Leeds Home Won 1 – 0
Thanks to Mike Dean’s one-directional eagle eye, Ward-Prowse was suspended for the visit of Leeds – not necessarily a bad thing as JW-P hasn’t been at his best lately and now was an enforced moment to make Southampton less predictable. Adams was also missing thanks to an international duty injury – again no bad thing if it forced Ralph into playing Broja as a lone striker, which had seemed to be the tactically correct move anyway since we first saw his abilities. With an over-loaded midfield against a side deprived of Kalvin Phillips, Saints enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half, but we haven’t immediately become a free-flowing outfit, and the best opportunities seemed to be coming from set pieces – now taken by Redmond rather than the skipper, with Broja a willing target. After a Broja touch from a corner, Elyounoussi looked certain to break the deadlock at the far post but the ball just eluded him; TV suggests an ever so thin touch by a defender may have been the cause, but maybe that was just my eyes. The half time feeling was that this one might go the same way as the Wolves game, borne out by the sides’ performances in the opening period and a more positive approach by the visitors as the second one got under way. Then Saints struck, and with a thrilling break out of defence: Diallo broke up a Leeds attack, Djnepo took the ball forward and had the vision to find Redmond making a decisive run for Broja to finish off the low cross with aplomb. Now not making it beyond the nether reaches of MotD was actually desirable as the less excitement in the remaining 40 minutes, the better – the majority of the crowd wouldn’t have seen their team win ‘live’ since February 2020. Somewhat inevitably, Saints had a moment when they could have given it away, with Salisu the player most to blame as the defence somehow managed to let a hopeful punt forward cause havoc, but James fluffed the chance they gave him. Rapinha was on the sidelines following a very recent flight from Brazil and boss Bielsa had nothing else to rescue a very poor showing from his side while Ralph at last found a win to go with his fancy new touchline outfits.
LSSC Man of the Match: Armando Broja. It was going to be Salisu after I was persuaded that McCarthy was more to blame for the mix up that nearly cost two points – he wasn’t! Redmond was making positive decisions in a slightly changed role and maybe could have shared it with Broja.