EFL Carabao Cup Quarter Final Manchester City Home Won 2 – 0
I reckon you could put the names of the first team squad into four hats (goalkeeper, defence, midfield, attack) and whichever eleven are drawn out would form a credible team – no-one isn’t expendable. It helps if Lavia is one of those selected and Jones-the-boss included him, via more scientific methods, to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. Djenepo also made the starting XI and was prominent in a bright home opening but it was another returnee, Mara, who gave the side a 23rd minute lead with an excellent finish from a low cross by Lyanco, included as full back to scare Grealish – successfully, as it happens. Soon afterwards, a smart turn by Lavia opened things up and he was able to find Djenepo who punished goalkeeper Ortega’s dodgy positioning with a shot that sailed over him and into the net. Two-nil to the underdogs, but still a lot of football to be played against the serial League Cup winners. City, though, were well off their game, nonplussed by Southampton’s aggression, to be fair, and they failed to manage a serious threat in the opening period. De Bruyne was amongst three subs introduced by Pep at the break and immediately he set up World Cup winner Alvarez for a chance that should have been taken but ended up off target. In fact the visitors failed to manage anything that was on target through the whole game, with Bazunu’s late save adjudged to have been from a deflection off Salisu. It didn’t take long for De Bruyne to fall into the same malaise as his colleagues and even the introduction of Haaland on 56 minutes and the withdrawal of Lavia with a worrying-looking injury on 62 didn’t make any difference. Southampton’s possession level was just 28% but it seemed more, and they looked likely scorers every time they went forward, while their opponents failed to control the ball in crucial areas and only in the closing stages could they manage any concerted pressure. This was by far the team’s best performance of the season and may be based around a change of tactics involving Ward-Prowse whose form improved markedly in a more advanced role – but all of our players were in their best form for a long time and we even had a newly signed international, Mislav Oršić, to cheer on in the last few moments.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
2. Kyle Walker-Peters who was solid at left back for 2/3 of the game but finished on the right, sometimes rampaging down the right, after Perraud came on.
4. Lyanco Vojnovic, whose no-nonsense defending epitomised Southampton’s last line on the night – and he also managed a key assist.
45. Roméo Lavia, who brings much-needed class to the team. His fragility, though, is becoming a concern.