Southampton Miss Out On League Cup

Southampton were unable to claim their second major trophy in their history as they fell to a late 3-2 defeat to Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard put Jose Mourinho’s side two goals up, but a Manolo Gabbiadini brace pulled the Saints level. But it was a late Ibrahimovic header that saw the first silverware of the season head to Manchester.

league-cup-winners

Jose Mourinho has now won all four of his League Cup finals (2005, 2007, 2015, and 2017). Image: BBC Sport

It was a frustrating start for Saints, who started the game brightly. Southampton felt aggrieved when Gabbiadini turned in a Cedric Soares cross, only for the goal to be ruled out by the assistant. Replays showed that the Italian was clearly onside, whilst Ryan Bertrand, who was standing yards behind the action, was actually offside.

After that decision it was only a matter of time before United opened the deadlock. It came in the form of an Ibrahimovic free kick. The Swede swept the ball in to the bottom corner from 25 yards to give United an undeserved lead. Jesse Lingard doubled United’s lead seven minutes before half time. Marcus Rojo strode forward, receiving the ball from out wide, before squaring the ball to Lingard, who had acres of space to curl the ball in to the far corner.

The game was looking lost for Saints, but there was a glimmer of hope just before half time. James Ward-Prowse whipped a low ball in to the six yard box just before half time, where Gabbiadini lost his man to guide the ball past David De Gea.

FBL-ENG-LCUP-MAN UTD-SOUTHAMPTON

Manolo Gabbiadini has now hit five (should have been SIX!) goals in his three games for Southampton. Image: Metro

And Saints fans only had to wait three minutes after the break for them to draw level. United thought that they had cleared a corner, but Steven Davis headed the ball back in to the box. Gabbiadini held off Chris Smalling as he turned and swept the ball home with his left foot.

A period of sustained Saints pressure followed. De Gea punched away a fierce Redmond volley, and Oriel Romeu hit the post with a header from a corner. In a rare United attack, an Anthony Martial cross found its way to the far post, where Jesse Lingard blazed over the bar despite being under no pressure. Jack Stephens almost gave Saints the lead with five minutes to go, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed clear his goal-bound header.

And it was Ibrahimovic who was the hero for Mourinho’s side, as he found the space between the Saints’ centre backs to nod home from close range to gift United the trophy in the 87th minute.It was a heartbreaking moment for Saints, who dominated large spells of the final and had the majority of the chances.

Despite not lifting the trophy, it was a final to remember for the Southampton fans. It was the first time that Saints had appeared in a major final since their 2003 FA Cup final appearance, and the fans were much more vocal than their Mancunian counterparts. Without the services of talisman Virgil Van Dijk and top goalscorer Charlie Austin, the players put in an incredible shift, but were ultimately punished by the difference in quality that United’s bank balance allows.

Southampton Player Ratings:

Forster – 6: Would maybe be disappointed with the first goal, but stood no chance for the other two.

Cedric – 7: Looked dangerous on the overlap, should have had an assist in the first half.

Stephens – 7: United felt he could have been sent off, but was unlucky to give away a free kick. Showed experience beyond his years.

Yoshida – 7: Really stepped up to fill the gap left by Fonte’s departure and Van Dijk’s injury.

Bertrand – 7: Strong going forward and kept Juan Mata quiet all game.

Romeu – 7: Picked up an early booking but put in a very solid display. Hit the post at 2-2.

Davis – 7: Classic Steven Davis. Covered every blade of grass and provided the second assist for Gabbiadini.

Tadic – 8: Most of Saints’ attacks came through him, unlucky to be taken off so early.

Ward-Prowse – 7: Picked up an assist and was a constant threat from dead ball situations.

Redmond – 7: Looked dangerous going forward, but was ultimately unable to recapture his finishing from the semi-final first leg against Liverpool.

Gabbiadini – 9: Scored twice and had a goal wrongly ruled offside. Should be very disappointed to be subbed off at 2-2.

Subs:

Boufal (Tadic, 77) – 6: Lacking match fitness and it showed.

