Swansea 0-0 Saints: Report
Southampton extended their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to six matches with a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium.
In what was the second draw of the campaign between these two sides, although there were no goals, the game wasn’t short of good football as spectators were treated to flowing moves from both teams.
There were good chances for either side, with ex Saint Nathan Dyer seeing his goalbound effort cleared off the line by Maya Yoshida, whilst Adam Lallana had the ball in the net during the first half, only for the effort to be ruled out for a foul.
It was a robust performance from the visitors as they quelled the Swans’ attacking threats, particularly in the second half, but Saints could well have been celebrating all three points late on, when the third attacking substitute of the afternoon, Emmanuel Mayuka, saw his low stab towards goal, kept out on the line by Swans ‘keeper Michel Vorm.
Saints remain without a win in Swansea since 1962, but with a seventh clean sheet of the campaign secured a precious point which keeps them in touch with the top half of the table.
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Flores, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Michu, Dyer, Hernandez (Ki 62), Moore (Routledge 46). Subs (not used): Tremmel, Taylor, Monk, Tiendalli, Shechter
Saints: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, S. Davis, Rodriguez (Mayuka 88), Lambert (Ramírez 63), Lallana (Puncheon 77). Subs (not used): K. Davis, Fonte, Ward-Prowse, Shaw
Referee: Mark Halsey
Jay Rodriguez was restored to the starting line-up, with Gaston Ramirez dropping to the bench in the only change from the team that drew with West Ham.
Luke Shaw recovered from a virus to take a place amongst the substitutes, but Guly missed out altogether.
Swansea got the match underway with Saints attacking into the glorious sunshine in south Wales.
The contest began in equally bright fashion with the hosts not taking long to link up on the edge of Southampton’s area, though Nathan Dyer’s smart lay-off was wasted by Luke Moore who, typical of the team’s style of play, wanted to take another touch before venturing into the box.
Both teams made moves which were easy on the eye, but it was the Swans who carried the greater threat in the opening exchanges, with Michu unable to make the most of a composed break forward, as the Spaniard’s shot was charged down by Jos Hooiveld.
On 10 minutes, Luke Moore flung himself at a cross from Dyer on the right side, but Artur Boruc was out smartly to collect the ball, as he was again moments later when Dyer this time broke through the middle.
Pochettino’s men grew into the game, and in the 14th minute, a burst down the right from Nathaniel Clyne created the opportunity via Morgan Schneiderlin, for Jack Cork to strike form distance, but the midfielder’s rising effort was held by Michel Vorm in the home side’s goal.
After weathering another storm inside their own half, Saints took aim from range again when Steven Davis fed the ball into the path of Jay Rodriguez, who curled a high shot over the bar form the edge of the area.
A more patient approach from the visitors drew a free-kick when Adam Lallana was shoved to ground by Swansea skipper Ashley Williams on the right side of the hosts’ area.
Lambert stepped up to deliver the set piece, but his strike came back off the wall, much to the relief of Michael Laudrup’s men.
On 27, another relaxed move down the right flank saw Clyne and Davis combine once more, this time for Rodriguez, who hit a controlled volley low to Vorm’s right, where the ‘keeper was able to pounce on it without too much trouble.
A period of midfield possession for both teams followed until Lallana was brought down by Chico Flores just outside of the area. Lambert again stepped up, but his dead ball hit was expertly tipped away by Vorm who leapt across to push it over.
The resulting corner was taken by Steven Davis and pushed out to the other side where Rodriguez rescued the move to float the ball back into the danger zone. Lallana went up with Vorm to tap the ball into the empty net, but the linesman nearest to the action, ruled the goal out for a push on the Swansea goalkeeper, much to the displeasure of the Saints players.
Inside the last five minutes of the opening half, the visitors turned the screw with Lambert having an appeal for a penalty waved away after going to ground under a challenge from Williams on the edge of the box.
There was no doubt that Pochettino’s side had ended the half the stronger side, but the contest remained goalless going into the interval.
Half Time: Swansea 0-0 Saints
The Swans made a change at the break with Luke Moore replaced by Wayne Routledge for the second 45.
Routledge made an immediate impression, as within two minutes of the action resuming, the wide man sprang down the right flank to cross for Michu, who went perilously close to putting his towering header on target, but fortunately for Saints, there was a little too much height on the effort.
The visitors remained lively at the other end though, with Lambert unfortunate not to find Lallana with a through-ball, before Cork then did exactly that, but the skipper’s shot was blocked just after he had pulled the trigger.
Saints began to dominate in the final third, but chances remained few and far between. And it was against the run of play when Swansea had a terrific chance to score as Dyer was put through on goal by Routledge, but the former Saints winger’s low shot was easy for Boruc to handle,
Lambert took matters into his own hands on 59 minutes when he bamboozled his way through the white shirts on the edge of the area, and the decision to pass instead of shoot nearly paid off, but as Lallana collected the ball in the box he was dispossessed by the last challenge.
The game had now opened out though with Swansea back on the offensive soon after with a series of corners, during which time they replaced Pablo Hernandez with Ki Sung-Yeung.
After those set pieces which came to nothing, Saints made their first substitution of the afternoon with Gaston Ramirez coming on for Lambert.
Saints survived a scare soon after when Michu got onto the end of a cross into the area where with his back to goal, he played the ball short to Dyer, and even though the winger had a virtually open net to aim for, he could only find Maya Yoshida on the line, who was able to clear the danger.
Back at the other end, Lallana and Ramirez looked to combine for the first time, but the ball just spun away from the substitute as he sought to put a stamp on the game, though the contest remained fairly uneventful one.
Jason Puncheon was introduced to the action, taking the place of Lallana for the final quarter of an hour or so, with Schneiderlin receiving the armband.
The best chance of the half then fell to the hosts, when Hooiveld’s interception wasn’t quite enough on a through-ball to Jonathan De Guzman inside the area. The midfielder kept his composure to shot, but Artur Boruc was there to make a fine low save which denied the Swansea man.
Emmanuel Mayuka came on in place of Rodriguez late on in a bid to snaffle a late winner, and with three fresh attackers on the field, Saints sensed a late opportunity to steal all three points, which nearly came when Davis picked out the Zambian Mayuka, but his stab towards goal was saved by Vorm.
Ramirez then forced a corner heading into three minutes of stoppage time, but no late goal could be found, at the end of a competitive affair in south Wales.
Full Time: Swansea 0-0 Saints