With 15 Premier League goals and an impressive 18 in all competitions, Danny Ings has been one of Southampton’s stars of 2019/20. Here, we rank the marksman’s top five strikes of the season…
5. Redemption at Leicester
11th January 2020
Whilst not his most spectacular, this goal was hugely symbolic in demonstrating the great strides Saints had made over the festive season. Much of the talk in the lead-up to the visit to the King Power Stadium revolved around the reverse fixture at St Mary’s, in which the home team had been badly exposed in front of their own supporters. Three months later, Ralph Hasenhüttl had galvanised his squad and Saints feared nobody – even surprise package Leicester, who were second in the league at the time. The teams were locked at 1-1 after Stuart Armstrong’s first-half equaliser cancelled out Dennis Praet’s opener, but Ings took his chance to be the hero nine minutes from time. A sharp one-two with Nathan Redmond preceded a defence-splitting pass from Ché Adams to send his strike partner clear. Ings’s first touch set up the chance perfectly, drawing Kasper Schmeichel out of his goal, before he finished with a toe-poke between the legs of the keeper to complete a remarkable turnaround.
4. Turning on a sixpence at Villa
21st December 2019
Saints leapfrogged Aston Villa to climb out of the bottom three with another crucial win in the Midlands – this one in the club’s last fixture before Christmas. Hasenhüttl’s men already held a two-goal lead through first-half goals from Ings and Jack Stephens, before the striker made the game safe six minutes into the second period. Redmond’s dancing feet down the left created the opportunity, though his cross was inadvertently turned into Ings’s path by Villa man Marvelous Nakamba. The number nine still had plenty to do – facing away from his target as the ball ran further away from goal, Ings spun and dispatched an unerring left-footed shot from a narrow angle that flew into the far corner of Tom Heaton’s net. The scorer did not even have time to look at the goal – it was pure poacher’s instinct.
3. Clinical on the counter at Spurs
5th February 2020
This was a breath-taking breakaway goal tainted only by the result, as Saints’ FA Cup adventure was cut short by Tottenham’s late revival in north London. This strike fired the visitors into a deserved 2-1 lead with just 18 minutes left, as Ings showed his coldness in front of goal. Again the frontman owed much to the assistance of Redmond, who carried the ball half the length of the pitch, side-stepping challenges before releasing Saints’ finest finisher. Faced with youngster Japhet Tanganga, Ings dropped a shoulder and negotiated a yard of space on his right foot – all he needed to plant an inch-perfect shot just inside Hugo Lloris’s left-hand post, sparking scenes of jubilation among the thousands of travelling fans. Alas it was not to be Saints’ night, but this goal at least gave the supporters a moment to savour.
2. Starting 2020 in style at St Mary’s
1st January 2020
Having finished 2019 strongly, this was Ings – and Saints – starting the new year where they’d left off, overcoming Tottenham with another eye-catching result sandwiched between wins at Chelsea and Leicester. The striker scored the only goal of the game in the 17th minute, taking his tally to 15 for the season with perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of the lot. This time Stephens was the creator, intercepting a loose pass inside his own half and spotting the run of Ings, who had darted in behind Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian’s compatriot and defensive sidekick Toby Alderweireld went with the run, but got too tight to Ings, allowing him to turn inside the former Saint with a deft touch over his head. Waiting for the ball to drop on to his left foot, a wave of anticipation built up inside St Mary’s, but Ings kept his composure, dispatching the bouncing ball with a calm low shot inside Lloris’s near post.
1. Causing a stir at Fratton Park
24th September 2019
A boyhood Saints fan, Ings was desperate to play in the first south coast derby for seven years, as his team went hunting for a first win at Fratton Park since 1984. This was a much-anticipated Carabao Cup third round tie, and the boisterous hosts enjoyed some early pressure to raise hopes inside Fratton Park. It was Ings who silenced them, not once but twice, to put Saints firmly in control before half time. First, a slick first touch on the turn brought him enough space to steer a perfectly-placed low into the bottom corner from 20 yards, before he set off sprinting towards the travelling fans to share in their ecstasy. But Ings was far from finished, and confirmed his place in Saints folklore in the 44th minute, showing Michael Obafemi exactly where he wanted the ball to be played and latching on to the youngster’s defence-splitting pass to score with a cool chip over advancing goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray. Saints were cruising, and this time Ings was keen to celebrate with the natives, as he gleefully slid on his knees in front of the Portsmouth supporters.