Southampton closed the gap on their relegation rivals with a 2-1 win against Watford on Saturday evening.
Ismaila Sarr nearly opened the scoring after a loose pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but he made no mistake when presented with another golden opportunity as he raced onto a heavy touch from Jack Stephens and converted.
The Senegal international nearly had another, but Alex McCarthy denied him with a low save to his right before touching the ball away from the winger’s path after a cross from Gerard Deulofeu.
Southampton turned in a much-improved performance in the second half and found themselves in front after a period of pressure eventually paid dividends.
Moussa Djenepo carried the ball to the by-line and then towards goal before finding Danny Ings with a low cross, levelling the scoreline.
Saints were not done there, though, and secured a pivotal three points as James Ward-Prowse struck a free-kick beyond the clutches of Ben Foster in the Watford goal to make it 2-1.
Andre Gray’s late volley had Southampton fans with their hearts in their mouths, but the hosts finally secured a win on home soil.
Here are four findings from the victory.
Boufal must start
Sofiane Boufal was excellent when he came on. His technical ability has never been in question, but his decision-making and performance levels have markedly improved. After such an impressive cameo, he simply must start against Norwich City.
Adams out in the cold
Hasenhuttl doesn’t appear to be too fond of Che Adams. After trying to sign him last January, and successfully landing him in the summer, the £15 million man has fallen down the pecking order bizarrely quickly. Michael Obafemi and Shane Long seem to be ahead of him, and it seems somewhat harsh on the 23-year-old.
Saints need to step up
It was an important win for Southampton, and ultimately, that’s all that matters. However, Watford were diabolical, and Saints made life difficult for themselves with a display that was turgid in large parts. Hasenhuttl’s men will need to be far, far better than they were on Saturday if they are to beat a confident Norwich side in midweek.
Valery should return
Cedric Soares was woeful at Arsenal and continued in a similar vein of form against Watford. He’s been terrible since he confirmed that he’ll be off at the end of the season, and he doesn’t deserve to keep his place. Yan Valery came on and helped Saints turn the game around, and he should start on Wednesday.