3 things learned - Southampton, West Ham in stalemate
Southampton - West Ham was a tight encounter at St Mary’s as both teams failed to create many clear openings and shared the spoils.
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Saints had a goal disallowed in the first half as Danny Ings finished but was offside, while Said Benrahma was a denied a late winner after Alex McCarthy saved well.
A second goalless draw for Saints moves them on to 26 points, while West Ham have 23 points and the teams sit in ninth and tenth place in the table respectively.
Three things we learned
1. Goal-shy Saints lack confidence: Three games without a goal and two 0-0 draws in a row say it all. Saints have run out of steam and attacking creativity in recent weeks. Perhaps it is the busy festive period impacting their small squad, or perhaps it is because they are more likely to keep the ball and build from the back instead of using their high-press as they don’t want to get caught on the counter.
2. Lackluster Hammers back to basics: This was a typical David Moyes display. West Ham were set up to defend, stay in the game and then go for it for the final 25 minutes. They did just that and looked the more likely to win it late on. This won’t inspire West Ham’s fans, but Moyes has a clear plan and they are set for a top 10 finish this season rather than the relegation battle of last season. With Antonio back from injury and Benrahma settling in well, perhaps they can show more creativity in the second half of he season.
3. Ings needs help: Early on a lovely piece of control, a deft dribble and finish from Ings looked to have put Southampton 1-0 up, but Che Adams was just offside in the build up. It was a shame, as they would have sparked Saints into life. Instead, their early flourish was as good as it go. Ings needs help up top, as Adams has lost his form, Shane Long doesn’t offer much and Moussa Djenepo and Theo Walcott tried their best to get close to Ings but couldn’t link up with Saints’ star striker. His return from injury is a huge boost but now Saints need players to step up to support him.
Man of the Match: Craig Dawson - A first clean sheet in seven for West Ham, and that coincided with his Hammers debut. Dawson is a savvy center back and used all of his experience to keep Ings quiet.
Southampton had a great chance early on, but he was offside as he shot straight at Lukasz Fabianski.
Ings had the ball in the net after some fine work as he controlled, dribbled and finished superbly, but Che Adams was offside in the buildup.
West Ham had a few chances from set piece situations as Thomas Soucek was as dangerous as always.
Ings nearly finished at the near post as Walcott crossed, as Saints continued to click through the gears. Ryan Fredericks then nodded in on goal as West Ham grew into the game.
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The Saints were on top at the start of the second half, as Oriol Romeu flashed a shot over the bar.
Walcott smashed a shot from distance on goal which tested Fabianski who saved well as Ings lurked.
Soucek then headed on target when he was left unmarked at the back post as the game opened up late on.
West Ham looked the most likely to win it as Alex McCarthy denied Benrahma with a brilliant stop from close range.