London Saints

Aston Villa Away Lost 1 – 0

An autumnal evening at Villa Park for Saints fans to rediscover the logistical challenges of Friday night football but on the pitch there was a familiar feel to the Southampton line-up although Aribo was relegated to the bench, confirming my view that I hold the player in higher regard than the coach who continued in the belief that he can still make a Premier League player out of Adam Armstrong. I’m usually happy enough with a slow start, especially as it’s often better to grow into a game, but Saints never got out of second gear in this one, and even that was only in rare moments of successive passes. Somehow they got it in their heads that Salisu pumping long balls forward for Mings and Konsa to gobble up was our best attacking option: a strategy that was flawed in both concept and execution and the match stat that shows a single Southampton shot on target seems generous as no-one seemed able to recall that particular moment of excitement. To be honest, Aston Villa weren’t all that much better but they comfortably outplayed us in every department and were the only ones to display any serious threat on goal before scoring just before the break. That followed an unfortunate pattern set at Wolverhampton and where the only goal might be put down to a goalkeeping error. This one definitely was one as Bazunu made a hash of what should have been a regulation tip over the bar from Watkins’ header and Ramsey sent the rebound into the roof of the net. There was a brief moment of hope as VAR reviewed the move as Ramsey was clearly in an offside position as the original cross came in, but apparently that doesn’t matter. Aribo (for Diallo) and Lariso (on debut, for injured Perraud) came on at the break, but that only left Ward-Prowse having to do the work of two in the centre, and, to be honest, he’s not in great form anyhow. We needed more, so on came Stuart Armstrong, Mara and finally Edozie to try to provide it, but with no real effect on overall performance. Our opponents introduced Ings to receive particularly foul-mouthed abuse for ‘one of our own’ and with Bazunu upfield for a late corner, he had the chance to shoot into an empty net, albeit from wide on the half way line: the closest he came to any woodwork was the corner flagpole, and that rather summed up a truly awful game – the worst of the season, said Ralph, before adding, rather worryingly, “so far.”

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:

2. Kyle Walker-Peters. It had to be one of the defensive unit…

22. Mohammed Salisu… who lasted the whole game…

37. Armel Bella-Kotchap… and not responsible for the goal.

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