Category Archive: Southampton FC

Southampton FC News

May 21

Peter Crouch heads Stoke to victory over wasteful Southampton

If Claude Puel had plans to leave with a bang then this was not it, with his immediate future as Southampton manager plunged into further doubt following a 1-0 defeat by Stoke City. Despite ultimately guiding the club to an eighth-place finish, Saints will discuss Puel’s position at an end-of-season review planned to take place next week, and the club’s hierarchy were present to witness Peter Crouch’s winner, earning Stoke a first away win since January.

Related: Liverpool seal Champions League place with victory over Middlesbrough

Related: Premier League clockwatch: Watford v Manchester City and more – as it happened

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May 17

Southampton held by Manchester United after Sergio Romero penalty save

If this really was an audition for Europa League final places, then Sergio Romero has written his name on to the teamsheet. Granted only a second Premier League start of the season – in place of the rested David de Gea – the Manchester United goalkeeper not only saved an early penalty from Manolo Gabbiadini, he kept out everything else that Southampton threw at him.

There were several eye-catching saves, not least from James Ward-Prowse’s perfectly guided effort on the hour and, having started in each of United’s Europa League knock-out ties, he has his eyes on the final against Ajax next Wednesday.

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May 17

Southampton 0-0 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

A match of little significance to either side finished scoreless at St Mary’s

9.44pm BST

They’re going into extra time at Hillsborough, where itwas 1-1 between Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg after 90 minutes (the away goals rule doesn’t apply in the play-offs). You can follow the rest of that contest with Jacob Steinberg. In Spain, Real Madrid are 3-1 up against Celta Vigo with just 16 minutes of their La Liga match remaining. Bryan Armen Graham is all over that one for the Guardian. Elsewhere, Monaco remain on course to wrap up the Ligue 1 title as they lead St Etienne 1-0 with seven minutes to go. You can see how that ends on our livescore service.

Related: Southampton held by Manchester United after Sergio Romero penalty save

9.38pm BST

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeeeep! It ends scoreless at Saint Mary’s, where Southampton missed a penalty as they failed to score at home for the fourth match in a row. Manchester United have bigger fish to fry with a Europa League final looming next week, but their goalkeeper Sergio Romero got a good work-out ahead of that, pulling off some fine saves to keep Southampton scoreless.

9.35pm BST

90+4 min: United win a throw-in deep in their own half.

9.34pm BST

90+2 min: We’re in the second of four minutes of added time. Nathan Redmond gets very annoyed indeed after being penalised for a foul on Eric Bailly. Free-kick for United, wide on the right. Wayne Rooney sends the ball into the mixer, but Southampton clear.

9.32pm BST

90 min: We head towards added time, with Southampton season ticket-holders not having seen their team score at home in almost four games now. If they don’t get a late one tonight, they’ve got Stoke at St Mary’s on Sunday.

9.31pm BST

88 min: Eric Bailly hobbles off the pitch with what looks like a fairly serious injury, leaving Manchester United with 10 men. He returns to action and plays on, but looks in a lot of pain. He is, you’ll remember suspended for the Europa League final next Wednesday.

9.29pm BST

86 min: An email from Rob C, regarding Wayne Rooney’s number going up “accidentally” before Juan Mata was taken off instead. “Don’t you know the standard Mou code for ‘pull your finger out!’?” he asks. I actually feel stupid for not twigging that one!

9.25pm BST

83 min: For all the booing that greeted his introduction, Boufal has been a real handful since coming on. After more good work in that little pocket of space in front of the Manchester United penalty area, he is teed up by Tadic. He curls an effort high over the bar.

9.23pm BST

80 min: Sofiane Boufal goes on a run through the centre before playing the ball wide to Dusan Tadic on the right flank. Moments later, Boufal gets on the ball again and plays it back to Davis, who threads the ball through the United defence to set up Jay Rodriguez. He shoots low, diagonally and wide of the far post. United’s players appeal for offside and they might have had a point, but no flag was waved.

9.20pm BST

76 min: Southampton substitution: Sofiane Boufal on for James Ward-Prowse. It’s an unpopular substitution and the crowd show their disapproval with a chorus of boos. I’m not sure if it’s Boufal they object to, or what they see as negativity on the part of Puel for taking off a player who was Making Things Happen. Among Southampton fans, that seems to be the main grumble about a manager who many seem surprised to see is in danger of losing his job.