Long (Gabbiadini, 83): Brought on too late to make an impact.

Rodriguez (Davis, 90): Brought on too late to make an impact, but was good to see him on the pitch at Wembley after his injury problems.

Unused: Hassen, Sims, Caceres, Hojbjerg, McQueen.

Manchester United Player Ratings:

De Gea 8; Valencia 6, Bailly 6, Smalling 5, Rojo 6; Herrera 7, Pogba 6; Lingard 7 (Rashford, 77, 6), Mata 6 (Carrick, 45, 8), Martial 6 (Fellaini, 90); Ibrahimovic 10.

Unused: Romero, Blind, Young, Rooney.

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Celtic embarrassed in Rogers’ first game

Brendan Rogers suffered a first game to forget as his Celtic team slumped to a 1-0 loss to semi-professional Lincoln Red Imps. Lee Casciaro gave the Gibraltarian champions the victory in a game which could well go down as one of the worst defeats in the Scottish club’s history.

brendan

Rogers suffered a humiliating loss against the semi-pro outfit in his first game in charge. Image: BBC Sport

Celtic dominated possession, controlling the first half, but for all their possession they rarely troubled Lincoln ‘keeper Raul Navas. The Bhoy’s were perhaps unlucky not to go in to the break with the lead, as Scott Brown’s free kick was nodded in by debutante Moussa Dembele. However the referee deemed that Dembele had unfairly challenged the Red Imps ‘keeper, so the goal did not stand.

Efe Ambrose had already looked shaky at the heart of the Celtic defence, and it was his mistake that allowed Casciaro to latch on to a long ball forward and slot the ball past Craig Gordan at the start of the second half. It could have been even worse for Celtic, as Antonio Calderon fired just over after cutting in from the right of the penalty area, and Gordan was forced in to a smart save from Liam Walker.

Lincoln v Celtic

Lee Casciaro added to his goal against Scotland with the winner against Celtic. Image: BBC Sport

As they chased the game, Celtic were able to conjure up a number of chances, but were unable to take them. Leigh Griffiths had one close-range effort deflected on to the bar, whilst he also struck the woodwork from a free kick. Substitute Nadir Cifti had the best chance for Celtic, as he met Kieran Tierney’s cross and forced Navas in to a fantastic low save.

But the Gibraltarians were able to hold on for a famous victory. Rogers will certainly be looking for an improvement in his first home game in charge, with the second leg taking place on the 20th July.

Saints cruise to victory in European return

Ronald Koeman made his intentions known as he named a strong side

Ronald Koeman made his intentions known as he named a strong side

Southampton 3-0 Vitesse 

Pelle 36

Tadic (pen) 45

Long 84

Attendance: 30,850


Southampton effectively secured their place in the Europa League play-off round with a comfortable 3-0 first leg victory over Vitesse Arnhem. Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Shane Long got the goals to ensure the hosts won their first European game since 2003.

Ronald Koeman’s line-up suggested that the Saints will take this competition seriously as he named a pretty much full strength team, however there was no space in the squad for Jay Rodriguez. The visitors named a youthful side with an average age of 23, which included three of their four Chelsea loanees.

Dusan Tadic sends the Vitesse keeper the wrong way from the spot

Dusan Tadic sends the Vitesse keeper the wrong way from the spot

Vitesse had the game’ first real opportunity, as Saints failed to deal with a ball forward but Kazaishvili dragged his shot wide. But Southampton grew in to the game, soon asserting their dominance over the visitors. Maya Yoshida and Victor Wanyama both spurned chances from corners before Pelle eventually opened the scoring.

New signing Cedric Soares played Dusan Tadic down the wing, who in turn found Sadio Mane. Mane played a tidy through ball to the Italian, who rifled a shot into the roof of the net. Southampton doubled their lead on the stroke of half time with Dusan Tadic converting a penalty. Sadio Mane was again involved, collecting a short corner and was barged off the ball as he drove in to the Vitesse box. Tadic stepped up and coolly slotted in to the bottom left corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

The second half was more like a friendly, with both sides seemingly content with the result. Débutante Jordy Classie limped off with a hamstring injury on the hour mark and now looks a doubt for the Premier League opening fixture. After being ineffective for most of the match, Vitesse threatened to score an important away goal, with substitute Pantic forcing Stekelenberg in to a fine low save. A Lewis Baker free-kick wasn’t properly cleared by Southampton, but Rashica could only fire over from the edge of the box.

