Fulham 0-3 Saints
The January transfer window ended with the Saints squad looking short of cover in a couple of areas, while our next opponents, Fulham, brought in a host of players funded by Berbatov’s move away. Such emergency surgery is a risky ploy as it’s always going to be hard to get effectively a new team to gel, but Saints were able to make an important change of their own, with Wanyama returning.
Mauricio Pochettino’s succinct analysis of the game was spot on. It began: “In the first half, Fulham were quite deep which made it hard for us to open up the spaces.” Quite so, but they were also effective at the other end, despite limited possession, and our half time man of the match was surely Boruc for several sharp saves.
Wanyama’s lack of match fitness, his style of play and an early caution left an accident waiting to happen in the midfield and his replacement by Cork at the break was both sensible and effective.
The game’s decisive moment came on 63 minutes when Lambert released Lallana who hit an early cross shot past Stekelenberg, meaning Fulham had to find a plan B. Before it could be put into action, Saints struck again with a silky move down the right featuring substitute Clyne and leading to a finish by Lambert that never looked in doubt.
Of this season’s international debutants, only Rodriguez was without a goal, but he completed the visitors’ flurry of three goals in 12 minutes with a superb solo effort of his own: although Fulham’s defence had been pulled out of position, you rather expected what was left of them to deal with the lone threat, but a cut inside and a magnificent shot sealed the win.
Mauricio again: “In the second half, once we scored the first goal it made things a lot more simple and we were able to open up Fulham a lot more.” Again, quite so.
LSSC Man of the Match: Adam Lallana, with the goal being all-important.