Hull vs Southampton match report: Victor Wanyama's early stunner gives Ronald Koeman's high-flying Saints another victory

Hull City 0 Southampton 1

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The Independent Football

Southampton’s seamless transition under Ronald Koeman has mostly been about style, but here they showed they also come with a touch of steel as they maintained their grip on second place in the Premier League, extending their remarkable sequence of results to 10 victories in 11 matches in all competitions.

Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic handed them the decisive goal when Victor Wanyama fired his misplaced clearance into an unguarded net.  Nonetheless, it was an outstanding performance by Southampton.

Although only Chelsea are ahead of them, Koeman is frank in admitting he does not believe his side will challenge for the title. “But can we continue winning, can we continue to be high up the table? Why not?” he said.

“We have a very good team, as we showed again today.  And it was another way to win.  Not like Sunderland at home, for example, which was all about good football.  For three games in a row now, we have won through good organisation.  It was an incredible performance.”

Steve Bruce’s side had chalked up two excellent results away from home, taking points at Arsenal and Liverpool, but could find no way of breaking down the Saints’ resolve as they preserved the best defensive record in the four divisions, in which no team has conceded fewer than their five league goals.

Captain Jose Fonte led by resolute example, but fellow centre-back Toby Alderweireld and full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand were just as solid.

Gift though his goal was, Wanyama had to be commended for his cool head and sound technique, much as it was a calamity for Jakupovic. His attempt to clear the ball upfield from a Robbie Brady backpass went directly to Wanyama, some 35 yards from goal.  The Swiss ‘keeper was way out of position, leaving his goal completely exposed.  The Belgian midfielder  could easily have messed up but kept his composure to make sure his shot found the target.

Thereafter the first half and the latter part of the second were dominated by the home side, who produced some good passing movements. What was lacking, however, was an end product. 

Though  Mohamed Diamé’s strength on the ball made him a persistent danger, and though Abel Hernandez at times caught the eye, Hull drew only one save from Fraser Forster, an easy one at that from a weak shot by Hatem Ben Arfa.

Bruce twice changed his line of attack in the final quarter, replacing defender Paul McShane with striker Sone Aluko and then sending on wing-back Andy Robertson, but there was to be no way through. 

“They’re a good team, and it is no fluke that they are at the top end of the division,” Bruce said.

Hull: (3-5-2) Jakupovic; Chester, McShane (Aluko, 64), Davies; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Diame, Brady (Quinn, 83); Ben Arfa (Robertson, 72), Hernandez.

Southampton: (4-3-3): Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand; S Davis, Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Tadic (Cork, 81), Pelle, Long (Mané, 62). 

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Man of the match: Fonte (Southampton)

Match rating: 7/10