West Ham Away Won 3 – 0
A few tweaks by Claude to his Premier League side for the visit to West Ham at the stadium formerly known as ‘Olympic,’ but as has previously been noted, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference who plays in midfield. Of more interest was the selection of Austin ahead of Long, but frankly anyone could have been up front for either side in an opening 40 minutes that was as dull as ditchwater – despite this being a great result and overall a fine performance, there’s no denying that it was a slow burner! Things changed for the better when slick passing down the left led to a Bertrand cross neatly turned in by Austin. From then on there was only one team in it, or to be more accurate, one team plus the West Ham goalkeeper. Adrian saved well from Tadić but he was left floundering by a clever shimmy by the same player that gave Saints their second goal, stroked into the unguarded net by Tadić. For the most part, Southampton were passing West Ham out of the game but a host of chances fell to midfielders rather than the red hot Austin and Adrian continued to deny them. Van Dijk was called upon to boot the ball unceremoniously off his goal-line, but there was only going to be one winner here, and home fans were already voting with their feet well before Davis found himself foiled by Adrian in added time – on this occasion, though,Ward-Prowse was on hand to score from the rebound for number three. So a fourth successive win in all competitions for the Saints with no goals conceded. It may be tempting fate to say it, but what’s even more encouraging is that they seem to be getting better in each game.
LSSC Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. What a shame that Adrian’s fingertips denied him a first Saints goal.