Swansea City 0-1 Southampton

Shane Long

Swansea have not beaten Southampton in four attempts at Liberty Stadium

Southampton stretched their unbeaten run to six games as Shane Long’s goal consigned Swansea to a first defeat under new manager Francesco Guidolin.

Saints’ Graziano Pelle had a goal disallowed as Jose Fonte was deemed to have fouled Lukasz Fabianski.

The visitors struck as Long headed in despite a touch from Fabianski.

Swansea appealed for a 90th-minute penalty as Maya Yoshida challenged Alberto Paloschi, but referee Jon Moss dismissed their claim.

Southampton, who have not conceded in six games, climb up to sixth in the Premier League table.

For Swansea, a first loss in five matches keeps them in 16th place but reduces the gap between them and the relegation zone to three points.

Follow all the reaction to Saturday’s football here.

Relive how Southampton won at Swansea here.

Solid Saints impregnable at the back again

Jose Fonte graphic<!–

Jose Fonte has helped Southampton keep six consecutive clean sheets and the defender’s distribution is also impressive – all 30 of his passes against Swansea found a Saints player

With four wins, a draw and no goals conceded in their previous five matches, Southampton started the match with a swagger as they controlled possession, albeit without creating genuine scoring opportunities.

The Saints’ fluid 3-5-2 system left the Swans in the unfamiliar position of being denied the ball for long periods, much to the irritation of an animated Guidolin.

Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster had kept a clean sheet in each of his five games since returning from a serious knee injury.

And although the 27-year-old was barely troubled in the first half, his recent form would appear to make him a strong contender to be included in England’s Euro 2016 squad.

Swansea’s aerial frailty

Forster’s opposite number, Fabianski, also had a quiet first half in the Swansea goal as his side looked to tighten up defensively in their battle for survival.

The Swans were unbeaten in their three matches under Guidolin, but the Italian had expressed his concern about conceding goals from set-pieces in all three of those games.

That vulnerability appeared to have cost the hosts once again as Pelle bundled the ball into the net from a corner – but his effort was ruled out as referee Moss penalised Fonte for his challenge on Fabianski.

The Long game

Alberto Paloschi<!–

Alberto Paloschi’s late penalty appeal was the only concern Swansea caused Southampton after going behind

Although Swansea were given a reprieve from their latest lapse in concentration at set-pieces, they eventually succumbed to Southampton’s aerial threat.

The impressive James Ward-Prowse found Long with a precise cross from the right wing, and the unmarked Republic of Ireland forward nodded in despite a sprawling attempted save from Fabianski.

It was Southampton’s 11th headed goal of the season; a league-high.

Swansea rallied and hurled some hopeful long balls into the Southampton penalty area, but the visitors coped with some comfort.

Manager Ronald Koeman might have been more concerned when substitute Yoshida collided with Paloschi, but the Swans’ penalty appeals were rejected by Moss.

Man of the match – James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse and Fraser Forster<!–

Southampton impressed as a unit, particularly in defence, but it was Ward-Prowse’s crosses which proved the defining contributions, the best of which created Long’s winner

Manager reaction

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman<!–

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Saints having a great season – Koeman

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman: “For sure, we are totally confident in our defence and we know we have the players who can create chances. It was a fantastic performance.

“It was a well deserved three points. We have a great run at the moment. It’s a pity we have a break. But it looks like a great season again for us.”

Swansea City head coach Francesco Guidolin<!–

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Swans did not deserve to win – Guidolin

Swansea coach Francesco Guidolin: “Southampton are a strong team in a good period. They played well, with enthusiasm and calm. It’s difficult to score a goal against them at the moment. We had a few situations but we deserved only one point today.”

Asked about Swansea’s late penalty appeal for Yoshida’s challenge on Paloschi, he said: “I don’t like speaking about the referee because it’s a difficult job.”

What’s coming next?

Swansea have a two-week break before facing Tottenham away on Sunday, 28 February (14:05 GMT), which is immediately followed by another trip to north London to take on Arsenal on 2 March. Southampton host Chelsea on Saturday, 27 February at 15:00 and then make the short journey to Bournemouth on 1 March.

The stats you need to know:

  • Fraser Forster has a 100% saves-to-shots ratio, the highest of any goalkeeper to have faced 15 or more shots on target.
  • Swansea have had just six different scorers in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other team.
  • Southampton have gone nine hours and 14 minutes since they last conceded a Premier League goal.
  • Swansea City have hit the woodwork more often than any other team in the league this season (15).

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