Manchester City Away
The absence of Pelle was resolved easily enough by the return of a fit-again Long at Manchester City, but manager Koeman made other changes entirely of a defensive nature, in particular including proven ‘tacklers’ at the expense of Soares and Clasie. That meant an outing for Yoshida at right back but it was his mistake that set Stirling free and the £mult-million pairing of Stirling and De Bruyne led to an early goal for the latter. City had looked dangerous from the start and might easily have been given an opportunity from the penalty spot when Davis seemed to divert a header past the post with his arm – Southampton’ fortune was short-lived as Delph’s shot from the resulting corner took a deflection into the net off Van Dijk. After the ever-influential Fonte limped out of the game Saints’ needed a boost to get themselves going and it was in fact Van Dijk who provided it with a terrific shot against the bar. Still, the introduction of Tadic at the break seemed to be more in hope than expectation, but a quick free kick gave Mane the chance to cross and Long was on hand to head home at the far post. Suddenly both team and fans seemed to realise that we were actually on top and in retrospect Tadic would have been better off trying a different finishing technique than a lob over Cabillero when he found himself bearing down on goal. That turned out to be the big moment for Saints as a third City goal killed the game off. Kolorov’s shot couldn’t have found a more fortuitous route through a forest of legs as it went into the net, but you often make your own luck and more disciplined positional play by the hapless Yoshida might have prevented the situation in the first place.
LSSC Man of the Match: Virgil Van Dijk, who was at his imposing best (despite that unfortunate second goal), but it was noticeable that home fans singled out Mane as the big threat to them.