Super Eagles Midfielder Aribo Seals Premier League Move

Joe Aribo

 

Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo has joined Premier League side, Southampton on a four-year deal from Scottish Giants, Rangers.

Although his transfer fee is undisclosed, sources close to the situation say the deal is worth £6m that could potentially rise to £10m with performance based add-ons.

The 25-year-old has played the past three seasons at Ibrox, scoring 26 goals in 149 matches since joining from English league one side, Charlton Athletic in 2019.

Aribo helped Rangers win their 55th SPL title in the 2020/2021 season, their firstin 10 years while liftingthe Scottish Cup last season. He was a runner-up in last season’s UEFA Europa League in which he scored in the final against German Bundesliga side Frankfurt.

READ ALSO: Canada And Costa Rica Qualify For 2023 Women’s World Cup

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is delighted with Aribo’s signing saying, “Joe is a player with many qualities to his game, and we are very excited to welcome him to the squad in time for the pre-season trip to Austria.

“We believe Joe can bring energy and creativity to our side. Feeling comfortable in so many different positions is very helpful for a manager and shows he has a high level of football intelligence, with the ability to take on new information quickly.”

The player added: “It’s an amazing club with a lot of history here, and it’s a good plan with what’s to come next. I’m really excited for the journey.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world. I’ve been watching it since I was a young boy, it’s always been a goal for me to play here and show what I can do on this stage.

“It’s an amazing feeling, a dream come true. This is where I’ve wanted to be since I was a child growing up playing, so to say that I’m here now is really exciting.”

Liverpool Beat Southampton To Take Title Race To Final Day

Liverpool's German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (unseen) scores past Southampton's English goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on May 17, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Liverpool’s German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (unseen) scores past Southampton’s English goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on May 17, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp rated Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League as “not likely but possible” after the under-strength quadruple chasers took the title race to the final day of the season with a 2-1 win against Southampton on Tuesday.

After Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties in a gruelling FA Cup final just three days earlier, Klopp took a gamble with nine changes at St Mary’s.

Despite effectively fielding a reserve team and trailing to Nathan Redmond’s early strike, Liverpool hit back through goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip.

The Reds are just one point behind leaders Manchester City, with both teams having one game left.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Got What They Deserved, Says Arteta

A title race for the ages will go City’s way if they win against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Klopp insisted at the weekend that he does not expect City to drop points against Villa.

But Liverpool would be crowned champions for the second time in three seasons if they beat Wolves at Anfield and City fail to win.

“Of course it is unlikely because City play at home against Aston Villa, who play only on Thursday. It is possible, not likely but possible. That is enough,” Klopp said.

“It is our last home game of the season, the atmosphere will be outstanding, and we will try to use it.

“Of course it could happen. Football is a tricky game sometimes. The only chance we had tonight was to win. We did our job. We never give up.”

Klopp’s side will be expected to do their part of the equation against Wolves, especially now their refreshed key players can return to the team.

Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among those left out against Southampton, while Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were sidelined with injuries suffered at Wembley.

“I never had a group like this. They push each other constantly. In the end, it is absolutely outstanding and tonight is really special,” Klopp said.

“We would have had much more problems today if we’d played the guys who played 120 minutes on Saturday.

“If it hadn’t worked out, it would have been 100 per cent my responsibility. Now it worked out and the boys should be really proud of that.”

History bid

City boss Pep Guardiola said he planned to watch the game on television and if he tuned in, it would have made for frustrating viewing as Southampton squandered the lead.

But it was Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the final minutes of City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday which had given Liverpool renewed hope of catching the leaders.

And the Reds, hoping to become the first English club to win all four major trophies in one season, will settle their bid for historyin the last two games of their incredible, marathon campaign.

First, Liverpool will try to avoid a repeat of 2019, when they beat Wolves on the last day but were still pipped to the title by City.

Then they head to Paris to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.

Liverpool were hit on the break when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side took the lead after 13 minutes.

Redmond sprinted away down the left flank, cutting inside to the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce strike that took a deflection off James Milner as it flashed into the far corner.

With their title hopes in jeopardy, Liverpool showed the desire and character that inspired Klopp to label them “mentality monsters”.

Japan forward Minamino made the most of a rare Premier League start with a brilliant equaliser in the 27th minute.

