Rangers have appointed Southampton’s director of football operations, Ross Wilson, as their director of football. The 36-year-old will start on Tuesday after four years in the Premier League.
Wilson joined Southampton as director of scouting and recruitment, and shouldered more responsibility after the sacking in November of Les Reed, now the technical director at the Football Association, as vice-chairman.
The winger, who was part of the Guardian’s first Next Generation in 2014, talks about rebuilding his career after being released by Southampton
Harley Willard made one of those sliding-doors decisions that can turn anyone’s life around last December. He had arrived at Heathrow airport, packed and ready for the 14-hour slog back to Phnom Penh, and at that point another season at the Cambodian club Svay Rieng felt like a trade-off he could just about stomach. The football there offered few real prospects but he had enjoyed the lifestyle and, after such an uncertain year and a half since leaving Southampton, surely his happiness was the most important thing.
Unai Emery, in his programme notes for the game against Bournemouth, spoke about the importance of balance and how he wants his side to be “competitive both defensively and offensively”. That is excellent in theory but it needs to be put into practice and yet again on Sunday there was little evidence of that. Arsenal won but they did not play well and the most glaring issue is the lack of an obvious plan. Are Arsenal meant to press aggressively, and if so why did that part of their game drop off so alarmingly? Are they meant to dominate possession, and if so why do their midfielders appear to spend more time running than playing passes? It is confusing and while injuries are an issue for Emery, particularly in regards to his first‑choice full-backs, it is fair to expect that after more than a year in charge his vision for the team would be much clearer. Sachin Nakrani
That was an absolute jazzer of an early afternoon. It’s only October but already City are in all sorts – they’ve lost two of their first eight games and trail Liverpool by eight points. It’s a long way back and, at the very least, they’ll probably need to beat Liverpool twice to have a chance of making it three in a row. But it’s not all about that: Wolves were excellent, and what a week it’s been for them. After a sketchy start to the season, they’re back.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are purring. Their solidity in midfield gives them such freedom in attack, and their finishing is very, very good at the moment. Southampton, meanwhile defended like children, and if they don’t sort it out they’re going to struggle.
Unconvincing from Arsenal. Bournemouth played well in the second half and looked more likely to equalise than Arsenal did to clinch it, but couldn’t quite make it happen.
A brilliant performance and result from Wolves, who were the better side in the first half, before holding it down in the second then taking their chances brilliantly. Nuno has done such a job with Adama Traore.
An absolute photostat! Again Jimenez finds Traore and again he keeps the head, steadying himself as a challenge comes in to slot past Ederson inside that same near post! Brilliant from Wolves, and is City’s title nearly gone already?!
Callum Wilson finds space for a shot with two minutes left of injury-time, but drills too close to Leno.
Chelsea now have 18 goals in their last seven league games and move up to fifth in the table.
Five additional minutes at the Etihad....
At St Mary’s, the away end are serenading their manager, and it has to be said he’s playing a tricky hand with no little skill. It’s fair to acknowledge that he has decent senior pros to hold things together for the youngsters, but he’s got his team playing with purpose and poise.
I’d been waiting for this: it’s Pete Higginson again! “You must admit that though I admittedly have the predictive powers of a chicken’s entrails, this was a good one (apart from the fact that it wasn’t Cutrone).”
I do indeed. Wolves have been well worth the win, assuming they hang on.
At the Emirates, Steve Cook has just headed a corner over the top.
Nice from Chelsea, Batshuayi into Pulisic who plays a clever return into the box, and Batshuayi is right there to slam past Gunn. He’s had better days.
“What makes Figo Does Guilford even more bizarre is there is an astronaut heading towards him, with almost threatening intent,” says Ben Bennett.
Eight points at this stage of the season is a huge lead, and if City can’t score, that’s the deficit they’ll be facing. Liverpool have started the season with the swagger of a team who know, and if City drop points again before they do, it’ll be close to over.
Cancelo plays a poor pass and Jimenez counters, squaring to Traore at precisely the right moment! And Traore draws Ederson - it’s a pretty good likeness too! – opens his body and slots inside the near post! Lovely goal, beautifully taken.
Double change for Southampton: Ings and Redmond off, Adams and Boufal on. That should sort it.
At the Etihad, Jonny is on for Cutrone - Wolves will take their point now - and Jesus is on for David Silva - City won’t.
“It seems Man City players are finally getting yellows for those ‘tactical fouls’ they absolutely do not commit at all,” says Ian Copestake. “Ever.”
