Xenia Sports – London
Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong, and Nathan Redmond fired Southampton to a 3-0 win over winless Sheffield United to send Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side third in the Premier League.
Former United striker Adams bagged his fourth league goal of the season, Armstrong claimed a deflected effort and replacement Redmond whipped home in style, in another impressive saint win.
The Blades have now become the first side since QPR in 2012 to stretch 12 matches without a win at the start of a Premier League campaign.
Chris Wilder’s basement side appears desperately short on both confidence and ideas, with a positive January transfer window already appearing vital in their top-flight safety bid.
Saints clearly sensed a vulnerability in the Blades’ defence, launching a number of raking balls over the top designed to bisect the visiting centre-backs.
The hosts never quite managed to make that ploy pay in the first half, coming closest when Adams played in Danny Ings, only for Aaron Ramsdale to pull off a fine save. The move was then chalked off in any case, by the belated offside flag.
Sander Berge then fluffed the Blades’ sole opening of the half, failing to connect cleanly with Enda Stevens’ teasing low cross.
The Blades battled and scrapped for everything, but repeatedly crossed the line into niggly foul territory with Oli McBurnie the chief agitator.
McBurnie’s mischief backfired though when an acrobatic fall in a tackle left him nursing a shoulder injury and requiring several minutes of treatment before returning to the fray.
Saints always had the upper hand, dominating midfield and revelling in Hasenhuttl’s high press.
And the hosts took the deserved lead when Adams stabbed in after a free-kick.
The Blades failed to clear their lines, Jan Bednarek battled for a header but flicked back in off his shoulder – and Adams reacted first and fastest to turn the ball home.
Saints continued to dominate after the break, keeping control despite a humdrum opening quarter-hour.
The hosts doubled their lead just past the hour mark though, when Armstrong’s long-range shot was deflected by Phil Jagielka and into the net.
The wrong-footed Ramsdale had no chance of a save, with the Blades similarly out of the running for any kind of south-coast comeback.
Ings should have made it three when played in by Adams again, but Ramsdale produced a fine save to thwart the fit-again Saints striker.
Redmond did provide a third, however, the former Norwich and Birmingham winger trading passes with Oriol Romeu before powering into the box and delivering a crisp finish.