A season that began so brightly (impressive in friendlies, big European win, decent enough away point) hasn’t exactly reached crisis point, but radical changes were made for the trip to Watford: defensive players Soares, Yoshida, Fonte, Caulker and Targett all included, Steven Davis restored and only Mané and Pellè up front. That lasted for 25 minutes, in which time Mané required attention before collapsing in a heap and being replaced by Long. That’s about all you need to know, with even the Wanyama song failing amongst a group of fans disheartened by the latest transfer speculation involving a key player. That I have time to mention that for the second match running Cedric Soares had to have his head bandaged is a measure of the game’s excitement, but it was there for the winning by a side brave enough to take risks. Stekelenburg, however, didn’t have a save to make (fortunately Capoue was off target with the game’s best chance) and Gomes was not seriously worried by Pellè’s drive towards his near post. Pellè was eventually replaced by Rodriguez, but by then Saints’ sights were even more focussed on a first clean sheet of the Premier League campaign, something achieved without undue difficulty. Whether we can afford the same luxury of defensive cover in the forthcoming European game is doubtful, but Ronnie is right in saying that we have to get the back line sorted out before anything else.
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Caulker. Not a memorable performance, but he’ll be glad to be part of that clean sheet.