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Tottenham Hotspur 2 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 19th March 2017 Kick-off 14:15
Saints At Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
Monday, 20th Mar 2017 10:03

In their last ever visit to White Hart Lane it was a game of two halves for Saints who eventually paid the price for some sloppy defending in the first 45 minutes.


The big surprise was that Claude Puel left Martin Caceres on the bench again and in truth this was probably a mistake, early on Yoshida was caught napping leaving Fraser Forster to save the day with a fine save.

But there would be no save on 13 minutes when Eriksen was given too much time and space with no one closing him down to pick his spot in the corner, TV replays showed Fraser Forster had no chance.

It looked like it might be a torrid afternoon for Saints with both Yoshida and Stephens being caught out on too many occasions and it needed Forster to keep Saints in the game with a decent save from a header.

On the half hour though came a big blow, Manolo Gabbiadini tweaked his groin and had to depart with Shane Long on in his place.

Saints should have been level though, Nathan Redmond knocked a ball back for Dusan Tadic but from barely six yards he blazed over when really he should have scored.

Saints were starting to get a grip now with Oriol Romeu immense in the centre of the midfield but again they were the architects of their own downfall as they struggled to get the ball cleared in their own penalty area and Delle Ali took advantage of Steven Davis trailing leg to go down and win a penalty.

In the second half though Saints got their act together and started to dominate the play and deserved to pull a goal back with James Ward Prowse firing home after a great overlap and cross from Ryan Bertrand.

But as much as they tried they seemed to be playing not just the 11 men of Spurs but the referee Andre Marriner and his linesman, the feeling was that Marriner had given a soft penalty for Spurs and turned down a nailed on claim when Tadic was kicked in the box, the ref seemed to constantly favour Spurs puling up Saints for clean challenges at times.

Indeed as Spurs fans did their usual "He's one of our own chants" they were silenced by the travelling Saints fans who hit back with "Andre Marriner he's one of your own" even the home fans laughed at that one.

But for all the possession in the second half we could not quite break down the Spurs defence a second time and we went down fighting but with our pride intact.

Man of the match for Saints was Oriol Romeu, he outshone Victor Wanyama and lead by example to drag Saints from disarray and back into the game, he won tackles he passed the ball and was just immense.

Man of the match for Tottenham was Andre Marriner !

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LordDZLucan added 10:37 - Mar 20
Spot on assessment of what I saw on the tv. The authorities have really got to redefine what constitutes a penalty. Getting the tip of your toenail to the ball before the opposition with the sole intention of falling over a leg does not merit the awarding of a penalty. It is tantamount to cheating and Delle Ali is now doing it every week. He needs to be stopped. And yes that linesman was flag to put it mildly. But a good 2nd half performance by Saints and I really thought we were going to get something out of it.
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LordDZLucan added 10:38 - Mar 20
Spot on assessment of what I saw on the tv. The authorities have really got to redefine what constitutes a penalty. Getting the tip of your toenail to the ball before the opposition with the sole intention of falling over a leg does not merit the awarding of a penalty. It is tantamount to cheating and Delle Ali is now doing it every week. He needs to be stopped. And yes that linesman was flag happy to put it mildly. But a good 2nd half performance by Saints and I really thought we were going to get something out of it.
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SanMarco added 10:54 - Mar 20
Before the final there was an article in the Echo describing Marriner as our 'lucky referee'....
I believe that the linesman flagged for the ball going out when it clearly hadn't so it is probably just as well that Tadic missed or we would have had another Wembley-like incident on our hands. I totally agree on the penalties - if Tadic's card is marked for going down easily then Delle Ali's should be two, and Tadic was clearly kicked in the shin with the ball nowhere in sight.

I thought we showed character after going 2 down but you can't hand a team as good as Spuds a two goal lead and get away with it - even when they are not at their best. That was the disappointment for me - Spuds were beatable yesterday and it begs the question over CB selection. Why not give Cacares a run out? Stephens isn't the future for us so why play him it there is a viable alternative? We could have won that with a good defensive performance in the first half hour.

