Report: Stoke City 0-0 Southampton

By SFC Media time Wed 14 Dec Stoke vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Boufal in action at Stoke
Wed 14 Dec 8PM
Premier League
Stoke City
Allen (34')
yellow card
Romeu (27') Ward-Prowse (90+3')
Arnautovic (23')
red card
Referee: Anthony Taylor | Venue: Bet365 Stadium | Attendance: 27,002

Southampton were left frustrated at the bet365 Stadium as Stoke held them to a goalless draw.

Stoke played much of the contest with ten men following the first half dismissal of Marko Arnautović who received a straight red card for a foul on Sofiane Boufal.

From then on Saints controlled the game but found themselves up against a resilient opponent who, time and again, found a way to keep the visitors out, with goalkeeper Lee Grant in particular, making a notable save which denied Ryan Bertrand, while Erik Pieters cleared a Nathan Redmond header from the line.

For Claude Puel’s men it was a seventh Premier League clean sheet of the season which was rarely troubled, but the blank at the other end saw Saints fail to score in Stoke for the first time in 15 attempts.

Puel made four changes to the team which started the win over Middlesbrough on Sunday, with Steven Davis, Nathan Redmond, Ryan Bertrand, and Shane Long all coming into the side, with the latter leading the line.

Cédric was sidelined through illness, with Cuco Martina continuing in the starting line-up.

Saints got the game under way defending the South stand which housed the away supporters, and they provided an early tester for the hosts’ backline when Long sprinted away on the right to get on the end of a ball forward which the striker kept in play before shooting low at Lee Grant.

That set the tone for an action-packed start to the contest which saw Stoke go close to opening the scoring with six minutes on the clock when Shaqiri worked the ball through into the area, and Joe Allen created enough room to shoot, but Forster reacted well to make a block with his legs.

But then Saints started to dominate at the other end. Boufal was fast becoming a handful for the hosts by shooting wide from distance before dispossessing Glenn Whelan and again firing narrowly wide, with Long following suit soon after.

As Saints upped the ante, Ryan Bertrand was next to start causing problems for Stoke as he got in behind a couple of times on the left flank to put crosses into the area, with one of those taking a big deflection off Bruno Martins Indi to force a corner.

The game took a further turn in the 23rd minute when Stoke forward Marko Arnautović was sent off for a high boot on Boufal as frustrations took their toll on the home side.

Marco Arnautovic is shown a red card during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Southampton at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England on 14 December 2016. Photo by Matt  Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Stoke's Marko Arnautović is sent off for a foul on Sofiane Boufal during the first half.

Oriol Romeu went into the book before Bertrand found himself in a good position again high up the pitch, where he shot narrowly over the bar.

Saints maintained their hold on possession but were unable to break the deadlock as the game reached half time, much to the relief of the hosts.

The second 45 began in similar vein to the way the first half had ended with Stoke defending deep. Mark Hughes’s side almost came unstuck when Erik Pieters fouled James Ward-Prowse on the edge of the area. Van Dijk stepped up to strike a powerful free-kick which came back off the defensive wall.

Saints kept up the pressure with defenders Van Dijk and Fonte remaining forward for long periods to support the attack.

Redmond forced a firm one-handed save from Grant, with the same man then denied by Pieters as the Saints man’s flicked header was cleared from the line.

Just past the hour mark, Bertrand threatened again, as he struck a sweet shot from distance which saw Grant produce a brilliant save with his left hand to push the ball out of play.

After Van Dijk headed over from yet another corner, Saints introduced Jay Rodriguez and Dušan Tadić to refresh their attacking threat, and the former came close to getting the breakthrough goal when Boufal slid the ball across the six yard box for the striker but he couldn’t quite reach it.

Virgil Van Dijk during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Southampton at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England on 14 December 2016. Photo by Matt  Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Van Dijk continued to help Saints at the other end of the pitch too.

Inside the final 20 minutes Davis flashed a cross into the area which was cleared by Grant as Rodriguez looked to meet it.

From the resulting clearance, Boufal had a strike from distance saved by the Stoke ‘keeper as the chances continued to come.

Ward-Prowse saw a shot from inside the area deflected over off Glen Johnsons’ thigh, as Saints started to sense it might not be their night in front of goal.

And so it proved, as Stoke who made a couple of late defensive changes held firm in four minutes of stoppage time to secure themselves a hard-fought point.

Stoke City

Head to Head Stats

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Stoke City

Lee Grant (GK)
Erik Pieters
Glen Johnson
Ryan Shawcross (C)
Bruno Martins Indi
Joe Allen yellow card
Xherdan Shaqiri
replace Mame Biram Diouf (57′)
Marko Arnautovic red card
Glenn Whelan
Charlie Adam
replace Marc Muniesa (88′)
Jonathan Walters
Mame Biram Diouf
Wilfried Bony
Shay Given
Marc Muniesa
Giannelli Imbula
Peter Crouch


Fraser Forster (GK)
José Fonte (C)
Ryan Bertrand
Cuco Martina
replace Sam McQueen (83′)
Virgil van Dijk
Steven Davis
Oriol Romeu yellow card
Nathan Redmond
replace Jay Rodriguez (66′)
James Ward-Prowse yellow card
Sofiane Boufal
Shane Long
replace Dusan Tadic (66′)
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Stuart Taylor
Sam McQueen
Jay Rodriguez
Dusan Tadic
Maya Yoshida
Jordy Clasie
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