Wolverhampton Away Drew 1 – 1
This year’s ‘third’ kit was unveiled at Wolverhampton and, like its predecessor, it is more pleasing, to my eye at least, than the second choice version. What’s more important is how those wearing the outfit perform, and charged with the task at Molyneux were three centre backs, with Vestergaard restored to the team. Ralph’s teams seem happiest with this line-up, even if the coach never seems convinced, and a lethargic Wolves had trouble finding much space against the Southampton formation while we enjoyed a fair amount of opening half possession in decent areas without managing much that could be construed as causing real danger. The home side may have been outplayed but they did managed to put the ball in the net twice, and both times through Jiminéz. The first effort was ruled out by Peter Kirkup, maybe the league’s most experienced line-runner, and VAR had no problems confirming his spot of a handball. Jiminéz’s second effort was to convert after Gunn had parried a shot by Cutrone and following a mistake by Yoshida. Saints had all but kicked off at the restart when VAR was again called into action with an eagle-eyed official at Stockley Park spotting Cutrone marginally offside – thus far we can have nothing but praise for VAR, with the officials over-ruled to cancel four opponents’ goals… but we know things will even themselves out sooner or later. Some pretty awful Wolves defending presented Ings with a good opportunity early in the second half, but his shot lacked any sort of power; fortunately the home back line still had another error in them, with Coady the most culpable as his missed header allowed Ings a run through on goal, and this time he accepted the present. It looked like three points were ready and waiting but the lead only lasted eight minutes as a determined run into the box by half time sub Doherty was ended by an unnecessary challenge from Højbjerg, and this time Jiminéz wasn’t to be denied by the obligatory VAR review as it gave him the all-clear to put his penalty beyond Gunn. For the first time Saints found themselves under pressure and it was a bit of a surprise that Ralph chose to change things with an attacking move, introducing Boufal for Valery before also reverting to a back four. We began to look more stable but only a Ward-Prowse free kick seriously troubled Patrício despite match stats showing a healthy 14 shots on goal, including five on target.
LSSC Man of the Match: Ryan Bertrand, although his left side partnership with Redmond has yet to threaten as it did last term.