At what point does Mauricio Pochettino realise subbing Gaston Ramirez on for Adam Lallana every match might eventually cost him his job?
For the second straight week Lallana ran at the opposition’s backline with abandon, unlocking chances for his teammates and nearly putting the Saints up early on a missed handball and in rattling a volley off the woodwork in the second half. And for the second straight week Pochettino pulled the plug on Lallana’s madcap runs in favor of the largely disappointing Ramirez. Last week the Saints were lucky to escape with a last minute equalizer despite losing much of their attacking push. This week away against a Norwich side superior to Sunderland they couldn’t afford to switch off their best offensive player.
The Saints are a far better side with Lallana running their offense; they play a tighter possession game, they’re more efficient with their passing and generate more attacking chances. Is Ramirez disappointing for the price Cortese paid for him? Somewhat, he’s shown sparks of strong play but seems more a complimentary piece than the field general Saints expected when they bought him last year.
But though the questionable substitution changed the tenor of Southampton’s play, the game turned on the wings where Norwich’s 19 year old starlet Nathan Redmond made Callum Chambers look all of his 18 years. And on the lone goal Redmond ran directly at the Saints teenage right flank, stealing the ball off James Ward-Prowse and rifling one past Saints keeper Artur Boruc.
Victor Wanyama had his first rough patch in Saints colors, overshooting his targets on through balls and having trouble maintaining possession in the face of constant pressure from Norwich. Just a bump in the road in adapting from the SPL to the Premier League. Same goes from Dani Osvaldo who had a bit of foul trouble late.
Heading into the close of the transfer window, I’m saddened to see Jack Cork the subject of transfer rumors. Cork’s return from injury last season helped snap the Saints out of their early season funk and he’s still a better option than Steven Davis off the bench. Cork partnered up nicely with Schneiderlin last season and I’d like to see that partnership again.