Manchester City Home Lost 0 – 1
The virus mutation does seem to be creeping nearer to us, but Southampton remained one of four Premier Leaguers still allowed spectators as Manchester City became the latest visitors – in fact Portsmouth (and most of the London area for that matter) were announced as moving to hitherto unheard of tiers of restriction whilst the match was underway. Ralph made a change to his regular XI, recalling Djenepo to replace Armstrong – is the Scot fully fit? After the game, he was faced with further selection problems for upcoming fixtures, but hopes were high at the beginning of the game, especially with the team starting brightly. That’s not the usual approach adopted against a team of Galácticos and City were pressing us back by the time they scored on 16 minutes; not a lot the defence could have done to prevent it, I think, with Sterling choosing a bad time for us to show that he can finish decisively, after a good assist from DeBruyne. Saints have plenty of confidence these days and were not over-run in the way they might have been in not so distant days, but they suffered a couple of blows before the interval. Firstly referee Dean was given an opportunity to caution Romeu – something he had probably been waiting 38 minutes for, and although the midfielder has spent plenty of game time on a booking, this one means he will miss the next match. Within minutes Ings went down with the ball nowhere near and was immediately substituted to protect what has been diagnosed as a hamstring problem, something which may have been aggravated when he stretched to get on the end of Ederson’s parry of a Walker-Peters shot. In my commuting days I’d always been amused listening to schoolkids criticising tactical decisions made by some of the world’s greatest coaches, and who am I to repeat the fault in respect of our very own Ralph? Nevertheless, with no less than nine subs to choose from, on came Tella to take Danny’s place, based on a single 90 minute scoring spree for the U23s; as the game went on, it became obvious that one of several other options would have been better. Tella escaped the ignominy of the sub being subbed but by the end the attack was being led by Tella and N’Lundulu – this against a set of international defenders. Tella had provided the best opportunity for an equaliser with a cross that forced Stones into an uncontrolled clearance that could have gone straight in and almost fell for Adams to head home. Chances in front of City’s goal proved scarce, though, and in the end we were thankful for the visiting attack’s profligacy on the break which kept the game interesting until the death.
LSSC Man of the Match: Theo Walcott, who had his most effective game since returning.
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