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Match Analysis: Southampton 1-1 Stoke City

Match Analysis: Southampton 1-1 Stoke
© Daniel Hambury / PA Photos
Sports Mole analyses the 1-1 draw between Stoke City and Southampton at St Mary's Stadium this afternoon.

Southampton and Stoke City consolidated their respective places in mid-table with a 1-1 draw at St Mary's this afternoon.

Peter Crouch broke the deadlock at the start of the second half, before Rickie Lambert fired in the equaliser for the Saints.

The home side dominated possession but could not find a winning goal in the Premier League encounter.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the match.

Match statistics:

Southampton:
Shots 11
On target 7
Possession 63%
Corners 3
Fouls 10

Stoke:
Shots 8
On target 3
Possession 37%
Corners 4
Fouls 7

Was the result fair?

Probably not. Southampton were by far the better team, playing high tempo, free flowing football which stretched their opponents for much of the match. On another day, the home side could have had four or five goals today, and would definitely have been good value for all three points. Stoke allowed Southampton to dictate the pace, possession and style of the game.

Southampton's performance

With just one change to their starting lineup, it was a Southampton side that knew each other well, and it showed from the start, with the team passing the ball at will. Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana linked up beautifully up front, while Jay Rodriguez terrorised the Stoke back four. Despite spending much of the match on the attack, the team were also solid in defence, looking well drilled when tested by their opponents. Overall, a very impressive display from Mauricio Pochettino's men.

Stoke City's performance

It looked like Stoke were already planning their summer holidays at times in the first half. They allowed their opponents to run through them, they failed to maintain their formation and there seemed little desire to take the ball away from Southampton. Stoke allowed the Saints an 84% pass success rate. At times, the midfield seemed reluctant to try to intercept passes and the whole performance lacked urgency. The one moment of brilliance came at the start of the second half when they caught the home side napping to open the scoring, but they never looked like getting the winner.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Rickie Lambert: The term 'talisman' is probably overused in football, but Lambert is one of the few players who really earns the tag. He almost gave his side the lead in the opening minute, but was flagged offside. Despite that, he kept his cool and was involved in almost every attacking move. When Southampton found themselves a goal down and were pushing for an equaliser, it was Lambert who popped up with the finish, and when Stoke had a chance to add their second, it was Lambert who was back to make the block. A brilliant performance from the striker.

Biggest Gaffe

This has to go to the entire Southampton team for the opening minute of the second half. Having been so impressive in the first half, they must have been eager to get back out for the second period. However, they failed to close down Stoke as they closed in on the goal. There was no individual responsible for the Stoke goal, it was just a moment of laziness all around by the home side.

Referee performance

Lee Probert had a relatively solid game. As Stoke struggled with Southampton's pace in the first half, a few clumsy tackles started flying in, but two yellow cards forced the visitors to reconsider their approach to avoid leaving themselves a man down. Otherwise, there were few contentious issues for the referee to deal with.

What next?

Southampton: Having secured their status as a top-flight club, Southampton will surely spend the summer looking at ways to move up the Premier League table.

Stoke: Stoke will also be in the Premier League next season, but there have been some questions over Tony Pulis's position at the club. With Michael Owen's retirement and the second-lowest goalscoring record in the league, a striker must top the shopping list ahead of next season for the Potters.

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Stoke City's Peter Crouch celebrates scoring against Southampton on May 19, 2013
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