Aurier is still Aurier, Hugo is still Hugo, but thankfully Harry is Harry.
It took us ages to come close to getting a grip on this game. Ndombele’s emphatic, (but still in the middle of the goal, keeper), gave us the lead after twenty odd minutes despite Lloris probably being the busier of the custodians to that point.
Boufal and Redmond had been giving Aurier a right old time from the beginning and when he pulled back a ‘Saint’, don’t know which one, (Boufal?), after clattering in to the back of one minutes earlier, he shouldn’t have been surprised to see red. From my vantage point in the Park lane the ball seemed to have clearly gone out of play in the build up to Aurier’s faux pas, but c’est la vie.
We were one up at this point. Sissoko moved to right back and coped well with Boufal but he and Redmond were still being given tons of space in front of him.
It wasn’t until the second half and subsequent to Loris’s gift of an equaliser to Ings that we made the tactical adjustment needed to staunch Southampton’s main avenue of progress.
To defend the restored lead given to us by Kane’s emphatic finish after Son and Eriksen had taken advantage of Ndombele’s mugging of someone in the centre circle to break at speed, Eriksen was moved to the right hand side in front of Sissoko and Son asked to tuck in on the left.
We allowed Southampton as much possession as they wanted, which was a lot.
It’s lucky that they’re not very good as despite a generally excellent display of what-we-have-we-hold type defending, Bertrand, Boufal etc still managed to reach the by-line regularly, they were too rubbish to profit it from them though.
Hugo semi-redeemed himself with two fingertip saves, both from dead balls whilst at the other end we threatened regularly with the marvellous Kane going close.
At half-time I’d confidently pronounced that we would “lose this game”. Shows what I know. It was deserved victory gained despite the hindrance of two calamitous errors.
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