Southampton rubbed salt in the wounds of a crushed Fulham squad as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side secured their first back-to-back wins of the year in a 3-1 home victory.
The Saints took the lead with 27 minutes gone as Che Adams fired an effort into the roof of the net following a James Ward-Prowse set-piece, and Fulham were two down when Nathan Tella scored his first senior goal on the hour mark.
Fulham’s fightback came too late in the game, with Fabio Carvalho's 75th-minute strike soon rendered irrelevant after Theo Walcott fired home a third for Southampton minutes later.
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It was an all too familiar story for Fulham as they struggled to pose much of a threat in front of goal.
Southampton took their chances emphatically, and looked a team oozing with confidence in the final third.
The win sets Southampton up nicely for their remaining fixtures, as they look to gain as many points in what has been a disappointing season for the south coast side.

TALKING POINT - Southampton's inconsistent season

Southampton seemed to have gained some momentum for the first time since their run of form dropped after their bright start to the 2020/21 campaign, and it is no coincidence that it comes at a time where their injury list is slim.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have suffered heavy defeats this season, including another 9-0 defeat to Manchester United in February. Until safety was secured a few weeks ago, the Saints found themselves on the cusp of the relegation battle, and many fans think the issue seems to be one derived from a lack of depth in the squad.
Southampton have weathered injury spells from key players this season, with the likes of Danny Ings, Jannik Vestergaard, Kyle Walker-Peters and Walcott all sustaining considerable injuries. Vestergaard’s absence was the onset of a poor run of form, which spiralled into the club falling into the bottom half of the table.
With full-back Ryan Bertrand recently announcing his departure and Ings still yet to renew his contract, Southampton could lose key players this summer. As Hasenhuttl looks ahead to next season, the manager must have the summer transfer window at the forefront of his concern. If Saints want to get back to competing in the top half of the table, the club will definitely have to bolster the squad.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Che Adams (Southampton)

While Ings usually steals the post-match headlines, today was all about Adams. The striker looked hungry from the get-go, and his unrelenting work ethic paid off with his first-half strike for Saints paving the way for a dominant performance.
Alongside his cool finish, Adams displayed great vision and was involved in some fantastic link-up play. His work off the ball won Southampton a great deal of possession throughout the game.

Southampton's English midfielder Che Adams celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Fulham at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on May 15, 2021.

Image credit: Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Southampton: McCarthy 6, Walker-Peters 7, Salisu 7, Vestergaard 8, Stephens 8, Ward-Prowse 8, Armstrong 8, Redmond 6, Minamino 6, Ings 7, Adams 8, Subs: Diallo 6, Tella 8, Walcott 7.
Fulham: Areola 5, Tete 6, Andersen 6, De Cordova-Reid 8, Adarabioyo 6, Cavaleiro 7, Reed 7, Onomah 6, Anguissa 6, Aina 7, Carvalho 8,Subs: Bryan 8, Lookman 7, Maja 6.

KEY MOMENTS

16’ - Another chance for Saints! The ball was given away cheaply by Fulham, but Minamino was unable to pounce on the opportunity, as his scuffed shot was cleared away from goal by Anderson.
27’ GOAL! Ward-Prowse whips in a curling free-kick and Adams hits home a close range shot that fizzes past Areola.
59’ GOAL! Instant impact from Tella. A well worked goal from Southampton as Walker-Peters whips in an inch perfect cross. Tella fired home the ball from close range to glide it beyond Areola.
75’ GOAL! Carvalho is picked out beautifully by De Cordova-Reid. The youngster fires home a venomous strike that rattles the bar and hits the back of the net.
81’ GOAL! A clever backheel from Tella sets Walcott up just outside the box and he fires home a cool finish into the bottom right corner.

KEY STATS

  • Coming after their midweek win against Crystal Palace, Southampton now have their first back-to-back Premier League wins of 2021.
  • Tella’s goal was his first for Southampton in his 21 appearances for the club, just 98 seconds after coming on the pitch.
  • Carvalho is the second youngest player to score in the Premier League this season (18 years 258 days).
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