Southampton remain winless in the 2021-22 Premier League season after battling to a 0-0 draw with in-form West Ham United at St Mary’s.
Chances were at a premium in the first half with very few goalscoring opportunities being created by either side in the opening 45 minutes.
That first half performance was frustrating to watch for Southampton fans. A number of Saints players were guilty of misplacing the most simple of passes, killing any momentum in the team’s forward play and affording West Ham the chance to counter.
The passing was sloppy in the early stages of the second half, too. This time though, both Southampton and West Ham were guilty of giving the ball away far too cheaply - one passage of play saw both teams losing possession twice in a matter of seconds.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Oriol Romeu with Ibrahima Diallo on 53 minutes and that saw an improvement on Saints’ ability to keep the ball in the middle of the park.
That progress was almost totally lost as Tomas Soucek spurned a golden chance at scoring, mistiming a header from a Benrahma cross, less than 10 minutes later.
After that West Ham goalscoring opportunity, the game opened up as both sides hunted after all three points.
Adam Armstrong headed over from a Romain Perraud cross not long after Soucek’s effort.
It was then West Ham’s turn to have a chance at goal. Jared Bowen’s sweetly struck volley looked goalbound before Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy denied him, tipping the ball over the bar.
Not long after, substitute Armando Broja, on loan from Chelsea, came on as a substitute for Armstrong not long after and really changed the game in Southampton’s favour.
After some sloppy play in Southampton’s half, West Ham were on the retreat after Mohammed Salisu played Broja through to counter. On his own, Broja advanced to just outside the West Ham penalty area to unleash a low driven shot that bounced off Lukasz Fabianski’s post.
At this point in the game, Southampton looked much the likelier team to score that elusive goal.
Summer signing Tino Livramento, who has now started all of Saints’ Premier League games at right-back so far this season, delivered a volleyed cross to Diallo, whose poor first touch didn’t allow him to hit a shot how he would have wanted.
Another late chance spurned, but Saints continued to plug away to try and snatch a win at St Mary’s.
An injury-time corner delivered by James Ward-Prowse saw Broja go close to scoring once again. This time, his flicked header was denied hitting the back of the net by West Ham captain Declan Rice, who hacked the ball away off the line.
With seconds left on the clock, Saints were denied a chance to counter attack West Ham when referee David Coote didn’t allow Southampton to play on after Michail Antonio felled Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo.
Coote brought play back despite Saints advancing in West Ham’s half to send off Antonio for a second bookable offence - much to the dismay of the Southampton fans in attendance and Hasenhuttl, whose protests earned him a yellow card.
Saints now have three points on the board but no victories to crow about. Though West Ham are clearly a decent side under manager David Moyes, those late chances could leave Southampton fans thinking that was two points lost rather than a point earned.
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Perraud, Salisu, Stephens, Livramento; Djenepo, Romeu (Diallo 53’), Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi; A. Armstrong (Broja 74’), Redmond
Unused subs: Forster (GK), Valery, Bednarek, Tella, Adams, Lyanco, Walker-Peters
Bookings: Romeu, Stephens, Salisu
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Dawson, Coufal; Rice, Soucek; Fornals, Benrahma (Vlasic 63’), Bowen (Yarmolenko 83’); Antonio
Unused subs: Areola, Zouma, Lanzini, Noble, Diop, Fredericks, Kral
Sent off: Antonio (two bookings)