Whilst the Saints will hope their dire run of form is now behind them, West Brom’s continues and with just one win in 11, there is much work to be done for new boss Pepe Mel, who was watching from the sidelines today.
The first half was a pretty drab and uneventful affair with neither side able to carve out clear-cut opportunities. Southampton enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but seemed bereft of ideas when they neared the final third. Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne regularly looked to bomb forward but no one seemed to be able to provide any creativity or incisive movement.
Adam Lallana bucked the trend, though, on 66 minutes when he brought down Gaston Ramirez’s chipped cross before slotting coolly past Ben Foster from just inside the box.
If West Brom were largely absent in the first half, they came back into the game in the second, especially late on thanks to the introduction of Saido Berahino and Matej Vydra. They should have had a leveller in the dying minutes when Shane Long was denied by Artur Boruc from close range.
51' - CHANCE: Best chance of the game so far falls to the Saints as Mulumbu is robbed and Rodriguez drives purposefully at the Albion defence. He could slip it into Lambert but elects to shoot and slices just wide.
66' - GOAL: Southampton are ahead through their skipper Adam Lallana. The ball is chipped over Olsson by Ramirez and falls to Lallana, who coolly slots home underneath Ben Foster.
89' - CHANCE: What a chance for West Brom! Neat work between Vydra and Ridgewell and it's squared to Long who just has the keeper to beat from six yards out. He is denied, though, by Boruc who saves brilliantly with his feet.
Keith Downing will hand over the reigns at Albion to Pepe Mel with his unbeaten league record in tatters. Before today Albion had won one and drawn three under Downing.
This was Southampton's second win in 10 league games. West Brom now have just one win in 11.
Artur Boruc, back in the team after recovering from a fractured hand, earned his seventh clean sheet of the campaign. During his absence, Saints kept just one clean sheet in seven games.
Will Pepe Mel be excited about what he’s seen today from the players soon to be under his command? Probably not. The Spaniard favours expansive, attacking football and the Baggies were uncomfortable on the ball and uncreative going forward for large periods. There was cause for hope, though, in the attacking intent shown in the closing stages of the match as Berahino and Vydra were brought on in search of a winner. Still, work to be done for Señor Mel.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Adam Lallana (Southampton): In a game where no one individual really shone, the award must go to Lallana, whose goal was the difference between the two sides and surely prevented a goalless draw. He didn't do too much in the first half but was cool as you like when the ball fell to his feet in the 66th minute and continues to make a case for selection in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.
Southampton: Boruc 8, Clyne 6, Fonte 7, Lovren 8, Shaw 8, Cork 7, Schneiderlin 7, S. Davis 6, Lallana 8, Rodriguez 5, Lambert 6. Subs: Ramirez 8, Ward-Prowse 6.
West Brom: Foster 6, Reid 6, McAuley 6, Olsson 5, Ridgewell 6, Amalfitano 6, Morrison 5, Mulumbu 6, Brunt 6, Anelka 4, Long 6. Subs: Berahino 7, Vydra 8, Gera 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET