ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • The English Premier League’s last unbeaten team this season are undefeated no more. Goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams sealed a 2-0 win for Southampton against leaders Everton yesterday.
The Toffees had gone eight games without defeat in all competitions this term, but they paid the price for a lethargic display at St Mary’s.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side fell behind in the 27th minute. Ward-Prowse passed into Danny Ings, before receiving a return ball, taking one touch and firing into the far corner for his first goal of the season.
Adams doubled Southampton’s lead eight minutes later when Ings ghosted past Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina before lofting a cross to his strike partner, whose shot deflected off Gylfi Sigurdsson on its way past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Everton left-back Lucas Digne was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in the 72nd minute despite the Frenchman claiming to stamp on the Southampton defender’s heel by accident.
Everton manager Ancelotti told Sky Sports: “We didn’t play well, Southampton were better than us and they deserved to win… The red card was a joke, it was not intentional, for sure it was not violent.”
Without the suspended Richarlison and injured Seamus Coleman after a stormy Merseyside derby last weekend, Everton lacked the drive that had been the hallmark of their strong start to the season.
The visitors were marginally better in the second half, but James Rodriguez was not having his usual influence on Everton’s play and their attacking threat was neutered.
Southampton also limited the league’s joint-top scorer (alongside Son Heung-min) Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored in all five previous league games, to zero shots and chances created. The in-form England striker had just 18 touches and completed just five passes in 90 minutes. Everton did not register a single shot in the final 32 minutes.
They remain above champions Liverpool on goal difference after a defeat that could serve as a reality check.
Southampton have now lost just twice in 13 league matches and climbed within three points of Everton in first place – a show of their progress under Ralph Hasenhuttl since they lost to Leicester 9-0 exactly a year ago.
Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport: “My team did a fantastic job today, from the first moment you could feel that the plan was working and the guys were sticking to it. It was one of the best first halves so far for us.
“I was always convinced that Che Adams’ time would come. Sometimes it takes a long time to adapt to this level but he was always learning and working hard and he gets what he deserves now.”
The result also means that this season is the first top-flight campaign since 1967-68 in which every side have lost at least one of their first six matches. Four points separate the top 10 in the fledgling table.