Brentford Away Lost 3 – 0
It’s noticeable that only one of Southampton’s five January acquisitions started against Brentford – Bree replacing Walker-Peters, who was unavailable anyway through injury. Oršić doesn’t look anywhere near good enough; Alcaraz, who has shown promise, at least made the bench where he was joined by Sulemana and Onuacho who we must assume were only available too late to be realistic starting contenders – but three league matches and five cup games were allowed to take place in January without them. With the best will in the world, you couldn’t say the chosen XI were coping well before the wheels came off just before half time. Seven minutes had passed when the Bees really should have taken the lead when Toney opened up that fragile defence but Wissa could only hit the angle of post and bar, having taken the ball round Bazunu. The near misses were all coming around Bazunu’s goal but it was still intact, and who knows what half-time rethinks from the Welsh Wizard might bring? Unfortunately we didn’t make it through to the break, thanks to some pretty naïve defending. On 41 minutes, Brentford’s long throw expert made his way over to the left, but, instead, an orthodox approach from the touchline caught out their opponents and Mee headed home Mbeumo’s inviting cross, incurring a nasty clash of heads with Salisu in the process. We could have done without that, but we didn’t expect to be two down before the half time oranges were cut… we were, though, thanks to Dasilva’s crossfield pass catching out Bree, who had been sucked inside by an absence of centre backs, and when Wissa crossed, Mbeumo scored the second with ease. Time for Sulemana and Onuacho to show what they can do following half time changes, and indeed Sulemana does look as if he can play a bit… but Onuacho could well move on to Blackpool where he can help out the donkeys giving rides on the beach. Alcaraz got his chance as well, one of two mid-half changes that also saw Walcott come on – and it has to be said that, again, Theo was one of our better players for the brief period he was on the pitch, and may well have scored, but for a desperate block, while also playing a part in the move that saw Adams head wide. Getting a toe hold in the game became irrelevant after the game had been secured by a third home goal, headed in unchallenged by Jensen as Salisu was pre-occupied looking for Toney while Bednarek was on zonal defence duties elsewhere. No surprise that the atmosphere in the visitors’ enclosure had already turned toxic, but most chose this moment to vote with their feet – and they didn’t miss much.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
3. Romain Perraud. He has played better – but that goes for all of the 17 players who featured.
8. James Ward-Prowse. At least there’s a 50:50 chance that he won the toss.
45. Roméo Lavia. They gave him 90 minutes against Blackpool, but he is being treated with care and only managed 65 here.