Three things we learned from Southampton - Leeds
Southampton - Leeds was an entertaining end-to-end clash as the away side won thanks to goals from Patrick Bamford and Tyler Roberts and sealed a top 10 finish in the process.
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Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints went close on several occasions as fans returned to St Mary’s, 8,000 of them, for the first time in 2021, but Leeds always looked more dangerous.
Bamford popped up late on to sneak home a shot and substitute Tyler Roberts made it 2-0 in stoppage time, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side have now won three games in a row and have 56 points in their first season back in the Premier League.
Leeds still have an outside chance of sneaking European qualification.Saints remain on 43 points and sit in 14th.
Three things we learned
1. Saints sharp early on: Having their full compliment of forwards available has made a huge difference to Southampton late in the season. After their injury woes, Hasenhuttl was down to the bare bones. But he had the luxury of bringing Danny Ings off the bench, as he rotated his wingers around and Saints looked sharp and fresh throughout. They could have easily finished in the top 10 this season had their best attacking players been fit, but they did run out of steam in the second half. That is the story of their season, both in games and over the course of the campaign.
2. Bielsa’s boys growing up, even without key men: With Illan Meslier rested, plus Robin Koch and Mateusz Klich allowed time to prepare for their national teams this summer, Bielsa was without a few key players. Kalvin Phillips was taken off at half time too and with a top 10 finish secured, it is right for Bielsa to have a look at a few of his squad players as he makes decisions for next season. Leeds have shown a great knack of digging in to win games as the season has gone on.
3. Bamford does it again: With 16 goals in the Premier League this season, Bamford has flown under the radar. The somewhat unfashionable striker somehow snuck home a shot at the near post and after a few decent chances, he stuck the most difficult one away. Bamford may not be called up by England this summer, but his importance to Leeds is clear.
Man of the Match: Raphinha - So clever on the ball and always an outlook on the break.
Southampton started brightly as Che Adams had a header tipped over by Kiko Casilla, while Nathan Tella and Stuart Armstrong looked lively as Leeds took a while to get going.
Theo Walcott and Armstrong both had chances as Saints dominated, while Leeds were an occasional threat on the break as Stuart Dallas dragged a shot wide.
Adams was denied by Casilla again and Tella flicked over, as the hosts, boosted by the boisterous 8,000 fans, pushed hard for an opener.
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Danny Ings came on at half time and the outstanding Ward-Prowse then hit the angle of the crossbar and post as Saints’ captain was inches away from opening the scoring.
Alex McCarthy then denied Dallas with a fine fingertip save as the Leeds veteran volleyed towards the top corner.
Bamford was then played in superbly by Rodrigo, but McCarthy did well to deny him at the near post. Leeds’ leading goalscorer was then played in over the top but McCarthy just did enough to put him off at the vital moment.
Ward-Prowse had a shot blocked as the game opened up in the closing stages. Jack Stephens headed a cross off the line and then McCarthy denied Alisoki.
Bamford gave Leeds a lead late on as he was fed in over the top and somehow snuck a shot home at the near post.
Saints had chances as Ings flashed a shot wide and Nathan Redmond was twice off target. Jack Stephens should have made it 1-1, but then Leeds broke to add a second in stoppage time through Tyler Roberts to win after a professional display.