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Southampton V Leicester City Fa Cup Semi Final Verdict
at 10:35:59

For once I agree with Nick and enjoyed his report. Saints tried hard , played fairly well and were unlucky - what else can you do? Saints also should have had a had a stonewall penalty and Soyuncu should have been arrested for assault on Ings. Amazing how incidents like this are ignored against the Saints or perhaps not surprising after the usual ignorance from uninterested and biased commentators. Vestergaard and Bednarek played well and were unlucky with the ricocheted goal. Not having a strong man ,like Romeu, in the centre of midfield, lost it I feel. Virtually all Leicester attacks came from centre midfield; passing through the middle or nudging it either side. We missed a strong presence there; blocking their impetus forward , setting up ours. Meanwhile Leicester's defence and midfield held firm. Alack of useful penetration from our midfield meant our forwards were hardly going to stand a chance of getting a decent shot on target. Playing Adams and Tella might have added more gristle and speed up front. We did great to get to the semi but we march on to more important business, in my opinion, in the league away to Tottenham.
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Southampton At West Browmwich Albion The Verdict
at 11:25:29

Nick's beef with the defence seems strange (perhaps as obstinate as Ralph's commitment to his formation) when many think the Bednarek and Vestergaard have been the most consistently performing players this season. I think the real reason for such a poor defeat was the lack of a solid midfield, notably the loss of Romeu, who we seemingly can't replace. I believe Ralph should have at least given Jankewitz a try two games ago or perhaps given Salisu a go there. A defence can not defend without an organised midfield protecting the back line, you're simply asking for the impossible in the Premiership. Premier teams know the gap and weakness and easily exploit it - Brighton did it, Burnley did it in the first half and WBA did it last night and Leicester will do it on Sunday (until Ralph miraculously has a rethink). It's incredible to me that Ralph hasn't attempted to solve this, albeit with limited resources. The other point, as intimated, is the unwillingness of Ralph to change formation or strategy when necessary - after all plenty of managers have shown him the way this last two years, Potter and Alladyce not withstanding.
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Southampton V Brighton The Verdict
at 22:34:23

I guess that was an unsatisfying defeat Mr Illingworth (as opposed to your 'satisfying' defeat against Man City). A sensible report this time but your faith in Ralph is unfathomable given the evidence that is now exposed his 'one track mind' theory of football. Potter was much more engaged with the game and his team.
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Southampton At Manchester City The Verdict
at 13:36:28

Talk about contrarian. I've never heard the word 'satisfying' used to describe a 5-2 defeat. If I give you £2 and you give me £5,without any questions, that's when I'm satisfied. Saints did not get through the match unscathed because, at this moment, we need Djenepo to do a job. He has been one of the most reliable players in recent games. 'Pride' at losing 5-2 is again a strange use of vocabulary. Why are we starting the season with only 10 games to go? I thought we played 38 matches and forgive me if I'm wrong, since Saints are in the Premiership and Southampton FC are paying playing staff £60,000 a game, shouldn't they try to win every match. £60,000 to lose a game well - I could do that. Yes, football has obviously changed over the last few years but I can't say I want to watch any team not trying to win a match. If that 's the case I might as well seek to use my spare time more productively. The question is, when does the 'prioritising' stop: a 3-0 or 4-1 defeat to top half of the table teams? We got out of that one well, we lost 4-0 to Leicester - actually we probably would say that - we only lost 3-0 to West Ham. Who are those people that spoke in 'full agreement' with Nick? That's strange because the majority of the commentators here don't like being hammered 5-2. There was no bonus, we lost 5-2, didn't try to get anything from the game and had one player injured - are we satisfied? What good does a 5-2 defeat do for squad morale? I'd say it's time to constructively question Ralph's approach, he doesn't seem to have a clue some of the time and he was in tears half through the match after he'd just had a conflab with Pep. I'd say the players were confused hence the poor passing and aimless positioning. West Brom didn't give up did they?
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Southampton V Aston Villa The Verdict
at 11:18:36

I concur with the points both 'felly1' and 'Nomaesaints' make. I was happier with the Romeu and Redmond back but not happy about Walcott with Ings up front. Walcott was ineffective and I was surprised that Adams was dropped - that's a partnership Saints really need to keep together whenever possible. Saying giving Che needed a rest is nonsense because he was on the bench, came on and made a big impact. JWP was missed in the middle, providing creative momentum - he wasn't even used for corners. I thought Dalio would have been a better choice for right back as a faster player, somewhat similar to KWP in fact, and might have coped with Grealish better ( not easy of course). It would have been an opportunity to see if he could be used as a utility player. To have Romeu, JWP and Dalio is stronger than leaving one of them out at the moment. As it was, the forward line were unlucky but they were also pretty ineffective against the now familiar two blocks of 4 defending ( a lot of decent teams such as Wolves, Newcastle, even Liverpool before yesterday, have gone on long none winning, none scoring streaks - breaking teams down has become increasingly harder. Nice to see Redmond back but playing him through the middle is next to useless, I'd rather have seen him on one of the flanks causing a threat. He can't shoot with precision in front of goal and most Saints fans have given up thinking he ever will. He should have scored in front of goal in a central position but blasted the ball over the bar. For me Armstrong also had a poor game giving the ball away too much in the first half unlike his excellent performance the previous game against Arsenal. It was nice to see Moussa come, who like Adams, changed the game and cause more of a threat - he needs a longer run in the team without too many positional shackles. Lastly, the team looked a little jaded and failed to be creative enough or move the ball quickly enough although there was no way we deserved to lose to a very decent Villa and world class Grealish. Just one of those days once Vestergaard comes back hope we can get the machine ticking again.
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Spurs Certain To Sign Danny Ings After Harry Kane Damages Toe Nail.
at 00:25:29