Shane Long's third goal effectively seals the Saints' place in the Play-Off round

Shane Long’s third goal effectively sealed the Saints’ place in the Play-Off round

But Shane Long completed the scoring late on, intercepting a loose pass on halfway and bursting through. Vitesse keeper Room did well to prevent Long from rounding him, but was powerless as Juanmi picked up the rebound and chipped back to the Irishman, who headed in to the empty net from six yards.

The scoreline perhaps flattered Southampton, who weren’t at their best, but their first half performance will give fans cause for optimism for the coming season. Classie’s injury and Mane being moved out wide left the team looking less fluid going forward, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the second leg, where Ronald Koeman can possibly afford to make a few changes.


Saints: Stekelenburg 7; Soares 8, Fonte 7, Yoshida 6, Targett 7; Wanyama 7, Classie 7 (Juanmi, 61, 7); Tadic 8 (Long, 61, 7), Mane 8 (Reed, 85), Davis 7; Pelle 7

Unused: Gazzaniga, Martina, McCarthy, Ward-Prowse

Vitesse: Room; Diks (Lelieveld, 90+2), Kashia, Leerdam, Achenteh; Baker, Nakamba, Qazaishvili (Pantic, 67), Brown; Djurdjevic (Rashica, 61) Oliynyk

Unused: Van der Werff, Dauda, Velthuizen, Osman

Saints rise to see off toothless Tigers

A first Premier League goal for James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle’s first league goal since December saw Southampton dig deep to overcome a physical Hull side. Ronald Koeman’s team now rise to fifth, whilst the visitors are still precariously positioned above the relegation zone. The one downside for Koeman was Victor Wanyama picking up his tenth yellow card of the season, meaning he’ll miss the games against Stoke and Tottenham.

James Ward-Prowse's penalty was his first goal in his last 83 games for Saints

James Ward-Prowse’s penalty was his first goal in his last 83 games for Saints

Saints could have taken the lead within the first minute, as Shane Long pounced on a loose backpass, however he ran the ball out whilst trying to round Steve Harper. But it was Hull who looked more likely to score early on, with the hosts looking lethargic. Sone Aluko forced a save from Kelvin Davis, but in truth the Southampton stopper never really looked troubled. Aluko had a couple of efforts which went wide and a Tom Huddlestone free-kick summed up the Tiger’s shocking form in front of goal. The hosts’ only clear-cut chance of the first half came when Shane Long almost capitalised on a James Chester slip, instead teeing up Graziano Pelle who was denied well by Harper.

Graziano Pelle ended a run of over 1200 minutes of Premier League football without a goal

Graziano Pelle ended a run of over 1200 minutes of Premier League football without a goal

Steve Bruce was left angered by the referee as Graziano Pelle appeared to move his forearm in to the face of Alex Bruce. In real time it appeared fairly inconspicuous, however Kevin Friend awarded the Italian a yellow card, despite the Hull players’ protests.

The breakthrough finally came as Long burst through and was brought down by Bruce. Sadio Mane picked the ball up, but after a word from Jose Fonte, the duty fell to Ward-Prowse. The twenty year old handled the pressure in an impressive manner, firing the penalty home in a Rickie Lambert-esque fashion for his first Saints goal since 2012. The importance of this goal was emphasised as just minutes earlier, Kelvin Davis had been forced in to an excellent reflex save to prevent Jake Livermore’s low effort that was hit through a crowd of players.

James Chester almost equalised for Hull, as he rose highest from a corner, only to see Ryan Bertrand clear the ball off the line. But the result didn’t ever really look in danger, and it was confirmed with 9 minutes remaining. Dusan Tadic played through Schneiderlin, who unselfishly played it across for Pelle to fire home from 6 yards.

