Rice secures draw for West Ham at Southampton after Perraud’s opener | Premier League

If Ralph Hasenhüttl felt like the most vulnerable manager in the Premier League before kick‑off – other than perhaps Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard – this result will do little to shield him.

Southampton came into this game in dismal form: four defeats on the bounce, combined with Wolves’ 1-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, ensured they started the day in the bottom three. West Ham arrived at St Mary’s with momentum behind them after four wins in a row in all competitions. Were it not for their wasteful finishing, they would have made it five here.

Hasenhüttl stuck largely with the same side which was left chasing shadows at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, presumably because losing 4-0 to Manchester City elicits little more than a rueful shrug from most managers these days. Ibrahima Diallo and Stuart Armstrong made way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elyounoussi but, otherwise, Southampton were unchanged.

With Kurt Zouma and Craig Dawson unavailable David Moyes was forced into a more extensive reshuffle. He made five changes to the team which beat Anderlecht in midweek.

Things were fairly even in the opening stages. Emerson sent a shot whistling wide of the post early on before a spell of pressure from the hosts ended with Che Adams scuffing one. West Ham had another half‑chance when Lucas Paquetá picked out Jarrod Bowen but he failed to direct his header goalwards. Other than that it was a messy start, all midfield headers, miscontrols and elusive openings.

The game burst into life with a quarter of an hour gone, Adams bullying Thilo Kehrer off the ball to go one-on-one, only for Lukasz Fabianski to make the save. Moments later West Ham were inches away from taking the lead when Gianluca Scamacca lined up a shot from distance which almost skimmed the stanchion. The home crowd barely had time to release their collective intake of breath before they were celebrating the opener.

Romain Perraud nicked the ball off Bowen’s toe and tucked the ball into the corner with help from a deflection off Ben Johnson. West Ham were furious that the referee, Peter Bankes, had got in Bowen’s way in the build-up, inadvertently helping Perraud to sneak in, but the goal stood.

Romain Perraud of Southampton scores the opening goal during the Premier League match against West Ham United.
Romain Perraud opens the scoring for Southampton in the first half with a deflected strike. Photograph: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images

Moyes was unhappy that Bankes did not stop play, also lamenting a “judo move” on Tomas Soucek in the box that he felt should have been a penalty. “The ball comes out, Jarrod Bowen goes to get the ball, the referee blocks him from getting it and the boy scores from it, ridiculous – maybe you have to say the referee was in a really bad position.”

The rest of the first half was end‑to‑end, with West Ham pushing for an equaliser. Scamacca continued to offer a threat, firing wide after a neat one-two with Bowen before going round Armel Bella-Kotchap and teeing up Paquetá for a header which fell the wrong side of the post.

Paquetá also sent a fierce drive over the crossbar, while Adams and Elyounoussi were denied by Fabianski.

While both sides were scattergun with their shooting, there was little doubt there would be another goal. It came after 64 minutes, Declan Rice playing a neat one-two with Said Benrahma, on as a substitute, before smashing a shot into the far corner.

West Ham had come close to scoring immediately after the restart, Paquetá and Scamacca both menacing the goal before the former forced Gavin Bazunu to palm away a stinging shot. Southampton had lapsed into a hesitant counter-attacking stance, seemingly unsure about how best to preserve their lead. This was only the third time this season they had scored the first goal in a league game and their discomfort showed.

Southampton wavered after the equaliser. Benrahma was denied by a desperate block from Kyle Walker-Peters before Rice had a shot deflected wide.

Hasenhüttl is fixated on his team’s “automatisms” – pressing triggers which are so well drilled they become instinctive – but the Southampton machine began to clank and shudder as the second half wore on. It was a sign of how close they were to a critical malfunction when he made a quadruple change with 15 minutes to go.

Two of those substitutes, Diallo and Samuel Edozie, went close, with the latter drawing a frantic save from Fabianski. At the other end Bazunu stopped Scamacca from nabbing a late winner. While Southampton brought their losing run to an end, a point was not enough to lift them out of the relegation zone.

Hasenhüttl, despite his best efforts, remains in a precarious position. “In the past week I have not had the feeling that we have not put every effort in what we should [have],” he said. “We have more quality, I think, and we can play better football.”

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