Burnley Away Lost 2 – 0
Ralph was asked about the new manager effect before our visit to Burnley and admitted that it may change his expectations of this opponent – nevertheless he went with an unaltered line-up which was the sort that seemed ideal to face a Sean Dyche team anyway. It all began well enough as Romeu spurned a headed chance and Walker-Peters promised success as Saints’ wing backs enjoyed more licence to push forward than they had against Arsenal. Unfortunately it then began to go wrong after just 12 minutes when Roberts curled a fine shot past Forster. Going behind was bound to put pressure on the current preferred formation but although Romeu again missed a header, we were grateful for the extra defender, an in-form ‘keeper and a helpful goalpost as the home side pushed on. They eventually added a second first half goal as our excess of centre backs failed to cope with a corner and Collins ended up heading home, with Forster claiming to be obstructed by players who were also offside – VAR looked at that but found nothing wrong, it was more a case of FF being pre-occupied with pushing Cork out of his way. Early changes were expected at the break, but we had to wait until the 66th minute to see Adams and Redmond. We shouldn’t have had to wait much longer than that for a goal but Adams shot straight at Pope with probably his first touch and he should also have taken another opportunity as Saints now asked more questions, but when the ball next found the net, it was from a Burnley player and we needed VAR, not the line-o, to rule either J-Rod or Cork offside. A feature of the closing stages was how the home side seem to have developed a novel method of defending: a player has to go down holding his head in the penalty area and if the ball is still in the box when play is halted, it seems it restarts not with it dropped for the team in possession but for the goalkeeper. Who knew? On the second of these occasions, and with Saints well placed, Collins didn’t even need treatment and so stayed on the pitch. It infuriated Southampton and left a bad taste in the mouth about Burnley – I hope they go down, just for that.
LSSC Man of the Match: Fraser Forster, for the third successive game. I think that must be unprecedented as I usually try to spread it around a bit.