Kelvin Davis saves low to prevent Jake Livermore from equalising

Kelvin Davis saves low to prevent Jake Livermore from equalising

With Tottenham losing against Aston Villa, the victory sees Saints move up to fifth, however Liverpool could overtake them on Monday when they play Newcastle. Hull remain seventeenth, just two points above the relegation zone with six games remaining.


Player ratings

Southampton: K. Davis 8; Alderweireld 7, Fonte 8, Yoshida 7, Bertrand 7; Wanyama 6 (Ward-Prowse, 45, 7), Schneiderlin 6; Long 8 (Elia, 74), S. Davis 7, Mane 6 (Tadic, 61, 6); Pelle 7

Unused: Gazzaniga, Targett, Clyne, Reed

Hull City: Harper 7; Chester 6 (Diame, 64, 6), Dawson 6, Bruce 5, McShane 6; El Mohamady 5, Livermore 7, Huddlestone 7 (Sagbo, 74, 6), Quinn 5; N’Doye 5, Aluko 5 (Hernandez, 84)

Unused: McGregor, Rosenior, Brady, Robertson

Referee: Kevin Friend

Attendance: 30,359

Woeful Saints in City shambles

Manchester City 4 – 1 Southampton

Toure (Pen) 3′ , Nasri 45′, Dzeko 45+3′ , Jovetic 80′

Lambert (Pen) 37′


An injury which could potentially rule Jay Rodriguez out of this summer’s World cup summed up Southampton’s day, as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium. However, the big story of the day was more closely run, with a woeful display from both the officials and Paolo Gazzaniga competing for this.

Saints had made two changes to the team that beat Newcastle last week, with Gazzaniga in for the injured Boruc and Schneiderlin replacing Ward-Prowse, who dropped to the bench. City were unchanged from the side that drew with Arsenal, with Sergio Aguero deemed not fit enough to return to the squad.

The game began miserably for Saints, with Edin Dzeko taking on Jose Fonte in the box. Fonte lazily hung out his leg, and although there wasn’t enough contact to send the City striker sprawling, the referee gave the spot kick. Yaya Toure stepped up and sent Gazzaniga the wrong way. The early goal seemed to settle Southampton, though, as the away team controlled the possession throughout the first half. Despite a series of corners, Saints lacked a killer instinct, which wasn’t helped on 26 minutes with an injury to their top scorer. Jay Rodriguez landed awkwardly when attempting to control the ball. It was clearly a bad injury, with the England striker being stretchered off the pitch. It could potentially rule him out of the World Cup, which would be a real blow for him and England given his form this season.

Saints had their first real shot of the match from a free-kick, which Rickie Lambert curled wide from a distance. The Saints got their much deserved equaliser as Jack Cork burst into the edge of the box before being brought down by Pablo Zabaleta. Zabaleta protested, quickly moving himself outside of the box; however it didn’t stop Chris Foy awarding a penalty. Rickie Lambert stepped up and hit a powerful penalty just out of Joe Hart’s reach to maintain his impeccable penalty record for Saints. This came just minutes after City had a chance to go two up, when Edin Dzeko saw a free header crash back off the bar when he really should have scored.

Perhaps the turning point of the game happened on the stroke of half time, with Samir Nasri slotting home David Silva’s pass. Saints were aggrieved though, as Silva was clearly standing about five yards offside when he received Nasri’s flick through. Pochettino had hardly had time to make his point to the fourth official before City added a third, with a fantastic cross from Kolarov being glanced in by Dzeko. Gazzaniga will have to take the blame for this, as he was poorly positioned for the cross and completely missed it as he came flying out.

