Sunday, January 11, 2015 7:02 pm
A second half strike from Dusan Tadic handed Southampton a vital 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday while Alexis Sanchez scored twice for Arsenal in the 3-0 win over Stoke City in another Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium.
At Old Trafford United began the day a point and a place ahead of the Saints, with the latter’s organisation playing a huge part in making the first half a largely scrappy affair as both teams went into the break without a shot on target.
Southampton began the match well but found clearcut chances hard to create as they chose to sit deep and attack on the counter when the chance arose.
Man. United soon began to see more of the ball but found the Southampton backline hard to penetrate as well.
Southampton’s sturdy resolve looked set to further frustrate the hosts in the second period and grind the match to a goalless draw until Tadic put the Saints ahead with 20 minutes left on the clock.
He and striker Gaziano Pellé launched a counterattack, with Tadic finding Pellé whose effort came off the post and back out to the path of Tadic who slotted past Tyler Blackett to score.
The Red Devils tried to find a way back but Juan Mata wasted two chances in as many minutes in the closing stages as Southampton held on to claim a memorable win.
The result sees Southampton replace United in third place with 39 points, two points ahead of the Red Devils while Arsenal is now a point behind in fifth place following a 3-0 win over Stoke earlier.
Midfielders Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey started on the bench for the Gunners having made full recoveries from respective injuries, but it was summer signing Alexis Sanchez that continued to run the show.
The Chilean, signed from Barcelona for £32m, had been denied by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as was Tomas Rosicky in the opening minutes but it was not long before the first goal came.
A poor cornerkick from Alexis eventually saw the ball played back to him by Laurent Koscielny, who returned into the Stoke area and was in position to head in a more precise cross in from Sanchez in the sixth minute.
The London club however was forced to an early change as right back Mathieu Debuchy was forced off with a dislocated shoulder in the 13th minute, with Hector Bellerin replacing the Frenchman.
The loss of Debuchy had no ill effect on Arsène Wenger’s men, with Olivier Giroud – back from suspension – denied by Begovic before Alexis doubled Arsenal’s advantage with a firm effort which was applauded by onlooking Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in the stands.
And the 27-year old completed a fine afternoon for Arsenal with his second of the day and 18th of the season with a freekick which deflected off the Stoke wall and crept over the line despite Begovic’s best efforts to keep it out.
Substitute Theo Walcott squandered a great chance to add to the score late on but Arsenal finished the afternoon content with a fourth win in five matches.