With Premier League survival secured following the entertaining 3-3 draw with Bournemouth last weekend, Saturday’s action saw Southampton head to the London Stadium to face West Ham United in our penultimate top flight clash of 2018/19.
Whilst there was nothing in particular riding on the game, it wasn’t quite a dead rubber as manager Ralph Hasenhuttl would’ve wanted the win to further boost confidence and ensure we go into the summer with some momentum.
The starting XI was quite surprising and it seems Hasenhuttl went the other way and decided to try and put some players in the shop window as we saw recalls for Fraser Forster, Jack Stephens and Mohamed Elyounoussi, but West Ham took a pretty comfortable 3-0 victory and even though we created chances on the day, we only got one on target as our Achilles heel showed itself once again. Their two second half goals did come against the run of play though as we started the second period brightly.
A big summer ahead though and we can expect plenty of changes. With survival secured though the pressure is off and I doubt many will care about this defeat.
Speaking to the BBC following the final whistle, Hasenhuttl said of the game.
“The last, very hard four or five months has cost us a lot of energy for this team and we didn’t have enough energy to fight back after a horrible mistake in the first half. We tried but the team has invested a lot in trying to stay in the league and the power was a little bit gone. We had a few good chances but it was the case that the last good decision in front of goal, the power to score wasn’t here – I think the concentration wasn’t 100%. If you come here in a tough game after investing a lot in the last weeks and concede the first goal it takes a lot of energy to fight back. We didn’t have that today.”