Southampton made the tricky trip to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, coming away with a vital 0-0 draw to boost their quest for Premier League survival, and after the match their fans were very complimentary about one of their stars on the night.
Ralph Hasenhuttl made another bunch of changes to his Saints side for the contest, ensuring that nobody was flogged over the Christmas period, and he was rewarded with a fine defensive rear-guard and a much needed outcome.
After bringing in a number of fringe players for the defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, the Southampton boss recalled most of his first choice men for the trip to Stamford Bridge, and got the desired result.
One surprising selection was between the sticks, where Hasenhuttl gave a Saints debut to former Manchester City young goalkeeper Angus Gunn, but it was a switch which worked out very well indeed.
Alex McCarthy had been occupying the spot behind the defence, but he didn’t have his best game against the Citizens, and was replaced by the England under-21 stopper, who had a first Southampton game to remember.
Gunn wasn’t overworked, thanks in part to a wonderful performance from the Saints’ back line, but when he was called upon he did his job with comfort and a reassuring confidence, and the longer the match went on the more you felt the Hampshire side were capable of holding out.
Southampton now have an FA Cup tie against Derby at the weekend, so it remains to be seen who will be in goal for that match, but the debutant certainly did his long-term prospects no harm.
Hasenhuttl was full of praise for the Saints man after the draw, and he wasn’t the only one. Many of the travelling fans took to social media to rave about the youngster, once the full time whistle had sounded.
Here are some of their messages:
Excellent from #saintsfc tonight. Gunn, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Valery showing how good boys they are for us and hassenhuttel definitely looks like he knows what he’s doing
— Scott Hamilton (@ScottHammy87) January 2, 2019
So proud of the team tonight! Well earned point, defence looked confident as Well ….. Angus Gunn was superb ! As for Stamford bridge- one of the worse crowd atmospheres just like the Emirates! #SaintsFC
— Saint HasenHuttl Dazs 😇 (@LeGabbiadini) January 2, 2019
I went on for months that Gabbiadini was useless – he’s now nigh on a gonna – I’ve also advocated Gunn in goal since September- not bad tonight eh! Perhaps I have it in me to be a proper coach! #saintsfc
— Philip Binns (@Binnsphilip) January 2, 2019
Another big result for #saintsfc tonight! Tactics from Ralph were spot on and we were very worthy of a point! Angus Gunn was top class but as for his song…. horrendous 😭
— Mikey Davis (@MikeyDavis7) January 2, 2019
Hearing it was an all round excellent performance from the boys tonight! Sounds as though many impressed, including a lond awaited pl debut for Gunn. Yes lads! #saintsfc
— matthew samuel (@mattsamuel1992) January 2, 2019
Massive pefromace, massive point! Angus Gunn with a clean sheet on debut, up the boys #saintsFC
— Connor Reed (@connorreeddx) January 2, 2019
Mad parallels between that game and when McCarthy came in for his #SaintsFC Prem debut at Old Trafford. Both 0-0s away at a Top 6 club, and our first clean sheet in ages. Seriously impressed with Gunn tonight, he gave that defence a lot of confidence.
— Owen The Saints (@Owen_TheSaints) January 2, 2019
Brilliant performance all round from #SaintsFC and very heartening to see us defend well against a dangerous Chelsea side. Thought Gunn was very sharp but was helped no end by the excellent back 5 (in particular Yoshida).
— Fresh Saints (@FreshSaints) January 2, 2019
Big call by Ralph to put Gunn in, but he got his reward. He’s already shown that reputations count for nothing with him. Keeps everyone on their toes. #saintsfc
— Martin Tooth (@Toothy73) January 2, 2019
#SaintsFC it's no surprise to me that Gunn in goal has made a positive difference, great result tonight.
— Stuart Hack (@HackStuart) January 2, 2019