A game we’d have won on another day, but a point at Southampton must be seen as a decent result nonetheless.
Here’s my thoughts and marks out of 10 for the starting 11 today:
Elliot – 5 – Not one of his best games. Was in caught in no mans land during a first half corner (which Van Dijk very nearly scored) and should have done better with Gabbiadini’s first goal. Distribution quite mixed too. He’s been superb this season, but this wasn’t one of his better games.
Yedlin – 7 – An energetic display at both ends of the pitch but not quite as assured as he was in the home draw against Liverpool last time out. Could’ve very easily have been sent off, with his late second half challenge deserving a second yellow.
Lascelles – 8 – Another very solid, no nonsense display. Was caught out on once from a Southampton corner, but won so many first and second balls in and around our box.
Lejeune – 7 – Hadn’t put a foot wrong prior to his needless challenge that gifted Southampton and equaliser. He looked composed on the ball, won his aerial duels and read the game well. Very nearly won it for us with a header late on, however will be left needing to learn from his mistake. Probably my MOTM if it wasn’t for his error.
Manquillo – 7 – Looks pretty confident going forwards, but has it in him to switch off defensively. He covered superbly early on to head away at the back post, but was caught out in that same area in the second half, allowing Gabbiadini too much space to turn and shoot for their first goal. Looks a decent player, but needs to stay switched on.
Hayden – 8* – A strong display on his return to the starting 11. Won quite a lot in the air, put himself about physically and took his goal well, showing good technique to fire past Forster. Good at both ends and a big goal for him – his first in the Premier League. Man of the match for me.
Shelvey – 7 – A pretty solid display from a player who Rafa has sometimes had a hard time trusting. He was a little casual now and then, but showed good discipline positionally, stuck to his task well and was bright in possession.
Ritchie – 8 – Never stopped buzzing about, making life very difficult for Southampton’s left sided duo Bertrand and Redmond. Some decent deliveries and a good forward pass to Perez for his goal too. His constant work at both ends of the pitch is invaluable to this team.
Perez – 7.5 – He lost the ball cheaply a few too many times in the first half but worked hard as ever for the team and got his rewards with a smartly taken second half goal. An improved performance after receiving quite a bit of criticism in recent weeks.
Atsu – 7 – Lively in patches and came close with a decent first half effort, but was a little too wasteful on a few occasions. Not a bad performance, having ran himself into the ground too, but definite room for improvement.
Joselu – 6.5 – Put himself about and helped us defend from the front, but struggled to get into the game and didn’t win a great deal in the air against the Van Dijk. That being said, he very nearly scored after seeing his flicked effort hit the top of the crossbar in the second half.
Merino – 7 (on for Perez) – Some well timed tackles and timely interceptions. Wasn’t able to make a huge impact on the game from a deep lying role, but did still show his class on the ball too with some nice touches.
Gayle – 5 (on for Joselu) – Doesn’t offer the same focal point Joselu does and looked to be limping around in the final 10 minutes. Made some good runs, but didn’t do enough.
Murphy – 5 (on for Atsu) – Let his runner go too easily and didn’t manage to make an impact offensively. Was only given 10 minutes, but is yet to show enough during his odd appearance in the team.