Southampton claim third straight league win against weary Swansea
Home side much the sharper as Saints move into top four
Southampton’s Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the opening goal of the Premier League game against Swansea at St Mary’s. Photograph: Clive Gee/PA
Southampton 2 Swansea City 0: And so the Saints go marching on, although not without a few stutters and nervy moments along the way. Nonetheless a third successive victory in the Premier League means Southampton, who are up to fourth, are rubbing shoulders with the elite. They have not seen anything like this down by the south coast for a long time.
Of course, no one is expecting Southampton to challenge for the title, or even a place in the Champions League, and in the long spells when they were pinned back by Swansea City, it looked like Mauricio Pochettino’s side would not achieve their fifth clean sheet of the season.
It might have been a different story if Wilfried Bony, Nathan Dyer or Michu had been able to take one of several presentable chances that Swansea created in the first half but Artur Boruc was in a defiant mood in Southampton’s goal.
This was Swansea’s 14th match of a season that began at the start of August because of their involvement in the Europa League and, as Michael Laudrup noted, their seventh in the past 20 days. Even though Laudrup made five changes to the side that beat St Gallen on Thursday night, it was possible to detect a weariness about them early on.
Southampton were eager to force errors and disrupt Swansea’s rhythm.
After five minutes, Angel Rangel left the ball to his goalkeeper, Michel Vorm, who thought he had time to take it back into his area and pick it up, failing to realise that Dani Osvaldo was arriving at a furious pace. Vorm just about resisted handling the ball outside his area, eventually winning a goal-kick, but a minute later Osvaldo was through on goal, shooting over under pressure from Chico Flores after Jonjo Shelvey dithered.
found Adam Lallana with a fine pass and he shot into the roof of the net from the right side of the area.
Southampton could not maintain that intensity, though, and Danny Fox was an accident waiting to happen at left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw, who was ill. Swansea did not take long to work that out and almost every chance they made came from their right flank, where Dyer repeatedly made Fox’s life a misery. Boruc made brilliant saves from headers by Michu, and Bony.
With seven minutes left, Amat and Flores made a hash of dealing with a long kick from Boruc, allowing Jay Rodriguez, on for Rickie Lambert, to steal in and send a low finish to Vorm’s left.
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Fox, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Lallana,Osvaldo (Ward-Prowse 58), Steven Davis (Do Prado 89), Lambert (Rodriguez 68). Subs Not Used: Kelvin Davis, Cork, Chambers, Hooiveld. Booked: Fonte, Lovren,Wanyama.
SWANSEA: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Amat, Ben Davies, Canas, Shelvey, Dyer, Michu, Routledge (Pozuelo 67), Bony. Subs Not Used: Taylor, Williams, Britton,Tiendalli, Tremmel, Vazquez. Booked: Canas. Att: 28,570
Referee: Mike Dean