Newcastle Home Lost 1 – 4
Injuries have disrupted a settled team, but against Newcastle another factor came into play: blind panic. A poor performance last time out saw for Lyanco so a left footed teenager, Larios, got the right back position while veteran Walcott made a surprise start instead of Aribo, although quite where he was supposed to be playing is still open to question. Larios lasted 34 minutes before injury saw him give way to Lavia (welcome back) as Maitland-Niles moved into defence. That looked to be a better formation, but the team hadn’t time to adjust to it before falling behind: Almirón is scoring for fun these days and even when out of form, he usually manages to do for Southampton, so no surprise when he gave his side the lead after a lucky bounce and possibly poor tackles by Salisu and/or Maitland-Niles – you decide. The visitors look more functional than top six class so there was still a chance of an equaliser but just before the break Elyounoussi made a mess of Stuart Armstrong’s inviting cross. In their last two games Saints had improved immensely after the interval and they made a bright start to the second period here, and that should have been profitable when unmarked Adams had plenty of time to line up a volley that crept past the post. Finishing has proved to be the coach-killer that it always looked like being, and almost immediately substitute Wood showed how to find the net when he fastened onto a loose ball. A two goal lead soon became three when Willock lead a breakaway and never looked like missing. A triple attacking substitution gave the home side a bit more impetus but the late withdrawal of the returning Bella-Kotchap was worrying. Perraud got round the back of Anderson to score a fine individual goal that should have been some late consolation, but everyone in the home defence seemed to be preparing for what must have been a difficult dressing room when they allowed Guimarães to score an even later goal to dampen the mood further. Those Premier League stats can be misleading but there has to be something to learn from Southampton having 16 shots at goal, 5 on target and one scoring, while Newcastle had 4 on target producing 4 goals. What’s a manager supposed to do about that? As we now know, contemplate his retirement, obviously.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
3. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, unless you find him at fault for the opening goal.
15. Romain Perraud, who was solid enough anyway before his goal.
45. Roméo Lavia – nice to have him back, for an hour or so at least.