West Ham v Southampton
4th May 2019
Fraser Forster was not someone I expected to see in goal for Saints again. He can’t have enjoyed his afternoon much
IBO Reporter : channonite
Well, this was a let-down after the Bournemouth game. Having secured Premier League safety, it was no surprise to see Hasenhüttl experiment. The trouble was, Saints were hit by injuries and illness at the heart of the defence. We already knew that Vestergaard was out for the rest of the season and then we find out that Yoshida's viral illness is more debilitating than expected. So, the manager was left with just Bednarek and Stephens as CBs. Into this mix, he decided to give Fraser Forster a go in goal. So, a goalkeeper that hasn't played since the relief of Mafeking (in the Boer War, if you were wondering) and a seriously weakened defence in front of him, together with Elyounoussi brought back in to give Redmond a rest. What could possibly go wrong?
To begin with Saints did look quite bright, with Elyounoussi, Ings and Armstrong looking quite a potent attacking force. This didn't last all that long, before West Ham made the breakthrough. When it came, it was through a mistake. The otherwise excellent Yan Valery, who has been a revelation so far this season, sent a terrible pass, which was intercepted by one of my pet hates - Mark Noble. Quick as a flash he fed Arnautović with a superb defence splitting pass and the Austrian made no mistake in slotting the ball past Forster. 1-0. Easy.
It would also be easy to say that Forster should have saved the shot, but in truth there was not much he could have done. As if to underline the point, he then made two saves from former Saint, Michael Antonio before half time. So, at least we were only one down at the end of 45 minutes.
There was a change for the second half, with Redmond replacing Ings and the formation changing from 4-2-2-2 to 4-3-3. This had an immediate effect with Saints pushing West Ham back and Redmond looking very sharp on the right, with Armstrong on the left and Long in the middle. A pressured West Ham conceded several corners in this part of the game and it was from one of these that Redmond had a shot spectacularly tipped over by Fabiański in the West Ham goal.
Shortly after this, Ward-Prowse replaced Armstrong, but almost immediately West Ham scored again. Masuaku came racing down Saints right and shot at an acute angle, which Forster could only punch clear. Unfortunately, the ball hit Arnautović on the shoulder and shot up in the air, when it came back down the Hammers No7 just had to nod it into the net. 2-0 and neither of them down to Forster, rather a lack of support from his defenders was to blame.
The third goal followed three minutes later, with some great individual play from Fredericks and some rank bad play from Stephens and Bednarek, compounded by Forster looking like a statue in the goalmouth. 3-0.
There was just time for Arnautović to fire wide, missing out on a hat trick, before the referee brought an end to the game.
Apart from the third goal I don't think that Forster did much wrong all afternoon, which was surprising, given that he has effectively been out of the game since December 2017. I don't think he is in danger of displacing Gunn, but it might have some ramifications for which goalkeepers we see at Southampton next season.
That was the last away game and we only have the home match against the already relegated Huddersfield left. A generally disappointing season on the road, but with Hasenhüttl in charge, the next campaign should be far more exciting. Providing he gets the players he needs.
Oh yes, MoM? You must be joking!
A Saint of now and the future in Yan Valery, up against an ex-Saint, Antonio
16 Noble (C Sánchez 78')
45 Diangana (Wilshere 68')
10 Lanzini - Booked 63' (Pérez 83')
17 Armstrong (Ward-Prowse 67')
18 Lemina (Romeu 75' - Booked 80')
9 Ings (Redmond 45')
West Ham Subs
15 C Sánchez
Saturday 4th May
- Arnautovic 16', 69'
- Fredericks 72'
Referee: Stuart Attwell
- West Ham 56%
- Southampton 44%
- West Ham 17
- Southampton 11
Shots on Target
- West Ham 6
- Southampton 1
- West Ham 2
- Southampton 7
- West Ham 2
- Southampton 11