A stalemate welcomed in the new Premier League season at St Marys Stadium as the Saints and Swansea struggled to find any goal-scoring prowess: a rather exciting yet tedious 90 minutes of football where only two shots on target were registered.
Southampton have now gone 545 minutes without a goal at St Marys, a run which began back in April. Yet, after 90 seconds when striker Gabbiadini fizzled his header against the woodwork, this unfortunate stat looked to be coming to an end, 28 attempts on goal followed Gabbiadini’s effort.
However, the back of the net was not found much to the frustration of Saints fans and new boss, Mauricio Pellegrino. Although pleased with his team’s performance, Pellegrino was left irritated at his team’s composure and instinct in front of goal and it looks like some work on the training ground is very much a necessity.
Gabbiadini and co managed 29 attempts on goal (more than any Premier League side on the opening weekend), yet only 2 shots required the efforts of Swans keeper, Fabianski. Gabbiadini, Redmond and Tadic amongst others trying to get in on the act were reduced to many efforts from outside the box which sailed over Fabianski’s bar.
A left foot curler from Tadic in the second half produced a good save from the shot-stopper but aside from this, the Saints really did struggle. Southampton’s pursuit of goal was a battle from the off due to the discipline and resilience of the Swans back line, most notably young Englishman Alfie Mawson and Argentinian Federico Fernandez who both made vital contributions towards the Swans clean sheet at St Marys.
With the Saints breaking their transfer record fee last week for Juventus youngster, Mario Lemina, the versatile central midfielder could be the answer to Southampton’s goal scoring problems. Alongside this, the Saints have been linked with 23-year old Atletico Madrid striker, Luciano Vietto.
It was only two years ago Atletico paid Villarreal a fee of £17m to bring the striker in, yet it’s not been plain sailing for him at his time for the Spanish giants with only 1 goal in 19 appearances. With six goals in 21 games on loan at Sevilla last season, Vietto has clearly struggled in Spain yet with Lemina now on board at St Marys, another new face could be reassuring to Pellegrino and Saints fans and could be the building block for another successful season down on the south coast.
As for their counterparts – Swansea looked to be lacking options on the attack. Their best chances falling to Abraham who flashed his header wide of the goal and whizzed his shot past the post in the second half. Clement noted there were not too many positives to take from the game and with the future of star-man Gylfi Sigurdsson still in doubt, it could be a long season for the Swansea following, yet a point was better than none to begin the campaign.
Written by Eamon Kitching.