Southampton prove and win points
Southampton needed to make a statement of intent in the Premier League this weekend, and so did some of their personnel. In the demolition of West Ham United, they did just that.
While 3-1 may not seem like a particularly one-sided scoreline, the visitor outclassed the host as it came from behind to secure a convincing victory. If the score had been five or even six goals in favour of Southampton, even the most hardened Hammer would have found it difficult to feel hard done by as Ronald Koeman outwitted what he afterward called the "easy tactics" of Sam Allardyce.
The Dutchman has been a calm and composed figure during the media-induced chaos that has been this summer at St. Mary's, but secretly I'm sure he would have been feeling some pressure to deliver a first league win and show that there is still a good team residing on the South Coast.
After an unfortunate defeat at Anfield on the opening day of the season and a highly forgettable draw with West Brom, people had started to question the credentials of Koeman and his team. This convincing win on the road should send a timely message.
If the manager was feeling pressure on the inside, his first signing, Italian forward Graziano Pelle, was wearing it plain as day on his face.
Following a difficult opening two games for the striker, there was already the suggestion that Pelle might not be good enough for the Premier League, but after opening his account in the Capital One Cup at Millwall midweek (to his visible relief), he followed that up with another brilliant showing in London, scoring his first league goal late in the game. It should have been his second after an earlier effort was ruled out for offside, despite replays showing him clearly being level.
The third man who might have felt he had something to prove was Morgan Schneiderlin. You will find little doubt among Southampton fans that the Frenchman is up there with the best central midfielders in the Premier League, but after speculation about his future and a social media outburst, his commitment to the cause was certainly under scrutiny.
There is no better way to answer the critics than with a superb performance, which is precisely what Schneiderlin did, scoring two goals before apologising and reiterating his loyalty to the club in the postmatch interviews. Nothing is certain in football, but if the 24-year-old is still at St. Mary's on Tuesday, it might be the club's best bit of business of the summer.
It was a team performance of some satisfaction for the travelling Saints, topped off with some impressive individual efforts.
Points on the board. Points proved.