A Friday night to forget on the South Coast, with us slow, sluggish and shooting ourselves in the foot throughout as Southampton totally outplayed us in every department.
Here’s our assessment of each player’s performance along with a mark out of 10:
Darlow – 7* – Made a good save to deny a curling effort from Adams, but let a powerful strike from the Saints striker go through him just seconds later. Flapped at one corner in the second half and was nearly punished, but it’s thanks to him the scoreline didn’t get ugly, with him doing incredibly to tip a Romeu shot onto the bar. Also palmed away a point-blank Bednarek header and powerful Armstrong strike to keep it at 2-0.
Murphy – 4 – He’s been solid defensively and a threat going forward in our last two, but he was neither in this one. Caught on the ball too many times and didn’t pose makeshift left-back Jack Stephens any problems. He tried, but he struggled badly here.
Schar – 3 – The Swiss centre-back was part of a much improved defence in our last two, but he was casual, rash and slow to react here, getting sucked out of position too many times. He tried to start attacks, but too many of his balls were hit in hope not expectation, gifting Southampton easy possession from the off.
Lascelles – 3 – Aside from one header off the line to deny Bednarek, it was a tough night for the skipper. He didn’t get tight enough to Adams for his early opener, was turned by Armstrong for their second and was VERY lucky not to concede a penalty after a rash challenge on Walcott.
Fernandez – 4 – Got booked for a cynical foul in the first half and didn’t help Longstaff in the build up to their second, playing a risky pass into the midfielder which saw him pick-pocketed by Southampton’s press. Also let Bednarek get ahead of him from more than one corner on a rare off night for the Argentine.
Lewis – 5 – Was our only outlet in wide areas at times and did put a few good balls into the box. That said, he almost cost us one occasion after being caught on the ball in a bad area and didn’t look all that assured defensively. He did better than most tonight, but Kyle Walker-Peters well and truly outshone him down that side.
S Longstaff – 3 – He was much better against Everton, showing signs of the player that broke onto the scene under Benitez, but he was off the pace and wanted too much time once again here. Gifted Southampton their second after being caught on the ball on the edge of his own box, spent most of the game chasing shadows and headed our best chance of the game straight at McCarthy early on.
Hendrick – 3 – A hugely uninspiring display from the Irishman. He gave away the ball cheaply far too often, was constantly caught out by Southampton’s pressing and went backwards way too often. He did OK against Everton, but I can’t for the life of me see how he gets in Bruce’s side ahead of Isaac Hayden.
Almiron – 4 – Made a costly error early on, dithering on the ball and eventually losing out before Adams was set up to make it 1-0 just seven minutes in. He made a few decent recovery tackles after that and can’t be faulted for his effort levels, but he offered nothing going forward and gifted them a goal.
Saint-Maximin – 4 – Yet another game where ASM just wasn’t at the races, with him struggling to get into the game as a No 10 and looking way below his best since signing that new improved deal. Ran into dead ends too often, remained on the fringe of the game and often lacked end product the odd time he did enjoy a brief burst of pace with the ball. Time to get him back on the left and running at right-backs!
Wilson – 4 – Touched the ball just NINE times in the first 45 minutes, highlighting how little we got the isolated striker into the game. He tried to give us an outlet, but little change in the second half before his hamstring went. A night to forget for our £20m man a few days on from his England snub.
M Longstaff – Better than his brother, but that’s not saying much. Added a bit of energy and urgency to our lacklustre midfield on his first appearance for the first team since mid July.
Joelinton – Rarely touched the ball during his time on the pitch, but the Brazilian almost scored a superb header late on – only for McCarthy to miraculously tip over his powerful effort. We’ll need more of that from him if Wilson’s set for a few weeks on the sidelines!
Carroll – Won a few headers but did very little else during his 15 minutes on the field. A line which sums up what he’s able to offer Newcastle United these days?!