Southampton were unable to claim the victory they needed to move into the Premier League’s top four as they were held to a goalless draw by West Ham at St Mary’s.
Without manager Ralph Hasenhuttl – operating from home via a video link after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus – Saints dominated on the ball but remain ninth in the table after failing to find a breakthrough.
Top scorer Danny Ings returned for the hosts, having missing Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham through injury, and was denied what would have been a well-taken early opener after Che Adams strayed offside in the build-up.
Ryan Fredericks’ header, collected by Alex McCarthy, was West Ham’s first shot on target after 41 minutes.
Tomas Soucek went close to heading his fifth goal of the season as the Hammers upped their intensity in the second half, before substitute Said Benrahma was denied a late winner at close range by McCarthy.
The result leaves both sides winless in four league games, with Southampton three points above West Ham in 10th.
The usually animated Hasenhuttl was a noticeable absentee from the sidelines for Southampton, self-isolating while the club “assess the situation further” following the announcement a little more than three hours before kick-off that he would be unable to attend.
Though his side were unable to find a winner, Tuesday’s draw means only Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have won more points in the Premier League than Southampton in 2020.
That statistic serves as further testament to Saints’ remarkable turnaround from their struggles at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. However, Hasenhuttl will now be wary of his side fading away following their excellent start to this campaign.
Despite Ings’ recovery from a hamstring problem, Southampton have scored just once in their four-game winless run and drew a blank for a third successive league game.
Boosted by Oriol Romeu’s return following his suspension after amassing 10 bookings, Southampton were frustrated by a stubborn West Ham defence; Theo Walcott’s low shot from outside the box was the closest they went to a breakthrough after half-time.
Ings looked sharp as he beat two defenders with a clever chip before firing past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, only to see his effort correctly disallowed by the linesman as his wait for a 50th Premier League goal continued.
Things do not get any easier for Hasenhuttl’s side as they look to rediscover their form, with Liverpool and Leicester to come next.
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