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|Wesley Hoedt Joins Anderlecht |
“When Ralph Hassenhuttl arrived for some reason he didn’t take to Hoedt” - maybe it was because he saw the player’s poor attitude. He reportedly wasn’t prepared to put the effort in that Ralph expects from all his players so he was never going to feature in Ralph’s plans. Let’s face it he hasn’t exactly ripped up trees elsewhere on loan so it was the right call.
|Southampton May Now End Minamino Interest As Liverpool Set Out Transfer Stance|
I was baffled by the signing last season given priories elsewhere at the time.
Rumour was that Minamino only played as many games as he did as there was a financial clause in the loan deal that meant Ralph was almost compelled to pick him when available to avoid Saints having to pay more.
I don’t see that much has changed on the priority front so I don’t think this is a major setback.
|Should Southampton Sell Jannik Vestergaard This Summer|
Selling Vestergaard this summer largely depends on whether there are any half decent offers coming in for him. Like others who have commented I do like Vestergaard for the skills he does bring and have to accept that he is prone to the odd lapse and has the turning circle of an oil tanker. Without these deficiencies he probably would have signed for a bigger club in the first place. If he does go then Salisu is a ready made replacement so we don’t have to accept the first miserly offer that Levy (or whoever) thinks they can get away with.
|Ward Prowse England Omission Highlights Southgate's Losing of The Plot !|
I can only assume that Henderson has proved his fitness since joining up with England. The Maguire situation is a concern but it wouldn’t have changed the decision on JWP as Southgate would have selected one of the other centrebacks and has cover in Walker or James who can play on the right in a 3 centre back formation. So fact is as soon as Henderson reported fit JWP was out.
The gutting one is that the big winner from being in the extended squad is Saka who benefited from Greenwood’s withdrawal. Had Ings been selected in the 33 he would now be going to the Euros as I think he dropped down the pecking order as a direct result of Greenwood scoring a few goals late in the season and playing for ManU.
Ultimately England’s loss is Saints gain. The lads can have a proper rest offseason and full preseason.
|Southampton FC 2020/21 Season Review - The Right Back Spot|
KWP is one of those players whose value is shown when he hasnt played this season (like Romeu). He gives us an excellent attacking option and width which is more limited in the front players of Ralph’s 4-2-2-2 formation. I think he still needs to work a little on his defensive stills and is prone to a lapse or two (in keeping with the rest of the defence) but given this is essentially his first full season in the PL he is still developing so the future remains bright.
It’s clear Valary’s time at Saints is done for whatever reason and hopefully the recruitment in the summer provides not just a first choice LB but also cover for both full back positions.
|New Southampton Home Kit Revealed ! Back To Stripes Back To Reality !|
I liked the sash this season but I think this is an improvement again. I’m not fussed or can see the point of the augmented reality stuff - it’s a football short at the end of the day.
If you look back over time the shirts that normally stick fondly in the memory are those when the team has done well. Let’s hope next season’s shirt is up there with the best!
|Southampton FC 2020/21 Season Review - The Goalkeepers|
I don’t think you solve the goalkeeping issue in isolation. The lack of defence has played a large part in making both keepers look poor at times. One thing is sure the chopping and changing does neither keeper any good. I think McCarthy’s recent poor displays are in part due to the hit his confidence will have taken.
Ralph needs to make a decision and stick to it for the start of the season. My preference is Forster but as both are out of contract next season I can see a fresh start from 2022/23 with a brand new keeper and possibly one (McCarthy?) retained as back up.
|Southampton At West Ham United The Verdict|
I agree with much of what has been commented above.
On Redmond - yes he had a very poor game yesterday and no he wasn’t alone in that or guilty for all the goals, although I blame home for the second where he messed up the clearance allowing the cross to come in before the centre backs were set. The issue is that yesterday’s match wasn’t a one off. Indeed this season wasn’t a one off either. His standard has deteriorated over two or three years now and is still declining.
On Ings - when he was subbed yesterday you could read his face in that “do I really want to sign up to more of this crap?”. I for one don’t believe he wants to be sitting on the bench at a big six club but you can imagine Leicester or West Ham being a more attractive proposition than Saints are at the moment.
On the defence - yes they have had a very poor 2021 but this was largely the same group who were so good in the first half of the season. The issue has been missing Romeu. Even in his cameo role yesterday he looked calm, composed and did the simple things well. We know JWP and Armstrong don’t have the same skills. Diallo still looks too raw. Players like Romeu make a massive difference to a side so we need to have cover for him. We must also address the left back position so there is balance with KWP on the right.
On the Goalkeepers - in the same way the defence needs a solid defensive midfielder so the GK needs a decent defence in front. Out of the two I think Forster has edged it but I don’t agree that you completely write off McCarthy as a back up.
On Ralph - in the main he has been supported by the majority this season and I think he will have this summer to get his plans in place for the new season. What I am sure about is that he cannot afford a slow start to next season. Continuation of the results from 2021 will see him gone before Christmas.
|Southampton V Leeds United The Verdict|
Firstly although I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to attend the match, just watching on TV with a proper crowd made a huge difference. I didn’t realise how much I missed the rendition of “We hate Pompey” so much - something they forgot to include in the artificial crowd noise.
On the match I think the article is a fair reflection. I was convinced that Bamford was offside for the first goal, even with the Slo-mo replay but clearly VAR’s lines disagreed. I think the defence and McCarthy in particular thought the same and hesitated fatally as a result.
In the first half there seemed to be acres of space between the Leeds midfield and defence for the likes of JWP and, Stephens and Vestegarard to advance into but the final ball was always lacking. Leeds addressed this at half time and that changed the game with no really alternative attacking threat. Disappointing result but it means little in the grand scheme of things.
|Southampton V Fulham The Verdict|
Overall it was a game we should expect to win and we did with some ease. Good performances from Adams, JWP, KWP and Stephens. It was great to see Tella score his first senior goal and that smile was worth the wait.
