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COMMENT: Saints v West Ham - flying Finn denies Saints a deserved win
This was a game Saints deserved to win, and had it not been for the flying Finn, Jussi Jaaskelainen, they would have.
The West Ham keeper might be 38-years-old, but his age yesterday seemed more akin to the number on the back of his shirt – 22.
The oldest man on the pitch, Jaaskelainen defied his years, flinging himself left and right, and making a string of magnificent saves to preserve his side a point.
Had it not been for him, Dani Osvaldo would have celebrated his first Saints goal, yet Jaaskelainen's brilliant scrambling save denied the Italian international from close range in the first half.
His best stop came after the break, as his stunning one-handed full-stretch dive kept out Morgan Schneiderlin's acrobatic volley.
Rickie Lambert was also foiled by him, while on the one occasion he was left helpless he was saved by the inside of the post, as a Lambert header crashed against it.
“He was brilliant, when you get clean sheets it’s a massive help,” said West Ham midfielder Mark Noble.
For Saints, the result was a frustrating one, given the chances they created, and while this was far from their most fluid performance they certainly warranted the three points.
They look strong defensively, with Dejan Lovren bringing an air of composure to the heart of the back line alongside Jose Fonte, but it is taking time for the team to completely find the rhythm going forward that they displayed so wonderfully on occasions last season.
There were, however, encouraging signs here of a more coherent attack.
The reintroduction of Jay Rodriguez helped liven them up, with his pace and desire to run at defenders something Saints can lack when he is not present.
Record signing Osvaldo is still finding his way, but the promise of a major threat is there, with his vision and skill abundantly clear, particularly in one sublime first-half moment when he followed a nutmeg with an audacious pass that nearly carved the West Ham defence apart.
It didn’t quite come off, though, with Osvaldo visibly frustrated. By the end, it was a feeling shared by all his teammates too, largely due to the performance of the man in the opposing goal.
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