Saints take another point


Southampton drew for a third Premier League match in succession, as they played out a 0-0 stalemate with West Ham United at St Mary’s.

In a game where chances proved hard to come by for both sides, neither was able to find the breakthrough and each had to settle for a share of the spoils, although substitute Armando Broja twice went close to winning it for the hosts late on when his shot from distance struck the post before seeing a header cleared off the line in added time.

For Saints, it meant a fourth game unbeaten across all competitions, while it also represented a first clean sheet of the season in the league, and, given the start made to the season by their opponents, who came into the fixture second in the table, Ralph Hasenhüttl will likely view it as a creditable result.

The Southampton manager made two changes from the side that had drawn 2-2 at Newcastle ahead of the international break, as Romain Perraud was restored at left-back and Nathan Redmond was handed a first Premier League start of the season, meaning Kyle Walker-Peters and Ché Adams dropped to the bench. They were joined there by new signing Lyanco, as the Brazilian defender made his debut in the matchday squad.

Adam Armstrong led the line on his own, with Redmond wide right, Moussa Djenepo on the left and Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Ward-Prowse in advanced central positions, as Saints started in a 4-1-4-1 shape.

Redmond was architect of the game’s first opportunity, taking a pass from Tino Livramento on halfway and driving forward before sliding a pass towards the corner of the area for Armstrong. The striker reached it and sent a first-time effort towards goal, but Lukasz Fabianski was well-positioned to get down for a fairly comfortable save.

Other than that, it was a quiet start to the game, with a further ten minutes passing before West Ham had the next chance.

It came after Oriol Romeu was judged to have fouled Saïd Benrahma, sliding in from behind as he strode towards the area, with referee David Coote duly showing the Saints midfielder a yellow card. It presented a good opportunity for Aaron Cresswell from a few yards outside the box, but his free-kick went into the wall before he then smashed the rebound high and wide.

On 21 minutes, Djenepo threatened back at the other end, receiving a pass into the area from Elyounoussi, working the ball onto his right foot and sending a shot that was bending towards the far top corner, but only for its trajectory to see it clip the top of Craig Dawson’s head and fly behind for a corner that came to nothing.

Aside from a dangerous Perraud delivery that flashed across the six-yard box before being turned behind by Cresswell, and a Djenepo snap-shot from the resulting corner that went well over, that proved to be the last action of any note in the first half.

The second began a little brighter, though, and Alex McCarthy had to make a good stop from Michail Antonio within two minutes of the restart, diving low to his left to keep out an effort from the West Ham forward that may have been creeping just inside the post, as he sent in a strike from 18 yards.

As it turned out, there was probably as much action in the first six or seven minutes of the second half as there was in the entirety of the first, as a frantic 30 seconds saw a dangerous Jarrod Bowen corner somehow elude a host of players six yards out, before Saints retrieved the ball and broke swiftly, with Redmond ultimately seeing one shot blocked before then firing wide from an angle after being played back in by Djenepo.

A first change of the afternoon arrived after that, as Romeu was taken off and Ibrahima Diallo sent on, with Ward-Prowse dropping into the deeper of the midfield positions and Diallo taking the one higher up the pitch vacated by the captain’s switch.

After Tomas Soucek headed over from a Benrahma cross on 56 minutes, Armstrong did likewise from a Perraud delivery into the near post five minutes later, as both sides looked for the breakthrough.

West Ham then came close to getting it on 68 minutes, as a ball into the area ricocheted around before dropping to Bowen, who saw his left-footed volley tipped over by McCarthy.

Stephens and Antonio went into the book shortly after, following an off-the-ball tussle out on the wing, which ended with the West Ham striker flinging Stephens to the ground, before Declan Rice was also cautioned for a foul on Livramento.

Hasenhüttl made another substitution with 17 minutes left on the clock, as Broja, fresh from scoring in back-to-back games for Albania over the international break, came on for his home debut in place of Armstrong.

The 20-year-old proved an immediate threat, bursting down the right and almost setting up Elyounoussi, before going inches away from breaking the deadlock on 81 minutes, powering forward on a solo break up the pitch, shifting the ball onto his right foot 25 yards out and sending a low shot across goal flush against the base of the post.

Diallo then had a sniff of a chance soon after, spinning and shooting over from a tight angle inside the area, as Saints mounted a late charge, with Broja then seeing a header from a Ward-Prowse corner cleared off the line by Rice as the match went into five minutes of added time.

The goal wouldn't come, though, with the sides remaining locked at 0-0 as Coote blew for full-time, with the referee showing a second yellow to Antonio – for a late challenge on Djenepo – moments before bringing proceedings to a close.