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Saints At Crystal Palace The Verdict
at 09:05:51

I'm not sure I want Saints players tired by playing for England as we don't have the strength in depth. I'm not a Redmond fan but I can't fault his effort last night and, as for JWP, where has this player been for the past couple of seasons. The key to last night's victory was winding up their best player consequently reducing his threat. After Saturday an amazing turnaround and I am so pleased to see Armstrong going from strength to strength. Somebody at Saints knew what they were doing when we signed him.
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Bednarek Major Doubt For Palace Trip ! Who Should Replace Him ?
at 09:38:20

Whoever plays we'll be lucky if we manage a shut out. I'd probably go for Yoshida as he's likely to play wholeheartedly, although prone to at least one game-changing error. He is 6'2" whereas Romeu is 6'0" and Bertrand a mere 5'10" and we are generally short of height on the pitch. Danso should've been blooded more than he has been and is hardly likely to form an instant partnership with Stephens and Vestergaard's shortcomings in respect of pace and inability to jump are well documented. What Ralph needs to do is keep morale high. A bad defeat tonight and a thrashing by Liverpool could well see the start of a slide back into the mire. If we can get a point that would do but, after the effort expended on Saturday it's no gimme. Another thing, Djenepo ran Palace ragged in our home game during the last quarter and with him we should have won. If the first half is a low-scoring battle he should be introduced early in the second half. I hope Ralph doesn't go all defensive and replace Armstrong from the start with Romeu. We need all the creativity we can get.
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Ignore The Rumours ! Sit Back And Wait !
at 15:40:28

I agree with much of what has been said above but was Carillo really given a chance at Saints? He played in seven league games for us. Redmond has played in 126. Frankly I'd swap them. We would at least have some height in attack and Carillo can't be that bad, scoring on average once in every 4/5 games. I'd like to see some of the players shipped out tried with RH's current method of coaching which, despite Saturday's capitulation, seems to be paying dividends.
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Saints At Leicester City The Verdict
at 10:42:03

Taking a different perspective, this season's EPL is rather like a game of Snakes & Ladders - currently we are wriggling ourselves up to midway safety whilst the Cherries have slid into relegation territory. This shows that nothing is guaranteed. No-one can deny that Eddie Howe has done a good job at Bournemouth and, despite some earlier misgivings, Ralph has our players on board and believing in the system he requires them to play but, Saints have few injuries whereas Howe must be worried sick as he has even fewer resources to call on. As the lead article has pointed out, we ourselves don't have enough strength in depth in terms of quality. A central defender is a must but, there is also no realistic goalscoring back-up if Danny Ings is injured or, like Callum Wilson becomes injured and/or loses his form. The form of Stuart Armstrong and Jack Stephens is another factor in our resurging performances plus overall improving fitness recently - a contributing element to our previous habit of leaking late goals. This is all very uplifting for us fans and a couple of shrewd signings now would surely seal our place in football's elite league next season. Yesterday's performance was the best, in my opinion, by a Saints team since the heady days of Lambert and Lallana. I'm actually quite looking forward to Wolves.
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Boufal Or Sims ?
at 17:01:17

Boufal might disappoint some fans but, for me, he is exciting to watch and worries the opposition and, most of all he often, not always, provides me with what I want to see - entertainment! I'm afraid that Redmond is predictable and I cannot see why he always starts. As for Josh Sims, he's another who really hasn't been given enough chances probably because, in his time at the club, our managers have to feel "safe" in their selections as Saints are regularly fighting rearguard actions. There are very few opportunities for players like Josh.
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Saints V Huddersfield The Verdict
at 10:08:57

Although we learned very little from this generally boring game- hardly an encouragement for kids to return to St Marys - I surmise that fringe players like Yoshida, Danso and Vestergaard can only get truly fit in playing in a game like this rather than run-of-the-mill training sessions and U-23 games however, Huddersfield presented very limited opposition. As for Che Adams, although I have my doubts about his true level of ability, unless he's actually given the ball, we'll never know what he's capable of. I felt for him on Saturday.
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Saints At Aston Villa The Verdict
at 12:18:45

Let's not get carried away by beating poor opposition even though it shows the players are still trying their best. I think that our improved results are partly due to a relatively settled team being picked week in, week out. I also believe that our lapses are due to poor organisation rather than individual breaks in concentration and that is down to the coaching. We do not see many of our team having that understanding of knowing where your mate is going to be next, hence so many misplaced passes and loss of possession. A positive in that respect is the inclusion of Shane Long. Surely it is his jumping ability and speed that are partly responsible for the opportunities Danny Ings is getting to score. Maybe that is a partnership which will continue to develop. I agree with the comments about Jack Stephens. He looks to be more effective carrying the ball forwards than marking determined attackers. Alex McCarthy seems to be finding his form again and for that we should be thankful.
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Saints Have Injury Doubts For Trip To Newcastle
at 17:06:51

