Stalemate at St Mary's
Southampton 0-0 West Ham United
West Ham United’s final match of 2020 ended in stalemate as neither side could find the route to goal at Southampton on Tuesday night.
It resulted in back-to-back draws over the Christmas period for David Moyes’ men, who were solid in defence and rarely looked like conceding to a Southampton side who have caused problems for plenty of teams over the first part of this season.
Second half sub Said Benrahma had the best chance to win it, seeing his 85th minute effort hit goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from close in, but in truth 0-0 was a fair reflection of an evening when both the Saints and the Hammers found it tough to break the other down.
Having been in action only a touch over 48 hours ago against Brighton, Hammers boss David Moyes made five changes to his starting XI, rewarding Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko for sprightly 45-minute displays from the bench against the Seagulls and handing a debut to Craig Dawson.
Southampton’s Danny Ings had the ball in the net with six minutes on the clock, but an offside flag belatedly, though correctly, went up against Che Adams in the build-up to rule the strike out.
Theo Walcott then dragged an effort wide of the mark from a yard or two outside the box as Southampton started the brighter, but West Ham grew into the contest and limited the hosts’ chances for the rest of the half.
In fact, it wasn’t until the 44th minute that they came close again, James Ward-Prowse lifting a free-kick over the top.
Chances weren’t free-flowing at the other end either, with Adams blocking from Dawson at a set-piece, and Lanzini lifting a shot over the top, so perhaps it was no surprise that the half-time whistle came with the scoresheet blank.
The game followed a similar pattern in its third quarter, with neither team able to fashion a clear-cut chance.
Walcott tried his luck from a long way out, bringing a low diving stop from Lukasz Fabianski, while Pablo Fornals saw his 20-yard effort strike a Southampton defender before it could trouble goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
The Hammers threw on Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio as they searched for a breakthrough and it so nearly came five minutes from the end as Bowen worked a cross into the box from the left, and Benrahma bundled it into path before striking for goal from six yards out. It looked destined for the net, but McCarthy made himself big and blocked with his chest to ensure the contest would end scoreless.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Redmond, Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo (Armstrong 78), Ings, Adams (Long 58)
Subs: Forster, Valery, Smallbone, Diallo, Vokins, Salisu, Obafemi
Booked: Bertrand, Djenepo, Walker-Peters
West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Yarmolenko (Bowen 72), Lanzini (Benrahma 60), Fornals, Haller (Antonio 77)
Subs: Randolph, Coufal, Johnson, Diop, Noble, Snodgrass
Referee: Andrew Madley