9.17pm BST

74 min: Manchester United substitution: Marouane Fellaini off, Ander Herrera on. Fellaini goes off and heads for the dug-out, but like Juan Mata and – I think – Axel Tuanzebe before him, Jose Mourinho tells him to head straight for the dressing room and hit the showers, champ.

9.14pm BST

71 min: End to end stuff, as Ward-Prowse misses with a good volley at one end, before Anthony Martial hits the foot of the upright with a curled effort at the other. The ball broke kindly for Mikhitarian after striking the woodwork, but the Armenian blasted it high and wide.

9.12pm BST

70 min: It may be something and nothing, but when Manchester United brought on Rashford, it was Rooney’s number who went up originally, before Mata got hooked instead.

9.11pm BST

69 min: Southampton substitution: Jeremy Pied on for Cedric.

9.10pm BST

68 min: Manchester United substitution: Marcus Rashford on for Juan Mata.

9.09pm BST

67 min: Chris Smalling plays the ball into space in the middle from the right flank and it falls nicely for Rooney. Unable to fashion room for a shot, due to some harrying by Jack Stephens, Rooney lays the ball off to Juan Mata, who blasts high and wide.

9.08pm BST

65 min: Ouch! Standing on the edge of his technical area, Southampton manager ships a ball straight in the face from the head of Eric Bailly just a couple of yards away. He’s OK and looks on stoically trying to pretend it didn’t hurt.

9.06pm BST

63 min: Man Utd substitution: Michael Carrick on for Axel Tuanzebe. Henrikh Mikhitarian plays the ball wide into space for Wayne Rooney, who does well to stay onside. As Mikhitarian continues his run, Rooney attempts to pick him out at the far post, but once again the final ball leaves a lot to be desired.

9.05pm BST

61 min: Southampton substitution: Jay Rodriguez on, M Gabbiadini off. Given the time of night, perhaps the former Sunderland goal-machine has to go home to leave mints on the pillows adorning the beds of his award-winning guest house.

9.02pm BST

59 min: Romero saves well from Ward-Prowse, whose shot from 25 yards or so was heading for the corner. Having been assured he’ll be playing in the Europa League final, the goalkeeper is having a good confidence-booster tonight. He’s been very impressive. He’s getting plenty of practice – Southampton have Manchester United on the ropes at the moment.

9.00pm BST

57 min: Ward-Prowse picks out Gabbiadini on the edge of the middle third and a few passes later, Southampton have themselves another corner. Ward_Prowse sends another inswinger towards the near post, the flick-on falls at the feet of Jack Stephens who a wild swing, but sends his volley back across the face of goal. Manchester United survive the ensuing scramble.

8.57pm BST

54 min: Romero is called into action again, to push an Oriol Romeu drive out for a corner. James Ward-Prowse’s inswinger is only half-cleared, but the ball quicxkly ends up back in the arms of Romero.

8.55pm BST

53 min: Actually, looking at a replay, it wasn’t that good an effort and the save was pretty bog-standard. Tadic placed the ball too close to the centre, making life too easy for the goalkeeper.

8.53pm BST

52 min: … and tries to curl the ball inside the far post once it’s rolled to him by Davis. Romero dives to his right and fists the ball clear. Good effort and a decent save.

8.52pm BST

51 min: Jones obstructs Cedric just outside the penalty area and is booked. Free-kick for Southampton in a great position. Dusan Tadic stands over the ball …

8.51pm BST

50 min: Now Bailly, who is suspended for the final of the Europa League, goes down injured. It doesn’t look particularly serious and after a brief lie-down he hobbles back into action.

8.50pm BST

48 min: Matt Targett gallops down the inside left, charges straight into Eric Bailly and goes down holding his head. Southampton’s fans appeal for a foul, but Mike Dean is unmoved. Correct decision – Eric Bailly just stood there, while Targett ran into him.

8.47pm BST

46 min: Manchester United kick-off, with no changes in personnel on either side.

8.46pm BST

It remains 0-0 on the night and 0-0 on aggregate in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town at half-time. Meanwhile in Italy, Juventus lead Lazio 2-0 after 36 minutes of their Coppa Italia encounter. In Spain, Real Madrid are on course to overtake Barcelona as the top of the Spanish league. Los Blancos lead Celta Vigo 1-0 as they approach half-time. And in France, Ligue 1 leaders Monaco are one up against St Etienne as they near the break in that one. A draw or better there will guarantee them the title with one game to spare.

