Southampton 2-1 Norwich City
Goals: Danny Ings (£6.2m), Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) | Teemu Pukki (£6.6m)
Assists: James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m), Shane Long (£4.6m) | Alex Tettey (£4.5m)
Bonus Points: Ings x3, Pukki x2, Tetty x1
Danny Ings‘ (£6.2m) incredible scoring run was extended once again on Wednesday night as he found the net in Southampton’s 2-1 win over Norwich.
The former Liverpool and Burnley man simply won’t stop offering value to his ever-increasing ownership, which has practically doubled in the space of the last seven days.
Ings’ current goal-scoring tally for the season now stands at eight with seven of those coming in the last nine league matches.
Since Gameweek 7, Jamie Vardy (£9.9m), with a total of 11, is the only forward to have scored more times than Ings’ seven.
Thankfully for the Southampton man, the appealing fixtures keep on coming with Newcastle (away), West Ham (home) and Aston Villa (away) their next three opponents. Gameweek 16 takes the Saints to St James’ Park, where the Magpies have not kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 8, conceding in each of their last three matches there.
Encouragingly, Ings could have netted himself a brace in Gameweek 15. His latest goal was a quality flicked header from a James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) free-kick and there were plenty of chances for further returns.
In the second half, he brought a flick-on from Nathan Redmond (£6.2m) down with his shoulder and rifled an effort just past the far post.
Either way, this was another game which confirmed Ings as the main option worth considering from Southampton’s attack ahead of their ongoing appealing schedule.
The Saints have scored 11 times since Gameweek 7, with Ings involved in seven of them, equating to 63.6% of them.
There is every chance that Ward-Prowse may creep into consideration now that he has three goals and one assist in the last five matches, largely thanks to his role in set pieces.
It was these dead-ball situations that were the undoing of Norwich’s defence on Wednesday night.
Since the return of Christoph Zimmermann (£4.4m) in Gameweek 13, the Canaries have looked less vulnerable from open play at least.
But at St Mary’s their marking at set-pieces cost them. Nobody got close enough to Ings for the first goal while both Shane Long (£4.6m) and Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) were able to make connections on Ward-Prowse’s 43rd minute, which led to the second.
As for Norwich’s attack, that continues to improve with Teemu Pukki (£6.6m) now on three attacking returns in as many matches.
Admittedly, the Canaries did not start too brightly, Southampton dominating the possession early on, but after Daniel Farke made some alterations midway through the first half and changed personnel at half-time they got more of a foothold in the game.
Midway through the first-half, Norwich went from four at the back to three, with Ibrahim Amadou (£4.5m) dropping out of central midfield into his more natural position of centre-back between Ben Godfrey (£4.4m) and Zimmermann, which did help enhance the Canaries’ passing ability.
“I wanted to change the passing angles to get more control. It was slightly better but we weren’t able to get into dangerous areas. We changed in terms of tactics and personnel at half-time but the most important thing is that we played with more bravery and turned back to our game, not just because we were pressed.” – Daniel Farke
At half-time, Farke introduced Alex Tettey (£4.5m), and Marco Stiepermann (£5.2m) for Tom Trybull (£4.5m) and Amadou respectively, which had further positive effects.
Tettey screened the back-four very well and played the excellent through-ball for Pukki’s 65th-minute finish while Stiepermann’s presence as a number 10 helped ease any isolation for the centre-forward.
“The second half was a great reaction. We dominated the game and were able to create more chances. We brought more bodies closer to Teemu so we could play the final pass and come closer to the goal. We would have deserved to drive away with a point because we created a lot during the second half. If we stick to our principles, we are competitive at this level. If not, we have problems.” – Daniel Farke
“We just tried to change the formation a little bit at half-time with (Tettey) holding again and (Stiepiermann) a bit higher in the midfield. We were hoping to surprise them a little bit and I think that worked because we played much better in the second-half. Stiepi got in good positions where he could make things happen and Tetts with his experience helped so much on the pitch.” – Christoph Zimmermann
Tettey could be another important part of Norwich’s attempts at crawling their way out of the relegation zone.
After missing the 2-2 draw with Arsenal, Tettey was not quite fit enough to start Gameweek 15 but could be ready to help his side onto better things in a Gameweek 16 home meeting with Sheffield United considering how well he played in the second half at Southampton.
“Alex was great in the second half. Sadly, it was a bit too risky to play him from the start because of a slight problem with his quad. He wasn’t sure if he could fully sprint, but we were 2-0 back at half-time so it was worth the risk. He helped us stabilise our game but the whole team showed great character to show such a reaction as a young side. Each and every game is difficult, but we have to be brave, even away and with one day less to recover.” – Daniel Farke
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Bertrand, Bednarek, J Stephens, Cédric; Redmond, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo (Romeu 72′); S Long (Yoshida 85′), Ings (Adams 77′).
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Byram, Godfrey, Zimmermann, Aarons; Trybull (Tettey 46′), Amadou (Stiepermann 46′); O Hernández, McLean, Cantwell (Buendía 83′); Pukki.
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