Arsenal Home Drew 1 – 1
It was almost as if the side to face Arsenal was selected by TV punditry as the players singled out for criticism in the last game, Hoedt, Pied and Boufal, were all left out. That appeared to lead to a back three with Stephens returning, but he ended up as an orthodox right back as Southampton decided to do without the extra adventure down that flank shown recently by Soares (and Pied too). No matter, as an early raid down the right and featuring good work by Tadić fed in Austin who finished well. “Down the middle for Charlie” was a cry associated with the Charlie Wayman era, but it was proving effective in this game as well as Austin could have had a second in similar circumstances but for a save by Čech, and he then hit the post with an effort that would have been ruled out for offside anyway. The visitors then began to enjoy long periods of possession, but that doesn’t faze well-organised Saints and really they were reduced to a long shot by Ramsey well saved by Forster – although Højbjerg would have been disappointed that his terrific saving tackle on Lacazette failed to make the MotD package. Just getting a kick was proving a challenge at the beginning of the second half, but when they did get the ball upfield, Saints went close to adding a second: Romeu’s pot shot clipped the bar and Bertrand rather wasted a chance created by Redmond, Tadić and his own adventure. Arsène Wenger showed adventure of his own (or was it desperation?) by introducing Welbeck at the expense of Mertesacker, but arguably Wilshere for Xhaka was his most effective move. Just as Saints prepared to counter by bringing on Davis, the Gunners struck in the 88th minute when another sub, Giroud, guided his header just inside the post. A clean sheet would have had secured maximum reward for Charlie’s goal but unfortunately it has proved elusive since October.
LSSC Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who really has made the most of his three starts this season.