I saw on the Echo that some were blaming the first goal on FF - total nonsense, he had his best game for ages, superb save when the CBs allowed Toby a free header.
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wibbersda added 11:24 - Mar 20
Spot on Nick. Shane Long would have been in on goal for 2-2 if the Linesman did his job properly. He should have been sharp as it was only a short walk to his North London Home!
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Mclovin added 12:02 - Mar 20
A very balanced review from a man with a chip on both shoulders! Lol!
COYS!! :-)
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bstokesaint added 12:26 - Mar 20
Aside from a decent finish from a man given too much space, I don’t think Saints did much wrong yesterday and fully deserved at least a point. It’s becoming farcical now how many big decisions go against us. Ali goes looking for a penalty, asks the ref, gets it. Tadic gets smashed in the shin with no contact on the ball. Nothing. The lino again can’t do his job properly and how close were we to that discussion on a disallowed goal. And for the Spurs second goal why did the referee not allow Long on the pitch and force us to play with 10 when the sub looked ready? It’s absolute b***sh1t. And it’s getting more and more frequent as money gets pumped into the game, with big clubs getting the rub on key decisions. I think we are perceived as a soft touch club, who don’t get in the referee’s face or feign injuries to win things. When we do ask questions we get booked. In big games against quality opponents why should we have to match both the workrate of the opponent and hope also that the referee will do his job? I am fast being reminded why I ditched Sky last season, because they are all talking points that would have discussed at length had they been the other way around.
I don’t even feel like discussing individual players’ performances anymore as it feels like results don’t necessarily hinge on the performances of the team. If I was Puel I would be livid.
8

highfield49 added 12:49 - Mar 20
As stated above the result hinged on poor or biased refereeing. Ali deliberately hooked his foot around Davis' leg and dived into the area, Tadic got kicked by the defender, who made no apparent contact with the ball, but didn't cheat and immediately fling himself to the ground as play was waved on. Yet another match official not fit for purpose. The only slight upside to this refereeing bias is that we're not the only team to suffer from their very dubious behaviour. If players can be charged with offences based on post match tv image reviews it's certainly time for match officials to suffer the same fate.
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DPeps added 12:49 - Mar 20
Also, Dier's tackle on Redmond after 10mins was worthy of a red, high and out of control.

It was a weird game. It was almost as if neither team wanted to win it in the 2nd half, with loads of errors from us and Spurs. The difference for me was the quality of the two midfields, with ours not producing enough creativity or protecting our defence sufficiently, and Spurs midfield pretty solid.
5

bstokesaint added 12:55 - Mar 20
Highfield, I think another improvement would be making referees' pay being entirely based on performances. There is little accountability. If they have a stinker they shouldn't be paid. If they have lots of stinkers they should get relegated down the leagues. The best refs on the flipside should be paid really well (let's face everyone else in football is) and then maybe we'd know with one of these in charge we could enjoy the game without even talking about them for a change! I appreciate it's not an easy job, but the biasness is fairly evident if you look at a number of key decisions recently.
1

SanMarco added 13:29 - Mar 20
Surely with officials it has to be video technology? I don't think they are biased as much as prone to error and likely to be swayed by home support, especially at the 'big' clubs. Delle Ali is good at winning pens like that and the ref fell for it, Tadic fell theatrically and the ref didn't give it - not active bias in my view, just errors that a quick look at a replay would iron out. At the moment it is the artistry you put into cheating that is the issue - ask Samir Nasri who was done hook, line and sinker the other night by one of the biggest cheats out there - but didn't Vardy do it well?

PS did anyone else throw things at their tv when Graham Sh1tness's very first comment of the afternoon was to sell Gabby to a 'bigger' club....
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halftimeorange added 17:30 - Mar 20
It is true that the Andre Marriner show was poor yesterday - in fact, they could be reasonably said to have underscored the OFF in 'official' but a referee makes more decisions in one game than a judge does in the whole of his/her career. The constant cheating - and I imagine players are coached endlessly these days in throwing themselves to the ground, the ineffectiveness of the EPL and the FA and the whole bias displayed regularly by the whole attendant media circus will eventually have people turn their backs on the beautiful game. It is a disgrace that in such a mega-rich sport there are not four linesmen or even six instead of two and no voicelink with a video linked studio. I'm not excusing Mr Marriner, nor many of his colleagues who weekly alter the EPL results by their apparent ineptness but, for sure, they could and should be given a damn sight more help to get things right than they currently enjoy.
5

AmericanSaint added 19:26 - Mar 20
Some great points and very unbiased opinions today. I think that "halftime" is right about the additional refs. I would prefer video replay to a central point and an unbiased ref making the call. They do that in the US for hockey and baseball. BUT I think there are too many in the EPL that are against technology so more refs might be a compromise for those dinosaurs. To the match...
Either both incidents are penalties or the are not. I can actually see Dele and Tadic getting the ref to call both, but alas Mr. Mariner was poor on the day. Next, FF had a great game and no way was the 1st goal his fault. The announcer is a moron for stating that. Next, Romeu, Redman, Bertrand and Cedric all had great games. JWP did solid too and nicely converted in a tough spot. Tadic, Yoshie and Stephans were okay. Davis was subpar. Long needs to learn what offsides means. Except for the last one, he was a mile off on the other 10 times. Boufel was horrible and I am not sure what his problem is. Puel was going ballistic on him 5 minutes after getting on the pitch. Last, losing Gabs changed it for us I think. He was showing threatening runs and almost scored on the play he hurt himself. Hope it is not long term. Finally, regarding young Mr. Stephans - I have to disagree about not using him. I think he is the future and we need him to get as much playing time as we can. I think he will eclipse Yoshi by the end of the season if he plays a lot. Also, I think Ceras was a insurance buy just in case we lose Yoshi or Stephans to injury, cause otherwise why didn't we sign him to a multi-year contract and not just 6 months?

