West Ham Home Drew 0 – 0
After the team drew a blank at Fulham (and didn’t play particularly well by all accounts) there was a surprisingly early return for Ings against West Ham, and an expected one for Romeu after suspension – but no place for still-injured Vestergaard and Redmond. This was back behind closed doors of course, doors that had to be closed to Manager Ralph in isolation, who maybe texted the team through to first lieutenant Richard Kitzbichler. As is their wont, Saints started by being all over their opponents and even had the ball in the net after just two minutes: Adams got clear down the right and pulled the ball back for Ings to burst through an ineffective tackle and slot the ball past Fabianski. A video review caused the strike to be ruled out, the third time the team have been denied by VAR in two games, but two of those, including this latest, were flagged offside on the pitch anyway. When West Ham eventually managed to break out, they maybe created the more ‘expected goal’ moments, but overall the opening half was shaded by the home side due to their positive opening. After the break, Saints began to struggle to make an impact and seemed to be missing Ralph’s patrols of his technical area; Richard K. didn’t look comfortable there – he didn’t even wear a cap! No doubt communications technology kept Ralph involved as Richard made the first change from the bench by bringing on Long for Adams, and later Armstrong for Djenepo, but David Moyes’ reactions by introducing Bowen, Benrahma and finally Antonio seemed more likely to bear fruit. Benrahma had the best opportunity to break the deadlock but was denied by excellent blocking by McCarthy, a scare that came far too close to the end for comfort, and I suspect most of us were grateful for the final whistle, even if it meant a third successive game without a goal to cheer. Herr Kitzbichler seems to have been to the same PR school as Claude Puel for the post match press sessions and his body language suggests he’ll welcome Ralph’s return as much as the rest of us.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Stephens. Definitely a game with defenders on top, but both full backs suffered cautions while Jack was the one trusted with playing the ball forward from the back, although not as effectively as Vestergaard.
That seems to be it from Amazon for the time being, and unless the BBC get involved or the pubs re-open for big screenings (and substantial meals), it’s “it” from me too. Feel free to tweet in your own observations to @londonsaints (whatever that means).