8.41pm BST

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8.33pm BST

45+1 min: It’s scoreless at the break, but it hasn’t been the worst goalless half of football ever played. Southampton missed a penalty early doors after Eric Bailly handled on the edge of his own penalty area, but apart from that it’s been pretty even. Both sides will be pleased with their approach play, but their short iron-work around the greens needs work.

8.31pm BST

45 min: Rooney tries his luck from distance, but it’s a poor effort. Moments previously, Nathan Redmond brought a save out of Romero after a neat one-two with Steven Davis.

8.30pm BST

44 min: Sky co-comms man Danny Higginbotham sums up the first half in a nutshell when he says that the approach play of both sides has been fine, it’s just the final ball has been lacking. He’s not wrong – there have been too many loose or overhit passes from both sets of players.

8.28pm BST

42 min: Juan Mata curls a wonderful ball towards to the far post, spotting Marouane Fellaini’s run. That man Cedric is on hand once again to get his head to the ball and put it out for a corner. Good vision from Mata, good defending from Cedric.

8.26pm BST

40 min: Cedric penalised for a little tug on Cedric, I wrote erroneously before noticing my mistake and correcting it. Let’s not go there either.

8.25pm BST

39 min: Penalised and booked, I should add. Cedric has the air about him of a man who is suffering the after-effects of that Fellaini/Tuanzebe challenge from earlier and would rather be reclining in the comfort of the dug-out with a bag of ice on his knee or ankle.

8.24pm BST

38 min: A half that began very brightly is getting very scrappy. Cedric is penalised for a little tug on Martial as the Southampton full-back had run past him.

8.23pm BST

36 min: The camera cuts to Jose Mourinho, who is standing at the edge of his technical area, pointing at something or someone. It’s a very imperious point.

8.20pm BST

33 min: Mata tees up Tuanzebe, who shoots from the edge of the area. His shot is deflected wide.

8.18pm BST

32 min: Nathan Redmond attempts to thread a pass between Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones on the edge of the penalty area and there’s a loud appeal for hand-ball as one of them blocks it. Mike Dean is having none of it.

8.16pm BST

31 min: James Ward-Prowse tries to stand the ball up at the far post for Jack Stephens to knock down or head goalwards, but it’s too high for the central defender and spirals wide.

8.15pm BST

30 min: Steven Davis tries to play the ball down the right touchline for Tadic to chase, but let’s it run out of play before he can get the ball away. The linesman signals for a throw-in and the Southampton skipper effs and jeffs quietly under his breath.

8.14pm BST

28 min: Manchester United enjoy a sustained spell of possession but do little with it. That’s not like them, eh? Oh. Demonstrating his trademark subtlety, Marouane Fellaini eventually attempts to blast one from distance, but his effort is blocked.

8.12pm BST

25 min: Cedric goes down injured after coming out second best from a combined challenge of Marouane Fellaini and Axel Tuanzebe. He’ll live.

8.09pm BST

24 min: Dusan Tadic wastes the corner, putting too much welly on it. The ball runs out of play.

8.09pm BST

23 min: Matt Targett and Nathan Redmond combine well down the left flank, but the ensuing cross is over-cooked. Steven Davis prevents the ball from going out of play on the far side of the pitch and eventually Cedric win a corner after getting forward to takes a weighted pass from Dusan Tadic.

8.06pm BST

20 min: Henrikh Mikhitarian tries his luck from just outside the penalty area. It’s travelling a couple of feet wide of the upright, but Fraser Forster puts it out for a corner anyway. He’d clearly lost his bearings. Nothing comes of the set piece and Forster has a goal-kick to take.

8.05pm BST

19 min: James Ward-Prowse takes the free-kick and attempts to curl a right-footed effort into the top left-hand corner. It’s a decent effort that whistles wide, but Sergio Romero seemed to have it covered.

8.03pm BST

17 min: Maya Yoshida brings the ball out of the Southampton defence and plays it wide to Nathan Redmond. It’s sent back in again and Southampton win a free-kick in the ineisde left position, left of centre about 30 yards from goal.

8.01pm BST

15 min: In the inside left position, Wayne Rooney takes a ball from deep out of the sky with a deft touch on his instep and plays it into a gaping hole in the centre through which Anthony Martial was running. The French striker drags a low drive wide of the left upright. A poor effort.

7.59pm BST

14 min: While there’s no question Eric Bailly handled the ball deliberately to give away the penalty, there is doubt over whether or not he was in the penalty area when he did so. Replays suggest he might have been unlucky, but the only man whose opinion matters decided that he had been in the penalty area.