I'm not sure that starting without your main attacking threat (Ings) is a good idea although I can understand the need to nurse him for future outings. I'd rather see him on and giving us the chance of a poacher's goal than see him thrown on to try and drag Saints back into it. My feeling is that Adams isn't up to it but, if he can feed off Long's ball-winning ability then maybe he will get that elusive first goal. Despite what RH is suggesting about freshening things up it would surely be folly to tamper with what is becoming a settled starting eleven.
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Saints V Norwich City The Verdict
at 16:53:12

In the first half Saints deservedly dominated Norwich, particularly in the final fifteen minutes when that elusive third goal would have settled things. After the break it was obvious that Norwich would come at us and we seemed to allow them to by defending deeper and deeper. And then their goal after which it was desperate and furious in front of our goal underlined by a dreadful hoick by Cedric from one side of the pitch to the other into an area where no Saints player was anywhere near. Basic intelligence should have dictated that the ball needed to be run into the corner. My opinion is that the woeful Redmond, strolling around ball-watching and not covering back should have been off at halftime. Everyone sitting in the centre of the Kingsland bemoaned his lack of effort in supporting Bertrand and his failure to take on and beat a man, especially against the club that sold him to us. Also, I cannot agree about Che Adams. He was never up with play floating around in areas where he was never going to touch the ball. I am afraid he is not going to make the grade. The subs were wrong in that Djenepo and Long should have stayed on the pitch. Both were a worry to Norwich and our threat left with them. Romeu for Ings was the logical substitution. Danny had run his heart out and needs to be kept for the next game. McCarthy was fooled by the shot that beat him. In fact, I thought Pukki was about to switch feet. Bertrand, JWP and Hobjberg all played their part in this narrow victory which can only help confidence for the battles ahead.
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Saints Could Pull Out Of Relegation Zone On Wednesday
at 10:10:50

I hope the psychologists are doing their stuff right now as, first and foremost, the side needs to believe they can beat Norwich. Second, Ralph must fill that gap in front of defence with a player (or two) who have the confidence to drive forward with the ball or at least try and play it through the opposition. To my mind Boufal has to start. He might lose the ball from time to time but, it will generally be in the opposition's half and not around our penalty area. Another thing about Boufal and Djenepo is that they, unlike JWP, play the ball on the ground which gives us more chances. Redmond should sit on the bench. That might concentrate his mind on attacking rather than arguing. Lastly, give Danny Ings the captain's armband. He's the one player who thoroughly deserves to wear it.
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Saints V Watford The Verdict
at 09:52:03

This game was decided by a probable sleight of hand, a memorable free kick and two top class saves. It was also punctuated by long periods of fear and negative play in the first half where it was patently clear to all of us in the stands that there was no Saints player linking the back with the front allowing Watford to dominate the space between the two penalty areas. Why this glaring error was not addressed earlier before Boufal, in particular, entered the fray is beyond my comprehension. Watford should have won this encounter in the final panic-stricken minutes but, unaccountably fluffed their chances. On this showing both teams will do well to be in the EPL next season.
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Saints Need To Make One Big Change Now !
at 17:39:18

I imagine any Leicester supporter would give their life's savings to own this number plate. Saints could use the money for a decent centre back.
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Saints At Arsenal The Verdict
at 11:14:41

It's arguable that any two of the trio PEH, Romeu and JWP should not be on the pitch together and possibly as they are all negative in respect of attack, albeit PEH did drive Saints forward in this game so, how come he doesn't do it every week?
If the rumours that Gao wants out at £200M then I hope it's sooner rather than later. We need leadership both on and off the pitch.
We need to go at Watford with all guns blazing. Pity it's on TV with Eastleigh on the other channel, both at the same time. Stupid TV planning with no regard for the fans or the non-league club. I would have liked to go to both and hospitality at Eastleigh is only £30!
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Saints Linked With Wild Card Centre Back's
at 17:33:48

Whether we're doomed or not Ralph needs to stop tinkering every game (barring injury) and pick the same players, playing in their proper positions in a format they understand and he should make it clear that that will be the starting eleven for the next half dozen games. The players are chopped and changed around week-in, week-out. No wonder they can't perform together. Experiments are for pre-season, friendlies and meaningless cup ties, not when you're fighting for EPL survival. In any other business and, for that matter, most other clubs in our division, everyone knows their particular job. At St Marys it seems random selection rules.
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Saints At Everton The Verdict
at 13:58:28

