West Ham United vs Southampton match report: Morgan Schneiderlin brace earns Ronald Koeman first Saints win
West Ham United 1 Southampton 3
They came, hoping against hope, to see if Sam Allardyce really had, in his fourth season, finally produced a team capable of winning matches with a bit of style, in the West Ham tradition, instead of just grinding them out. They left, many of them long before the end, enveloped in a familiar fog of gloom. Last week’s victory at Selhurst Park appears to have been another false dawn.
Instead it is Southampton who look to have embarked upon a new era. Ronald Koeman has only been with Saints for a few months, and has lost £96 million of talent, but he already looks to have built a solid, attractive team. By the end Southampton were so dominant they seemed to have more players on the pitch. Their third goal was a peach, a pitch-long passing move capped by a fine finish from their new striker Graziano Pelle.
Prior to that, Morgan Schneiderlin had more than atoned for being at fault for West Ham’s goal by scoring twice. Schneiderlin, who had agitated for a move to Tottenham during the summer, seemed to have got his mind focused on Saints again. The French midfielder is very much the core of this team and Koeman will be insisting the club continue to resist offers for him.
“I am very pleased with the quality and attitude Morgan showed,” said Koeman. “He is an important player for the team and I think he has accepted the situation. If you do not, you can’t play to the level he did.”
Koeman added that he was “99 per cent” certain Schneiderlin would be staying – “100 per cent if it is up to me”. As for the game, Saints’ first Premier League win under his management, he said: “I told the boys at half-time, ‘We are a much better team today, play for the win’. We did that.”
“We weren’t good enough, Southampton taught us a lesson,” said Allardyce. “”There was under-performance across the board, which is a massive blow and disappointment. Two home games, two home defeats, this can’t happen, and the lads must take responsibility. We could have scrapped out a point today, to lose two goals to set-plays was unacceptable.
“I hope Alex Song can bring a bit of leadership as well as the quality of his play, The lads are not talking enough. Communication is zero. He’ll kick a few backsides on the field, which is what we need.”
It had all started so well for Allardyce. Prior to kick-off West Ham unveiled Song, the former Arsenal midfielder, who has signed on loan for the season from Barcelona. Then Mark Noble put Hammers into a 27th-minute lead. As at Selhurst Park, Mauro Zarate was finding pockets of space and Noble was driving the team forward. When Zarate poached the ball off Schneiderlin, Noble fired a shot which deflected off Maya Yoshida’s shin and out of Forster’s reach.
But Southampton had already looked more cohesive and it was no surprise when Schneiderlin, part of an outstanding midfield unit with Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse, levelled at the second attempt after Dusan Tadic’s free-kick caused confusion.
Schneiderlin’s second came when Hammers, failed to respond to a short-corner routine and he stabbed in Ward-Prowse’s cross at the near post. Thereafter Saints were in total control. Their £12 million recruit Shane Long was given his first League start, but though he brought a smart save from Adrian early in the second period, Pelle was the real threat.
Having been denied by Aaron Cresswell, who cleared his header off the line, and an errant linesman’s flag, he finished off a flowing move. It began with Schneiderlin taking the ball from Forster and progressed through Gaston Ramirez and Jack Cork before reaching Nathaniel Clyne. His cross-shot was parried by Adrian but Pelle drove in the rebound.
West Ham (4-4-1-1): Adrian; O’Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Downing, Kouyate, Noble, Vaz Te (Diamé, 58); Zarate, (Morrision, 58); Cole (Valencia, 78)
Southampton (4-1-2-3): Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand; Schneiderlin; Davis, Ward-Prowse (Cork, 70); Long (Ramirez (66), Pelle, Tadic.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Man of the match: Schneiderlin (Southampton)
Match rating: 7/10
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