Danny Ings returned from injury with a goal and an assist as Southampton fought back from two goals down to beat Burnley in a thrilling game at St Mary’s.
After lengthy spells on the side-lines this season, Ralph Hasenhuttl welcomed back both Danny Ings and Theo Walcott to the starting XI. Those were the only two changes to the side who comfortably beat Bournemouth in the FA cup quarter final last time out. Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo dropped to the bench, whilst Fraser Forster was again preferred to Alex McCarthy in goal.
Action-packed first half:
With Burnley’s style of football under Sean Dyche and Southampton’s recent worries in front of goal, many tipped this to be a cagey game which would perhaps be won by just a singular goal. However, the tipsters could not have been more wrong.
The tale of the afternoon at sunny St Mary’s was set early on as Chris Wood fired Burnley ahead with a powerful spot kick. The penalty was awarded by VAR after referee Andre Marriner failed to spot Kyle Walker-Peters’ late lunging challenge on Burnley full back Erik Pieters.
Southampton, who started the brighter side, had the wind taken from their sails and were finding it hard to create any clear cut opportunities against a stubborn Burnley defence.
The away side then doubled their advantage before the half hour mark with a brilliantly taken Matej Vydra half volley. This was classic route one Burnley football as a long hopeful ball from Ben Mee was flicked on by Chris Wood straight into the path of his strike partner who made no mistakes in firing a first time effort past the outstretched leg of Fraser Forster.
Questions must, yet again, be raised of the Southampton defence. Firstly with Jan Bednarek who was beaten far too easily in the air by Wood, and then of Kyle Walker-peters who failed to get round on the cover and stop the shot from Vydra.
Thankfully, for Saints’ fans, a well worked Stuart Armstrong goal came as an instant reply. Danny Ings showed his class as he delicately flicked James Ward-Prowse’s pass into the path of Armstrong who swept a first timed effort from the edge of the box into the bottom left hand corner of Nick Pope’s goal.
It was looking like Burnley were going to take a slender lead into half-time, a lead they probably deserved. But the magic of Danny Ings ended any chance of that and completed Southampton’s first half turnaround. A hopeful ball played down the line by Kyle Walker-peters was misjudged by Burnley captain Ben Mee and Ings, who has in recent weeks been linked with a move to Manchester City to replace the departing Sergio Aguero, latched onto the loose ball. Ings then drove into the box and sold a dummy to James Tarkowski before sliding the ball between the legs of Nick Pope and into the back of the net. A moment of solo brilliance once again from Southampton’s main man.
Saints dominate second half to earn crucial 3 points:
The tale of the second half was a more simple one. Whatever Ralph Hasenhuttl said to his team at half time worked. Southampton dominated the rest of the game and created chance after chance against a tiring Burnley side who failed to match the intensity.
Both James Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong came close for the Saints around the hour mark. The former saw his long ranged strike cannon agonisingly off of the crossbar and the latter had his fierce shot saved well by Nick Pope after a cruel deflection.
Southampton finally managed to make one of their chances count as Theo Walcott chipped a delightful ball to the back post for Nathan Redmond to emphatically fire home on the volley. That marks a welcomed return to form for the winger who has now bagged three goals in his last two games and is putting his poor start to the season behind him.
The victory see’s Southampton pick up their first Premier League home win since their first game in 2021, a 1-0 victory over Liverpool, and could potentially act as a catalyst in an improved run of form for the remaining 8 games of the Premier League season. They now sit in 13th place in the league with a seemingly comfortable gap of 10 points to the relegation zone.
Southampton’s next premier league game see’s them face West Brom next Monday night before their huge FA cup semi-final against Leicester in a fortnight.
Post match reactions:
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was pleased with his side’s attacking play as they look to hit peak form for the upcoming FA cup semi-final:
‘They don’t normally give you a lot of chances but our game in the final third was fantastic. We created a lot of chances. It’s exactly what we have been working on. We could have scored even more goals.’
‘We spoke about two games to the FA Cup semi-final and we want to give ourselves some confidence. These three points are important.’
SOUTHAMPTON 3-2 Burnley (Armstrong 31′, Ings 42′, Redmond 66′) (Wood 12′ pen, Vydra 28′)
Southampton: Forster, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Armstrong (Salisu 79′), Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Walcott (Djenpo 87′), Ings (Adams 86′). Unused Subs: McCarthy, Stephens, Minamino, Tella, Ferry, Jankewitz.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters (Taylor 33′), Gudmundsson (Richardson 90′), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil, Vydra (Rodriguez 78′), Wood. Unused subs: Cork, Stephens, Nartey, Dunne, Peacock-Farrell, Driscoll-Glennon.
Wessex scene Man of the Match: Danny Ings (Southampton)
Referee: Andre Marriner.