|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Maya Yoshida celebrates as 10-man Southampton keep out West Ham
Alan Smith at St Mary's Stadium
Date Published Saturday 6 February 2016 19.35 GMT
Another clean sheet and, most important, another win for Southampton. Victor Wanyama’s avoidable sending-off in the 54th minute meant they had to withstand a barrage of West Ham United pressure but the resurgence of Ronald Koeman’s team since the turn of the year shows no sign of abating thanks to Maya Yoshida’s early goal.
This victory made it 13 points from the last 15 and suddenly a top-six place is in Southampton’s sights. They have still not conceded since Fraser Forster made his return from injury against Watford five games ago and for all the talk about Jack Butland competing with Joe Hart for England’s No1 shirt, the Saints keeper has surely wrestled his way back into the reckoning.
Koeman said of Forster: “The goalkeeper deserves a lot of credit but the team showed spirit and an example of how to defend with 11 against 10. They had a lot of crosses, shots outside the box but I was comfortable with how we defended today.”
Slaven Bilic was disappointed by his team’s inability to threaten Forster sufficiently and another slow start that ultimately defined the contest. The West Ham manager said: “We were the better team for three-quarters of the game. But they were better in the first 10 to 15 minutes and we helped them a lot. We have to give them credit as well, they defended well. I am really disappointed – it was a great opportunity for us and we shouldn’t have wasted it like that.”
Southampton started like a team on a mission, capitalising on West Ham’s sluggish beginning and deservedly taking the lead after nine minutes. They could have broken the deadlock a minute earlier when Adrián denied Cédric Soares’s header after the wing-back ghosted in unnoticed.
The goal, though, was worth waiting for. Jordy Clasie overhit a corner on the left and the ball was retrieved by Wanyama on the opposite flank. A passing triangle with José Fonte and Sadio Mané developed before Wanyama fed a low ball towards the six-yard box. It took a slight deflection but Yoshida was on hand to tuck it home from close range.
It took almost half an hour for West Ham to get a sight of goal, only for Forster to produce an outstanding reaction save to deny Winston Reid from five yards. That was the closest they came. Reid glanced a Dimitri Payet corner wide approaching half-time and Enner Valencia was denied by Forster six minutes into the second half but when Wanyama stupidly scissored through Payet minutes later, receiving a straight red card, the initiative was very much handed to the visitors.
The Kenyan had been doing a superb job in keeping West Ham’s star player quiet but after losing control of the ball he also lost his head and swung in needlessly from behind. There was no malice but it was certainly careless and Payet was lucky to escape without serious injury.
“I don’t mind sliding,” Bilic said. “When I played it was a big part of my game – I like it when it’s clear and honest and fair on the ball. But for me as soon as the second leg comes into the challenge it gives the referee a really good reason. There is no point for the second leg and it was reckless.”
Koeman believed it was harsh but would not criticise Mark Clattenburg, who is “one of the best referees”. Koeman will still sit down with Wanyama and discuss his third dismissal of the campaign. “That’s not good because you have to learn from mistakes. I will speak with Victor. I didn’t after game because everybody was so happy about the result.”
Ten minutes after Southampton were reduced to 10 men, Shane Long could have made life a lot easier for them when capitalising on James Collins’s misjudgment of a long ball but skied his shot.
From that juncture West Ham’s pressure was relentless, yet Southampton’s blockade remained impenetrable. Alex Song swung tamely wide twice, Emmanuel Emenike, making his debut from the bench, headed off target and Valencia had an effort blocked by Carroll.
Southampton were still a potent force on the counterattack and Charlie Austin should have wrapped things up three minutes from time when fed by Oriol Romeu. Koeman said: “Even down to 10 men we had the best chances to score.”
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE from Sam Cunningham ST MARY'S STADIUM
Southampton (5-2-2-2): Forster 7; Cedric Soares 6.5, Yoshida 7.5, Van Dijk 7, Jose Fonte 7, Bertrand 6.5; Clasie 7 (Ward-Prowse 90), Wanyama 4.5; Mane 6.5 (Romeu 56 6), Long 6.5; Pelle 5.5 (Austin 72 6)
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Tadic, Martina, Juanmi
Manager: Ronald Koeman 7
Sent off: Wanyama
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Adrian 6; Tomkins 6 (Byram 63 6), Reid 6.5, Collins 6, Cresswell 6; Song 5, Noble 6; Moses 6 (Carroll 61 6), Payet 5.5, Antonio 6 (Emenike 73 6); Valencia 6
Subs not used: Randolph, Obiang, O’Brien, Oxford
Manager: Slaven Bilic 5
Booked: Valencia, Byram
Referee: Mark Clattenburg 6
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