Wolverhampton Wanders Away Lost 2 – 0
Saints reverted to their team-we-can-beat formation at Wolverhampton but Austin lined up alongside Ings as Long was injured. The home team, meanwhile, are in quite a good place and managed to be unchanged for the seventh successive game, something that says a lot about their form. Wolves, though, were beatable and although it’s true that McCarthy’s saves had to be sharper than those of Rui Patrício, the match stats show the two sides well matched in terms of efforts at goal, and when Patrício mishandled Vestergaard’s free kick, on a good day the ball would have bounced out to raiding forwards. That reveals a good effort against a team who are achieving everything their supporters wished for this campaign and Southampton’s performance gave supporters hope of what wouldn’t quite have been a smash and grab victory, but something approaching that nevertheless. It’s the hope that kills, though! The introduction of the pacey Traoré was answered from our bench by Armstrong for Elyounoussi and in fact it was the Scot who had Saints’ best opportunity of the match, but he was unable to finish. The Wolves subs gave them more attacking options and it was a combination of Traoré and a second substitute, Cavaleiro, that changed the game on 79 minutes, just two minutes after the latter came on to score – a big assist also for centre forward Jiménez who set up the chance, and a big error by Hoedt who unnecessarily went to ground. A good Saints following would have hoped for a decent response from their team but it was Wolves who dominated the closing stages, with McCarthy saving spectacularly from Jiménez before Otto wrapped up the points, this time aided by a poor effort to block by Vestergaard.
LSSC Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. He and Lemina make Saints difficult to play against, but the manager is quite right in calling for more ‘devil’ from out attacking players – something he’s being paid good money to resolve. A full 90 minutes worth of concentration by out central defenders would help as well.