Saints 1-1 Swansea City
Swansea at home was a rare Saturday 3 p.m. Premier League kick off at St. Mary’s: one of only five before the new year, which may explain the healthy 30,000 crowd. It also saw Cork’s return, Shaw making his full debut and Gazzaniga continuing to be preferred in goal, but to be honest there wasn’t a great deal on the pitch for the punters to get excited about.
Ramirez clearly has high expectations of striking goals from around the edge of the area, but they didn’t quite come off today, while Lallana has adopted a fall over and let the ref decide approach to challenges in the box. In an improved beginning to the second period, Lallana’s tricks caught up with him as he was cautioned for the sort of pratfall that he’d made look even less likely before the break.
That it didn’t bring the sought after penalty didn’t seem to matter as shortly afterwards Lambert nodded down for Schneiderlin to have a fortuitous first touch that simply sent the ball into the air for him to head home. It wasn’t enough to win the game as Yoshida and Gazzaniga combined in a build up for Swansea’s equaliser that no visiting player contributed to: Maya had no reason to pass back to Gazza, Gazza had no reason to try to be clever with his pass out of defence and Maya then tried not to panic with a bouncing ball that would have been best dealt with by a row Z clearance. It all left our old friend Nathan Dyer with a run on goal, which he converted successfully.
For once Nigel didn’t treat us to a rash of late substitutions and it was left to Lallana to provide the remaining excitement with a run that survived a couple of apparently foul challenges but ended unceremoniously but unrewarded with a body check by Monk inside the corner of the box- it may demonstrate the danger of the captain’s all-fall-down tactic.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert, who often bossed the visiting defence in the air. Had Lallana been able to persuade referee Marriner on at least one occasion, he might have been the choice.