PREMIER LEAGUE AUGUST 12, 2017: SOUTHAMPTON 0 SWANSEA 0
Southampton were held to a goalless draw with Swansea City on the opening day of the 2017/18 Premier League season.
Despite creating a number of good opportunities, including Manolo Gabbadini striking the woodwork, Saints were unable to find the goal that would have earned all three points.
Mauricio Pellegrino named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that saw off Sevilla 2-0 in the final pre-season friendly at St Mary’s.
And Saints soon fashioned an early chance to take the lead. After just two minutes James Ward-Prowse crossed for Gabbiadini at the near post, but the Italian saw his header bounce clear off the woodwork.
Moments later Saints had another opportunity to take the lead. Nathan Redmond sent Ryan Bertrand scarpering down the left and the full-back crossed for Tadić at the near post, but he was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough and struck wide.
Having rode their luck early on, the visitors were soon creating some chances of their own. Tammy Abraham had the whole goal to aim at as he connected with Wayne Routledge’s cross inside the Saints box, but the Chelsea loanee steered his header wide of the post.
Saints were continuing to cause Swansea real issues down the left and Redmond drove to the byline to cut back for James Ward-Prowse once again, but his shot was blocked off the line by a sea of Swansea players.
Redmond and Ward-Prowse then both tried their luck from distance within five minutes each other; with Redmond’s left-footed strike heading over the crossbar and Ward-Prowse’s safely into the arms of Lukasz Fabianski.
It continued to be Saints creating all of the chances. On 37 minutes a deep cross from the left was headed back across goal by Jack Stephens and into the path of Maya Yoshida, but the centre back’s acrobatic volley flew wide of the post in what was the final chance of the half.
Swansea arrived back after the break with added impetus and Abraham almost amended for his earlier miss to fire them ahead. The 19-year-old spun perfectly into space inside the Saints area and looked certain to score before his effort was well blocked by Cédric.
On 69 minutes Pellegrino made his first changes of the afternoon, as Gabbiadini and Ward-Prowse made way for Charlie Austin and Sofiane Boufal.
Tadić and Yoshida then had good chances to earn Saints all three points with ten minutes remaining. First, Tadić saw his 30-yard fierce strike parried behind by Fabianski before Yoshida then headed over from close range following the subsequent corner.
With five minutes remaining Pellegrino made his final substitution of the afternoon, as Sam McQueen replaced Bertrand.
In the final minutes of the game Saints had two chances to take all three points. Yoshida saw his 25-yard free-kick scrape the outside of the side-netting before substitute Austin then struck the same part of the goal with a clean hit to ensure a draw on the opening day of the season.
SAINTS: Fraser Forster, Cedric, Maya Yoshida, Jack Stephens, Ryan Bertrand (Sam McQueen 87), Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis (capt), Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse (Sofiane Boufal 71), Dusan Tadic, Manolo Gabbiadini (Charlie Austin 69).
SUBS: Stuart Taylor, Shane Long, Mario Lemina, Jan Bednarek.
SWANSEA: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Martin Olsson, Leon Briton (capt, Jay Fulton 74), Leroy Fer, Tom Carroll, Wayne Routledge (Oli McBurnie 86), Jordan Ayew, Tammy Abraham (Kyle Bartley 81).
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Angel Rangel, Roque Mesa, Luciano Narsingh.