Minamino was marginally better than in the week but I still don’t see what he brings that Tella or Djenepo can’t provide.
As for Redmond he continues to baffle. It looked like he had turned a corner a few weeks ago but this performance capped off a decline back to the early season dross. Surely someone on the coaching team can see what is going wrong and work with him to correct things. If they already are and he can’t or won’t change then he doesn’t deserve his place in the team. For his and Saints sake it can’t be allowed to continue.
|Southampton Confirm That Ryan Bertrand Will Leave St Mary's At The End Of The Season|
Based on the return on investment (transfer fee and wages) I would say Bertrand has been one of the best signings in recent years. Think along the lines of Steven Davis or Jose Fonte.
His best in my mind was the seasons under Koeman with Clyde on the right the pair set the benchmark for a duel full back threat.
The downturn seemed to coincide with his omission from the 2018 England World Cup squad. A decision that I still can’t work out - Ashley Young played instead for f**ks sake! That was also the downturn in Saints fortunes with the manager merry go round starting with Claude Puel. It’s probably unsurprising that his love for the game dipped and this translated on the pitch performances.
Whatever the next chapter is for Ryan I wish him all the best and thank him for the service to Saints over the years.
|Southampton V Crystal Palace The Verdict|
I’m not sure this match demonstrated that Ralph had a Plan B, more that he was certain that based on the way Palace play he was convinced that Plan A would work.
I would be so disappointed if I were a Palace fan as despite the early goal they reverted to such negative tactics that allowed Saints to play their way back into the match. If they had gone for the throat the result may have been very different.
Danny Ings shows how valuable he is to this team. Not just with his goals which he stands apart as a premium finisher but the whole team plays at a higher level with him in the side. Those intangibles are critical and why we need to retain his services.
Salisu continues to impress as does KWP who gave Zaha precious little to feed off and was a threat going forwards. Stephens is a solid player when asked not to do to much which was the case last night but he is not the answer at left back. We need to address the in balance as a duel threat with two full backs would give so many more options.
Like others I was disappointed with Minimino again. I just don’t see what he adds that we don’t already have on the bench with the likes of Tella or Djenepo.
Last word to JWP. Great battling performance and seemed to cove every blade of grass last night. Plus a few niggles with Palace players and not just Zaha this time. He really loves playing Palace!
|Southampton V Crystal Palace The Preview|
Planning for next season starts now. Every member of the squad should consider themselves not guaranteed of a place when the new season starts whether that means there are better options already in the club or we need to recruit.
|Oriol Romeu Could Return For Final Games Of The Saints Season|
Romeu has proven his value to the team this season both when playing and probably more so when missing from the team. He will be a big part of the plans for next season so I see no reason at this stage to rush his return. Far better to have a full preseason where recovery can continue to be managed than pick up an injury in a match this season which disrupts preseason and impacts on the start of next season.
|Premier League Referee's Motives Called Into Question Yet Again As Vestergaard's Red Card Is Overtur|
I think there are a number of factors at play here which all contrive to make VAR appear to be the enemy of football.
Firstly, you cannot blame VAR or the operators for the offside and handball decisions. It is the rules themselves which make the situation so frustrating. Offside in particular is a matter of fact and even an inch offside is still offside. I have heard calls for the armpit rule to be changed so that there is clear daylight between attacker and defender. Whether you agree with that or not it is a rule change and VAR will apply the new rule in the same way it does now.
Secondly are the decisions around interpretation of a foul for a penalty/ref card. In the main the decision should sit with the on field ref. He is closest to the action. VAR should only get involved where there is a clear error by the ref or an incident is missed completely. I think this is where current referees operating VAR are the issue. I don’t subscribe to the view by Nick that refs are deliberately trying to get VAR abandoned. That makes no sense as a modern top flight football has dozens of tv cameras anyway so their performance and mistakes will be highlighted regardless of whether VAR is there or not. However I do think there is a conflict of interest and a reluctance to “call out” an error by a colleague.
Like Nick I think VAR in general will benefit the sport as it has done in Rugby and Cricket for example but there needs to be a change in the operators and they must be completely independent of the referees and the PGMOL.
|Six Southampton Players Could Be Missing For The Trip To Anfield|
The headline suggested more doom and gloom, but there is nothing really new in the reported absentees. Indeed Smallbone and Romeu are out for the season so it would have been a shock if they weren’t unavailable. The only changes from the last match will be Vestergaard and Minamino. Vestergaard may not be missing if the red card is overturned (and even if it is does Salisu deserve another go at CB?) and Minamino who, of all the players who stayed on the pitch on Friday, was the least influential (personally I think he should have been the one to be subbed off for Salisu and not Tella).
All in all if we replicate the performance from Friday with a bit more attacking threat courtesy of having 11 players then we have a decent chance of getting something from the game.
|Southampton V Leicester City The Verdict|
For all those fans who said Ralph doesn’t have a plan B, he played the perfect one last night. Salisu was motm for me and deserves more chances now in the centre back position. The rest of the 10 on the pitch all played their part and deserve the credit today. In particular Che Adams ran himself into the ground last night with the thankless task of defending from the front. When defenders see that from a striker they know they have to play their part.
On the sending off it was ridiculous and even if the inexperienced ref made a mistake, VAR should have corrected it. I maintain VAR is a good thing but the muppets who control it are the problem and conflicted by potentially overruling a colleague. Get an independent assessor in there, preferably an ex player who knows the rules and VAR will work much better.
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