Southampton v West Ham
27th December 2018
Redmond's scrambled goal was not a thing of beauty
IBO Reporter : Spot51
There are few things you can rely upon in life but Newton’s Third Law of Motion “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is always sound. For an apparently unfit and under-trained Saints squad, the impact of new boss Ralph the Rabbit-Hutch propelled them towards consecutive PL victories for the first time in ages. The reaction arrived on the last Thursday of 2018 when a big and surprisingly classy West Ham side made Saints look shagged out and out-classed.
With no “Big 6” side involved, Sky allowed just 15m of intro (including umpteen betting ads) but at least we were entertained by Le Tiss as studio guest with his mixture of love for Saints and stark realism. Hammers were (apparently) missing 10 first teamers and were obliged to deploy Antonio at right back. Perez led their frontline. Saints set up as 3-4-3 with Ings, Redmond and Armstrong up front. Craig Pawson was the referee.
The game began with Saints pressing and Armstrong and Targett engineered an early chance for Redmond which Fabianski saved. Next Ings took a shot which flew wide. But West Ham soon settled and their hard-running players began to dominate possession. The won a couple of early corners which came to naught but Saints were now struggling to build any significant moves.
On 12m we finally mounted another attack. Armstrong found Redmond but Lemina got in his way and the chance disappeared. West Ham finally got a shot on target on 19m when Snodgrass drew a save from McC. On 22m a lovely Cresswell cross found Perez but his awful miss flew wide. Then Antonio’s incisive run set up Anderson but he too missed the mark.
The 2nd quarter was littered by possession being exchanged and tasty tackles flying in. Lemina was getting little change from Rice who let little past him all evening. After another run by Antonio the ball broke to Cresswell whose cross was knocked out for another corner. Snodgrass’s kick was cleared.
On 32m Saints got forward through Targett. His pass sought Redmond but Fabianski claimed it. Then Vestergaard drove forward impressively but although his pass found Valery down the right, the Frenchman’s touch let him down. Back came the Hammers. A foul on Antonio gave them a shooting chance but Anderson’s effort was off-target. The Brazilian seemed to be having a bad night as his next flighted pass sailed into touch.
The final minutes of the half saw both teams mount attacks but it was the away side coming closest. On 43m the lively Antonio unleashed a fierce shot which, pleasingly, hit a team mate and went out for a goal kick. There was still time for West Ham to break up another Saints move and play in Snodgrass but he too missed the target. HT = 0-0.
Le Tiss reckoned Saints bossed the first 5m but West Ham dominated the next 40! At least Saints restarted on the front foot with Targett getting down the left. Sadly his cross was calmly chested down by Cresswell for his keeper to grab.
Our next attack was more successful. Valery found Lemina whose cross dropped for Romeu. The Spaniard poked the ball goal-wards and it came back off Fabianski. Who the ball hit next I couldn’t see, but it rolled past the keeper and the prostrate Redmond bundled it over the line. There were appeals: Offside? Handball? Mr Pawson saw no infringement so Saints went 1-0 up.
West Ham equalised almost immediately. Their £40M Brazilian Anderson had looked out-of-sorts before the break but had sadly found his shooting boots for the second half. West Ham worked the ball to him and his long-range screamer flew past McCarthy at his near post: 53m and 1-1.
A minute later Andy Carroll came on. His first contribution was to elbow Romeu. The commentator was surprised he didn’t get a yellow card, but pundit Andy Hinchcliffe thought it deserved a straight red!
Saints went forward with Armstrong winning a corner which Targett took. The ref ignored Rice throwing Bednarek to the ground as the ball came over. West Ham cleared the ball, broke upfield and delivered a perfect pass to Anderson who blasted the ball past the helpless McCarthy. 60M and 1-2.
Long replaced Ings and the referee turned down appeals for a WHU penalty when Snodgrass went over in our box. Saints went in search of an equaliser but won only corners. Fabianski enjoyed the catching practice as the crosses landed in his gloves.
The referee had let plenty go, but booked Targett for next to nothing on 66m. Bednarek headed the free kick away allowing Lemina to move forward – and give the ball away. West Ham continued to test our defence but when we got forward, Long was nowhere near the crosses put into their box. Hinchcliffe reckoned Charlie Austin would have got on the end of them...
Finally, on 75m Long and Redmond set up a clear chance for Lemina but Fabianski saved – then the flag went up. Saints kept trying but kept wasting corners. On 78m Noble replaced Perez and on 80M Charlie was on for Yoshida with Saints reverting to a back four. Then Bednarek was carded for a foul on Carroll – pull the other one FFS!
The last few minutes were scrappy, but West Ham remained dangerous. Antonio made another lung-bursting run before firing wide. Elyounoussi replaced Lemina on 87m before McCarthy stopped Anderson making off with the match-ball by saving his shot.
In the 4 added minutes West ham killed the game wherever possible. Saints mounted one final attack but Valery’s cross sailed too close to Fabianski, who gleefully grabbed it. And that was that - Ralph’s first home defeat.
We looked out of sorts all over the park and could not match the movement of a surprisingly good West Ham side. The biggest difference was their £40M Brazilian whose second half performance demonstrated why the Pornographers had spent that much. Every report I saw made him Man of the Match and who am I to disagree?
A difficult evening of learning for French youngster, Valery
35 Bednarek - Booked 83'
3 Yoshida (Austin 80')
18 Lemina (Elyounoussi 87')
33 Targett - Booked 66'
9 Ings (Long 62')
45 Diangana (Carroll 55')
11 Snodgrass Masuaku 90'+2
8 Felipe Anderson
27 Pérez (Noble 78')
West Ham Subs
32 Costa Silva
Thursday 27th December
- Redmond 50'
- Felipe Anderson 53', 59'
Referee: Craig Pawson
- Southampton 46%
- West Ham 54%
- Southampton 11
- West Ham 16
Shots on Target
- Southampton 5
- West Ham 5
- Southampton 4
- West Ham 6
- Southampton 10
- West Ham 3