28/12/2015: West Ham 2-1 Saints
Saints suffered an unfortunate defeat on their final visit to Upton Park. Ronald Koeman's side looked to be in control after going ahead in the first half, but failed to kill the game off and were made to pay by the end. Saints remain in 12th as a result.
West Ham saw more of the ball during the opening quarter, but the quality of their finishing was poor. Mauro Zarate flicked the ball wide on 8 before Enner Valencia had a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Cheikhou Kouyate then smashed wide, before Saints turned the tables. The opening goal came from Shane Long's low ball across goal. Carl Jenkinson turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Dusan Tadic.
Saints took complete control of the game after taking the lead. The visitors passed quickly and with confidence. Long pulled a shot wide after some great individual skill just outside the area. Steven Davis had an effort blocked from Tadic's cutback on 26. Jose Fonte then played a dangerous ball across goal.
Saints squandered several more good chances to stretch their lead before half-time. Oriol Romeu shot wide on 28, as did Davis on 35. Fonte forced Adrian into a good save from a corner, with Wanyama clearing the bar on the follow up. Just before half-time Tadic shot straight at the keeper following another good spell of build-up play.
Slaven Bilic made a double substitution at the break, with Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll replacing the ineffective Alex Song and Zarate. The Hammers were noticeably more aggressive. Saints weren't quite as composed on the ball, but still broke effectively on occasions. Koeman's men entered into a good spell just prior to West Ham's leveller. Virgil van Dijk hit a free-kick straight into the wall, before Romeu shot low straight at Adrian after letting the ball roll across his body. Davis should have done better when he was set free on the counter.
West Ham's equaliser came about in bizarre fashion. Cuco Martina misjudged a long ball over on the left-flank, allowing Michail Antonio to cut in and stumble through a crowd of Saints players. The ball somehow bobbled up and over Steklenburg for 1-1. West Ham were very much in the ascendancy after the goal. Lanzini and Valencia both were denied before Carroll put West Ham ahead on 79. The striker nodded in after Antonio's initial header had cannoned off the bar.
Saints saw enough of the ball during the final 10 minutes, but showed little quality in the final third. The away side had a few corners and attempted some deep crosses, but nothing which really came to anything. West Ham had a few more chances on the counter. Antonio shot over on 90.
A disappointing result, but Saints can take some encouragement from the performance. Koeman's side were easy on the eye in possession and created more than enough chances to win the game. The balance in midfield was also excellent. A combination of individual errors and bad luck cost us on this occasion. Defensively we could have been better, but you couldn't really fault the team in terms of effort and organisation. It just wasn't our day.
Stekelenburg: 6. Usual showing. Made a few good catches, but never looked like pulling off anything spectacular
Martina: 6. Moved the ball with confidence in the first-half, and a great goal-line clearance. Was really struggling in the 2nd half just prior to coming off, however. Committed a few unnecessary fouls.
Fonte: 6. Didn't cover himself in glory for the first West Ham goal, but strong during other periods of the game
Van Dijk: 6. A few minor errors, but steady enough
Bertrand: 7. Offered decent support going forward and solid at the back
Wanyama: 8. Another strong showing. Headed away a lot of danger and strong in the tackle
Romeu: 8. Screened the midfield effectively and a good range of passing
Davis: 8. Displayed so much energy once again. Made things happen for Saints in the final third
Tadic: 7. Made plenty of room for himself in the first-half to show his skill. Nowhere near as effective in the 2nd
Mane: 7. Faded a bit towards the end, but link-up play generally pretty good
Long: 7. Another good performance. Movement in and around the box excellent. Matched up well physically too
Yoshida: 6. Mostly fine. Calm in possession, with some good defensive clearances
Ramirez: 6. Some good one-touch play, but final ball often a let down
Juanmi: 5. Made one good run towards the end of the game, but otherwise anonymous
West Ham: Antonio (69) Carroll (79)
Saints: Jenkinson OG (13)
Referee: Michael Oliver
West Ham line-up: Adrian, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Jenkinson, Song (Lanzini 46), Kouyate, Antonio, Zarate (Carroll 46), Valencia (Obiang 86)
Subs not used: Randolph, Oxford, Hendrie, Cullen
Saints line-up: Stekelenburg, Martina (Yoshida 70), Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Wanyama, Romeu, S Davis, Tadic (Ramirez 75), Mane (Juanmi 75), Long
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Caulker, Clasie, Ward-Prowse