Southampton Football Club photographer Matt Watson has picked out his top five images of 2019/20 (so far), and we've ranked them for our latest countdown…
5. Hasenhüttl’s pride at Palace
It’s great having a manager as expressive as Ralph Hasenhüttl, so he’s got to be included in our top five somewhere. The pick of the bunch is this shot, taken just after the final whistle at Selhurst Park, where Saints ran out 2-0 winners over Crystal Palace. It was a very controlled away performance, with two outstanding goals and a welcome clean sheet. The boss’s pride is palpable in this photo, as he beats his chest. That winter breath under the floodlights is always a winner too!
4. Vestergaard levels against United
Jannik Vestergaard is naturally photogenic, with that wavy long hair and towering physique, and the defender’s outpouring of emotion is perfectly captured after scoring his first Saints goal against Manchester United back in August. His joy is shared by James Ward-Prowse and Ché Adams in the background, along with the sea of red and white in the crowd behind him. Summer matchdays always add a welcome dose of colour, without the need for jumpers and coats covering up those replica shirts!
3. Vokins lives his dream
A wonderful moment for the whole club, brilliantly illustrated in this image. It’s long been a major part of The Southampton Way for Academy graduates to have a clear pathway into the first team, and Jake Vokins took his opportunity with a goal on his first start, against Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round. Also his home debut, the youngster marked the occasion with a 20-yard shot that flew in off the underside of the crossbar, joining fellow Staplewood starlet Will Smallbone on the scoresheet.
2. Redmond jumps for joy
One of the standout results of Saints’ season so far has to be the Boxing Day win over Chelsea. Here is Nathan Redmond’s reaction to doubling the visitors’ lead in west London, having finished off a sublime team move. Sharing the moment with the travelling fans down by the corner flag at Stamford Bridge was special, and this photo really captures the feeling as he flies through the air, fuelled with adrenaline, soaring high above the lens in triumph.
1. Ings makes friends at Fratton Park
A night that will be fondly remembered for years to come, as Saints really put on a show to take the south coast derby bragging rights after being paired with local rivals Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup. The trip to Fratton Park was seen as a potential upset, with the Sky TV cameras in place to witness the first derby for seven years, but Danny Ings soon silenced the boisterous hosts. His second goal sparked this instantly recognisable image, as he raced towards the Pompey fans and locked eyes with a few in the stands.