A goal from Armando Broja on his full Premier League debut for Southampton was enough to seal a welcome three points for an under fire Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Although it is worth noting that they faced a weakened Leeds side ravaged by injuries and the problems posed by international call ups, credit is due to the way Southampton dominated the match. Marcelo Bielsa is famed in football as having a distinct style of play across his teams and is revered by many as an auteur of the sport. Yet Saints never allowed his Leeds side to settle or enjoy any meaningful possession in Saturday’s encounter, a fact lamented by the Leeds manager in the post match interview.
Superb displays from Diallo, Salisu and Broja were at the heart of the performance but special praise should be reserved for Nathan Redmond, who was fantastic on the day and provided the assist for Broja. Redmond has been the target of much ire from the supporters in recent weeks and there is no doubting how poor he has been.
That said, against Leeds he was direct and willing to use his pace and trickery to put the defence on the back foot. The challenge now is ensuring he can maintain the levels over coming weeks but given he is a confidence player, it was pleasing to see the crowd encourage him.
Both sides have been bereft of confidence in recent weeks but Saints, themselves looking for a first win of the season, benefitted from the absences of Bamford, Phillips and Raphinha from the Leeds starting eleven. The first half was all Southampton but to onlookers it seemed as if it could be the usual story of first half dominance, only to be undone in the second half.
Southampton came out in the second period with renewed confidence and they finally got the goal their play deserved just after the 50 minute mark. Djenepo released Redmond down the left, before the latter laid on a perfect ball on a plate for the oncoming Broja. The Albanian striker, fresh from scoring for his country mid-week, blasted the ball confidently past Meslier in the Leeds goal, making him the youngest scorer on full debut for Southampton (source: club website).
In all honesty, Saints could have had more goals given the number of opportunities but ultimately one goal proved sufficient to earn an important win. Here are three takeaways from the game at St Mary’s: