Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Saints
Of all the opening games, the ones Saints fans most wanted to win and least wanted to lose were those against Liverpool and Spurs. And of course they turn out to be the only teams to better Southampton before the second international break, although it might have been different, but for the performances in front of goal of two players.
In a first half where Saints created remarkably little, the only clear opportunity fell to Mané, but Naughton recovered from the error that had caused the opening to make a crucial block – not a bad miss, but from a not dissimilar situation to one that might in the end have rescued a point. At the other end, Eriksen, despite having scored twice in this fixture last season, was allowed time to drill in a shot that forced Forster into an uncomfortable looking save.
This should have been sufficient warning, but the same player was given another shooting opportunity on 40 minutes, and this time he found the net. It could have been still worse for Saints before the break, but Chadli shot against the post when he got round the back of the defence.
Second half chances also proved elusive, but Wanyama forced Lloris into a save that was as much for the cameras as the team. It was a situation that called for Long, and he duly appeared, replacing the influential Wanyama. Long’s impact has been less than expected so far, but he nearly added to his assist against QPR, setting up Clyne for a low cross that seemed to fall into the path of Mané. It didn’t end up in the net, and we needed TV replays to show just how Mané achieved his miss, despite looking certain to score.
With that went Southampton’s last chance, and now there’s another international break. Schneiderlin has already used the Twittersphere to warm up for the unrest these seem to cause, while bets are already on for the timing of Clyne’s transfer request when he get back from meeting his new England team-mates – even Pellè could be in the frame for a bust up after a surprise call from Italy.
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Davis. Off-field, Schneiderlin might to well do copy his honest professional approach as well.