Southampton 0-2 Wolves (League Cup, 2nd Round)
After the cup heroics of last season and given our record in such competitions over the last 10 years or so, I wasn’t exactly hopeful of getting a result away at last year’s finalists Southampton.
Wolves on the road so far this season have been excellent.
Derby was the best performance I have seen away from home since a 3-1 defeat of West Ham the best part of a decade ago.
The score could have legitimately been 5-0 with no complaints from The Rams.
Onto Hull and we were organised, disciplined and again fully deserved the win.
So how do you approach a Cup game against Premier League opposition when you have an important league game coming up three days later?
Change the entire team..
Under Nuno, every player has a place in the squad and not necessarily a first 11 and a second string.
This is what he said in pre season and it seemed like the usual spiel to keep the squad happy.
Now though, I think he actually might be right.
When the line-up was announced with Price and Edwards as holding midfielders, the vast majority of fans expected things to go only one way.
This is a pairing who have never really played well together as a two, have both been out of contention in the league and in Edwards case out of form.
But no, they proved us wrong to an extent, Edwards being disciplined and controlled as the deepest of the two, with Price almost playing as a junior Neves and being actually pretty good in the role.
His ball over to Dicko in the opening minutes was brilliant.
Unfortunately, Nouha couldn’t control the ball and it trickled through to Forster.
Minutes later he had another chance as a ball from Cavaleiro that was a little behind him, but he should have done better with the finish.
His night was summed up when he was again through on goal on a few moments later when at an angle he hit the side netting.
Of the other changes to the side, Deslandes slotted into the left of the back three with Batth central and Bennett on the right. Vinagre swapped in for Douglass and Graham replaced Doherty as wing backs.
A front three of Cavaleiro, Dicko and Marshall wouldn’t have been a bad front three last season but things just did not click.
With Marshall being out for so long with injury it was a surprise that he featured at all and he looked off the pace and overweight, just like he did on his debut.
Norris again replaced Ruddy as he had done against Yeovil and again for me showed that he really should be the number 1 at this club.
There was one save in the first half from Yoshida that was genuinely world class ,which he had no right getting a hand to.
The follow up when he somehow managed to tip over the bar was equally as impressive.
Considering this was his first game against Premier League opposition, he was not phased at all. Even with Charlie Austin leaving his foot in from a charge down which he rightly received a yellow for, Norris wasn’t bothered.
The first half we had started well but after Dicko being so wasteful, Saints grew into the game and the half time whistle was a chance to regroup.
Come the second period though, everything was different.
Ronan replaced Marshall and we were a different team.
Suddenly Cavaleiro wasn’t the only danger man up front.
Southampton had no answer to it and with Price controlling the midfield and Edwards doing the dirty work it was only a matter of time before we got a deserved breakthrough.
The head of Danny Batth wasn’t the obvious choice but he does get one every now and then and this was great.
Headed down from a corner making it difficult to defend it sent the impressive travelling 1,500 into raptures.
Unlike last season, Nuno did not sit back and try to hold a narrow lead.
We stayed organised and held our shape and looked to break when we could.
The pressure from Southampton never really came though and just as we needed to freshen things up, Zyro and then Wilson came on for a second wind.
And it was these two who linked up for the goal that clinched it.
Zyro, looking much fitter than he has all of preseason, threaded an excellent ball through for Wilson to chase, only for the youngster to get a toe to it at the right time to poke it past Forster for 2-0.
It really was a well deserved victory and with performances all over the pitch from youngsters such as Ronan, Vinagre and Norris, it’s surely given Nuno a serious selection headache against Brentford on Saturday.