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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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Big Crowd For Leicester Expected
at 16:05:45

Perhaps this article should be headed Big Crowd For Leicester Expected Until Halftime. The Leicester I've seen this season have played some exciting football and I do fear the worst on Friday from their counter-attacking. It really is an awful feeling going to support your team and wondering how an earth we'll get a result with the management seeming to be floundering. as for the St Marys atmosphere - well, there hasn't been one other than of resigned doom and gloom. I really hope the battling point at Wolves kickstarts our revival but, realistically I think we've got to get lucky.
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The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 17:21:25

This article is preaching to the converted. Our centre backs are certainly not good enough to set alight the EPL but, they could be coached to be adequate which is the case with many of the clubs outside the top six - as has been said already, Sheff Utd showed exactly that last night against Arsenal. The only recent midfielder likely to provide flair was Lemina but, it seems he wanted out so didn't toe the party line. That leaves a midfield which isn't quite good enough - how we miss having a Steven Davis who made everyone around him look so much better - but, could be coached to be more cohesive as a unit. And then there's the forwards, yes they're often shot-shy however, a lot of our problems go back to the midfield. Ings and Gabbiadini before him make or made intelligent runs only to be totally ignored by the likes of JWP and PEH. Why are the coaches apparently not demanding more positive football when the groans have been echoing around St Marys for three seasons accompanying negative, stilted play? When has Adams been given a golden opportunity in front of goal? Whilst our defence and our midfield do not play respectively as tight and positive units our attackers spend much of the game coming back for the ball. The solutions lay largely at the feet of the coaches. They aren't doing their jobs. As an aside, watch Yoshida in comparison to JWP. More attacks from open play are started by Maya than James. How can that be so?
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Danso Must Play In The Centre Of Defence At Wolves
at 10:54:32

Like others I am baffled by the thinking at St Marys in respect of how our team is selected and lines up (two different issues). As to the former point, it seems ridiculous that a consistent under-performer such as JWP can regularly command a place and Armstrong gets barely a sniff, and Slattery not even that. It's not as though JWP is a playmaker and If JWP was that good how come Saints haven't been inundated with bids for him? We lack height up front and can't score goals but the promising N'Dunlulu isn't tried to remedy that glaring fact? As the article above suggests, we leak goals, but Danso isn't selected or, relative to my second point, when he is he's played out of position as has Cedric and JWP which has only showed that he can't defend either. What next, McCarthy playing in the centre of defence (actually, that might not be such a bad idea)! Most of us think that Ralph needs help, add to that guidance and a confidence boost however, he won't get the latter unless he tries new blood but only in their rightful positions.
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Saints Need Backroom Overhaul
at 16:00:22

I'm unconvinced by the coaching set-up. We see the same players making the same mistakes week in week out and you can add to that the succession of goalkeepers who have lost their confidence at St Marys. What really summed it up for me was Callum Slattery being subbed in the U-23 promotion final against Newcastle after running the game all the time he was on the pitch. His removal saw young Saints under pressure. How close is he to the first team? From what I've seen he should be blooded as our playmaker. He can't be any worse than JWP so I don't believe they do know what they're doing behind the scenes and Ralph definitely needs help and support.
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Time To Identify The Real Cause Of Saints Problems !
at 16:35:34

If I was Ross Wilson I, too, would jump at the chance of joining Rangers. Irrespective of the lack of competition north of the border, Rangers are once again relatively successful, something we are unlikely to see at Saints for some time. The whole of Nick's worthy article indicates lack of investment and I suspect the departure of Rohl is a result of either a cost-saving measure or the disillusionment of the man himself. If there is no considered expenditure in January it can only mean that we really have no money, otherwise why would the owner(s) want to juggle with the possibility of relegation? An experienced centre back has surely become a must, although by January the remedy might be too late.
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Saints V Chelsea The Verdict
at 10:22:40

We all realised we'd be relegation candidates when Bournemouth tore us apart. Most other clubs have strengthened where they were weak and it's palpably true that Saints have not. That may be partly why RH constantly tinkers. He, too, knows that some of our players are Championship class at best. That doesn't explain the omission of Boufal from the starting line-up. He is capable of the similar wizardry displayed by Valery in creating our goal. Valery, by the way, repeated his little run in the second-half, something Redmond appears completely unable to do. To my mind, Valery should play in front of Cedric when fit. Once again, most of Chelsea's threats came down their left and the duo of Valery and Cedric might be a more effective barricade. And JWP - what can one say. He brings nothing to the team. Is Armstrong really that bad that he can't be given a run out in JWP's place? Although it's been said before, Saints need to address the lack of height up front as we win nothing in the air, sign a creative midfielder if Armstrong is no better than JWP and, the same old chestnut, bring in a dominating centre back - otherwise we're going down. In my opinion, yesterday's second half was as drab a performance by Saints as I have ever seen in recent times. The only solace was that my leaving when Chelsea's fourth goal went in meant that I got home thirty minutes earlier than expected.
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Saints At Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
at 10:14:39

