Saints 0-0 West Ham United
Another injury laid Schneiderlin low as West Ham visited St. Mary’s but more significant was Carroll’s absence from the visitors’ starting line-up. I don’t think anyone really knows which way the Hammers play these days: long ball or pretty? If anyone has it figured out, it’s likely to be Ronnie K., and no doubt some advanced thought procedures led to Reed being recalled in place of Ward-Prowse.
We do need to be more incisive, especially at home, so it was disappointing that Mané, by some distance our greatest threat these days, couldn’t quite force the ball in from an early opportunity. In truth neither side had many chances, but Big Sam made the early tactical changes by bringing on Jarvis at half time and Carroll on 55 minutes. He was fortunate not to have been more expansive as he needed a replacement goalkeeper as well five minutes later. This came when Adrian lost possession to Mané and handled outside the box as he stumbled in his efforts to clear. That’s the referee’s view anyway, as he gave the handball, and an inevitable red card too.
West Ham still contend that the keeper fell on the ball thanks to a push by Mané, but whilst there was indeed contact, he was clearly already on his way down, thus vindicating the official. Anyway, it left Saints with a half hour to maximise their advantage, and it was clearly a disappointment to the manager that they failed to do so. It wasn’t for the want of trying, but Pellè is short of the confidence that used to enable him to convert a passable chance, while Tadić took far to long to exploit a space he found at the far post. In the end someone called Filip Djuričić came on to confound my spell-checker, while Fonte and Gardos seemed to be taking it in turns up front – all to no avail.
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Davis. Admittedly he’s my go-to guy for tricky decisions, but he did play well.