There were a fair number of empty seats at St Marys and there are likely to be many more for the next crucial home game against Watford, which is due to be televised. Add to that the possibility of poor weather and an unfriendly kick-off time of 17.30 disrupting other Saturday night commitments and it might be a good idea for Saints to offer free entry or seriously consider lowering prices for unsold seats or risk the cameras highlighting the ghostliness of a somewhat vacant stadium. As for the game, although we all have our opinions of which players are worth retaining, and which ones should start, to give any of them a chance to shine you simply cannot continually play them out of position. I think we're almost unanimous over one player - JWP, who either isn't performing or really cannot perform at premier league level. Giving him the added burden of captaining a struggling side is pure madness. The defensive marking for Everton's opener was beyond belief. If we are going to continue like that we should immediately seek out of contract players - Keogh at Derby comes to mind. He couldn't be any worse than Stephens or Vestergaard ( who was responsible for scouting him - their services should be instantly dispensed with) and Keogh does know how to captain a team. I feel sorry for Ralph. He's clearly out of his depth and resignation can't be far from his mind. These are awful times for us supporters and I fear that many will soon desert St Marys never to return.
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Saints Scapegoats Show They Have Fight
at 13:32:04

One can make statistics fit any picture. The truth about JWP is that he regularly stops our build-up play by turning back, he has no pace and mistimes his tackles - hence no bids or interest from the big six. This season he has been very poor, to put it mildly. As for PEH, he seems to have gone off the boil with the weight of captaincy - something I thought he was ideally cut out for. Maybe he was made captain too early. Either way, I see him as more of a battler than JWP. As for Boufal, he adds flair and a bit of excitement and expectancy to my viewing experience. Whether a team deep in the relegation mire can afford that luxury is, of course, another matter.
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Saints At Manchester City The Verdict
at 11:16:08

A heavy defeat by a disjointed and damaged Everton is unlikely to see the back of RH. I'd be surprised if the board does ditch him. His decision making has been that of a desperate man but, the players are, after all, mainly seen as worthy of representing their countries so, elementary mistakes on the pitch cannot just be down to RH. Sometimes they look as though they need coaching just to play football and that is down to them not RH and his staff. Their job, which I don't personally think they're equipped to do is to get the players to play as a team, not as individuals. Having said that, the Everton game has assumed massive importance and I am not convinced we'll beat them. Maybe all out attack is the answer, but I bet Saints don't play that way and we see the usual faffing around in defence and midfield and few defence splitting passes - something already a rarity for us these days.
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Saints V Leicester City The Verdict
at 12:29:05

Personally, I think that last night shows the gap between the better teams and the rest. Leicester invested £40M in Tielemans and it shows. They have Vardy who is a prolific striker, a solid centre back in Söyüncü and Casper Scmeichel in goal. In other words they have the four key elements for success - a top keeper, a commanding defender, a playmaker and a goalscorer. Saints have possibly only one of those - Ings but, only in a generally more talented side. It is unlikely that Saints will be the only outfit thrashed this season by top opponents which is a warning to the EPL. Fans do not want to see their club humiliated and, whilst Sky/BT might think walkovers boost their viewing figures, most neutrals prefer to watch true competition. As for Saints, a spell in the Championship allowing the club to properly regroup might not be a bad thing. The owners should also consider whether their management strategy is going to deliver long term results that satisfy them and their supporters. If not, they should endeavour to sell up and let better brains move in, otherwise a downward spiral will be the only outcome. This pitiful situation has occurred, as others have noted, because of gross mismanagement or, indeed, non-management over a several seasons.
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Saints V Leicester City The Preview
at 14:36:15

Jamie Vardy might not be photogenic but, "the Albert Steptoe lookalike" - I think that's downright insulting. You wouldn't be so contemptuous if he was in our team. Le Tiss didn't have screen idol looks, but that didn't reflect his ability to win a game.
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Big Crowd For Leicester Expected
at 08:08:45

Nick, You talk about a reality check and we are having one right now. We are fourth from bottom, we are playing at best in a haphazard fashion and we have only workmanlike players - no stand-out quality. We are in a dogfight and, from what I see on the pitch, we may well not get out of it. Of course I go to support the Saints and I rarely leave before the final whistle, irrespective of the score. Surely, you must have noticed that, after the first fifteen minutes of huff and puff St Mary's is often funereal even at the Northam end. Noise is generated by two things - in the first place the anticipation and needs of the fans and second, by the effort and success of the team. In the latter case, there ain't too much these days. The EPL is a wildly different and imbalanced place compared to even ten years ago and sadly, Saints currently appear to be lightweights in a division of heavy and super-heavyweights. Nevertheless, I still pay to watch them!
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