Manchester United Away Drew 0 – 0
I thought the BBC analysis of the Tottenham defeat was so much bovine excreta, but Saints seemed to select for the trip to Manchester United by dropping all the players singled out for criticism by Danny Murphy. To be left out can never come as a shock for any of our outfield players, but in his heart of hearts, Forster can’t have been surprised to find himself spending bench time. That gave McCarthy only his second Saints start, and his first full 90 minutes, and while he drew applause by coming for crosses and managed a good first half stop with his feet, I wasn’t entirely convinced… we shall see. I wasn’t totally convinced by the defence either as they made several individual mistakes and did have some moments of fortune, but a willingness to throw themselves into blocks was impressive. Looking at the lucky bits, Lukaku’s stats against us suggest we were pleased to see the back of him after just ten minutes, although his concussion after a clash of heads was a bit scary. Then Yoshida got away with a handball that could easily have been given as a penalty – if you listen hard enough, you can probably still hear José Mourinho moaning about it. We’ll come to a third handy break later, but 0-0 at half time was a reasonable reflection of hard work on behalf of the visitors and some uninspiring approach play, especially crosses, by the home side, who are certainly not a patch on Spurs at the moment. Saints actually had their moments up front at well, with Boufal always threatening and Ward-Prowse drawing a first half save before setting up Long with a chance of breaking his scoring drought – only for De Gea to save with his feet, the ball then just about clearing the bar. Unusually Saints waited until the last ten minutes before turning to the subs, but Old Trafford seemed to be emptying faster than the clock was running down; then on 81 minutes United had the ball in the net: Matić’s shot was deflected wide of McCarthy by Yoshida, and then finished off by Pogba… but from an offside position. This may have been third break that we needed as there is speculation that Pogba’s intervention may not have been necessary, but maybe it was a case of fortune favouring the brave to secure a point.
LSSC Man of the Match: Wesley Hoedt. This was a surprisingly difficult one to call and it was beyond the brain power of some of the finest minds in LSSC over breakfast at the Holiday Inn. In the circumstances, I’ll go with a positive nomination given at the ground.