Manchester United Away Drew 0 – 0
A Sunday lunchtime kick off at Manchester United meant an overnight stay for many, and the chance to join the Lineker support crowd at MotD HQ in Salford – but, heck, the pubs were open. So only a matchday trip to Manchester’s dockland where Southampton lined up with Perraud restored and amid fears of a backlash from United’s humiliation at Anfield. The home team, though, threatened mostly on the break so Saints had plenty of possession to trouble them, notably with a header from Walcott that was maybe met too well, allowing de Gea to save. Then, on 34 minutes, Casemiro launched into a challenge on Alcaraz that was going to produce a yellow card until VAR persuaded Mr. Taylor to upgrade to red. A man short and with Fernandes preoccupied with trying to referee the match himself, Ward-Prowse and Lavia were running the game so coach ten Hag replaced Weghorst with McTominay before the break, but still with little effect. A goal-line clearance by Wan-Bissaka prevented McTominay putting through his own goal before Ward-Prowse clipped the bar with a free kick that the player clearly thought had been going in – he had earlier come close with the Casemiro incident free kick that was deflected agonisingly close to the post. Then Walcott found himself clear but after running further than he has for some years he tried a difficult finish to try to beat de Gea but was again foiled by the keeper. Surely Saints were going to make the numerical advantage count? They were, though, close to being rocked back when Fernandes woke up and fired a shot that struck the inside of the post and rolled dead on the other side of the goal; a corner was awarded and indeed limited TV coverage confirmed that there was a very good fingertip save by Bazunu. Not to be outdone, Walker-Peters cut inside and fired a left foot shot against the woodwork, which was to be the closest we came to a goal, and the late inclusion of Tall Paul did little other than induce the precautionary introduction of Maguire. As Nathan Jones famously observed, it isn’t always easy playing against ten men, but Southampton could well have come away with a win here, threatened only by Fernandes’ shot and some increasingly hysterical penalty appeals.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
8. James Ward-Prowse. His best display of the season, i.m.h.o.
35. Jan Bednarek, at the heart of a defence who all performed well – including Bazunu!
45. Romeo Lavia. We know he’s good; so now do potential suitors with big bucks to spend.