Southampton embarrassed Brentford at St. Mary's on Wednesday evening, beating the newly-promoted side 4-1.
Goals from Jan Bednarek, Armando Broja, Che Adams and an own goal from Alvaro Fernandez were enough for the Saints to record their biggest win of the season, and condemn Brentford to their biggest defeat since promotion.
Southampton started the game brightly, utilising their wing-backs to great effect, and deservedly went ahead in the fifth minute. The goal came from (yep, you guessed it) James Ward-Prowse, with the England international whipping a brilliant corner kick into the six-yard box where Bednarek was on hand to head home.
It could have been 2-0 inside ten minutes, however Broja's brilliant play out and subsequent low ball across the goal was not latched onto by any onrushing Southampton players.
After that period of dominance, Brentford began to grow into the game. Ivan Toney saw a decent volleyed chance go abegging, before Vitaly Janelt showed his teammate how it's done with a sublime goal a few minutes later. The German caught a Bryan Mbeumo cross from the right flank beautifully on the full volley to fire home his second goal of the season.
The game really opened up thereafter, as both teams (in all honesty) really struggled defensively.
Oriol Romeu spurned a chance to give the Saints a 2-1 lead on the half-hour mark, stabbing a shot from the penalty spot well over the crossbar, then his midfield teammate Ibrahima Diallo did give Southampton the lead...well, Brentford's goalkeeper Fernandez actually gave Southampton the lead...
The goal did come from a well-hit half-volley from the edge of the penalty area by Diallo, but it hit the post then ricocheted off Fernandez's back and into the net. Unlucky mate.
After that bit of misfortune, Fernandez redeemed himself ever-so-slightly by making a brilliant save to tip a Romain Perraud header out for a corner.
Despite Brentford's best offensive efforts at the start of the second half, Southampton caught them quickly on the counter attack on the 48th minute to make it 3-1. The goal came following a lovely slide through ball from Romeu to Broja who, after bombing into the box, was able to curl the ball past Fernandez.
The visitors gave it a go at throughout the rest of the half, but lacked any semblance of quality on or off the ball.
And because of this lack of quality, they conceded a fourth in the 70th minute. Some comically bad defensive work allowed substitute Adams to steal in behind the defence and chip the ball over the comically bad Fernandez in goal.
In the last ten minutes Brentford actually upped their game a bit, with Mbeumo forcing Fraser Forster into a great save, however it was way too little way too late from Thomas Frank's men.
Here's how the players rated.
Southampton player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Fraser Forster (GK) - 6/10 - Could do nothing about Janelt's goal, and had basically nothing else to do until his side were 4-1 up when he was forced into a save from Mbeumo.
Lycano (CB) - 5/10 - Decent outing for the defender.
Jan Bednarek (CB) - 6/10 - Scored the opener. Always a threat from set pieces because he is absolutely massive.
Mohammed Salisu (CB) - 5/10 - Battled admirably with Toney.
2. Midfielders & wing-backs
Nathan Tella (RWB) - 6/10 - Worked extremely hard all night.
Oriol Romeu (CM) - 7/10 - Lovely ball through to Broja for the third goal. Solid as always defensively too.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) - 7/10 - As you'd expect, his set pieces were world class all night. Bagged an assist.
Ibrahima Diallo (CM) - 8/10 - Best player on the pitch during the first half. Darted around, providing quality on and off the ball, and his effort from the edge of the box led to Southampton's second goal.
Romain Perraud (LWB) - 6/10 - Very lively and was denied a goal by a great save from Fernandez.
Nathan Redmond (ST) - 4/10 - Busy but not, you know, good.
Armando Broja (ST) - 9/10 - The kid's just very, very good. A real handful and had the beating of all three of Brentford's centre-backs. Deservedly scored a goal.
Che Adams - 6/10 - Came on and scored a goal. Nice work buddy.
Stuart Armstrong - N/A.
Adam Armstrong - N/A.
Brentford player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Alvaro Fernandez (GK) - 1/10 - Clearly targeted at set pieces, and Southampton got a lot of joy from whipping free-kicks and corner kicks into his six-yard box. They also got a lot of joy from Fernandez scoring an unfortunate own goal. Absolutely terrible, and we're being nice saying that.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB) - 3/10 - The best of Brentford's back three. Which isn't saying much at all.
Pontus Jansson (CB) - 2/10 - Disastrous positioning in the lead up to the third goal. And the fourth. Just not very good.
Ethan Pinnock (CB) - 2/10 - Like Jansson, ran ragged by Broja.
6. Midfielders & wing-backs
Mads Roerslev (RWB) - 4/10 - Struggled to compete with Perraud.
Shandon Baptiste (CM) - N/A - Was he on the pitch? If he was, you couldn't tell.
Christian Norgaard (CM) - 2/10 - Could not get near Southampton's midfield. Completely outclassed.
Vitaly Janelt (CM) - 6/10 - Outrageous volley. One of the best goals we've seen this season.
Sergi Canos (LWB) - 4/10 - Nowhere as effective as you'd want him to be down the right flank.
Bryan Mbeumo (ST) - 5/10 - Great ball into the penalty area for Janelt's equaliser.
Ivan Toney (ST) - 4/10 - Clearly very frustrated with the lack of any service from Brenford's very terrible midfield.
Yoane Wissa - N/A.
Mathias Jansen - N/A.
Finley Stevens - N/A.
Source : 90min