Burnley Away Lost 1 – 0
Saints’ last appearance at Burnley resulted in an undeserved 1-0 defeat after the visitors dominated play and missed several chances, including a penalty. At the moment missing opportunities is not as critical as a failure to create them, but trudging out of Turf Moor again with no goals and no points was another disappointment, although not exactly an unexpected one. Fonte was again omitted and looks to have played his last game for the club, and Rodriguez won’t be very pleased with the selection policy either, having to sit out the first hour or so of his return home, while Davis missed out through injury. Southampton had the better of most exchanges, and in particular they twice came close to taking the lead in the first half: a cross from the right eventually fell to Tadić who saw his shot booted off the line; and later Ward-Prowse had a header well saved by Heaton, although he might have done better with the finish. Jay-Rod finally made his appearance alongside Long which showed M. Puel’s intention to try to win the game, but the forwards need a more effective strategy to profit from mere presence on the pitch, and again we were to be undone by an opposing substitution. This one came after 72 minutes and marked Joey Barton’s delayed return to the Premier League. To be honest, it still looked unlikely that he would provide the headline story from what was overall quite a dismal game, but the defensive wall set up to keep out a 78th minute free kick looked more like a hedge, and Forster’s sack of coal impression to prevent Barton‘s shot finding the net compounded what I look upon as his organisational error regarding cover. Desperate times call for a desperate response, with Sims coming on for Redmond and Van Dijk seeing out the game up front; Big Dick has conducted himself well considering the speculation about his future, and no-one seems to put in more effort. He nearly saved the day with a powerful header from a corner that went straight to Heaton, and then with an added time shot that the keeper could only palm away – this looked to be a crucial error for the home side but the same player recovered brilliantly to keep out the follow-up from Sims.
LSSC Man of the Match: Virgil Van Dijk, our most effective player at both ends of the pitch.
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