Southampton’s seaside struggle ends in stalemate
West Ham's Jussi Jaaskelainen and defences on top at St. Mary's
Ravel Morrison of West Ham is brought down by Southampton’s Luke Shaw during the Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
This was the kind of match Roy Hodgson probably would have enjoyed. It is not that it was terrible, and the wet and windy conditions contributed to a painfully high error count, it was more there were long periods when neither side could do anything right.
Then again, perhaps Sam Allardyce wanted it to be ugly. West Ham, without Andy Carroll, whose return date from the foot injury suffered in training this week is unknown, showed resilience to frustrate Southampton, who were left to rue the excellence of Jussi Jaaskelainen, who denied them a first home win of the season.
Southampton edged it, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side have not scored from open play in their first four matches.
West Ham also need to find a cutting edge. This was a third successive game without a goal and their best chance fell to James Collins, who blazed over with seven minutes left after being set up by Mark Noble.
In the absence of Carroll, and with Mladen Petric not fit enough even for a place on the bench after signing on a free transfer last week, the onus was on Southampton to break them down.
Needs must for Allardyce. Once again, he was forced to start the ineffective Modibo Maïga up front and the Malian forward toiled thanklessly, rarely giving the impression that he might score his first goal of the season.
Promising moments were few and far between for both sides, with West Ham’s work-rate and physicality stifling much of Southampton’s attacking threat.
Southampton had been missing a spark, something to drag the game above the mundane. Victor Wanyama attempted to ignite it with a volley Jaaskelainen pushed over and Lambert crashed a header against the post from the subsequent corner.
Then Adam Lallana was in the clear, released by a clever pass from Osvaldo, but a heavy touch allowed Jaaskelainen to smother.