7.58pm BST

12 min: My expectations for this match could scarcely have been lower, but it’s already shaping up to be a real belter. If it’s even half as entertaining as the League Cup final between these two sides earlier this year, it’l;l have been a worthwhile exercise.

7.56pm BST

10 min: Oriol Romeu is penalised and booked for a foul on Henrikh Mikhitarian. Moments previously, Eric Bailly almost atoned for his earlier sin by picking up the ball on the left side of midfield, advancing unopposed before cutting inside and unleashing a shot from the edge of the Southampton penalty area. Fraser Forster saved well.

7.54pm BST

7 min: Southampton miss their third penalty in six games, with Manolo Gabbiadini joining a list of shame that includes Dusan Tadic and Shane Long. It was a strange one: under very little pressure, Eric Bailly handled the ball as it dropped into the penalty area from on high. Mike Dean blew his whistle and looked over to his linesman, who didn’t think there’d been any foul. Dean decided to over-rule him and awarded the spot-kick, which Gabbiadini proceeded to miss. It wasn’t a particularly good penalty – he aimed for the bottom left-hand corner, but didn’t get there.

7.51pm BST

6 min: Sergio Romero gets down to his right, stretching every sinew to tip Manolo Gabbiadini’s low spot-kick around the post for a corner. What an unexpectedly lively start we’ve had.

7.50pm BST

5 min: Mike Dean penalises Eric Bailly for handling a dropping ball just inside his own penalty area. Spot-kick for Southampton.

7.49pm BST

4 min: He missed the target, see! The target! And his name is Targett!

7.48pm BST

2 min: Dusan Tadic jinks this way and that to twist Matteo Darmian’s blood before crossing into the Manchester United penalty area. Nathan Redmond’s volley is blocked and the ball breaks to Matt Targett, who proceeds to miss the … oh, let’s not go there.

7.46pm BST

1 min: Southampton get the ball rolling on a pitch decorated with nice intersecting circles. Good work groundsman.

7.44pm BST

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7.42pm BST

The teams line up in the tunnel at Saint Mary’s, where Southampton have failed to score in their past three games. Wayne Rooney leads out the visitors, who are wearing blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. Steven Davis does the honours for Southampton as the two sides walk out into a stadium that looks surprisingly well attended.

7.35pm BST

Asked on Sky Sports if he thinks tonight can help his preparations for the Europa League final, he smiles. “No,” he says. “Not really. I would prefer to be working and training and preparing, but we can’t do that. We have two [League] matches to play. I would like to make more changes and to give more players more rest, but I feel obliged to do the same as we did as did against Tottenham and Arsenal and try to get the result.” He goes on to say that tonight can give some players a chance to impress ahead of next Wednesday’s match against Ajax. “For example, if Eric Bailly can’t play, who comes in instead of him: Smalling or Jones?”

7.31pm BST

7.24pm BST

“We’re in that strange part of the season aren’t we, where you end up with more games than not being almost irrelevant, most teams having settled into their place in the pecking order,” writes Woolie. “The quality of football on offer drops, and fringe players get a chance to huff and puff in front of visibly smaller crowds. Such is the nature of things, I suppose.”

I suppose it is, but you do hear managers trying to big up such games with unconvincing nonsense about acquiring as many points as possible and laying the groundwork for the following season. In some cases there’s also the small matter of winning more money the higher up the table you finish, although Southampton may struggle to bridge the 16-point gap between themselves and Everton with just two games to play. They can, however, put some distance between themselves and West Brom with a win tonight.

7.12pm BST

Claude Puel has made eight changes in personnel from the team that started against Middlesbrough. Out go Jeremy Pied, Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long, Soufiane Boufal, Ryan Bertrand, Martin Caceres, Jordi Clasie and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, while the Frenchman clearly feels Fraser Forster, Maya Yoshida and Oriol Romeu haven’t suffered enough.

Jose Mourinho has made four changes from the United team that lost at Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday. David De Gea, Daley Blind, Jesse Lingard and Michael Carrick have all beenrested; while Sergio Romero, Henrikh Mikhitarian, Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian replace them.

6.57pm BST

6.48pm BST

Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Stephens, Yoshida, Targett, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Davis, Redmond, Gabbiadini, Tadic.

Subs: Clasie, Rodriguez, Austin, Caceres, Boufal, Pied, Hassen.

