West Ham Home Drew 1 – 1
A turbulent week at Southampton with a backroom staffer departing in circumstances that looked odd, but no special changes on the pitch, with the manager’s faith continuing in his two Championship strikers, Adams and Adam Armstrong, in the line-up to face West Ham. There’s more fluidity in the midfield selections where the importance of the absences of Lavia (temporary) and Romeu (permanent) can’t be overlooked; Maitland-Niles was given Lavia’s role just in front of the back four, while Elyounoussi’s positive approach off the bench at Eastlands got him a start. Adams had the best chance in the early exchanges but once again the finish was found wanting after his own good work, but Saints did go ahead soon after. A variation to the Salisu medium-length throw came with Walker-Peters trying his luck with a throw-in that didn’t really go very far, and Perraud was able to strike the loose ball past Fabianski via a deflection. The visitors enjoyed a good old moan throughout, and there were lengthy complaints about the referee’s positioning stopping Bowen from making a challenge on Perraud: the rules aren’t necessarily fair, but they can’t be changed just to suit David Moyes and co. Adams was denied by Fabianski for a second time, but Southampton lost key defender Bella-Katchup just before the break that maybe came just at the right time as Scamacca was showing an unfailing ability to fire past Bazunu’s left hand upright, and Paquetá grazed the post with a header at the end of the move that saw for A B-K. You’re as likely to come across a herd of unicorns charging through the Bargate as witness a Southampton clean sheet and a good defensive stint was needed to protect the home goal as the Hammers sensed an opportunity, before the line was eventually breached on the hour when key player Rice curled a right foot shot past the keeper following good work on the left. Saints needed fresh legs and Ralph went for the nuclear option after 74 minutes, using all four of his remaining substitutions. Edozie threatened down the left and the effective Diallo went close with an unlikely snap shot, but in truth there was more home than away relief at the final whistle after our team had been pretty well outplayed in the second period.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
2. Kyle Walker-Peters who played a lot better than he had against Manchester City.
15. Romain Perraud. Of course a goal helps, even with an assist from the referee.
22. Mohammed Salisu who ended as the senior defender.