Miguel Almiron scored the opening goal in the match as he burst through the middle of the pitch and beat the defender with a mixture of luck and skill before calmly rolling the ball into the bottom corner.
Chris Wood made it 2-0 in the 59th minute as he spun brilliantly in the box after good work from Jacob Murphy and lashed a shot into the bottom right of Gavin Bazunu’s net.
Joe Willock joined the party a few minutes later as he raced through on goal after a pass from Kieran Trippier to poke the ball past the goalkeeper.
Romain Perraud pulled one back late on but then Bruno Guimaraes sealed the win in stoppage time with a terrific strike from distance to make it 4-1.
One player who may be an unsung hero for Eddie Howe was central defender Sven Botman, as he put in an impressive display away from the spotlight – as the attackers stole the headlines.
The Dutch machine was a brick wall at the back alongside Fabian Schar and was almost faultless across the 90 minutes.
He had one sloppy moment in the second half as his loose pass ended in Che Adams firing a volley wide of the post but was largely excellent as he continued his fine start to the campaign since joining from Lille in the summer.
Aside from that lapse in concentration, Botman looked like “the real deal” at the back – in the words of Aaron Stokes – aiming to progress the ball when he could to get his team up the pitch. As per SofaScore, the centre-back completed five of his eight long pass attempts and this shows that he was efficient with his long-range passing to hit the wide areas early and push the Southampton defence onto the back foot.
The centre-back was a rock from a defensive perspective as he did not allow any opposition players to get the better of him. He won 100% of his individual duels and made four clearances, one interception, one tackle and one block, whilst not being dribbled past once – as per SofaScore.
Botman appeared to be furious after Perraud’s goal but there was little he could have done to stop it as Manquillo and Burn did not cover themselves in glory with their aforementioned involvement.
He was Howe’s unsung hero in the end as he did the dirty work at the back to lay the foundations for the likes of Almiron to go forward and punish Southampton with exceptional finishing at the top end of the pitch.
His strong defending, alongside Schar, gave them the platform to take a 3-0 lead – before the consolation – and he deserves immense credit for another top performance.