Brentford Home Lost 0 – 2
It might be difficult to argue it through, but you could make a case for saying that Southampton would rather play the likes of Manchester United than, say, Brentford. A well-organised team with a tried and well-executed, maybe limited, plan causes problems that the creative side of our team finds difficult to solve and so it was that a prime opportunity to move not only off the bottom but out of the bottom three as well ended as many feared it would. I’m maybe doing Brentford an injustice as not only did the Bees limit Saints to a single shot on target but they posed a constant first half threat and could have been ahead before scoring just after the half hour. It’s well known that these opponents work hard on set pieces so the coaches would have been disappointed that we should be found simply looking on as Nørgaard touched on a near post corner for Toney to force home from very close range. It’s understandable that Saints like to protect Lavia: he’s only 19 and seems to be a bit fragile with it, having spent a considerable time out of the team through injury – but he isn’t a complete novice and, frankly, we look pretty rubbish without him (OK, we often look rubbish with him as well). Lavia eventually came into this game after 58 minutes, part of a double substitution that almost immediately became triple with Walker-Peters forced off through injury. By then the damage had been done with Brentford now doing their best just about within the laws to make sure they held on to their advantage and the sole home shot on target had come and gone. It fell to Adams in the six yard box after a considerable assist by Walker-Peters, but Raya saved the first-time effort. An alleged crowd of over 30,000 (there was nowhere near that many in the stadium) were starting to drift away before a swift break out of defence saw Toney head the ball on to Wissa who secured his team’s victory in the 7th minute of added time; the ground emptied very rapidly after that.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
2. Kyle Walker-Peters, despite only limited playing time.
8. James Ward-Prowse. The first of the regular go-to guys in the short list.
35. Jan Bednarek. In recent weeks, he’s been the second one.