This appeared to knock the stuffing out of Saints, as they seemed unable to perform in the second half. Dzeko and Navas both had chances to put the game out of sight, and at the other end, Lambert dragged a powerful shot wide. Yaya Toure was booked for a second dive of the game, and Negredo was set through on goal, but he lingered on the ball for long enough for Jose Fonte to get a crucial tackle in. Any chance of a Saints comeback was put to bed with ten minutes to go, when Navas found space out wide to place a low cross past a flailing Gazzaniga for Stefan Jovetic to slot in to an empty net. Toure and Negredo had chances to add a fifth, but Gazzangia managed to keep them out.

As the final whistle went, it was clear that Pochettino felt aggrieved by the official’s decisions, even breaking in to English in his post-match interview, saying: “This action killed the game. The linesman killed the game.” Manuel Pellegrini was not in agreement though, explaining after the match: “They had the possession, but they didn’t have the chances to score. I cannot remember Joe Hart having to make a save”.

All in all, City clearly deserved the three points, but Southampton fans will have every right to feel hard-done-by by the officials today.

Ratings:

Manchester City:Hart 6; Zabaleta 5, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Kolarov 7; Fernandinho 6(Javi García, 45, 5), Yaya Touré 6, Nasri 7, Jesús Navas 6, Silva 7 (Jovetic, 77, 7), Dzeko 7 (Negredo, 65, 6)

Unused: Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Milner

Booked: Fernandinho, Javi Garcia, Yaya Toure

Southampton: Gazzaniga 2; Chambers 5, Fonte 4, Lovren 5, Shaw 5; Cork 7 (Wanyama, 80, 6), Schneiderlin 6, Davis 6 (Gallagher, 75, 6); Rodriguez 6 (Ward-Prowse, 26, 6), Lallana 6, Lambert 7

Unused: Cropper, Hooiveld, Clyne, Do Prado

Booked: None

Referee: Chris Foy 4

Match Stats

Manchester City – Southampton

Goals: 4 – 1

Shots On Target: 8 – 1

Shots Off Target: 7 – 4

Possession: 44% – 56%

Corners: 5 – 9

Fouls: 9 – 15

Bookings: 3 – 0

Southampton in FA Cup disgrace

To say that Southampton performance was terrible would be giving them too much praise. Maurico Pochettino’s rotated team lacked any flair, pace or desire as they were beaten by Sunderland. A superb Craig Gardner goal was the only memorable moment in a game which won’t live long in the memories of anybody.

Sunderland made nine changes, with Saints making six, and this lack of match practise showed. The whole game was marred with sloppy passing and sluggishness on the ball. James Ward-Prowse’s half-volley from a Rickie Lambert knockdown tested Sunderland’s back up keeper Ustari. This was probably the highlight of the first half, with neither team looking like a Premier League side.

The second half was immediately an improvement, with Gardner picking the ball up 25 yards out, striking a sweet shot which dipped just under the bar. It was a sublime finish, but it failed to raise the standard of the match. Pochettino did little to inspire his team, as he didn’t even venture off of his seat until over an hour in, as well as failing to make changes until it was too late. Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin were brought on for Guly and Ward-Prowse, but neither made any real impact on the game. Sunderland looked the more likely team to score, as the introduction of Connor Wickham caught out the Saints defence on multiple occasions.

Southampton became more recognisable in the last ten minutes, and the stand out chance came to Rickie Lambert. Nathaniel Clyne beat his man down the right and whipped in an inviting low cross which fell for Lambert, but he managed to steer it over from just a couple of yards out. Sunderland threatened late on with a number of counter attacks, and Kelvin Davis was forced in to a solid stop from Fabio Borini, after Jack Colback squared it to him in acres of space.

In the end, Sunderland deserved their victory, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying they were the best side, just the least worst. With two more ‘big teams’ being knocked out in this round, you can’t see why either team felt they could throw this competition away. The Southampton fans that travelled up to the Stadium of Light deserve some sort of justice, after going all that way to watch that.

