Cardiff City 0-3 Saints
Good news: Fonte and Shaw were fit enough to face Cardiff, after pretty poor performances by their replacements in the preceding game. Bad news as well, though, as Lovren again succumbed to illness on the eve of a match.
However Southampton’s problems were minimal compared with the home club’s, and most of those can be traced to the ludicrous figure of owner Vincent Tan. Hang on, though; an unwanted change of colours and the dismissal of a popular manager sound familiar… it’s all a question of degree, isn’t it?
Anyway, internal politics surely contributed to a disastrous first half for the erstwhile Bluebirds, starting with Whittingham’s early miss. An incisive forward ball by Schneiderlin set Lallana and Saints on their way, with the skipper’s pass setting up Rodriguez for the goal.
The punishment was repeated with an even better strike, the ammunition this time supplied by Lambert for a very good finish, again by Rodriguez.
Before half an hour had been played, Saints were out of sight when dodgy defending allowed Rodriguez to nod down for Lambert to get his name on the scoresheet. Cardiff did threaten to reduce the lead before the break with some near post set pieces causing problems and finally Gazzaniga grabbing the ball at the second attempt after a punch sent it straight up in the air. Gazza had similar problems from a corner after the interval, but when that one stayed out, Saints saw out the game in increasing comfort, and in front of a rapidly diminishing home crowd.
Those making an early getaway included Mr. Tan, apparently – at what point on his way home does he remove that silly red shirt?
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Davis. A limited popular vote given the nature of our Boxing Day travel arrangements, but enough contributing to establish a winner ahead of Schneiderlin.