Joe Gomez fizzed a pass into Jota and his perfectly weighted lay-off reached Minamino, who beat Alex McCarthy at the near post with a ferocious rising drive.

Liverpool’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 67th minute.

Matip and Kyle Walker-Peters challenged for Tsimikas’s corner and the ball looped in over McCarthy, forcing City to keep the champagne on ice for now.

AFP

Chelsea Run Riot Against Southampton As Arsenal Fall To Brighton

Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring the team's fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 9, 2022. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring the team’s fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 9, 2022. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea hammered Southampton 6-0 on Saturday to strengthen their grip on third in the Premier League top four.

The Blues had suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brentford last week before losing 3-1 against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

But they restored confidence on Saturday by putting Southampton to the sword, racing into a 4-0 lead with just half an hour played.

READ ALSO: Everton Beat Misfiring Man Utd To Boost Survival Hopes

Goals from Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz put the game beyond the home side’s reach by half-time.

Werner and Mount both scored again early in the second half as the match became an embarrassing rout.

Meanwhile, Arsenal stumbled again, losing 2-1 against Brighton.

Arsenal are having a wobble at the wrong time after putting themselves in a strong position to qualify to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2016/17.

The home defeat against Brighton means Mikel Arteta’s men have now lost three of their past four league games and they are now level with fierce rivals Tottenham, having played the same number of games.

Brighton took the lead at the Emirates Stadium when Leandro Trossard turned home a low cross from Enock Mwepu while the Zambian midfielder himself added a second. Martin Odegaard scored a late consolation.

Southampton End Man City’s 12-Game Winning Run

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (L) vies with Southampton's Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (L) vies with Southampton’s Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Manchester City’s 12-game winning run in the Premier League came to an end as Aymeric Laporte rescued a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday.

City were rocked by Kyle Walker-Peters’ first ever top-flight goal in the opening minutes at St Mary’s.

After a poor first half by their high standards, Pep Guardiola’s side kicked into gear after the break.

City defender Laporte headed the equaliser, but the runaway leaders could not extend their winning streak in a one-sided finale that saw the visitors lay seige to the Southampton goal.

READ ALSO: Rashford Stuns West Ham To Send Man Utd Into Top Four

The champions had to settle for a result that left them 12 points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who have two games in hand and face Crystal Palace on Sunday.

For the first time since they were beaten 2-0 by Palace on October 30, City finished a league game without all three points.

They remain firmly in pole position for a fourth title in five seasons, but their draw on the south coast will give a glimmer of hope to Liverpool and third-placed Chelsea.

Ruben Dias returned to the City defence in place of John Stones, but the champions’ rearguard was quickly exposed.

City were rocked in the seventh minute when Walker-Peters linked up with Nathan Redmond on the right flank.

Walker-Peters cut inside and, with City backing off, the right-back had space to shoot into the far corner with the outside of his foot.

It was just the 14th goal City had conceded in the league this term and they were nearly breached again nine minutes later.

Armando Broja was played in behind the City defence and slotted past Ederson, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Frustrated by Southampton’s high-energy display, City were struggling to find their usual rhythm.

Laporte saves City

Raheem Sterling nearly snatched an equaliser against the run of play with curler that whisted just wide from a tight angle.

Sterling should have brought City level moments later, but the forward fluffed his lines from Phil Foden’s pass, allowing Fraser Forster to save his under-hit close-range effort.

Ederson made an instinctive stop to keep out Jan Bednarek’s near-post header early in the second half.

Rodri’s miscued strike from the edge of the area almost caught out Forster, who turned it around the post at full stretch.

Laporte made a superb last-ditch block to frustrate Broja after the Southampton forward raced clean through on goal.

Broja should have scored from the resulting corner, but headed James Ward-Prowse’s delivery against the woodwork from just four yards.

It was a crucial miss and City finally equalised in the 65th minute as Laporte exploited Southampton’s weakness in the air.

Kevin De Bruyne swung a free-kick to the far post and Laporte was left completely unmarked to score the 11th headed goal against Southampton in the league this season.

As City pushed for a winner, De Bruyne hammered a 25-yard rocket against the post and Forster saved Gabriel Jesus’s header with his legs.

City were denied a penalty after VAR ruled Oriol Romeu’s foul on De Bruyne had taken place just outside the area.

