Southampton defeated Crystal Palace in the final match of the season at St. Mary's. This win gave them a final 63 points, another club record, and puts them in 5th. They can still drop to 6th however because of a postponement at Old Trafford because of a suspicious package. That game, Manchester United and Bournemouth, will be played at a later date.
We'll keep this part short, because the game was pretty simple itself, and most of my time was spent with eyes on Stoke and West Ham, but here we go!
Goals from Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle, Ryan Bertrand, and Steven Davis scored for Saints, while former Saint Jason Puncheon scored a cracker for Palace. Oriol Romeu for Jordy Clasie was the only change made from the win at White Hart Lane, and that was due to injury.
For most of the first half, the match was rather calm. A couple of chances for each side, but the breakthrough came in the 43rd minute as Sadio Mane scored. Dusan Tadic crossed a ball, which was parried high but about ten yards from the goal. Palace keeper Julian Speroni came off his line to clear but made a mistake which saw the ball fall to Sadio Mane, who looped the ball over Speroni and two defenders to score. That goal left the score 1-0 at half.
Into the second half, Palace were looking strong, but it was Graziano Pelle who struck. In the 61st minute, a very good Cuco Martina cross found the head of Pelle, who then looped it over the head of Speroni to make it 2-0.
Almost immediately, Jason Puncheon put a cracking shot in to the back of the net to make it 2-1, and the game was back on. Palace stayed on the front foot, with Fraser Forster having to make a few different saves. Fortunately for Saints, they neutralized the attack and were able to put in a couple more goals.
All was calm after the 75th minute when Sadio Mane won a penalty, and Ryan Bertrand (Yeah, just as shocked as you were) slotted the penalty kick home in the top-left corner.
At 3-1, Saints fans were confident with their own match and most, like me, turned attention to Stoke-West Ham which was level at 1-1. Needing a loss or draw from West Ham, we were all on Stoke City's side, and they didn't disappoint as they scored off a corner and made it 2-1, and to all but guarantee Southampton Europa League qualification.
From there, things were relaxed for the final five minutes of Southampton's masterful season. Steven Davis decided to join in on the party (again), to make it 4-1 with only minutes to spare. Word began to spread about Stoke City's winner at St. Mary's and the stadium was rocking. Final score was 4-1 to the Saints.
That being said, Southampton FC are Europa League bound, and will finish in the top-6. Two games are left that will decide the current fate of the Europa League position, however. A Manchester United loss to Bournemouth deems their FA Cup irrelevant to Saints, who would finish the season in 5th.
If United win or draw to Bournemouth, Saints fans would hope to see United win the FA Cup against Crystal Palace, to guarantee automatic group stage play in the Europa League. Seriously, not another match against Midytlland.
A brilliant season, brilliant performances and top-notch coaching helped lead Southampton this season, and there should be no complaints. Southampton has a big summer ahead, one which can define the future for them. Sign Ronald Koeman, keep top players, and up the ambition.
Up The Saints!