Southampton booked their place in the Semi-final of the FA Cup in thrilling fashion courtesy of goals from Moussa Djenepo and a Nathan Redmond brace. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side started off on the front foot from minute one and that trend was seen to be continued throughout the whole 90 minutes.
The gulf in class proved to be too much for Jonathan Woodgate’s side with the Cherries causing little problems for Fraser Forster in between the sticks.
Southampton were in desperate need of a reaction from the defeat last Sunday against Brighton. Despite playing a side one league below, the Saints showcased a professional performance with a muchly improved showing on the pitch.
Southampton have won four consecutive FA Cup games without conceding a single goal in the same campaign since 1975-76 when they won the competition for the only time.
Saints boss, Hasenhuttl, will be hoping to see the trend continue in the FA Cup as they prepare to face Leicester City at Wembley towards the end of April.
Hasenhuttl’s faith was aptly seen as Redmond stole the show with two goals and an assist. In a season of inconsistent performances, the number 11 will be glad to see the rot come to an end and will be hoping for many more improved performances this season.
The former England international has showcased the ability he attains on the ball in previous seasons, yet has failed to nail on any sort of consistency this season, frustrating both the player and manager.
A winger that thrives off confidence, Redmond will be looking to continue his fine display as that was the first time Redmond had been directly involved in three goals in a single game in all competitions since May 2015, for Norwich v Fulham in the Championship (1 goal, 2 assists).
Southampton saw the very best of Redmond on the day, with the latter driving at the defenders and becoming a nuisance for the Bournemouth back-line throughout the 90 minutes. Redmond himself has admitted to lacking in confidence in taking his man on, which has resulted in a drop in performances.
Hasenhuttl will be hoping that the winger can reignite his form that has been shown on multiple occasions in the past few seasons.
“I am very, very pleased. [He] had a difficult year with his performance and injuries. I am hoping this game gives him so much lift so he shows more often what quality he has. It's important for our game.”
Stuart 'Three Lungs' Armstrong proves his worth yet again
Redmond took the limelight but the man behind everything stemmed from the Scottish international. After another industrious display, Stuart Armstrong is rapidly becoming quite the contender for Southampton’s player of the season.
The latter has received huge praise from the Southampton faithful and deservedly so after numerous fine performances this campaign. Armstrong has become one of, if not the most pivotal player for the Southampton side with his driving runs into the little pockets of space in the middle of the park, cutting in from the right-hand side, single-handedly switching defence into attack.
Armstrong managed to provide an assist for the second goal, setting up Redmond to finish exquisitely as well as hitting the post just before Redmond tapped in the rebound. If it wasn’t for the intervention of VAR, Armstrong would have registered another assist to his name as Che Adams’ strike from outside the box was deemed to be offside.
Having someone like the Scotland international probing the opposition is paramount towards the side with the latter primed to guide the south coast side out of their malaise.
“He is our, with the ball, best carrier. He carries it well. He had some good shots and with the ball, he is a weapon. This is his best position by far.”
Just how far can Southampton go?
Hasenhuttl has stated, “We’re in it to win it”. As far as History goes in this competition, Southampton have every right to dream.
Southampton’s performances in the FA Cup have not been a reflection of their performances in the League. The confidence is seemingly drastically higher in this competition and everyone associated with the club will be hoping to win their second FA Cup in their history.
Hasenhuttl’s side have an extremely tough challenge ahead of them but it isn’t impossible. The magic of the cup may be seen again this season.