Wolves got their revenge for being knocked out of the FA Cup by beating Southampton 2-1 in the Premier League at St Mary’s.
Alex McCarthy returned to the Saints starting eleven having been rested for the FA Cup tie earlier on in the week, despite Fraser Forster’s clean sheet against the same opponents. Kyle Walker-Peters returned also to the starting line up, replacing Jack Stephens whilst Stuart Armstong’s Wessex Scene Man of the Match performance against Wolves in the week meant he came in to the starting line-up. Jan Vestergaard returned to the team in place of Mohammed Salisu. Meanwhile, Wolves returned to a relatively strong side – Nuno Espirito Santo made six changes to the side knocked out of the FA Cup.
Southampton were the better team early on, and – as usual – started quickly, with Takumi Minamino forcing an early save from Rui Patricio after good build up play from Nathan Redmond. Shortly afterwards, Minamino and Redmond were linking up again, this time as a good ball from the Liverpool loanee found Armstrong with a flick who was then able to play Redmond through. A one-two with Danny Ings saw Redmond challenging the Wolves ‘keeper with a quick shot but the Portuguese got down to put in a good save.
The signing of Minamino will have given Hasenhuttl great pleasure even if it was not specifically what Saints fans felt the team needed. He was again involved in a great attack, with a ball to Armstrong linking the midfield and the attack. Armstrong’s cross met star striker Danny Ings who was there to volley home for his 30th goal since the start of last season.
The first half was not full of bright play, but Southampton did look the stronger side. Coming out in the second half they seemed to continue this positive play, but early on Ryan Bertrand was visibly fuming when referee Graham Scott gave a penalty against him. Ruben Semedo’s shot was perceived to have been handled by the former Chelsea full-back, with Ruben Neves then turning the penalty home and levelling the game.
It very nearly was a second penalty in the game, with Leander Dendonker seemingly handling the ball according to the appeals from the Southampton attackers after a corner. VAR, as well as Scott, both agreed it was no penalty.
Pedro Neto, a highlight in the first half for a below-par Wolves team, was given an opportunity shortly afterwards to complete the comeback and he took the opportunity well, darting into the area and sending Vestergaard out of his path to get the ball past McCarthy and give the visitors the lead for the first time in the game.
Southampton were now on the back foot but they didn’t let that stop them trying: James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams had two chances in quick succession, forcing a double save from Wolves ‘keeper Patricio.
The threat of the home side seemingly died out late on and Wolves held on to wrap up three points and get revenge on the Saints for knocking them out of the FA Cup at the Round of 16 stage on Thursday night.
It is now six defeats on the trot in the league for a Saints side who this season were top of the league for the first time in their history at one point and, unfortunately for Hasenhuttl, there wasn’t too much – particularly in the second half – to suggest this form will turn. They now have the worst form in the Premier League.
The fixture list isn’t friendly, either – they next come up against Chelsea who are undefeated under new boss Thomas Tuchel, before fixtures against free-scoring Leeds and Champions League-chasing Everton. Hasenhuttl needs to stop the slump – and fast – if Southampton are to avoid being roped in to an unlikely relegation battle with 15 games to play.
FT: SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 Wolves (Ings 25′) (Neves 53′ (pen), Neto 66′)
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters (Salisu 72′), Bednarek (booked), Vestergaard, Bertrand, Armstrong (Adams 69′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu (booked), Minamino (Djenepo 62′), Redmond, Ings. Unused Subs: Stephens, Tella, N’Lundulu, Forster, Watts, Chauke.
Wolves: Rui Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss (booked), Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny (Marcal 69′), Traore, W. Jose (Silva 89′), P. Neto (Kilman 90’+3′). Unused Subs: Hoever, Ait Nouri, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Ruddy, Otasowie.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Takumi Minamino (Southampton)
Referee: Graham Scott