Stuart Armstrong was fortunate to escape a red card following a VAR check of his high foul on Laporte.

In the tense final minutes, Forster pushed away Foden’s goalbound deflected cross and De Bruyne’s close-range effort was repelled by the inspired Saints keeper.

 

AFP

Jota At The Double As Liverpool Smash Southampton

Liverpool's Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (L) scores the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (L) scores the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Diogo Jota struck after just 97 seconds as Liverpool closed to within one point of Premier League leaders Chelsea after a 4-0 stroll against Southampton on Saturday.

Liverpool’s long unbeaten run was ended by high-flying West Ham earlier this month but they have clicked effortlessly back into gear, scoring 10 goals without reply in three games since that defeat.

Portugal forward Jota scored a first-half double at Anfield, with Thiago Alcantara adding a third to effectively end the contest against their demoralised opponents eight minutes before half-time.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Brush Aside Newcastle As Howe Suffers First Defeat

A goal from former Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk early in the second half underlined the dominance of the home side.

Jurgen Klopp’s team, who won the Premier League in 2020, have now scored 39 goals in 13 league games this season, nine more than Chelsea, who host Manchester United on Sunday.

Klopp reverted to his strongest line-up for the visit of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton after they beat Porto 2-0 in midweek and was rewarded with a goal within two minutes.

Andy Robertson combined well with Sadio Mane down the left and got to the byline to pull back for Jota, who scored from close range.

Mane had the ball in the net again after he was fouled by Jan Bednarek — the Senegalese forward headed home the resulting Robertson free-kick — but the flag went up for offside.

Mohamed Salah went close but Southampton themselves had a good chance to equalise when Armando Broja failed to beat goalkeeper Alisson Becker after seizing on a careless Liverpool throw.

Jota doubled his tally in the 32nd minute after Southampton were cut open down their right side.

Salah collected a clever return pass from Jordan Henderson to slide a low cross to Jota, who tapped home from close range.

Midfielder Thiago made it two goals in as many games with a deflected shot eight minutes before half-time to virtually seal the three points for Liverpool.

The free-scoring home side picked up where they had left off after the break when Van Dijk scored against his former club, squeezing a low volley home after a corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool, who play Everton in the Merseyside derby in midweek, now have 28 points after 13 games following their eighth win of the season.

 

AFP

Jimenez Strikes As Wolves Sink Southampton

Southampton’s English midfielder James Ward-Prowse (R) vies with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 26, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Raul Jimenez scored an emotional first goal since his horrific head injury in November 2020 as Wolves earned a 1-0 win over Southampton on Sunday.

Jimenez feared he would never play again after suffering a fractured skull in a clash with David Luiz at Arsenal last autumn.

The Mexico striker only returned to action at the start of this season and had gone without a goal in his first five games.

Jimenez had shown signs of frustration with the supportive headband he now wears to protect himself, even angrily removing it after a missing a headed chance against Brentford last weekend.

But 30-year-old enjoyed a cathartic moment as his second-half strike fired Bruno Lage’s men to their second Premier League win this season.

Jimenez had never gone six Premier League games without a goal since he arrived at Molineux in 2018.

In the 61st minute, he danced through the Southampton defence, twice eluding Jan Bednarek and leaving Mohammed Salisu bewildered on the turf, before calmly slotting past Alex McCarthy.

The end of Jimenez’s 336-day wait to score sparked a joyous celebration with his teammates.

He was also embraced by the club’s travelling fans in one corner of St Mary’s after the final whistle.

The uplifting scenes that greeted Jimenez’s decisive contribution were a stark contrast to the mood among Southampton supporters.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side remain winless after six league matches and were booed off at full-time.

The scoreline could have been even worse for listless Southampton if McCarthy hadn’t denied Jimenez a second goal with a fine save in stoppage-time.

Liverpool Beat Southampton To Keep Top-Four Hopes Alive

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool kept alive their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League as Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara sealed a 2-0 win against Southampton on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side moved above Tottenham into sixth place thanks to Mane’s first-half header and Thiago’s first goal for the club in the final moments at Anfield.

Liverpool’s first victory in four games in all competitions leaves them six points behind fourth-placed Leicester with a game in hand in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

It was only their second league win at Anfield in their last 11 matches.

They travel to second-placed Manchester United on Thursday for a crucial clash in their attempt to catch Leicester.