I don’t object to them doing it. The question is whether the laws need amending in some way to prevent it from being done. Ander Herrera was sent off at Chelsea the season before last when he and his team-mates took it in turns to foul Eden Hazard. The ref seemed to indicate his second yellow was on behalf of everyone.
“Me again,” sayd Tim Martin, “yes a lack of a plan and Aubameyang gets goals buzettet Laca is the guy we need to break teams down. Defenders don’t like playing against him.”
If I was playing centre-back I’d much prefer Lacazette, who isn’t going to run in behind or turn me around. He’s a decent player, but as someone who supports a team competing against Arsenal, one I’m very happy for them to have.
Gundogan has just been booked for a foul – that’s four yellows for City today.
City have a free-kick just outside the box, right of centre ... and David Silva strokes against the bar! That was beautifully hit, and the closest his team have come to a goal, by far.
Yoshida’s assets are in his mouth when Alonso punches across the six-yard box and his touch isn’t sure, but it sends the ball behind and the corner comes to nowt.
Perfectly normal behaviours.
Pitch invader in full Arsenal kit just got on the pitch. Bowed down to Pepe, shook his hand, then legged it into the penalty area, took his top off and dived to the floor before being grabbed by the stewards.
It’s been relatively quiet at St Mary’s, but I’d still expect another Chelsea goal at some point.
At “Emirates Stadium”, Bournemouth are giving Arsenal plenty; Luiz just had to slide away a King cross, the resultant corner coming to nothing.
I’m not having that Ozil wouldn’t be useful for Arsenal right about now. Bournemouth home is his perfect game.
Bernardo Silva and Guardiola are deep in touchline discussion. I’d expect Mahrez to be hooked not long from now ... and there it is.
“Can VAR be used to reassess Brexit?” asks Ian Copestake. I think that needs DRS, put in place to “eliminate against the howler”.
City press at the Etihad, but when Mahrez curls in a corner, Rui Patricio punches clear. They’re missing Leroy Saneé something fierce.
Southampton have a free-kick just outside the D, Ward-Prowse - who did a pre-match spot with Matt Le Tissier on this precise thing - behind it. He curls over.
“Kroenke run all his teams (here in US) as businesses,” says Damian Durrant. “They are not passion projects and nor frankly do they win trophies much -- but they make money. A cChampions League spot and the moolah they results is the benchmark for Unai. I think he has to end of this season to at least get very close.”
Yes, agreed – if Arsenal miss the top four again, that’ll probably be it for him.
Bournemouth are giving Arsenal agita now, Wilson dashing into the box and forcing Leno to tip over after shooting from a tight angle.
“You’re wrong that City will improve,” says Peter Higg. “I’m predicting a 1-0 to Wolves especially when Cutrone gets his scoring boots on. Then, as we climb the table, we storm to victory in Europe and Nuno is made a Wolverhampton saint!”
There it is.
At the Etihad, Rodri is booked for fouling Cutrone and the ref books Cancelo at the same time, for an earlier foul on Neves. Liverpool will be loving this.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth rip into Arsenal, Solanke sliding in Wilson who skates beyond the defence! He could screw a shot from a tight angle but opts to square instead, unable to pick out a team-mate.
Willlian stamps on the gas and moves from right to centre, sliding in Hudson-Odoi! His first touch is perhaps a little heavy but he still opens his body to shoot ... only to punch straight at Gunn’s extended foot. That needed lifting.
Aubameyang runs at the Bournemouth defence, but is stopped by a well-timed sliding tackle - I’m not sure whose, though.
And everywhere else.
Back underway at St Mary’s.
“Do the former abusers of Jorginho now get his obvious brilliance?” asks Duncan Edwards. “Together with Kante, Chelsea have two fabulous midfield players who would improve any team in the country. As a Man United fan I’m jealous. Mason Mount has a pair of model professionals to learn from.”
I definitely think playing in a two helps him, but if I was an opposing striker I’d still be looking to rush him at every opportunity. But yes, I agree that Sarri’s method was not great.
I should have noted that Arsenal almost had a penalty – VAR decided Pepe hadn’t been fouled in the box. It was very close, and probably more yes than no, but tricky to overrule.
Wolves are not a good matchup for City, not their passing equals but pretty nifty at it, and taking all the pace out of the game. They’ve had three good chances and will be disappointed not to be in front; City will surely improve after the break.
Southampton have played pretty well, except for the fact that their defending would turn milk. Chelsea haven’t played especially well, but they’re so confident going forward and will expect to score a few more in the second half.
It’s been one-way traffic at the Emirates, with Arsenal dominant though struggling to create.
In the final minute at the Etihad, Walker fancies himself a shy, driving low, but Rui Patricio is there to collect.
