Saints stun Red Devils, Gunners pummel Potters


Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - Page 18

A Southampton shirt had to be scrambled from the dressing room before forgetful Dusan Tadic could enter the Old Trafford pitch. Within minutes it was being ripped off again as the second-half substitute celebrated scoring the goal that gave Southampton their first win at Manchester United in 27 years on Sunday.

“When I wanted to come on, the shirt and shin pads were not there [in the dugout], but I don’t know what happened,” Tadic said after clinching the 1-0 victory. “This isn’t important. It’s important we won.”

His goal ended United’s 10-game unbeaten run in the Premier League as Ronald Koeman’s side dislodged the hosts — managed by fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal — from third place.

“They came for a draw, I believe, and they go away with a victory — and that is disappointing,” Van Gaal said. “We didn’t create so many chances in spite of dominating the game.”

Arsenal are only a point behind fourth-placed United after Alexis Sanchez scored two and created one in a 3-0 victory over Stoke City in the day’s other game.

Southampton are eight points adrift of Manchester City, but in an elevated position that was unthinkable when the south-coast team were among those being tipped for relegation in August last year.

For the Saints, who lost so many of their stars in the off-season, the prospect of UEFA Champions League qualification becomes a slightly more realistic proposition and it was a victory against a United side which had key players back from injury. So much so that Radamel Falcao was left out of the squad.

Tadic’s goal came in the 69th minute, about five minutes after he eventually came off the bench.

The Serbia midfielder first set up Graziano Pelle for a shot that hit the post and was then alert enough to fire the rebound into the net, the game’s only shot on target.

Tadic was booked for his celebration, taking off his shirt and flexing his muscles in front of the cameras.

“He scored the winner, it’s fantastic, but the rest I don’t like,” Koeman said.

Southampton have recovered from a run of four successive losses late last year to record back-to-back league wins in the New Year — starting against Arsenal.

The Gunners hit back, though, against the Potters on Sunday.

Sanchez’s cross was headed in by Laurent Koscielny inside six minutes and the Chile international was on target in the 33rd minute after completing a one-two with Tomas Rosicky.

A free-kick from Sanchez four minutes into the second half went through the wall and the ball was pushed onto the post by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, before going into the net.

It took his tally to 18 goals since joining in July last year from Barcelona for about US$60 million.

“The better the team plays, the more he is involved in the game,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “We had a very offensive team today and Sanchez is confident. We can be direct with him, you can run at people a bit more, so there is a good combination offensively.”