11.48am BST

Southampton entertain Manchester United in a midweek fixture neither side will be particularly fussed about ahead of the final round of Premier League fixtures on Sunday. Having stated categorically, on the record, that his focus was on winning the league at the start of the season, Jose Mourinho quickly changed his tune when it became apparent his very expensive team wasn’t anywhere near good enough to win it. Now it’s the Europa League or bust, as he goes all out to win a tournament he couldn’t belittle enough four years ago. “I don’t want to win the Europa League,” he said at the start of his second stint as Chelsea manager. “That would be a big disappointment to me.” After this season’s risible showing in what passed for the title race, we can only hope Ajax do the decent thing and spare him further embarrassment next Wednesday.

Currently in eighth position, a mere 16 points behind Everton in seventh, Southampton ended a run of five matches without a win with victory over already relegated Middlesbrough last time out and could make it two in a row against a second or third string United team this evening. Saints boss Claude Puel has received no assurances about his future and will face an end-of-season review next week before discovering if he’ll remain in charge next season. Kick-off is at 19.45 (BST) but we’ll be here with team news and build-up in the meantime.

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May 17

Saints may decide Puel’s future next week

Claude Puel’s future as Southampton boss will be decided at the end of the season, says chairman Ralph Krueger.

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May 16

Southampton 0-0 Manchester United

Southampton and Manchester United play out a goalless draw with visiting goalkeeper Sergio Romero saving a Manolo Gabbiadini penalty.

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May 13

Nathan Redmond sees Southampton past Middlesbrough and closer to top 10

Southampton ended a five-game winless streak after goals from Jay Rodriguez and the substitute Nathan Redmond gave them a 2-1 win at relegated Middlesbrough on Saturday.Patrick Bamford scored a consolation goal for Boro, who had already lost any hope o…

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May 13

Sunderland 0-2 Swansea City and more: clockwatch – as it happened

Swansea took a huge step towards survival with victory at Sunderland while there were wins for Southampton at Middlesbrough and Bournemouth at home to Burnley

5.12pm BST

Sunderland 0-2 Swansea:

Related: Fernando Llorente heads Swansea towards safety against Sunderland

5.06pm BST

Related: Fernando Llorente heads Swansea towards safety against Sunderland

5.02pm BST

OK, we’re going to wrap up the live blog shortly. Stick around for Stoke City v Arsenal, not to mention reports and analysis off today’s matches. Thanks as always for following along with us.

4.56pm BST

Already relegated Middlesbrough’s misery continues with another loss, this one to Southampton.

4.54pm BST

Burnley hold on for the three points on Josh King’s late winner, his 13th goal of the calendar year.

4.53pm BST

There’s the final whistle and Swansea have struck a major blow in their fight to stay up. They’re now four points ahead of Hull City, who will need three points in tomorrow’s match with Crystal Palace to even keep within reach of the Swans.

4.45pm BST

… but moments later Josh King delivers what appears to be a late winner for the visitors.

4.44pm BST

Sam Vokes has struck with a late equaliser at Dean Court.

4.33pm BST

Boro pull one back on Patrick Bamford’s first ever Premier League goal. A fine finish for the 23-year-old.

4.27pm BST

A report from parts elsewhere, by way of reader Kelvin, who writes:

Since the matches in the EPL are slow burners today, I was watching the Red Bull – Bayern match, second vs first. Nothing but bragging rights in it, but Bayern has just managed to turn a 4-2 loss in the 85 minute into a 4-5 win. Great game it was.

4.25pm BST

Middlesbrough keeper Brad Guzan lays waste to Southampton’s Shane Long and the referee points to the spot! A penalty! But Long steps up and sends it sailing over the crossbar. Oh dear!

4.18pm BST

Redmond picks his spot from inside the area and doubles Southampton’s lead after Jay Rodriguez’s 42nd-minute opener. It’s Redmond’s seventh Premier League goal of the year.

4.11pm BST

No half-time changes in the Sunderland-Swansea match, but Burnley’s Andre Gray has entered for Ashley Barnes. Also, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond is on for Sofiane Boufal.

4.07pm BST

We’re back under way at the Stadium of Light, where Swansea lead 2-0 and have a chance to strike a crucial blow in their relegation battle with Hull. If they hold on today, Swansea will move four points clear of Hull, who then could have their demotion confirmed tomorrow when they visit Crystal Palace.