I thought that Saints played well enough and deserved a draw but, undoubtedly, early relegation worries will have some effect on the players. We can only hope that Ralph engenders fighting spirit rather than allowing heads to drop. As for the game itself, despite the fact that he stymies too many of our attacks, imo JWP had a reasonably good game. It occurred to me that McCarthy might have stopped Spurs first goal. I'm unconvinced by Gunn. Our forthcoming fixtures leave no room for further positional experimentation. Up to the end of November, as a vulnerable side we have few games where we won't be under the cosh as other clubs now realise how glaring our weaknesses are. Like Boris 1977 I hope the attack starts to deliver or this will be a repeat of 17/18 and 18/19.
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Saints At Tottenham Hotspur The Preview
at 10:34:04

I agree with Vanmans but, I can't see RH seeing it this way. Vestergaard was rested against Pompey so I'll wager he returns. JWP seems to be an RH favourite so no Obafemi either. Until the defence is truly plugged or we start taking our chances instead of passing backwards a la JWP we'll be scraping the odd point until we're into November. Difficult times ahead in the short term, although I hope I'm wrong.
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Saints At Pompey The Verdict
at 09:25:50

It would be ungracious of me to dwell on any downside of Saints performance after a 4-0 thrashing of the enemy but, one thing did worry me. Che Adams was never in the game, seemingly often in the wrong place (for example, he should have been close enough to have taken Cedric's goal) and he was subdued walking off the pitch with Jack Stephens putting his arm around his shoulders apparently saying "Your time will come". Maybe a couple of outings in the Under-23s could help. And, oh for a big attacker - we really need more height!
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Saints V Bournemouth The Verdict
at 17:53:43

Some very reasonable comments above but, I agree with Saint Mark. Our manager looked out of his depth in terms of the way the team was set up on Friday. I also caught his post-match interview on Radio Solent on the way home and he spoke rapidly like a man already under fire, without acknowledging his selection errors. We don't have a great team but they are better than what we saw against the Cherries. Too many more like that first half and we'll know Wreck It Ralph is in town and not just a cartoon character.
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Ralph Hails Defensive Improvement ! But Is He Right To ?
at 12:07:32

I don't believe Ralph has settled on his best defensive options. Why Bertrand didn't come on second half on Saturday was baffling to me. Even if there's been a squabble between the two Ryan would hardly have used the opportunity to protest by deliberately playing poorly. At his worst he would have given us much needed extra cover on the left. As for Djenepo, if he's an out and out striker that's what he should be doing, not asked to waste his talent doing something he's not good at when we really need more goals at a time when Redmond is injured and both Ings and Adams can't get on the scoresheet. Ralph is certainly working in mysterious ways but, I guess we can't complain if he's getting results. One things for sure, the defence (whoever plays) will have to sharpen up against Messrs Fraser, Wilson and King on Friday night. They're not David McGoldricks.
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Ralph Encourages Hojbjerg To Sign New Deal
at 17:12:39

I think that most Saints fans would be disappointed to see Hobjberg chase the dollar. He stood out to many of us as the obvious captain. For one thing his English is pretty good and he was talking to other players all through the game prior to being captain, something Ryan didn't appear to do. Another side to his personality is that he is determined in his disposition. I recall him saying last season words to the effect that he would not allow Saints to be relegated, not on his watch. We need men like Hobjberg around St Marys.
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Saints V Manchester United The Verdict
at 14:14:51

I believe that Che Adams needs to work harder, something pointed out to him earlier in his career by Nigel Adkins when they were both at Sheffield United. Also, on yesterday's evidence, he needs to recognise where he is supposed to be in relation to his teammates, particularly Danny Ings. I do recall that Graziano Pelle took an age to score when he arrived at Saints. He couldn't hit a barn door but, eventually scrambled home a goal in a cup-tie away at Millwall. He then went on to net 23 times in 68 appearances. Goalscorers don't generally lose their touch - as Billy Sharp (generously released by the Saints) has shown. They go through poor patches, but then go on a run a la James Beattie. We haven't seen enough of Che to pass considered judgement and, as deanosfc8 said, we need to support him. If he doesn't work out then Dan N'Lundulu is waiting in the wings and he's no slouch and has more height on his side (1.83M).
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Saints V Manchester United The Preview
at 12:56:41

Apart from keeping Rashford and company out we have to score. Che Adams hasn't set the world on fire yet and Danny Ings can't buy a goal. We all know about Shane's profligacy in front of the posts. Ofabemi is beginning to look injury prone. Nevertheless, I expect a big effort from those who are not confined to the physio's couch. United are, by their standards, somewhat wobbly at the moment.
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