In injury-time at St Mary’s, Tomori tries to dribble his way out of trouble before flicking a backpass that Ings seizes upon! But his first touch forces him wide such that when he shoots, he can beat Kepa but not Jorginho, whose slide saves the livener.
Maybe Emery and Solskjaer are doing similar jobs: demolition, before someone skilled comes in to decorate.
“I hear what you say but disagree with the idea Emery doesn’t promote the younger players,” says Tim Martin. “I know Lacazette is injured but we have seen Saka start a few times and there are others in defence and midfield around the 20 year-old mark. I see Emery as a good start to challenge again but you’re right about more magic needed to win a big one.”
I’m not saying he doesn’t play the younger players, I’m saying it’s hard to discern a coherent plan. I actually think Lacazette’s injury was a blessing in disguise – not a point I enjoy making – but Aubameyang is better and can now play through the middle, with proper wide men either side. The fiddling wasn’t helping anyone.
It never rains but sometimes it destroys your life. Just as Southampton are threatening a comeback, Kante takes a pass from Alonso and shoots down Gunn’s throat, then a looping deflection off Bednarek leaves him grabbing air.
“I disagree with almost everything Daniel Taylor or Mark Kerry have written (the exception being that Ozil should be on the bench),” says Jan Wetzel. “Possibly because I don’t subscribe to this all or nothing ‘now’ thinking. The PL is a 2 horse race at the moment, which puts ‘competing at the top’ in relative terms. It’s still Pepe’s first season, and the speed of passing the front three can muster is almost City-esque. Arsenal often play better second halves because Emery can read a game and doesn’t fear change, something Wenger refused. If Arsenal comes in at 3rd or 4th I will consider this a successful and improved season.”
Nah, I’m not having that. City’s front three is in a different postcode to Arsenal’s, and if you have to keep changing team and tactics for the second half it means you got them wrong in the first place. It’s not about needing things now, it’s about seeing nothing in a manager that makes you think they’ve got what it takes to ever get there.
Wolves have had by far the better of the chances at the Etihad, but haven’t scored. I fear for them.
As I was saying! Valery takes a tap from Redmond and somehow sashays between four tackles, or “tackles” – in the studio, Graeme Souness rubs thighs – squares, and Ings slides home. Game on!
Another defensive error from Southampton, Long passing straight to Mount, has Hasenhuttl shaking his head on the touchline. But when Abraham tees up his pal, Mount sweeps wide. Southampton are going to get gubbed here if they don’t start paying attention.
At the Etihad, Jimenez intercepts a typically useless pass from Otamendi and dashes goalwards! But he dithers, narrowing his own angle and allowing Fernandinho to buffet him from behind. It’s enough to knock him down, and another opportunity evapor8s.
Something is happening here! Southampton make about 687 consecutive errors clearing the ball but Chelsea savage them with an absolute absence of ruth, Jorginho finding Willian who slips through to Mount. He takes a touch, has a look and absolutely lamps past Gunn from close range. Southampton have started well here, but here they are!
Mahrez gives it away and Wolves break, Jimenez beating Rodri then walloping a shot that Fernandinho blocks. But Cutrone picks up the loose ball and rifles goalwards! But Fernandinho dives to block again!
‘Is Tammy Abraham going to Harry Kane me,” says Niall Mullen “by being actually good after I’ve been saying he’s useless for ages?”
There’s more than a whiff of that isn’t there? His finishing has been so smooth so you could argue that he won’t score as many hard ones next season, or use it as evidence that he’s a class act. I’ve not seen enough to be sure.
“I love Frank Lampard as much as the next Blues fan,” tweets @Rosscommon_cat, “but his ability to speak the obvious has been a revelation this year. His answers are cringeworthy in their straightforwardness. Can José do his pressers?”
An in-form Mourinho is a glorious thing – I hope he relocates his mojo.
Chelsea had done nothing in the game prior to then, but when you’ve got a striker playing with such brio, all you need is a sniff.
A clipped ball over the top sees Gunn and Yoshida leave leave it to each other. That, Abraham cannot have, and he insinuates himself between them to flick over the former; the latter does his best to hack off the line, but ball was well over. What a finish that is!
David Silva crosses from the left, but Vinagre heads away before Mahrez can head for goal. Meanwhile, Saiss, who was down earlier, is down again and that’ll be his afternoon I’m afraid. Ryan Bennett replaces him.
Kante snaps into Long, who slips in the challenge and stays down for a while, but he limps back to his feet and should be ok.
Long pulls Azipilcueta’s shorts and makes off with the ball, megging Kante for good measure ... so Jorginho slides straight through him and is booked.