Final word on refs - the EPL should be very worried when refs of the caliber of Mark Clatenberg leave for Saudi Arabia for money. More of the same will happen (and to China too) and the EPL will be left with 2-3rd rate ref which will make the games harder to watch.
1

DPeps added 20:34 - Mar 20
Oh yeah, Long and offsides... does he not practice timing his runs in training?
And Boufal... that was the worst substitute performance since our old mate Ali Dia!
2

halftimeorange added 21:19 - Mar 20
On Boufal, he looks a fish out of water. I don't believe he is hitting it off with Puel and his approach when he does appear on the pitch is generally cavalier. Loads of needless fancy stuff, not passing to teammates, trying to beat one player too many. I think he is unhappy at Saints and might make no impression.
0

TeamCortese added 21:24 - Mar 20
The result yet again feels very eerily similar to the EFL final. I have to agree with many people on this forum that a more meritocratic approach needs to be adopted by the FA with referee performance. It feels like referees are beyond disrepute. Surely a referee can be sacked for poor performance--just like managers!
3

TeamCortese added 21:24 - Mar 20
The result yet again feels very eerily similar to the EFL final. I have to agree with many people on this forum that a more meritocratic approach needs to be adopted by the FA with referee performance. It feels like referees are beyond disrepute. Surely a referee can be sacked for poor performance--just like managers!
0

TeamCortese added 21:37 - Mar 20
Sorry didn't mean to press enter. Something funny going on with the browser....

On the whole our performance was good but the selection for central defence was baffling to say the least. I don't rate Stephens at the moment and I don't think it's fair to give him this much game time when he's simply not good enough. Personally I can't see the rationale for signing Caceres as the season is more or less over for us--especially when you consider his wages!

Lastly, Boufal needs to get his attitude sorted or just be sold. We do not have time for prima donnas. He hasn't done anything with his career and it's worrying that he has this attitude already. If I were him I'd be worried why players like JWP, Redmond and Tadic are starting ahead me. He clearly wants to put himself out for the transfer windows and that irritates me. Puel should teach him a lesson by excluding him from the squad for our next match. He needs to be disciplined and realise it’s not about him, it’s about the team!

I really hope his attitude changes because he really is talented. I'd go as far to say he's not too far from Le Tissier in terms of raw talent.
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IanRC added 00:03 - Mar 21
Whilst I agree that Boufal had a stinker on Sunday I can see how he must be frustrated by his lack of game time. I would go the other way and start him in the next game.
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arthurfane added 09:30 - Mar 21
Completely disagree with the comments regarding Boufal's attitude. Yes, that was one of the worst cameos I think I've ever seen from a Saints player, but his tricks and turns are what make him a brilliant player and prospect. He's scored two unbelievable goals by trying something outrageous and that's why I can't begrudge his 30 yard attempt against Spurs on Sunday. I LOVE that we have a player who tries that, even when he's down on confidence. There have been (admittedly few) games this season when he's shone (Palace from memory but am sure there have been others) - he just needs us to get behind him and the confidence and form will come. This is a player who has massive potential - I want him to fulfil it at Saints, not elsewhere!
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aceofthebase added 10:09 - Mar 21
Bad result, bad officials and not so bad performance from Saints generally.

Boufal does seem to have a problem with our club. His display in the recent U23 match was petulant and he clearly didn't want to be playing in that game. He seems to think he should be 1st choice on the team sheet whereas his recent performances have been poor. He has immense talent at mesmerising the opposition but all too often he loses the ball before achieving anything and then follows an opposition attack. Clearly this is not good enough and much as I admire his skills the choice must either he bucks up or he should be moved on.

Caceras was imprssive in his U23 match and I was surprised that he didn't start. Why not play him?
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arthurfane added 10:17 - Mar 21
I agree with the petulance in the U23 game. That is not excusable. Bear with him and he will be brilliant.

Caceres - perhaps he's on a 'pay as you play' or 'automatic contract extension after x games' after all. Certainly wouldn't make sense for Saints to shell out his reputed wages and not play him at all...
1

vanmans added 14:00 - Mar 21
Why does Puel keep taking Tadic off for Boufal why not play both. Tadic is our most creative player and once he goes off we don't look like scoring. Every time Boufal comes on in his place the team goes downhill.
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