Newcastle Home Drew 2 – 2
Southampton’s management had two weeks to solve the team’s goalscoring problem and came up with a novel solution to put into effect against Newcastle: a starting place for both Long and Gabbiadini. That meant someone had to miss out, and Davis was the surprising fall guy. The visitors seemed to sit back and see how this would operate before grabbing control of the midfield and going ahead through a snap shot by Hayden after a similar effort from Atsu had been blocked. Saints’ response was quite effective, but with the ball failing to find the net, frustrations were creeping into both players and spectators as half time approached, and we nearly went two down straight after the break when Joselu’s effort looped over Forster and onto the bar. Southampton did have a goal in them, though, and it came from Gabbiadini who seemed to have missed his chance, but was allowed to carve out another opening which he threaded inside Elliot’s left hand post. The game seemed to be there to be won by Saints, but not for long. They actually recovered the ball from the kick off but promptly lost it, and thirty seconds later were behind again: a break down a brittle left flank gave Pérez a shot at goal which Forster could only push back into his path, and with his second attempt Pérez found the net from a narrow angle. A second home goal seemed too much to hope for in one match, but Lejeune made an unwise challenge on Long, who was going nowhere, and for once the forward was rewarded with a penalty. With Austin still sitting on the bench, Gabbiadini stepped up to the spot kick and found Elliot less of an obstacle than De Gea was for his unsuccessful attempt from 12 yards last season – to be fair, it was a very good conversion. Both sides tried to secure all three points in an entertaining contest, with Boufal adding the unpredictable to Southampton’s play and, with time running out, Lejeune seeing his header kicked off the line by substitute Davis.
LSSC Man of the Match: Manolo Gabbiadini. Goals (including successful penalties!) are rare enough to make his brace worthy of the award.