Vokins out Williams in as predicted? Bertie out? Nick Illingworth out?
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Forget Brandon Williams It's A Central Defender We Need !
at 10:28:33

I think the club are right. We need experienced and competent cover at both left and right back where teams always seem to exploit any weakness - that's always a problematic thing to do because it can easily be exploited. Frankly we haven't got anybody good enough to cover in those positions as has been exposed in recent games. It's not fair to continually blame Stephens because he's played some brilliant games (and they're too easily forgotten by many) but has also, at times, given too much away and been caught out of position, however, that's largely because he's been trying to cover - an outcome of Ralph's formation and strategy with no midfielder providing cover or stopping attacks down the flanks ( frankly I'd prefer to see 4-4-2 with occasional adjustments). Vokins just hasn't had enough experience and needs to go on loan to a Premier or Championship club and the same for Valery. Both their defensive skills need work. Without KWP or Bertrand, Saints are easily exposed on the flanks. I didn't like the body language of Bertrand in the last game he played when, on occasions, he wouldn't come back quickly enough, or at all, to collect the ball from the centre of defence. At times he seems lackadaisical and too casual but at other times he plays well, unlike the pro he can be and should be. For me there's something not quite right with Bertrand and sometimes he seems to be just playing out the easy contract and the massive wage. I'm afraid Saints made a mistake by letting Target move on although it was admittedly difficult to judge at the time.
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Saints At Arsenal The Verdict
at 09:52:40

I'm almost 60 years old and that was the first time in my life that I felt we could and should have beaten Arsenal. So the result, for me, was disappointing. Even though a point was OK, I feel we weren't creative enough. Armstrong, the key creative player in the team, had a poor first half and I feel we really need a strong, creative midfielder, a class above what we already have - not easy to find I know. I'd say we need to give Diallo a go sooner than later. Ings was even more off the pace than in the Brighton game and clearly needs more game time - 60 minutes in the 'B' team would be a good idea if possible. Central defence played well - Vestergaard and Bednarek. Bertrand was a bit laboured and casual at times, KWP played well moving forward but his defending allows other teams to exploit the left-hand side too easily - although usually poorly supported by the right wing back who, with this formation, is always desperately chasing back when we're defending (whoever it is). All sides clearly exploit that area of the pitch and so far we haven't found any solution - it's far to easy to find a player there who can cut in and create havoc. Sterling will probably be a good example on Saturday. Onwards and upwards? We can improve.
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Saints January Fixture List Confirmed
at 09:02:25

Get through January and we'll truly know how good we are. To keep up a challenge for the top 7 we need 5 points minimum, 9 points or more would be very good and a real indicator of great improvement. It's also going to be a tester for the actual strength of our squad.
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Saints V Sheffield United The Verdict
at 11:44:58

The McBurnie dive was ridiculous and he deserved the outcome ( in fact players getting injured through diving is becoming a problem - managers have a word). Proud of the sensible and professional performance by Saints. Ingsy needs to get those twinkle toes and clever feet working again and Vesters was my MOTM. The subs did well - nice to see Redmond shooting with controlled conviction. Nearly a third of the season gone - if we really concentrate and believe we can win every match who knows where it can take us. But one match at a time - Arsenal here we come ( who should have had two players sent off on Sunday not one - the ref bottled it).
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Saints At Chelsea The Verdict
at 10:54:14

Didn't see the whole game but it looked as through Chelsea were potentially a fantastic attacking team, while Werner reminded me of George Best. Nevertheless we seemed to match them as a team - which is promising for this season. I agree with Nick the defence looked all at sea and couldn't organise itself effectively against the Chelsea raids although I'm not sure any team in the Premier could have done. Actually a lot of teams are going to struggle to contain an attacking force of Ings, Adams, Redmond and Walcott (who seemed terrific on his second debut). Gotta be proud of the boys with that performance and result.
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Theo Walcott Rejoins Saints Is This A Good Or Bad Move !
at 23:44:51

I thought Theo looked a considerable threat when he played for Everton and was probably unlucky not to get more game time. Really hasn't been consistent enough as a premier league player hence all the time on the bench ( plus being a bit injury prone). However, I think he'll be happy at St Mary's and is certainly still dangerous enough to contribute more than 6 goals although he hasn't done this since 2016/17! Fingers crossed for Theo and Saints. Redmond and Djenepo need a kick up the backside.
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Boufal Leaves On A Free Transfer
at 23:29:23

