That's more like it!
Well, what can I say! Finally Pellegrini decides to plays two up top, he later admitted the fans were right for wanting this, and the whole team performance changes. Haller more involved and was a constant threat, the midfield looking more balanced and the back line was in total control. Also another assist from the ever improving Pablo Fornals. The question is, was this a tactical change by Pellegrini or was it forced on him by the injury to Anderson.
However, the man who needs heaps of praise is Michael Antonio. After a quiet game against Arsenal on Monday he sprang back to terrify the Southampton backline who had no answer for his pace, energy and physicality. He basically tore them a new one and was unlucky to have a goal chalked off by VAR for handball when the ball was kicked at him. Another stupid rule change. This was the last of a hat-trick of VAR decisions to go against the Irons. Declan Rice had an early header ruled correctly offside. But unbelievably VAR ruled against a double penalty claim by the Irons in the first half after a cross into the box by Cresswell saw Antonio grabbed around the neck and Haller pushed in the back. Referee Atkinson said no and unbelievably VAR agreed. Whoever was reviewing should have gone to Specsavers.
The only two issues from the game was the late injury picked up by David Martin, an injury which replicated the one picked up by Fabianski, and the 5th yellow card of the season handed out to Ryan Fredericks Both will be selection headaches for Pellegrini with the veteran right back Pablo Zabaleta looking likely to come in for Fredericks, pitting him against diver extraordinaire Wilfred Zaha. With Fabianski not looking likely to be back until the new year, should Martin fail to recover it will mean the return of Roberto which will be a major worry.
In the meantime, despite the perceived reprieve for Pellegrini the press are still claiming he is due for the chop with more names being added to the list. However, if we pick up a win against Palace then the guillotine will surely be put back into wraps for little longer.
Meantime I wish all fellow Irons fans a Merry Christmas. You never know, Santa may deliver a fit again Fabianski on Boxing Day,