Southampton started their new era under boss Mauricio Pochettino last night with a 0-0 draw at home to Everton in the Premier League.
The Saints put a spirited displayed and had it not been for missed chances would have claimed maximum points.
A number of chances fell to Saints talisman Rickie Lambert, but the Liverpool-born striker couldn’t take them.
The 31 year-old has been in good form of late and you would have expected him to have score with one of his efforts.
Everton keeper Tim Howard has to be given credit for his display on the night, as it was one of his best this season. The Toffees have struggled to keep clean sheets this season, but they have now collected consecutive clean sheets in the top flight.
The style of play from Southampton last night changed very little from the style of play that Nigel Adkins had instilled in his players. New boss Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t really had time to get his ideas across to players yet.
No doubt we will see slight tweaks in Southampton’s style of play in the coming months. However I don’t think he will deviate much from the old style of play under Adkins. The Argentine is very much of the same coaching school as the likes of Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa.
I have to say that last night’s Everton performance was the worst of the season. As an Everton fan I don’t think I would have complained had the home side claimed victory. There were far too many players in Blue shirts that were out-of-form.
One of those players is Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic. The 27 year-old was a goal scoring sensation when he arrived at Everton last season and it seemed every effort he had on goal went in.
Unfortunately at the moment the striker is going through a terrible spell in front of goal and missed arguably Everton’s best chance of the game last night.
The ball hit the former-Rangers striker on the heel when it looked like he was about to put the visitors into the lead. That just summed up Jelavic’s season. Maybe a spell on the sidelines will do him some good, especially with Victor Anichebe looking so lively and dangerous in recent weeks.
Jelavic wasn’t the only player that was poor for Everton though. The whole team produced a performance that wasn’t up to the usual standards of this season. The Croatian is lacking confidence at the moment and the sooner he recovers it the better for Everton.
Credit has to go to Southampton though. The Saints put a superb display with every player on the picture giving their all and not allowing Everton to get into any sort rhythm at all. The likes of Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin were outstanding.
Teenage full-back Luke Shaw put in another composed display, both in defence and attack. The youngster looks like a fine prospect and new manager Pochettino is not scared to play young players. Looks like Shaw could be in for a long run in the Saints side.
Schneiderlin completely bossed the centre of the park against the ponderous pair of Leon Osman and Phil Neville. The young Frenchman has been one of Southampton’s standout players in recent games and mixed steel with composure. For me the man of match in last night’s clash.
Southampton are not one of the three worst teams in the Premier League this season. I can think of at least four teams that I have watched in the top flight in recent months that are poorer than the Saints.
I like the way that Southampton attempt to play the game and if they continue to play like they did last night then I have no doubts that they will stay up.
New manager Mauricio Pochettino still has a big job to do, but with the likes of Rickie Lambert, Morgan Schneiderlin and Luke Shaw in his squad Southampton have an excellent chance of beating the drop this season.
Will Southampton be relegated this season?