Good skill and potential but nobody home.
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It's Just 90 Minutes Says Hojbjerg ! But Will It Even Be That For Him ?
at 12:27:40

Hojbjerg - an average Prem midfielder, strange that Spurs should want him as I rate Wanyama a better player.Maybe Spurs just can't bare Saints having reasonable footballers and it's an easy place to poach. Anyway, pretty good deal for us all in all. Although I don't yet rate KWP as such a great player as other Saints fans - I don't think his defending's up to the mark yet. KWP and Valery - Ralph needs to work a bit of magic there.
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Saints Said To Be In Talks With Schalke Star
at 12:58:53

Weston seems like a straight replacement for PEH, a more consistent Lemina, perhaps without the 'attitude' of the latter. A great shame we did not bother about checking attitude under Reed - could have saved a lot of money, time and energy. Talk about professional negligence - Reed got away with that very lightly and the club escaped relegation by the skin of its teeth. Frankly, I'd prefer Ntcham from Celtic and swap a player. I also like Reed to stay as midfield back up.
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Saints V Sheffield United The Verdict
at 10:10:07

Great turn around for the team and Ralph. Great credit to all those that have put in the hard work.Amazing and very pleasing, after the last 3/4 worrisome seasons, to see Saints playing such exciting football. Long may it continue. However the team does need careful and serious consideration, especially as we've boringly been saying for 4 years - in defence: we need to spend carefully, we need consolidation: a premier class four across the back. Great improvements by Bednarek and Stephens this season, hopefully Bertrand will stay and we seem to have good cover in Vokins. KWP would be a good addition though he needs work on his defending and we need cover for that position. Salisu looks like an excellent defender, hopefully we can integrate him effectively. Don't forget Danso as well - that lad has talent and will come good given the chance . We will definitely need another strong and creative midfielder - like the chap who plays centre mid for Celtic, seemingly an ideal swap with Fraser! However Reed will be back and this time we need to utilise him. Smallbone is coming on nicely although he needs to get stronger and more assured. Hopefully, we'll keep the quad together, minus a Scandinavian player or two. Only 6 weeks until the start of next season - can't wait.
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Saints At Bournemouth The Verdict
at 00:41:55

We were the better footballing side as Bournemouth tried to disarm our centre halves and back four by hoofing balls forward to their speedy forwards (Tottenham did it the correct way against Leicester) Desperate stuff - which surprised me beacause thought Howe was better than that. McCarthy clearly MOTM for me. Romeu -a rock, KWP played well, as did Stephens, Prowsey defended well and put in his usual shift.However, I spent most of the game wishing Redmond had a decent pass the majority of the time, or that he scored 1 in 3 or 4 instead of 1 in 20 or that he possessed intelligent quicker judgement - or perhaps him really being the excellent player inter Milan might think he is. Still another assist - we must be thankful for modest mercies as Saints fans - or so we're told. The smart goal from Che should be given the credit it deserves.
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Saints V Brighton The Verdict
at 11:09:42

It has to be said that although on the whole Ralph has been great - coach and motivator - however, he does make unfathomable and glaringly poor team selections at times -pissing me off in the process, expecting the worst. I don't buy that anybody needed a rest, did they really, they're professional athletes, some players that had been playing all the Lockdown matches were still in the first team and most were on the bench anyway. KWP came on in the second half and sweated his guts out. If you remove 3 of your first team defence you'd be very lucky to get away with anything in the Premiership - and that's whilst Saints are trying to get the highest points total and placing possible. Even though we dominated the second half we were still lucky to get away with one point - another first half goal would have sealed all three points for Brighton. Saints defence definitely were 'all at sea ' in the first half and were forced to bring on better players in the second. Two points lost rather than one gained. 'Disappointing' as Nick said.
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Saints V Manchester City The Verdict
at 09:11:27

What a defensive performance. Bednarek was brilliant in the first half, Stephens in the second, McCarthy in both - thankfully. KWP played well again and Ingsy never gave up. All round fighting performance. We deserved it after coming close in the last few years. And, if you'd been watching Saints throughout this season, you would have known this was on the cards for Adams. He's needs special credit for his determination and perseverance this season. We're safe but no flip-flops please - Everton on Thursday.
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Saints At Watford The Verdict
at 11:39:05

Saints played much better when Armstrong came on and looked a different class. All the more proof of Ralph's sometimes dubious team selection. People go on about throwing away points but I reckon Ralph's done that quite a few times with poor/confused/misconstrued team selections ( although this has been the case for the last 3 managers but we can see why - because, over 3 years,the squad have been equally as bad as each other and any rotation didn't make any difference whilst rotation is confidence sapping, destructive to understanding and solidity! The club also made some awful player purchasing decisions. We've taken 3 years + to get over all of that but there again we're still in the Premier and that's a huge achievement in itself).
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