Southampton are putting it on Chelsea, but Hudson-Odoi then runs the channel and cuts back to Abraham, who drills a low shot just wide. He’s playing with so much confidence.
Pepe cirls in a corner from the right and Luiz, running across towards the front post, is up earliest, glancing gently across Ramdsdale and into the far corner.
“Is it just me,” wonders Gary Naylor, “or does it feel like Liverpool should be first, Manchester City second, Newcastle 20th and everyone else 10th? It feels like a Wacky Races dusty mass finish is coming in May, with Penelope Pitstop having already won and Dick Dastardly coming in last.”
The answer is nearly always yes, but I agree: there are two good sides in the league – there aren’t many more in world football – and a lot of dross.
Aubameyang takes possession outside the box, left of centre, and flings his entire corporeality into a shot which screeches wide of the far post.
City press Wolves, and Steerling botches a chance to square for Mahrez. It’s a tricky one, Mahrez finally playing well, because it means Sterling has to swap flanks.
At Arsenal, a bit of early pressure from the home side led to Guedouzi forcing a corner, which came to nothing.
“The Ozil situation is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Mark Kerry. “Emery has been in charge over a year now and there has been absolutely no improvement in the team since the late Wenger era. I actually think they’re worse. He never picks the same 11 and couldn’t pick a captain til last week. This indecision has spread to making Ozil a captain... but not playing him. And no matter what your thoughts are on that player being a long term solution at Arsenal, it would surely be beneficial to all parties (fans, manager, players) to at least have him on the bench, as he can be a very potent attacking threat. Emery does not have a clue, it’d be great to see him go in January.”
Yeah, I agree with that, pretty much. To make Arsenal competitive at the top will require a genius or close, and Emery isn’t that. He does have good young players coming through, but is naturally cautious which doesn’t suit what he’s got, and why he can’t settle on an XI or a style.
Have a look! Hojbjerg finds Redmond and Alonso back off, so Redmond absolutely clatters a drive that flies just over the top. In east Manchester, Pep Guardiola salutes the crowd.
Off we go!
At St Mary’s, the players are on their way out! Flamethrowers are involved, which really brings home to me the previously unfathomable import of proceedings.
Email! “Feels kinda like a Lerma red card day to me,” says JR in Illinois. “I suppose most days feel like Lerma red card days to me but I just woke up and it was the first thought I had when seeing the lineups.”
Ok, I’m going to go for Steve Cook.
Frank Lampard says he’s had to be careful with Hudson-Odoi given the severity of his injury, but says he’s ready. His team always try to be adaptable, so it’s not big deal to change to four at the back – different games pose different challenges – and he’s expecting a hard game.
Southampton are 16th in the table at the moment, a circumstance they’ll find slightly worrying. They’re better than that – ok, they can’t be because the table tells us they can’t be – but they have the potential for more. They need to find themselves some goals as a matter of urgency, but today I’d expect them to sit tight and try to shade a low-scorer.
I think Inter brought in 12 players this summer. They’re currently top of Serie A.
On Sky a little earlier, Gary Neville was talking about how Manchester United – who play Newcastle later – need a few windows to rebuild, and I must say I do not see why. Or I do, but he didn’t give us the reason. United make enough money to buy all they need in one or two, it’s just they have owners whose focus is filling their pockets, not having a winning football team.
You’ve got to laugh. That contract they gave him has got to be one of the all-time worst calls, though I do find it weird that Emery can’t find a use for him. Given Tierney is on the bench, would he really be of less use than Maitland-Niles?
Mesut Ozil has created more chances for team-mates for Arsenal during Unai Emery's Premier League tenure than any other player - 46.
Nicolas Pepe, then: is he any use? I was surprised by the excitement when Arsenal bought him on the basis that not many people spend that much of their time watching Lille, so who could say with certainty how good he was? Also, he’d had one decent season in a league whose standard is not all that, and no other club wanted to stump up for him. None this means he’s not brilliant, of course, but I was suspicious. Anyway, he’s been absolutely rotten every time I’ve watched Arsenal this season and was properly shown up by Saka on Monday night. He badly needs a performance and a goal that isn’t a sympathy goal – I guess his manager’s fate is tied to his fate, which is why he’s not been dropped yet, but he can’t be far off.
Unai Emery largely returns to the side who were horrible at Old Trafford on Monday, rather than the one who were much improved against Liege on Thursday. The full-backs change again, Bellerin and Tierney dropping out with Chambers and Kolasinac coming in; I’m not sure those two will be playing league football for very much longer. Then, in midfield, Ceballos retains his spot with Xhaka and Guendouzi returning, meaning Torreira has to sit at the side; then, up front, it’s back to OT, with Saka, Aubameyang and Pepe in again.