Ratings:

Southampton: K. Davis 4; Clyne 5, Yoshida 3, Hooiveld 4, Shaw 4; Wanyama 4, Ward-Prowse 5 (Schneiderlin, 62, 5), S. Davis 5; Do Prado 3 (Rodriguez, 62, 5), Lallana 4 (McQueen, 82), Lambert 4

Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Fonte, Cork, Chambers

Sunderland: Ustari 6; Celuska 6, O’Shea 6, Vergini 6, Dossena 6 (Alonso, 77, 6); Cattermole 6, Gardner 8 (Colback, 83), Larsson 7; Giaccherini 7, Scocco 6 (Wickham, 69, 7), Borini 6

Unused subs: Mannone, Roberge, Mavrias, Ki

Arsenal struggle to draw at Southampton

In front of a packed St Mary’s stadium, Southampton lacked the quality up front to put Arsenal to the sword after dominating the majority of the game. A Jose Fonte header had given the Saints the lead, which they were more than value for in the first half. Arsenal looked a changed team after the break, with Olivier Giroud and Santi Carzola putting them in front. However Southampton hit back immediately through captain Adam Lallana. Mattieu Flamini’s late red card was the cherry on the top of a generally poor night for the Gunners, who were lucky to escape with a draw.

Roared on by a capacity crowd, Southampton came flying out of the blocks, with their slick passing and high pressing taking Arsenal by surprise. But for all their possession, they failed to create many clear cut chances until Jose Fonte Opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Luke Shaw’s inviting cross found Fonte at the back post, who had stayed up from a free kick. Fonte towered over Monreal to squeeze the ball in past Szczesny.

18 year old Sam Gallagher was given his first start for Saints in the absence of Rickie Lambert, and he looked very bright and confident. He started well, with an early snapshot being turned away by the Arsenal keeper.  Unfortunately though, the overriding memory of his first start will probably be a glaring miss at 1-0. Arsenal lost possession out wide, and the ball in found Gallagher who, with the goal at his mercy, diverted the ball past the post.

Things looked to have gone from bad to worse for Arsenal, as Jay Rodriguez was played through and brought down outside the box by an onrushing Szczesny. But the linesman came to the Pole’s rescue, as he flagged Rodriguez offside.

Arsenal’s first real chance of the game came after 44 minutes, as a fantastic Artur Boruc save denied Koscielny’s point blank header from a corner.

After the break, Arsenal came out a different side, more than matching the passion and intensity that the home team had shown in the first half. Southampton, however, looked lethargic and were punished on 48 minutes, with a cross finding Bacary Sagna at the back post, and his low shot was steered in to the net by Oliver Giroud. Minutes later, Mesut Özil escaped a Jay Rodriguez challenge and set up Santi Carzola, who placed the ball in the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Southampton, who had looked comfortable in the first half, were in disarray and looked as if they could have lost by 3 or 4. But instead they hit straight back with Jay Rodriguez beating Sagna before squaring it for Adam Lallana to fire past Szczesny.

From then on the game opened up, with Saints having the majority of the play. Luke Shaw looked to have the beating of Sagna, and Szczesny had to save well for his his effort, and then again when he tipped Jose Fonte’s header away from the resulting corner. The almost anonymous Mesut Özil ran at the Saints defence, with his deflected effort bounced back off the bar.

Any hopes of an Arsenal winner were quashed late on, as Mattieu Flamini lunged in two-footed on Morgan Schniederlin. Despite winning the ball, it was a dangerous and out of control, which left Lee Mason no option but to send him off.

Despite some late Southampton pressure, both teams will probably be content with the draw.

Ratings:

Southampton: Boruc 6; Chambers 7, Fonte 8, Yoshida 6, Shaw 7; Cork 8, Schneiderlin 7, S.Davis 6 (Do Prado 90); Lallana 8, Rodriguez 7, Gallagher 7 (Ward Prowse 70, 6)

Unused Subs: K.Davis, Hooiveld, Clyne, Wanyama, Isgrove

Arsenal: Szczesny 6; Sagna 5, Mertesacker 5, Koscielny 5, Monreal 5; Flamini 4, Arteta 6; Carzola 7 (Gibbs 86), Özil 6, Gnabry 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 70, 6); Giroud 7 (Podolski 90)

Unused subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Bendtner

Referee: Lee Mason 6

 

[29/01/2014]