Southampton recaptured the third spot in the Premier League after a 2-1 win over Newcastle United. Even though this victory was against a team without a permanent manager, it was impressive nonetheless.
Southampton appeared to lose ground in the top four race during the Christmas period, but they have sufficiently recovered from their problems to win their third consecutive match in all competitions. This was also the second consecutive victory in the league after they had beaten United 1-0 at Old Trafford last week.
After this win over Newcastle, Ronald Koeman stated that he felt that Southampton have proved over the last 21 matches that they deserve to be in this lofty position. Not many expected Southampton to be in this position after they had sold a number of first-team players like Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren in the summer. Koeman has brought in his own players and the success has been built on a solid defence.
Elia has been in superb form over the last few weeks and he opened the scoring after just 14 minutes. Frenchman Gouffran, though, equalised for the home team after 29 minutes but Eliawas the star of the show after sealing a brace in the second half.
“If I had been asked the question in pre-season, would we be third in the table after 22 games, maybe I would have laughed, but not now because we have a really good team and we have really good spirit and really good organisation.I’m not surprised that we are now third in the league because we haven’t stolen any points and, what we have got, we have deserved. I am very happy and very proud of everybody,” said the manager after the match. Southampton’s focus shifts towards the FA Cup next week with a fourth-round match against Crystal Palace.