Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong both scored as Southampton claimed a fine win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park to secure their fourth successive away victory in the Premier League.
Redmond opened the scoring for the Saints midway through the first half as he turned away from two markers before firing home from the edge of the box.
Armstrong then doubled his side’s lead early in the second half when he collected Redmond’s pass and curled in a superb effort from outside the area.
Following a lacklustre first half, the Eagles did improve after the break although they failed to put the Saints under sustained pressure, and Southampton held on for a deserved three points.
It is only the second time the South Coast club have claimed four Premier League away wins on the bounce – with the previous run coming between December 2014 and February 2015.
Victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side means they move above Palace into ninth – with Roy Hodgson’s side slipping to 11th.
Saints’ fine form continues
It was only a month or so ago that Southampton were being tipped by many for the drop, but the win at Selhurst Park moves them into the top half of the league for the first time this season – and on this performance they fully deserve it.
After a disappointing defeat by Wolves on Saturday, they were back to their bustling best on Tuesday night as they dominated for long periods.
Hasenhuttl’s men were a constant threat down the left, with the Eagles unable to deal with the pace and trickery of Redmond, nor the overlapping Ryan Bertrand.
They dominated in the middle, too, even after James Ward-Prowse’s move to right-back following Cedric Soares’ first-half withdrawal due to injury.
And after Redmond opened the scoring with a brilliant finish, they rarely looked back, with Armstrong testing Palace keeper Vicente Guaita several times before eventually beating him early in the second half.
Shane Long, who kept his place in the starting line-up after scoring against Wolves, could have made the result safe on the hour mark, too, had he shot either side of Guaita when sent clear by the lively Michael Obafemi.
But ultimately it did not matter for Southampton, who comfortably held off late Eagles pressure for their fifth Premier League win in seven games.
Eagles fall flat on feisty night
The Eagles should have been flying high after holding reigning champions Manchester City to a draw on Saturday, but if they did gain any momentum from that result they failed to carry it into Tuesday’s game.
Palace were flat for much of the first half, much to the frustration of the boisterous home crowd, with January arrival Cenk Tosun blasting over their only chance of the opening 45 minutes.
While they did improve after the break, with Wilfried Zaha trying his best to prise open a stubborn Saints backline, they rarely tested Alex McCarthy in the visitors’ goal.
In fact, they failed to take any shots on target at all, with second-half substitute Connor Wickham summing up his side’s evening with two spurned chances late on.
However, despite their uninspiring efforts, the match did carry a feisty feel throughout, with the players perhaps harbouring grudges from their previous Premier League meeting just 24 days ago.
There was a flashpoint after the half-time whistle which saw Zaha poke Ward-Prowse in the face before the pair were separated by team-mates and stewards.
And tempers flared between James Tomkins and Redmond following a tangle as the match drew to a close.
More to follow.