Southampton 0-1 West Ham: Saints pass up another opportunity after weak display

A weak showing from Southampton on Saturday evening saw them lose 1-0 to fellow relegation rivals West Ham United.

The visitors at St Mary’s led from the 37th minute thanks to Sebastien Haller’s goal, whilst the Saints were unable to strike fear into their opponents at any stage of the contest.

Pressure now returns to the shoulders of Ralph Hasenhuttl as his side face an uphill struggle to save themselves – much like the previous two seasons.

West Ham had the ball in the net early when Declan Rice headed in a free-kick but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside, and Shane Long had a looping header that forced visiting goalkeeper David Martin into an easy save.

However, it was Michail Antonio exposing the Saints defence that became the theme of the first-half and a big factor in the deadlock being broken.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 14: Danny Ings of Southampton is tackled by Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and West Ham United at St Mary’s Stadium on December 14, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

The Hammers looked to be very unlucky to have a penalty shout turned down when Bertrand bundled over Sebastien Haller, but the Frenchman would open the scoring after a well worked goal that took advantage of poor Saints play.

A cross from the right found Aaron Cresswell at the back post to cushion a header back to towards the penalty spot and Haller turned home well into the far corner.

After a display in the first period that was back to being disjointed and anxious, Saints needed more stability and brought on Oriol Romeu for Nathan Redmond. Despite a tactical switch, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were lucky not to be 2-0 down shortly into the second period.

Antonio had the beating of the Saints back-line once again and barged his way through before brutally finding the back of the net, but VAR again saved the hosts after showing that the forward had used his arm to control the ball.

This gave Saints the chance to rescue something and Danny Ings had three great efforts on goal.

First, his hooked volley rattled the crossbar with his first chance of the game, whilst he then his the post and found the top corner with efforts – although neither would have counted because of an offside flag and a foul in the respective build-ups.

It must be said that Ings cannot save this season on his own though.

No other players in red and white stepped up to the plate in the dying stages of the game to provide inspiration and Saints now face the prospect of having to pick up some surprise points to save their Premier League status.

The performance against Aston Villa next weekend must be right from the start and anything but three points will see a huge mountain to climb.

Next: Three Saints players who deserve more opportunities soon
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