Jan Bednarek

Watford - Southampton recap
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Ings powers Southampton past worried Watford

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Danny Ings pulled to within one goal of the Premier League lead after scoring a brace in Southampton’s 3-1 defeat of Watford on Sunday.

Ings’ 18 goals are one back of Jamie Vardy and one more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah.

A Jan Bednarek own goal gave Watford 10 minutes to tie the match, but James Ward-Prowse’s pristine free kick restored the 2-goal lead within minutes.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

The match started with inauspicious news, Watford omitted three players for “health reasons” after reports of a 20-person party at Andre Gray’s house attended by Domingos Quina and Nathaniel Chalobah.

Southampton moves 13th with 40 points, while Watford’s 28 remain just one point above the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. Gold-Ings boot (TM): Ings’ first goal was wonderful and his second aided by Watford, but there’s no denying that he’s firmly in the Golden Boot race with six matches to play. None of his 18 league goals this season have come from the spot and it would be a wonderful story if his injury-riddled years at Liverpool give way to etching his name in PL lore in the same season the Reds finally lift the Premier League trophy.

2. Ward-Prowse delivers the goods: There are few players in England more deadly standing over a free kick, and even fewer as overlooked or unknown as Ward-Prowse. The Southampton captain’s late goal was a marvelous, powerful, dipping bit of goodness.

3. Watford’s path very clear: The Hornets will have wanted all the points here, but it’s clear that a 9-day span will define their season. After meeting Chelsea next, Watford meets Norwich City, Newcastle, and West Ham between July 7-15. When you consider the season concludes with Man City and Arsenal, the Hornets need to get their act together now. No more parties, gents.

Man of the Match

It’s gotta be Ings, doesn’t it?


Watford – Southampton recap

Danny Ings set up Shane Long for a 15th-minute shot that was driven well but right at Ben Foster.

Ings’ first goal was a beauty, the Golden Boot-chaser dribbling to the center of the box and stroking a sweet strike inside the post.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

His second was most certainly the product of a decent effort from him and a poor one from Ben Foster.

Bednarek was under pressure from Danny Welbeck when he redirected a cross into his own goal, but Ward-Prowse answered with vigor.

Che Adams nearly made it 4-1 late but Ben Foster was on the case.

PL AT HALF: Goals, goals everywhere as Arsenal leads, Man City trails

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The Premier League’s six 10 a.m. ET kickoffs provided loads of late goals and a red card that’s a hilarious look for everyone but Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 


West Ham 1-1 Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

The Irons went ahead through an Issa Diop header of a Robert Snodgrass header, as the Scottish playmaker is having a day at the London Stadium, but Calvert-Lewin nodded home a Lucas Digne corner before halftime.

Southampton 2-0 Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Saints’ rocket up the Premier League table continues at St. Mary’s, where Jan Bednarek and Shane Long have a two-goal lead on Nuno Espirito Santo‘s struggling men.

Brighton 1-0 Aston Villa – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Leandro Trossard smashed a shot home to give the Seagulls an advantage at the break.

Arsenal 1-0 Sheffield United – NBCSN [STREAM]

Gabriel Martinelli missed the first best chance of the match, cued up by exceptional passes from Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe. The youngster didn’t miss his second, punching home a 45th minute deflected cross from Bukayo Saka.

Man City 0-1 Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

We told you Cenk Tosun‘s numbers were better than you thought, and the Everton loanee has nodded a Gary Cahill flick past Ederson at the Etihad.

Norwich 1-0 Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Bad, bad times for the Cherries; Steve Cook handled a ball in the box and was sent off, Teemu Pukki dispatching the penalty moments later.

Cook, wyd?

 

Jan Bednarek: the latest gem unearthed by Southampton?

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SOUTHAMPTON — The fans at Southampton call him the Polish Maldini. That tells you everything you need to know about how highly regarded Jan Bednarek is at Saints.

At 22 years of age, Bednarek is one of the first names on Southampton’s teamsheet and he’s enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 12 months. He has now kicked his game on to new levels under new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

He throws his head in where it hurts, pulls off stunning last-ditch blocks and tackles, and his no-nonsense defending has seen him become a growing cult figure at Southampton. It has all happened rather quickly, too.

Last April he made his first start in the Premier League after arriving from Lech Poznan the previous summer for $7 million. He scored on his PL debut, a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea, and since then he’s played a pivotal role in Saints’ dramatic survival from relegation last season, scored a winning goal for Poland at the 2018 World Cup and is now one of the top emerging defenders in the Premier League.

Not too shabby. But sat in his training kit as the sun beats down on Southampton’s Staplewood training base, Bednarek is focused on one thing: beating Premier League title chasers Liverpool on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at St Mary’s.

“The thing is, we need three points,” Bednarek says, matter of factly. “Of course, they fight for the title but the main thing is winning three points. We are going to fight for that. The main thing is to be brave. To do our best and we will find out after the game what we will happen… What I learned in England is that there are no easy games. We know their threat and all the great players they have, live Virgil Van Dijk who was here, and many others. Every single game is difficult. You have to do your best and focus on what you have been doing your whole life.”

One of the first things Hasenhuttl did when he took charge of Saints back in December was to bring in Bednarek from the cold. He had been bizarrely frozen out by Mark Hughes at the start of this season, but since Hasenhuttl arrived and Bednarek returned to the team, Saints have beaten Tottenham and Arsenal at home among seven wins which has seen them pull away from the relegation zone.

With Hasenhuttl’s side winning 24 points from his first 16 games in charge, Saints are on a huge upward curve.