After the failed defence of the title they won last season, Liverpool would be delighted to salvage a troubled campaign with a top-four place.

To do that, they need to win their last four games and hope Leicester and fifth-placed West Ham stumble in the final stretch.

Southampton, 10 points above the relegation zone with four matches left, have now lost 13 of their 17 league games since beating Liverpool in January.

The Saints have earned the fewest points and conceded the most goals in the Premier League in 2021.

Liverpool were quick to scent blood against opponents in such poor form and Mohamed Salah was denied by Fraser Forster after Mane poked the ball through to the Egyptian in the six-yard box.

Diogo Jota’s stinging strike forced another good save from Forster before Salah tested the over-worked keeper from the resulting corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum guided a diving header against the bar as Liverpool kept up the pressure.

Southampton nearly snatched the lead against the run of play when Che Adams met Nathan Tella’s low cross with a close-range effort that was well saved by Alisson Becker.

But 46 seconds later, Liverpool’s dominant spell paid dividends as they broke away to take the lead in the 31st minute.

Salah clipped a cross to the far post and former Southampton forward Mane got behind the visitors defence to head home from close range.

Remarkably, it was the first time the duo had combined for a Premier League goal this season.

Tella should have cancelled out Mane’s 14th goal of the season, but the unmarked winger headed straight at Alisson from Nathan Redmond’s cross.

Jota’s blast was pushed away by Forster early in the second half, but Liverpool weren’t quite so cohesive after the break.

Alisson snuffed out Michael Obafemi’s raid and then turned over Ibrahima Diallo’s rocket from the edge of the area.

Adams had a golden opportunity to equalise in the closing stages after Alisson gifted him possession, but the striker’s effort lacked the accuracy to beat the Brazilian.

Thiago settled Liverpool’s nerves in stoppage time when the former Bayern Munich midfielder rifled home from 18 yards.

AFP

Five-Goal Man City Overcome ‘Incredible’ Penalty Call To Beat Southampton

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 10, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Copley / POOL / AFP) 

 

 

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola praised his players’ powers of recovery to beat Southampton 5-2 despite being denied a blatant penalty when the game was delicately poised at 1-1.

City are now 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they close in on a third title in four years.

A 21-game winning run for Guardiola’s men came to an end against Manchester United on Sunday.

But City offered the second-placed Red Devils little extra encouragement that there was a route back into the title race as Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne both struck twice.

Guardiola, though, was still furious after VAR did not intervene when Alex McCarthy wiped out Phil Foden after overrunning the ball.

The England midfielder tried to stay on his feet to tap into an empty net, but, after the chance slipped away, VAR did not tell referee Jon Moss to review the incident.

“Jon cannot see it but that the VAR is there and don’t whistle the penalty is incredible,” said Guardiola.

“You know after four years I don’t talk about the referees, but this action is incredible.

“Maybe one day they will explain us really the rule for all the players, managers.

“That’s why I am proud because in this club, I don’t know in others, what we have done in these past years we won it ourselves that’s for sure.”

City’s winning run had started against Southampton back in December when the Saints were flying high and above the now champions-elect in the table.

However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have taken just nine points from their last 15 games to tumble down to 14th.

The visitors made a bright start before their leaky defence began to creak when faced with City’s array of attacking talent.

De Bruyne smashed home the opener off the underside of the bar after McCarthy had parried Foden’s shot on 15 minutes.

The lead only lasted 10 minutes, though, as Jannik Vestegaard was hauled down by Aymeric Laporte after his initial header had been parried by Ederson.

James Ward-Prowse coolly converted the penalty straight down the middle.

Moments later came City’s penalty appeal, but to their credit the home side turned their anger from that injustice into goals before the break.

The brilliant Mahrez pounced on a stray Che Adams pass before curling into the bottom corner on his favoured left foot.

 

Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez scores his team’s fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 10, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Copley / POOL / AFP) 

 

‘Quality of players’

The Algerian was also the creator for City’s third as his right-footed effort came back off the post and Ilkay Gundogan was in the right place to stroke home his 14th goal of the season.

“We won because of the quality of the players we had on the pitch,” added Guardiola. “It’s important for Kevin and Riyad to score goals. We need them.”

