Bournemouth Home Lost 0 – 1
Manager Sellés seems to be keeping everyone on their toes by springing the occasional surprise, and against Bournemouth it was to replace Bazunu with McCarthy. One of the reasons the game is so popular is that it’s easy to seem as knowledgeable as the pros, but the reality is that the coaches get paid so much because they do know what they’re doing. And yet… with three head coaches this season, and recruitment staff who also ignored the obvious in January, why did it take so long for this particular penny to drop? Further forward, the pattern was so depressingly familiar: following a spirited away performance, the team totally fail to press on at home, and, as usual, after a promising opening. Here, the Alcaraz/Walcott axis combined as they had at Arsenal, but Walcott was forced inside to shoot with his left and Neto made a sharp, but expected, save, and then Adam Armstrong forced Neto into action at the foot of his post. The visitors aren’t much cop themselves, but somehow Saints then sat back and let them into the game, even finding the net, but with Solanke offside – albeit closer than first seemed. This was still an important game, and with Bournemouth now in the ascendency, it was promising that Rubén, unusually, made a substitution at the break – but then we found that it was Ward-Prowse going off, replaced by Lyanco! This set off theories about an almighty row, which does sound plausible, but they say JW-P was sick, and we have to believe that, don’t we? This second change of the night (Perraud already off injured) didn’t improve things as Tavernier was shepherded inside by Ćaleta-Car but no colleague thought about preventing the full back getting in a shot, which he duly did, and past McCarthy. On came Stuart Armstrong and Adams for Elyounoussi and Walcott, and eventually Sulemana for Adam Armstrong, but it was only in the closing stages that an equaliser looked possible. Indeed we thought it had come when the remaining Armstrong set up Adams for a powerful finish, but VAR intervened before the restart, having found that Adams’ big toe had crossed the virtual red offside line.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from. Yes, really! This time we’ll go with the BBC ratings, mainly because that means two of the three played for less than half an hour!
10. Ché Adams. BBC score 4.74.
17. Stuart Armstrong. BBC score 4.8.
45. Roméo Lavia. BBC score 4.58.
For the avoidance of doubt, those scores are out of ten. And they were our best.