Bournemouth are unchanged.
Pep Guardiola makes two changes from the midweek cruise against Dinamo Zagreb: Mendy is replaced by Walker and Sterling comes in for Bernardo.
Wolves, meanwhile, who had a great win at Besiktas on Thursday, change the wing-backs as you might expect, Jonny and Doherty replaced by Vinagre and Traore, with Dendoncker and Cutrone also coming in, for Neto and Gibbs-White.
So what does it all mean? Southampton make one change from last weekend’s humiliating defeat to the ten men of Spurs, Boufal dropping out and Long coming in. I guess that’s Ralf Hasenhuttl looking for graft rather than guile.
Chelsea, meanwhile, leave out James, bringing in Hudson-Odoi. This is probably close to Lampard’s first XI, and I reckon they’ll move from 3-4-2-1 to 4-3-3.
Chelsea (a getting it 4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Barkley, Kovacic, Pulisic, Batshuayi, James.
Right, let’s get on with some team news...
Afternoon all. A triptych of techniquing awaits us this afternoon, with three fixtures featuring six teams, all of whom will endeavour to play the game most commonly known as “proper football”.
At St Mary’s, Southampton will look to pass their way around Frank Lampard’s Franklampardschelsea, whose fast, attacking style is doing pretty nicely at the moment; at the Emirates, Arsenal will look to recapture the flowing, youthful brio that wasted Standard Liege in midweek; and at the Etihad, Manchester City will seek to impose their hyper-speed passing on Wolves’ slowmotion passing, thereby closing the gap at the top of the table to a mere five points.
Confidence is rippling through Chelsea at the moment. Where there was uncertainty a few weeks ago, now there is growing conviction. It could be seen in Tammy Abraham producing the spectacular lob that lifted Chelsea towards their heaviest league win of the season and the swagger was there when Mason Mount found the chutzpah to sit Angus Gunn down before firing the ball beyond Southampton’s goalkeeper, bolstering the belief that a bright future beckons if Frank Lampard continues to find the freedom to make his ideas work.
This was a fine day for Lampard, who was cheered by evidence that finally getting Callum Hudson-Odoi to sign that five-year deal was smart business. A dazzling young talent whose future seemed to lie elsewhere before Maurizio Sarri’s departure flourished on his first league start of the season, running Southampton ragged with a display that showed why Bayern Munich wanted to buy him earlier this year.
Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:56:31 +0000: Pellegrino appointed Southampton manager - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Southampton | BBC Southampton appoint Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager, with the 45-year-old former Alaves boss replacing Claude Puel.
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:42:32 +0000: Southampton sack manager Puel - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Southampton | BBC Southampton sack boss Claude Puel after one season in charge, when they finished eighth in the Premier League and reached the League Cup final.
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:00:05 +0000: Premier League fixtures in full - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Southampton | BBC Find out your club's full fixture list for the 2017-18 Premier League season.
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:24:39 +0000: Barnsley sign Saints defender McCarthy - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Southampton | BBC Barnsley sign Southampton defender Jason McCarthy for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal.
Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:20:44 +0000: Liverpool end interest in Van Dijk - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Southampton | BBC Liverpool apologise to Southampton over "any misunderstanding" and end their interest in defender Virgil van Dijk.
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has been a busy man in the transfer market this summer as he looks to reinforce his squad for the start of next season after a great run which saw them promoted to the English top flight via the play offs. Adkins is now desperate to bring in new names to the club so that he can secure their position in the top flight for another season at least.
The first signing of the summer sees promising young full back Nathaniel Clyne arrive at St Mary`s from Crystal Palace after the promise of the clubs plans to attempt to quality for Europe this season were very enticing for the player. Southampton though will need to pay a large compensation fee to his current club if the deal goes through as due to the players age his former club feel they are due some type of payment from the saints after he signed a new four year deal last week.
Another player who has just be signed by the club is talented striker Jay Rodriguez after he recently arrived from Burnley for a fee which is believed to be around the six and a half million pounds mark. Adkins has long been an admirer of the player and is extremely happy with the signing which he sees as just perfect to bolster his attacking line for next season.
A shocking bit of news right now for Southampton is the fact that their attempts to bring defender Alexander Buttner to St Mary`s may be in tatters after his current club Vitesse Arnham have halted the move after another club have come into the frame for the players signature. Southampton may now find themselves in a bidding war for the player who they see as a perfect addition to their squad so as of now all dealings over the player have hit a premature halt.