Goals continued to flow at both ends after the break as Mahrez wriggled clear in the box again to fire in City’s fourth.

A miserly defensive record had been key to the run that allowed Guardiola’s side to streak clear at the top of the table.

But they have now conceded six goals in their last four games.

With John Stones rested, Laporte did little to further his chances of starting the big upcoming Champions League games. The Frenchman was again at fault as Adams drilled a loose ball home from close range.

Again City responded almost immediately as Foden teed up De Bruyne to score his second of the evening.

Southampton Dump Arsenal Out Of FA Cup

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) watches as Southampton's Scottish midfielder Stuart Armstrong (L) vies with Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, Hampshire,on January 23, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP
Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) watches as Southampton’s Scottish midfielder Stuart Armstrong (L) vies with Arsenal’s Spanish defender Hector Bellerin during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, Hampshire,on January 23, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Southampton dumped FA Cup holders Arsenal out of the competition on Saturday, winning 1-0 courtesy of a Gabriel own goal to set up a fifth-round meeting with Wolves.

The much-changed Gunners, who have won the competition a record 14 times, fell behind midway through the first half and could not find a way back.

Ralph Hasenhuttl fielded a strong side at St Mary’s, with Danny Ings returning after a hamstring injury and a positive coronavirus test alongside former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.

Mikel Arteta made seven changes from their 3-0 Premier League win against Newcastle on Monday.

READ ALSO: Mesut Ozil Confirms Leaving Arsenal For Fenerbahce

Southampton, who had never previously beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup, were the brighter team in the first half in the winter sunshine on England’s south coast.

James Ward-Prowse rattled the crossbar from a swerving corner and Che Adams forced a fine save from Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Southampton got the reward their positive approach deserved in the 24th minute.

Mohamed Elneny gave away possession on the edge of his own box and the ball was worked to Kyle Walker-Peters on the right side of the Southampton attack.

The defender drilled it across the six-yard area and it was inadvertently turned in by Gabriel — the first time rejuvenated Arsenal had conceded since December 26 against Chelsea.

Ward-Prowse then struck a shot from distance that sailed wide and Ings hit a fierce volley that was blocked by Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal found their feet in the second half and Fraser Forster was forced to make a sharp save with his feet to keep out Eddie Nketiah’s deflected shot after a pass from Nicolas Pepe.

Arteta threw on forward Alexandre Lacazette to bolster his attack as Arsenal pinned Southampton back.

Lacazette was inches away from getting on the end of a teasing cross by fellow substitute Bukayo Saka as the minutes ticked away but Arsenal could not find an equaliser.

The exit will be a bitter disappointment for Arsenal, who have won the FA Cup four times in the past seven seasons — in sharp contrast to their toils in the Premier League.

Arteta’s side will return to Southampton for a league meeting on Tuesday, aiming to continue their fine recent run that has lifted them to 10th in the table.

 

AFP

Man City Beat Southampton To Keep Title Hopes Alive

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling (R) vies with Southampton's English midfielder Theo Walcott (L) and Southampton's English defender Kyle Walker-Peters (C) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 19, 2020. Naomi Baker / POOL / AFP
Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (R) vies with Southampton’s English midfielder Theo Walcott (L) and Southampton’s English defender Kyle Walker-Peters (C) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 19, 2020. Naomi Baker / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City secured a much-needed win to keep their Premier League title challenge alive as Raheem Sterling’s goal earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory at fourth-placed Southampton on Saturday.

City slipped to 11 points behind leaders Liverpool prior to kick-off, albeit with two games in hand on the champions, and once again had to rely on a solid defensive display to edge up to fifth in the table thanks to a seventh clean sheet in eight games.

Pep Guardiola’s men were again guilty of not being ruthless enough in front of goal with the few chances they did create, but one moment of quality that saw Kevin De Bruyne tee up Sterling separated the sides.

Southampton had lost just once in their previous 10 league games to start the day four points and six places ahead of their illustrious visitors.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Put Seven Goals Past Lethargic Crystal Palace

But the loss of top scorer Danny Ings on top of the defeat dealt a blow to their quest to qualify for Europe.

In a bright City start, Joao Cancelo forced Alex McCarthy into a flying save and Rodri saw an effort ruled out for offside before the only goal arrived on 16 munites.

