as they cruised past Crystal Palace and won 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

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The scoreline didn’t reflect the dominance of Ralph Hasenhutt’s side as Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong scored stunners in each half to grab all three points.

With the win Saints move up to ninth on 31 points as they jump ahead of Palace who have 30 points.


3 things we learned

1. Away day specialists do it again: Southampton have now won five Premier League games in a row away from home. They’ve beat Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leicester City and now Palace on the road as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side are so lethal on the counter and seem to catch teams out. Their intense pressure pins their opponents back and the pace of Obafemi and Redmond was too much for Palace to handle. Six of their nine PL wins have come away from home and if they could somehow replicate this form at home, they will be battling for a top four finish. Southampton have won 65 percent of their points in away games this season (20/31), the highest such ratio in the PL.

2. Palace’s lackluster attack needs an upgrade: Zaha had an off day out wide but Ayew and Tosun ahead of him missed chances and didn’t look sharp at all. Palace brought in Tosun on loan and he blazed a great chance over at 0-0 and he probably isn’t the answer to their goalscoring woes. Only Watford have scored fewer than Palace’s 22 goals from 24 games and Roy Hodgson was a disgruntled figure at the final whistle. His squad have been stretched to its limits and hit by injuries and their exploits away at Man City on Saturday hit them hard.

3. Saints’ squad stronger than they think: With Cedric going down injured during the game, Jan Bednarek out injured and Danny Ings rested, perhaps Saints don’t need to do business this month. Maybe a new right back would be good, but aside from that Obafemi played well and Vestergaard was solid enough aside from one scary moment.

Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong – The Scotsman was everywhere and had so many shots and he finally curled home a beauty. He has been a big part of Saints’ resurgence since they switched to a 4-2-2-2 formation. A special mention to James Ward-Prowse, who had to slot over to right back to replace the injured Cedric and shut down Wilfried Zaha.


Southampton started really well and had plenty of possession as Palace sat back and soaked up the pressure.

The first big chance of the game came via a counter attack as Jannik Vestergaard intercepted the ball but was caught in possession as Cenk Tosun went through on goal but blazed over.

Cedric and Shane Long both went down with injuries early on and Southampton’s Portuguese right back came off injured with Oriol Romeu coming on.

Moments after that sub Southampton took the lead as Redmond turned Martin Kelly inside out, then rifled a superb effort into the far top corner to give the visitors a deserved 1-0 lead.

Vicente Guaita then denied Stuart Armstrong’s deflected effort as he tipped it over the bar and the Scotsman dragged another effort wide as Saints dominate the first half.

Saints hit Palace on the break and Redmond set Long clean through but the Irish striker got his first touch all wrong and the ball went out of play, then Long’s flicked header went just wide.

VAR reviewed an incident on the break as Wilfried Zaha clashed with Ward-Prowse and appeared to put his hand in the face of the Southampton man.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Palace started the second half well as Tosun headed wide after good work down the left with James Ward-Prowse a growing influence in the game.

Saints doubled their lead in spectacular fashion as Redmond worked the ball inside and teed up Armstrong who curled home from distance to send the away fans wild.

Vestergaard almost made it 3-0 as his flick from a set piece almost looped in, then Long shot straight at Guaita from a great position.

Substitute Connor Wickham was played in by fellow sub Max Meyer but he couldn’t control the ball in a good situation and subs Danny Ings smashed over from an offside position as Saints eased to victory.

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.

PL AT HALF: Mata’s sweet assist put Man Utd up; Chelsea, Everton lead

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We’ve seen eight goals in five 10 a.m. ET kickoffs across the Premier League, refreshed players giving refreshed performances.

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Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United [STREAM]

Miguel Almiron gave the Magpies an early lead — WATCH HERE — but Leander Dendoncker answered quickly to put it level at the Molineux.

Chelsea 2-0 Burnley [STREAM]

Willian won a penalty that Jorginho converted, and Reece James set up Tammy Abraham for the Blues’ second goal at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United 1-0 Norwich City [STREAM]

A gorgeous, vintage Juan Mata pass found Marcus Rashford for the loan goal at Old Trafford.

Everton 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion [STREAM]

Richarlison is the man on the score sheet at Goodison Park, his eighth league goal of the season.

Leicester City 1-1 Southampton [STREAM]

Dennis Praet put the hosts ahead but it’s been all Saints since, with Stuart Armstrong leveling the score and Danny Ings twice hitting the frame of the goal.

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.

Premier League Preview: Southampton v. West Ham

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Saturday’s final Premier League fixture is set to pit a pair of underperforming relegation battlers against one another when Southampton host West Ham United at St. Mary’s Stadium (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com). Managers Ralph Hasenhuttl and Manuel Pellegrini have each flirted with being fired in recent weeks, though the former was able to pull himself back from the edge with back-to-back wins last week.

Southampton had lost six of eight games during a two-month winless skid before beating Watford and Norwich City, both at home, to not only save the Austrain’s job but also pull his side to within touching distance of safety from the relegation zone.

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As for West Ham, Pellegrini is hanging on by a thread as he faces the possibility of being the next PL manager fired on the back of a 1W-2D-7L record in the Hammers’ last 10 games. To call that run of results — comprising more than 25 percent of the season — relegation form would be an understatement.

It’s not just the results which have been disastrous, but more so the margin by which they’ve suffered them. In those 10 games, West Ham have managed to conceded fewer than two goals only twice, including just one clean sheet. A number of bottom-half sides have found lots of joy against them: Newcastle United, Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal each scored three; Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers each score two.

Injuries/suspensions

Southampton: QUESTIONABLE – Stuart Armstrong (hamstring)

West Ham United: OUT – Manuel Lanzini (clavicle), Jack Wilshere (groin), Lukasz Fabianski (thigh), Winston Reid (knee)


Projected lineups

Southampton: Gunn — Soares, Vestergaard, Yoshida, Bertrand — Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Hojberg, Redmond — Long, Ings

West Ham: Martin — Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell — Snodgrass, Noble, Rice, Anderson — Haller, Antonio


What they’re saying

Hasenhuttl, on his place as Saints boss: “This experience has been very important for me as a manager and I’m happy that I went through such a period. I’m thankful to the club that it is going a different way, not immediately sacking the manager but supporting him. Thank you to everyone at the club, I could feel big support in this moment, which is important for the future of the club. That was very important for me as a manager, I’ve never had such a long time without winning in my managerial career.”

Pellegrini, on his place as West Ham boss: “What I really need is to win the game but maybe I’m not in my job on Monday. That’s not a problem of the job. The problem is to try to improve what you’re doing because we don’t have the results. It’s a difficult league where the difference is very little between one player and the other one. I repeat it’s not normal to have five points and very bad results. That’s why I know that the owners trust what we are doing because with another owner you may have been sacked before, and we know what football is and we are trying to get results.”


Prediction

Given their medium-term form and the fact they’re playing at home, Southampton should be winning this game. If they’ve done one thing right all season, it’s that they’ve beaten the rest of the sides down near the relegation zone when they’ve faced them head to head. Whether or not West Ham will remain down there remains to be seen, and could be revealed based on what happens Saturday. Saints 2-2 West Ham.