It was picture perfect for Jay Rodriguez who struck twice, as Southampton defeated Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday in December.
Let it be known if they’re pushing a film about Leicester City’s title run then they’ll be making statues of Rodriguez grabbing redemption — and that’s the hyperbolic nature of Southampton.
From the hashtag “Puel Out” to the euphoria felt when the 27-year-old volleyed in his second goal in splendid fashion, and everything in between, it was right. In actuality, it was just a normal Southampton match day.
Ryan Bertrand cancelled out Nathan Ake’s opener with a tidy finish whilst two second half goals from Rodriguez ensured Southampton seventh place in the Premier League table.
Claude Puel was again rewarded for making six changes, including dropping captain Jose Fonte to the bench in favour of Maya Yoshida, as his side finally showed its quality against their South Coast rivals.
Bournemouth, whose play allowed for an open contest, mounted early pressure and Ake’s diving header gave the hosts a 1-0 advantage on six minutes.
Fraser Forster then did well to prevent Josh King from doubling the lead, as he put his lower body in front of driving effort.
Southampton responded to their wake-up call with Bertrand racing past two defenders before rifling a left-footed effort past Artur Boruc to level the match.
Sofiane Boufal had a chance to give the visitors the lead three minutes later, but his attempt from the edge of the box was straight at the keeper.
Puel introduced steady-head Steven Davis at half time and the change paid dividends when the midfielder played a one-two with Boufal before finding Rodriguez in the box, who finished from close range.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg nearly added a third goal, but Ake did well to clear his attempted shot off the line in the 68th minute.
Rodriguez, however, secured all three points with a 20-yard volley, which had ricocheted off of Nathan Redmond and into his path five minutes from full-time.
Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis (c), Cook, Ake, Daniels, A. Smith, Arter, Wilshre, Pugh (Fraser 56), King (ibe 72), Wilson (Afobe 64).
Unused subs: Federici (GK) Mings, B. Smith, Gosling.
Goals: Ake (6).
Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, van Dijk (c), Yoshida, Cedric, Clasie, Reed (Davis 46), Hojbjerg, Boufal (Tadic 62), Redmond, Rodriguez (Long 90+2).
Unused subs: Taylor (GK), Martina, Fonte, Ward-Prowse.
Goals: Bertrand (14), Rodriguez (48, 85).
Bookings: Boufal (34), Clasie (76), Davis (78).