Leicester Home Lost 1 – 2
Vestergaard and Elyounoussi recovered from illness and injury to face Leicester, giving Elyounoussi a first start, but there were two other changes and I can’t help but think a more settled approach would help the side. As it was there wasn’t even a place on the bench for Gabbiadini and Yoshida (the day after his birthday!) so maybe the summer transfer activity has a bit further to run. The eleven sent out at St. Mary’s weren’t having too much trouble with the visitors but actually breaking them down was proving more difficult and the brightest moment of an undistinguished first period came just before the interval when Ings forced Schmeichel into a save. No need to panic, though, as Saints are carving out a reputation as a second half team, and sure enough they went ahead on 52 minutes with a superb strike by Bertrand following an error laden build up. There seemed every chance that a single goal could secure maximum points, but a familiar failing meant that the lead lasted just four minutes. Soares is always going to struggle when isolated by crosses and unless we find a way of putting him on stilts, there isn’t much he can do about that – but he could and should work on producing better headers… certainly better than the one that took the ball away from Elyounoussi and into the path of Gray who made no mistake. Rather oddly Ings made way for Austin, but another change in line up left Saints deprived of the services of Højbjerg, and this time without replacement: the midfielder burst into the box but seemed to be losing his balance so decided to attempt an unconvincing penalty dive that earned him a second caution. Leicester will surely be amongst the division’s also rans, so the team should have coped with the situation, especially as they were able to bring in Romeu from the bench. However a lack of concentration in added time allowed the unlikely figure of Maguire to fire in a shot that found the net with McCarthy not making a move towards it; clearly he was unsighted, but, heck, he has a responsibility to make sure he can see what’s going on if Southampton aren’t going to be amongst the division’s left behinds.
LSSC Man of the Match: Mario Lemina, but that song about him never giving the ball away may need some revision