Swansea City 0-1 Saints (again!)
Still no Mané (“not yet ready”) for the visit to Swansea and, what’s more, Alderweireld had managed to injure himself without apparently breaking sweat on debut against dismal Newcastle. In came Yoshida, at least for part of the match, but during which he was involved in arguably its most decisive moments.
After a quiet start, it was Swansea who began to pose problems, notably when Routledge struck the bar (he should really have scored) and when Bony’s header from a corner had to be cleared off the line by Bertrand. However, there was a more physical edge to the home side’s play than we had expected, as epitomised by a passage of play that left two Saints on the ground injured, although only Yoshida was cautioned, presumably for his objections.
Fellow centre back Fonte also ended up in the book, as did Bony for a shoulder charge on Yoshida that would have been fine had it not been into Maya’s chest. Then on 39 minutes, Bony was unwise enough to attempt another reckless challenge on the Japanese, leaving Yoshida requiring treatment and Swansea down to 10 men. That’s no reason to have shut up shop, but it can’t be easy playing against Southampton’s midfield a man short, and a surprisingly cautious second half played into Saints’ hands.
Gardos replaced Yoshida while Fonte seemed to be under orders not to launch into any more tackles from behind to preserve the numerical advantage. However, creating chances to win the game was proving awkward despite our dominating possession, and Davis replaced Cork in an attempt to make something happen. That meant that when Ward-Prowse was stretchered off, the only sensible option off the bench was to introduce hitherto goal-less Wanyama. However, it’s been the season of the unlikely scorer, and Wanyama slapped in an 80th minute winner after good work by Pellè. Pellè in fact could have made things more comfortable with a bit more composure before the end, but Swansea couldn’t break out of their defensive shell and Forster remained largely untroubled.
LSSC Man of the Match: Nathaniel Clyne, even earning himself a Match of the Day interview.
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