Southampton’s daring approach to press high backfired as it afforded City the chance to counter-attack that very few sides offer Guardiola’s men.

Bernardo Silva fed De Bruyne down the right and his inch-perfect cross was swept home by Sterling for his seventh goal of the season.

Southampton, though, reacted well to falling behind as Theo Walcott forced Ederson into his first save of the day.

Jannik Vestergaard’s threat from set-pieces has been a big part in Southampton’s success this season and twice the giant Dane will feel he should have done better as his first weak header was easily claimed by Ederson before his second more powerful attempt flew over the bar.

Ruben Dias’s own goal cost City two unexpected dropped points in a 1-1 draw with West Brom on Tuesday and the Portuguese centre-back narrowly escaped another goal at the wrong end after Che Adams just failed to connect with a dangerous cross from Kyle Walker-Peters.

The home side suffered a major blow just before the break when Ings had to be replaced with a muscle injury.

City soaked up plenty of pressure from the Saints in the second half, but again lacked the killer instinct upfront to kill the game off.

Ferran Torres flashed an effort across goal before Silva should have provided the finish Sterling did to another brilliant De Bruyne cross.

De Bruyne was also guilty of not taking a big chance on the counter-attack when he fired too close to McCarthy and the Southampton ‘keeper than made an incredible save high to his right to deny Ilkay Gundogan.

Cheered on by 2,000 fans in one of the few Premier League venues allowed to host supporters, due to stricter coronavirus restrictions in other parts of England, the home side pushed until the end.

But City always looked the more likely to score if there was to be a second goal and Riyad Mahrez left Guardiola with his head in his hands after blazing over a glorious opportunity in stoppage time.

AFP

Mourinho Laments Fixtures Pile Up, Says Spurs Can’t Compete In League Cup

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP) .

 

 

Jose Mourinho has blamed football chiefs for effectively preventing Tottenham Hotspur from fighting for League Cup success and fears more injuries as his side face three games in six days.

Spurs host Mourinho’s former club Chelsea in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday before a final Europa League qualifying tie at home to Maccabi Haifa just 48 hours later.

The hectic week is topped off by a trip to Manchester United, another of the Portuguese manager’s former clubs, for a Premier League clash on Sunday.

Mourinho said he would like to mount a challenge for the League Cup but the added financial value of reaching the Europa League group stage meant that competition had to take precedence.

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

“I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday, that decides a very important thing for us — I think the EFL (English Football League) made a decision for us,” said the Spurs boss.

“They didn’t even create a problem — they made a decision for us. So that’s the decision.”

Spurs lost Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at half-time of the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.

The South Korea forward had already hit the woodwork twice after scoring four goals in the previous Premier League outing at Southampton.

Mourinho believes Son’s setback will be the first of a number of injury problems his side will have to overcome due to their fixture congestion.

Asked if playing a Chelsea side who had to fight from three goals down to draw at West Brom on Saturday gave Tottenham a good chance of progressing in the League Cup, the Portuguese replied:

“You’re joking or you’re serious? Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend.

“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants.”

AFP

Tottenham’s League Cup Tie Postponed Due To Coronavirus

Son shone like a million star in the game. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

Tottenham’s League Cup tie at Leyton Orient was called off on Tuesday after several of their League Two opponents tested positive for the coronavirus.

Just two hours before Jose Mourinho’s side were due to play the third round match at the Breyer Group Stadium, the English Football League announced it had been postponed.

Orient had already shut down their training ground as a result of the virus outbreak in their first-team squad.

“Tonight’s Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this evening as scheduled,” an Orient statement said.

“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the fixture not taking place tonight and a further update will be provided in due course.

“Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club’s Covid-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible.”

Reports said Tottenham could be awarded a bye into the fourth round against Chelsea or Barnsley under League Cup rules.

Orient are keen for the tie to be rearranged, but with the next round scheduled for next week there is little room to fit it in.

The fourth tier club had revealed the positive cases on Monday, with reports claiming Tottenham had paid for their opponents’ testing after Orient’s game against Mansfield on Saturday.

Football League clubs no longer have to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis this season, as is still the case in the Premier League.

Tottenham may not be disappointed at the match being called off in the midst of a hectic spell of five games in 10 days that Mourinho had branded “crazy”.

They played on Sunday at Southampton in the Premier League and will travel to Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija on Thursday.

AFP