Newcastle Home Won 2 – 0 Top of the Premier League
Might have to change the rules of 0-9 Bingo after Sky’s commentator got in his reference to Ralph’s darkest hour 30 seconds before the game against Newcastle had even started. The manager has been downplaying the seriousness of Danny’s injury but our leading scorer will be missing for several weeks at best, with the obvious replacement duly made – Walcott deployed down the middle. You would have thought that would have meant a recall for Redmond but instead Djenepo came in – a surprising choice, especially given that Stephens was playing out of position at left back, but maybe that was the point as Bertrand’s contribution up front would be missed: in Ralph we trust. It was Ings who was really missed as the visiting defence just about held firm after Adams lashed home a 8th minute opener following a successful press and good work by Walcott. Close calls that included Walcott shooting just wide, Bednarek’s effort cleared off the line and Romeu having a shot tipped onto the bar kept a one-sided game still in the balance when Newcastle made a late double substitution that threatened the status quo as it included our old foe Andy Carroll. Realistically the visitors weren’t looking that much like getting near enough to goal for him to do any damage but Saints soon made the game safe anyway when Sean Longstaff was caught in possession and Armstrong added the second. Well safe-ish, with a wonky period of added time at Villa Park fresh in the memory, and indeed McCarthy was forced into serious action for the only time when he produced a very good save to deny another sub, Joelinton – but a third for dominant Southampton was a much more likely change to a scoreline that was satisfactory enough anyway at 2-0. So worth forking out a tenner for a 24 hour Sky Sports pass, with IPL cricket, both rugby codes, GAA games and even netball also on offer if you got your timing right. You could even have seen some more football… but it wouldn’t have involved the Premier League leaders, would it? According to the BBC, Southampton are now the 28th club to top the P.L., but sadly not the first from Hampshire. “Anything’s possible” according to Ralph. Please don’t let them go and do anything truly memorable until we’re allowed back in the stadiums again.
Man of the Match: Che Adams. Maybe not the best player on the pitch but he performed better than expected in the absence of Ings, and getting the first goal was vital.