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Southampton top in England for first time in 32 years

For the first time since 1988, Southampton has ended a day in first place in England's top division.

The team from the south coast achieved the feat on Friday without its best player.

Southampton overcame the absence of injured top scorer Danny Ings to beat Newcastle 2-0, with fellow striker Che Adams and midfielder Stuart Armstrong scoring at St. Mary's.

Southampton's Stuart Armstrong, right, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Newcastle United in Southampton, England, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Adam DavyPool Photo via AP)

Since opening with back-to-back losses, including a humiliating 5-2 thrashing at home by Tottenham, the Saints have won five of their six games and drawn the other one at Chelsea.

It's quite the turnaround for the team managed by Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, but that's nothing new. Last season, Southampton lost 9-0 at home to Leicester on one of the darkest days in the club's history, but managed to regroup and finish the season as one of the form teams during lockdown.

Southampton, which is ahead of Liverpool on goal difference, last topped the English standings 32 years ago when the team won its first three games of the 1988-89 campaign.

Southampton's manager Ralph Hasenhuettl, left, lifts a thumb during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Newcastle United in Southampton, England, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Adam DavyPool Photo via AP)

With Ings — the second-highest scorer in the Premier League last season — out for up to six weeks because of a knee injury, Southampton has its work cut out to stay at the summit.

In Adams, the team has another striker in form, though. He has three goals in his last four games after opening the scoring in the seventh minute against Newcastle with a volley from Theo Walcott's cross.

Armstrong sealed the points in the 82nd minute, slotting home a left-footed finish after Newcastle lost possession just outside its own area.

Brighton's Adam Lallana, center, reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Burnley at the Falmer stadium in Brighton, England, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Cath IvillPool via AP)

At the other end of the standings, Burnley remained without a win this season after drawing at Brighton 0-0.

Burnley has two points from seven games.

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Burnley's Charlie Taylor is tackled by Brighton's Tariq Lamptey during the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Burnley at the Falmer stadium in Brighton, England, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Cath IvillPool via AP)