Their high-pressing style is similar to that of Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool (Klopp and Hasenhuttl did their coaching badges together in Germany) and they have regained their identity as the PL’s plucky upstarts. The atmosphere is now a positive one at St Mary’s, a place where they hadn’t won until early December this season.

“We are playing better as a team, and it is obvious that if we are playing better the atmosphere is going to be better,” Bednarek said. “The fans can see that we are getting better and better. They can see that if they push us forward we are going to do better. It is good. We need to keep going as a team and it will be even better.”

Bednarek also lifted the lid on what it is like behind-the-scenes at Saints’ training ground with Hasenhuttl implementing plenty of discipline and promoting young players from their famed academy to mix things up.

The Austrian coach has talked about how he keeps an eye on the amount of time players spend playing video games, while he also hands out a different sort of fine. It doesn’t come down to finances, but asking players to instead work in the club shop or put on training sessions for youth teams if they are late, don’t leave their locker tidy or anything of that nature.

“At the moment everyone is aware of it and everyone is afraid of the fines,” Bednarek laughed. “There hasn’t been a situation where someone has to spin the wheel. I think that is good that everyone is disciplined and everyone have the respect and needs respect the rules at the training ground.”

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Bednarek’s focus has been key to his rise at Saints, with the defender hiring a mental coach from the Poland national team to help him with the mental side of being an athlete. During his long spell on the sidelines at the start of this season, he admitted it was tough but the mental coaching helped him stay fit and focused for when his opportunity arrived.

At a club famed for bringing through young talent, Bednarek said getting the chance to play as a youngster was his main motivation to join the South Coast club. Saints currently have one of the youngest teams in the PL, and Bednarek believes they can field a team entirely under the age of 23 in the future, if the right situation arises.

The towering Polish defender also revealed he likes to get away from it all by going on walks with his dog, Candy, and his girlfriend Julia in the Hampshire countryside. But most of the time he likes to relax on days off from the gruelling training sessions put on by Hasenhuttl and his staff.

Growing up in Poland, Bednarek played in goal and as a striker with his older brother Filip, who plays as a goalkeeper in Holland, but said there wasn’t a defender he liked and wanted to imitate.

However, he admitted he now looks at Liverpool’s star center back Virgil van Dijk — the Reds bought VVD for a world-record fee for a defender from Southampton last January for $100 million — as the best player in his position in the world and someone he wants to emulate. Bednarek played with VVD for six months last season, and he has clearly left an impression on him.

“There were many players I liked, like Zidane, Ronaldo, but there was not a center back that I followed,” Bednarek said. “At the moment, when I started to play in this position I watched [Giorgio] Chiellini, I watched [Sergio] Ramos, now it is [Virgil] van Dijk. When you watch them you can improve. There are so many great players you can watch and keep improving.”

Many great players have learned and improved at Southampton in the past, and Bednarek is in line to be the next gem they’ve polished to perfection.

Gabbiadini saves Southampton season

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  • West Brom relegated
  • Gabbiadini scores 73rd minute goal
  • Southampton moves 16th, three clear of Swans

Southampton won a massive relegation six-pointer on Tuesday when Manolo Gabbiadini‘s second half goal led them past Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

The win boosts Saints onto 36 points, three clear of 18th place Swans and level with 17th place Huddersfield Town. Southampton has vastly superior goal differential to both.

West Bromwich Albion was relegated in the loss.

Huddersfield Town is at Chelsea on Wednesday and home to Arsenal on Sunday. Southampton hosts Manchester City on Sunday, while Swans host Stoke City.

One point earned by Huddersfield Town from its final two matches would send Swans to the Championship.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jordan Ayew won a dangerous free kick early, but a 4th minute effort from 19 yards rammed into the wall.

Jordan then cued up his brother Andre inside the box, and he was defied by duel sliding tackles from Jan Bednarek and Wesley Hoedt. The ball bounded off the back of Hoedt’s arm, but (rightly) no penalty.

Swans had more of the ball, but Charlie Austin brought the next dangerous action with a break. The English striker couldn’t get enough on his shot, though, and Lukasz Fabianski collected the low drive.

Sam Clucas turned a header wide of goal in one of Swans’ best looks at an opener.

Austin was again stopped by Fabianski in the second half.

Bednarek had to be removed from the match when his goalkeeper, Alex McCarthy, punched a corner kick away and connected with the center back’s head.

Southampton broke through off a corner kick, with Austin again defied by Fabianski before Gabbiadini pushed the rebound home.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Watford, Southampton add defenders from Spain, Poland

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Watford and Southampton have strengthened their back lines ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

Saints nabbed 21-year-old Lech Poznan center back Jan Bednarek, who is with Poland at the U-21 EURO.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Bednarek stands 6-foot-2 and made 31 appearances for his Polish club last season, and it sounds like he’s a bit awed by his early experiences at St. Mary’s:

“It’s like a different kind of place to which we see in Poland,” said Bednarek of the facilities at Staplewood Campus. “It’s modern, it’s so big. There is everything that you need to improve. I will do everything to use this time here.

As for the Hornets, they’ve added former Barcelona B and Real Madrid B back Kiko Femenia.

The 26-year-old right back made his name with Alaves the last two seasons, boosting the club into the top flight before making 37 appearances in La Liga. Femenia averaged 1.5 interceptions and 1.3 clearances per game last season.

Bednarek seems one for the future, while Femenia is a bit of a risk from Watford in terms of immediate impact. He was not a star for his club in La Liga, but could his style be a better fit in the PL?