Manchester United Home Lost 0 – 1
Saints were unchanged at home to Manchester United, allowing Virgil Van Dijk the entire game to try to catch the eye of the visiting coach from the bench. Well almost the entire game as The Special One was given his marching orders by referee Pawson for a technical area transgression well into added time – in fact with Forster waiting expectantly in the opposition penalty box as Ward-Prowse prepared to take a corner. That shows how United were stretched to the end by a spirited Southampton display, especially in the second half as they set about equalising Lukaku‘s 20th minute strike. Saints would have been disappointed by the goal as they had forced the joint league leaders into little more than a hopeful cross after a period of possession; unfortunately Hoedt was outfought by Lukaku and although the initial header was brilliantly saved by Forster, the striker was able to net the loose ball. Indeed Saints would have been disappointed by their overall performance before the break, but they recovered well and managed to end up with the lion’s share of the possession stats. Doing something positive with that possession has been the problem pretty much since Ronald Koeman left, and perhaps it was unfortunate that their best efforts, three of them, were from Romeu who is not a natural scorer. We’re now entitled to claim that there can’t be a natural scorer anywhere in the squad: although that’s clearly not true of Austin and Gabbiadini, both of whom found themselves on the pitch for the last knockings, countered by the introduction of Smalling and Blind from the United bench, as the guests ended up with five defenders. Nevertheless De Gea was not called into any serious action, so maybe some creative thinking from the coaches is overdue – but at least our next few opponents don’t have the same astronomical playing budget as Mourinho’s mob.
LSSC Man of the Match: Mario Lemina. A democratic decision after an ad hoc post match opinion poll, but anyone managing to find the net would have forced Mario aside.