We all know Moutinho is capable of turning water into wine, so you’d think a chap going by the name of Jesus could magic up something a little better than Aldi’s £2 range.
The intensity we began with; playing on the front foot (refreshing to see a fast start), unsettling a clueless Southampton defence with clever movement and slick passing went to pot as soon as Vallejo replaced the stricken Bennett.
The Spaniard was that shaky I wouldn’t trust him to even pour a glass of red without spilling half on my lap.
Jesus’ nerves and indecisiveness resembled the parting of the Red Sea on the right side of our defence. Especially in the first half, Bertrand and Redmond had a field day, with Jesus and Traore vacant. Just when you thought Traore had cracked it, he threw in a baffling performance. Adama failed to track back in the first half, and was too busy looking for soft fouls in the second when operating further forward.
Jesus’ nerves alarmingly spread through the rest of the team for long spells. Too many misplaced passes and too little movement – the pace and accuracy went out of our game. I was not in the least bit surprised when one of our many moments of hesitancy led to Coady gifting a goal to Ings.
Positives? Moutinho drove the team forward with the panache we’ve become accustomed to during a brief purple patch that led to Raul’s equaliser. Doc added some much-needed protection at RWB after half-time while also winning the penalty with a trademark slalom into the box. And Diogo’s directness scared the living daylights out of Southampton.
Make no mistake, though, this was two points dropped, despite the play being stretched late on as both teams pushed for the win.
If we kept the early intensity up after Bennett’s injury, our class would have won out, but the Saints thrived in an increasingly open encounter. We should have penned Southampton in more and played around them.
A final word for VAR. If you want fans to eventually stop celebrating goals to ensure the most marginal decisions are given, you’re going the right way about it.