Top Fives: Best games of 2022


As 2022 draws to a close, we take a look back at Southampton’s most memorable victories from the past 12 months…

With Saints sitting on one point after the first two games of the new season, with a tough run of fixtures ahead, things were not looking good when James Maddison gave Leicester the lead with a low free-kick at the King Power Stadium. Starting the game from the bench, Leicester-born Ché Adams had a point to prove when he was summoned on the hour, and duly made his mark eight minutes later, as Mohammed Salisu’s long throw was held up by Armel Bella-Kotchap and laid off for Adams to find the net. Saints, and Adams in particular, were not finished there, as the striker connected sweetly with James Ward-Prowse’s right-wing cross to win the game six minutes from time, adjusting expertly to volley home a ball that was fractionally behind him. Adams was later denied his first Premier League hat-trick by the foot of the post, but Saints were up and running.

This was a hugely impressive result for a much-changed Saints side against a full-strength West Ham team who were Europa League semi-finalists two months later. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men had lost only one of their previous 12 matches, and were able to maintain that momentum with a third straight victory, despite the manager making nine changes to his starting line-up. A lively night under the lights at St Mary’s featured a couple of special goals, including Romain Perraud’s first for the club – a rising 30-yard drive into the top corner – and Armando Broja’s late solo run and cool finish. In between times, West Ham levelled through former Saint Michail Antonio, but parity was short-lived, as James Ward-Prowse hammered home a 69th-minute penalty before Broja sealed the deal from the bench, as Saints advanced to their third FA Cup quarter-final in five seasons.

This was a first for Hasenhüttl – the first time his Saints side had scored four goals at St Mary’s, having last done so back in 2017. Defender Jan Bednarek gave the hosts the perfect start, setting the tone with a glancing header from James Ward-Prowse’s corner inside five minutes. Brentford, who were facing Saints in league action for the first time since both teams were in League One, drew level midway through the first half through Vitaly Janelt’s low volley. Ibrahima Diallo thought he was celebrating his first Premier League goal as Saints regained the lead before the interval when the Frenchman’s 20-yard shot struck the post and bounced in off goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández, who was credited with an own goal. Saints extended their lead after the break when Armando Broja raced clear to score from Oriol Romeu’s defence-splitting pass, before substitute Ché Adams completed the scoring with an excellent first touch and lobbed finish.

Overcoming a member of the Premier League’s established elite has always been in the Southampton DNA, and this was another fine example of why Saints should never be written off. Trailing midway through the first half to Raheem Sterling’s opener, the home side had work to do, but were quick to draw level through Roméo Lavia’s first senior goal – a whipped finish around two defenders to beat Édouard Mendy at his near post from the edge of the box. The turnaround was complete before half time, when a flowing counter-attack prised Chelsea open, as Romain Perraud’s square pass was dispatched by Adam Armstrong for his first goal in ten months. Saints actually posed a greater threat than their illustrious visitors after the interval, but 2-1 was the way it stayed.

This was a real “I was there” away day for the Saints fans who travelled to north London on a cold February evening. The travelling supporters saw their team play well throughout the 90 minutes – not just the last ten in which they finally took a deserved lead for the first time. Saints were unlucky to fall behind when Jan Bednarek turned a low cross into his own net, but quickly regrouped to level through Armando Broja’s emphatic close-range finish. Broja then missed a much simpler chance before Romain Perraud rattled the crossbar, but Spurs improved after half time and were back in front 20 minutes from time at the end of a swift breakaway finished by Son Heung-min. Still Saints refused to go away, and got their rewards with not one but two late goals, which arrived in almost identical fashion, as Kyle Walker-Peters cut the ball back and James Ward-Prowse delivered first time, firstly for Mohamed Elyounoussi to head the equaliser, before Ché Adams repeated the trick to win the game eight minutes from time. There was further drama when VAR disallowed a last-gasp leveller, but this was Saints’ night in the capital.