4.03pm BST

In case you missed it earlier, Man City inched closer to a top-four finish by scoring a pair of first-half goals and holding on for a 2-1 victory at home against Leicester City.

Related: Manchester City hold off Leicester after Riyad Mahrez double-hit penalty

3.59pm BST

The first half is in the books at all three matches and here’s where things stand:

3.55pm BST

And Swansea have doubled their pleasure on a gorgeous goal from Kyle Naughton. It’s the full back’s first goal in six years!

3.41pm BST

Less than 40 minutes down and Sunderland have just made their second substitution of the match due to injury as Wahbi Khazri enters for Victor Anichebe. Earlier, Darron Gibson replaced Jason Denayer.

3.37pm BST

A near miss for Burnley as Scott Arfield has a go from 25 yards and the Bournemouth keeper’s view obscured. The ball curves toward the goal before just drifting wide. Meanwhile, Sunderland barely registering a pulse against Swansea at the Stadium of Light.

3.29pm BST

Stanislas strikes against his former club, running onto a perfectly weighted through back from Cook and slotting it into the bottom corner.

3.25pm BST

A quiet and scoreless opening between Middlesbrough and Southampton at the Riverside, with a far more open match between Bournemouth and Burnley, albeit a goalless one, unfolding at Dean Court.

3.19pm BST

Swansea’s opener by my calculations was Llorente’s eighth headed goal of the season. That’s the most in the Premier League. It was a bit of a sluggish start for the Swans, but they’ve struck first and given a vital boost to their chances of staying up.

3.13pm BST

And Swansea strike first! On the first set-piece of the match for either side, Sigurdsson sends it into the area and Llorente heads it home!

3.04pm BST

And they’re off at the Stadium of Light. Swansea in desperate need of three points to put the pressure firmly on Hull (who are at Crystal Palace tomorrow) in their relegation battle.

2.54pm BST

Five minutes to kickoff. Here’s a look at the team sheets for today’s three matches.

2.44pm BST

Three 3pm kickoffs to monitor today in the aftermath of Chelsea’s title clincher yesterday. The action kicks off in just under a quarter hour, so let’s skip over the throat-clearing and get right into it.

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May 12

Middlesbrough v Southampton: match preview

With Middlesbrough down and Southampton mid-table it all looks slightly meaningless but the two managers, at least, have much to play for. While Claude Puel, puzzlingly “under pressure” on the south coast intends to convince his board to keep him on next season, Steve Agnew, Boro’s interim boss is hoping against hope that, come August, he might still be in charge in the Championship. Was it really only a year ago that Aitor Karanka’s Boro were celebrating promotion here? Louise Taylor

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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May 10

Arsène Wenger praises Arsenal’s character in battle for top-four place

• ‘We went through a bad patch. It’s how you recover from that’
• Win at Southampton puts pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool

Arsène Wenger praised his side’s character after Arsenal exerted pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City above them in pursuit of Champions League qualification with an impressive 2-0 victory at Southampton.

A wonderful goal from Alexis Sánchez and a late Olivier Giroud header secured the London club’s first league win in this arena since 2003 to hoist them to fifth in the table, three points behind Manchester City and four behind Liverpool. Arsenal boast a game in hand on Jürgen Klopp’s side, with four wins in five matches having pepped belief that Wenger, for all the doubts surrounding his own future, can still guide his team into Europe’s elite club competition for a 19th year in succession.

Related: Alexis Sánchez strike boosts Arsenal top-four hopes in Southampton win

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May 10

Alexis Sánchez strike boosts Arsenal top-four hopes in Southampton win

Arsenal are not done with their pursuit of Champions League football just yet. This ultimately felt a hugely impressive victory, secured in spite of their own initial lethargy, and prised from awkward opponents on the south coast to ensure this team carry their hopes of a top-four finish into the final week of the campaign. They still require Liverpool or Manchester City to be wasteful in the few games which remain, but, given how dismal this season has been at times, Arsène Wenger will surely take leading the chase.

A couple of timely reminders of his team’s underlying talent, flashes of skill and vision inevitably delivered by Alexis Sánchez, amid plenty of weary huff and puff eventually eased them beyond Southampton. The Chilean had hovered on the periphery of a spluttering game until the hour-mark when Granit Xhaka and, expertly, Mesut Özil shifted the ball at pace between backpedalling defenders and to the forward as he hovered on the edge of the penalty area.

Related: Arsène Wenger begins the battle for power at Arsenal

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