Fulham troubles worsen after loss to Southampton


Southampton 2-0 Fulham

Ralph Hassenhuttl came out on top in the six-pointer at the foot of the table. Fulham visited St Marys knowing nothing but a win would be good enough in their quest for survival. While Southampton knew a loss would put them in dire position themselves.

Southampton pressed forward in the early stages, utilising the width and pace of the wing backs in Ryan Bertrand and Yan Valery to get in behind the Fulham defence. Nathan Redmond fashioned the first effort at goal, cutting in from the left hand side and lashing the ball high over the bar, a sighter at the very best.

Fulham attempted to slow the game down, passing the ball along their backline inviting the press from the home side. Claudio Ranieri opted for a more patient approach in a game that was regarded as the make or break fixture for the Cottagers Premier League status.

The biggest issue facing Ranieri this season has been his sides ability to concede sloppy goals. That trend continued as Southampton took the lead 23 minutes into the match. A corner was swung into the box and Sergio Rico opted to punch the ball, but failed to get a true connection and the ball skewed to Oriol Romeu who volleyed the ball into the net through the crowd.

Aleksandr Mitrovic proved to be a thorn in the side of the Southampton defence, breaking the offside trap and firing over the bar shortly after sending Jannik Vestegaard sliding off the pitch and squaring the ball for Frank Anguissa to poke towards goal, but Angus Gunn was equal to it.

Shortly before half time, Southampton found a second. Charlie Austin broke down the middle and layed the ball to Redmond who forced a smart, low save from Rico. But the keeper could only palm the ball into the path of the onrushing James Ward-Prowse who poked the ball into an empty net and give the home side a comfortable lead going into the break.

Mitrovic began the second half in a bullish mood, looking to drag his side back into the game, but his soft effort went wide of Gunns post. Efforts by Nathan Redmond and the impressive Ward-Prowse had efforts early in the second half but Rico was barely troubled.

A golden opportunity presented itself on the hour mark as Kevin McDonald went into the book for giving away a free kick with a push on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the edge of the box, but Ryan Bertrand fired it over the bar.

The second half continued in that vein, a lot of midfield possession for both sides but very little goalmouth action. Fulham created very little except a deflected Ryan Babel effort which hit the crossbar, leaving Gunn stranded in no mans land.

Shane Long replaced Charlie Austin to give the Fulham defence something different to deal with. But Claudio Ranieri hauled off Tom Cairney and Kevin McDonald for Luciano Vietto and Ryan Sessegnon. The withdrawal of Cairney drew loud boo’s and chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ aimed at the Italian manager.

Southampton comfortably saw out the win which saw them climb above Cardiff and out of the Premier League drop zone. Fulham meanwhile, seem all but confined to relegation and planning for next season in the Championship surely begins tomorrow.


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