West Ham Away
There are plenty of us who remember Easter programmes of three matches in four days, but the game has changed and it does seem odd to find two Premier League schedules over Christmas – they seem to fill the grounds easily enough whenever they play, so why bother? Manager Koeman always threatened to rotate his selections over the holidays and Clasie so Ward-Prowse duly sat out the visit to West Ham, being replaced by Romeu and Tadić for the second game in around 45 hours. The team didn’t seem to be suffering in a dominant first half which should have produced more than their single goal, apparently tapped in by Tadić after good work by Long, but there are suggestions that it may eventually be credited as a Jenkinson own goal. The home goal had been well protected by a series of desperate blocks, but after the break it was Southampton who rode their luck as the Hammers came back at them with an attack now being led by Carroll off the bench. We had seemed to have survived the revival, until Lady Luck turned spiteful for a bizarre equaliser scored by ex-Saint Antonio, although he knew next to nothing about it: the winger got away from Martina but fell under his own momentum, only to be able to deflect Wanyama’s attempted clearance off his prone body and over Stekelenburg. Having picked up a booking, Martina was soon replaced by Yoshida for safety’s sake, but there’s a suspicion that he may have done a bit better with his marking of Antonio that led to a latish winner: this time Antonio knew what he was doing with a header that came back off the bar only for Carroll to react first and head home. Saints forced a few corners in an attempt to rescue something from a game that they seemed to have been winning comfortably, but the corner conversion against Arsenal was their only success from such a situation over the Yuletide
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriol Romeu, although a second half caution reduced his effectiveness.