Southampton ensured the 2019/20 Premier League season ended on a high as they stormed to a comfortable 3-1 win over Sheffield United on Sunday.
The game got off to a fairly slow start, but after Billy Sharp failed to convert a one-on-one with Alex McCarthy, John Lundstram did manage to find the back of the net - profiting from a poorly defended cross to fire home.
Lundstram nearly added a second soon after against the run of play, only for McCarthy to pull off a spectacular save.
Southampton were dominant in possession and finally got their reward shortly after the half-time break. Che Adams burst past Sheffield United's defence and fired past Dean Henderson to bring his side level, and it was Adams who bagged his side's second from close range in the 71st minute.
The Saints remained on top and added a third from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. Danny Ings' trickery saw him brought down in the box and he stepped up to bag his 22nd goal of the season, which was not enough to snatch the Golden Boot away from Jamie Vardy.
Key Talking Point
For a large part of this game, it looked like it could be a familiar story for Southampton. Heading into the game, only Norwich had picked up fewer points at home and the Saints often looked like they were going to drop even more points here.
Southampton were by far the better side but struggled to capitalise on that. However, through sheer grit and determination, they finally managed to make their possession count.
Southampton are 19th in the league for home wins but 3rd in the league for away wins ?? I'll have what they wre having— Finn ?????????????? (@Ftbl_Finn) July 26, 2020
Ralph Hasenhüttl now needs to spend his summer break figuring out a way to ensure his side don't find themselves stuck in the same rut again next season, but at least this campaign has ended on a high.
Starting XI: McCarthy (7); Walker-Peters (6), Stephens (5), Vestergaard (7), Bertrand (5); Armstrong (N/A), Ward-Prowse (6), Romeu (6), Redmond (8); Adams (8*), Ings (6).
Substitutes: Smallbone (7), Long (N/A), Obafemi (N/A).
STAR MAN - Che Adams
Adams is finally justifying all the excitement around him.
On a day in which Nathan Redmond did his utmost to steal the show, Adams managed to play a starring role by scoring twice to steer his side to a fantastic victory against the high-flying Blades.
He took both his goals with the kind of confidence and swagger which he had been missing for so much of this season, but ending the season with three goals in his last two games will give him a great platform from which to build next year.
Key Talking Point
It would be easy to focus on the negatives for Sheffield United, whose post-lockdown form has cost them a spot in the Europa League, let alone the Champions League. But let's just take a moment to appreciate that the Blades were even in a position to throw away European qualification.
Chris Wilder has led his side on the most outstanding journey, and the pre-season relegation favourites now look like legitimate top-flight presences - something which nobody expected this time last year.
9th very respectable position in first season back after many predicted relegation or even bottom of the league @SheffieldUnited ??— Ashraf SB (@RMadridLord) July 26, 2020
Now, the focus will be on proving that this wasn't a fluke. Wilder will hope to strengthen his squad in the transfer market and perhaps go one step further next season.
Starting XI: Henderson (5); Basham (6), Egan (6), Robinson (6); Baldock (6), Lundstram (6*), Berge (6), Fleck (6), Stevens (5); McBurnie (6), Sharp (6).
Substitutes: Zivkovic (5), Clarke (5), Norwood (N/A).
STAR MAN - John Lundstram
There weren't too many stellar showing from Sheffield United, so this award has to go to goalscorer John Lundstram.
It was his impressive positioning which helped him get the opportunity to open the scoring, and he had enough about him to apply the finishing touch. He had a good chance to add a second soon after, but then saw his influence fade.
Lord lundstram is back ?— Harry W (@gutenk190878) July 26, 2020
He struggled to get to grips with Southampton's agile midfield at times, but there was plenty to be happy about for Lundstram.
The players will all now be in a rush to enjoy what's left of their summer holidays as pre-season is just around the corner.
The 2020/21 Premier League season will get underway on 12 September, with both sides eager to build on this season's performances.
Source : 90min