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Saints At Crystal Palace The Verdict
Sunday, 4th Dec 2016 12:57

As days at the office go they don't get much worse than this as Saints conceded two soft goals in as many minutes to throw the game away.

Did Saints play badly ? I would say that they didn't, however they cannot gift goals as they did against Palace and expect to get anything out of a game.

With 36 minutes gone Saints looked comfortable, Palace were rarely threatening and you felt that only one team would win the game, yes chances created were not great, but Saints looked to have taken control and ready to squeeze the home side.

Then came one of those moments in football that you cannot legislate for, 999 times out of a thousand Fraser Forster would have smashed an innocuous back pass up to the half way line, but it bobbled from hitting his standing foot and he missed it leaving Benteke with a tap in.

If that wasn't bad enough it disrupted Saints concentration and within 2 minutes they had conceded another and you felt that there would be no way back.

The rest of the game was mainly Saints attacking but they rarely looked like troubling the keeper and the one moment they did saw Jose Fonte smash a straight forward shot miles wide and you knew the game was up.

There has been a lot of hand wringing on social media and moaning but I think we have to take this defeat on the chin and remember that this time last year we went through just as bad a period yet still kicked on.

This year we have already achieved more than last and there is no reason why we can't achieve more.

There are those that say we lack a goalscorer, but it is not really that it is more about creating chances and we failed to do that yesterday, again memories are short, a year ago Mane went five months without a Premier League goal and Pelle disdn't score much mid season.

The truth is that Thursday night is more important than the trip to Palace, if we beat Be'er Sheva and qualify for the Europa League last 32 hen this week has been a success and we can build on that to make it a great second half of the season and with the opportunity to perhaps buy a player in January.

Saturday at Selhurst Park was frustrating , we were not three goals worse than Palace, but it was one of those days im afraid and we have to put it behind us and move on, we have a lot to cheer about at present and we should not let a bad day or two at the office overshadow what we are doing this season.

Sometimes you have a step back to move forward, we have been lucky these last few years in that for the last 7 years we have always improved our league position, that was always going to be difficult to continue, but that does not mean the World is going to end.

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saintmark1976 added 13:31 - Dec 4
Nick, I always admire your "glass half full" and "don't panic Mr Manwering" attitude but with this report I have to ask if you are serious.

How on earth do you realistically suggest that the upcoming game in the Europa league is more important than yesterday's game? I can only assume that you are confident that we will finish above the bottom three in the Premiership at season end. On recent form I have my doubts given that we have the classic problems that all relegated teams have ie we simply cannot score enough goals. You can not rely upon our defence to not concede game after game as yesterday confirmed.

Many more inept away performances the like those at Hull and Palace and I would suggest we will have a lot more to worry about than far flung games in Europe and a January visit to Mersey side for a semi final game in second rate cup competitions.


AmericanSaint added 13:34 - Dec 4
While your optimism is well placed, I would have to disagree about the game. We never looked in control in the 1st half. While we had a lot of possession, we did not do anything with it. After the clanger by Foster, we fell apart and Puel did not make good subs. Redmond and JWP should have been off after the 1st half and Long and Sims should have come it. There was no passion or determination even in the 1st half when it was 0-0. Redmond and JWP need to sit the next game on the bench. At least Ryan and Cedric played well and crossed it it very well. I think Austin and Long need to start on Thursday as we need to be able to stretch the opposition so that we can move it through the middle when we want.

Finally, we need to create opportunities better and someone (anyone) needs to step up and start getting us goals. Our mid field does not seem to want to move forward to attack early on in the possession. They are always doing the follow-up which slows the attack down. We just need to press forward a bit faster and I think that the attacks will start to open up more opportunities.

mgprobert added 13:45 - Dec 4
Agreed, frustrating (like Hull away) but lets move on. Things are looking good in the bigger picture

SaintPaulVW added 14:06 - Dec 4
Only saw about 30 minutes of it. We looked OK from what I saw. So I was slightly surprised as I was hearing the goal reports as I would say on paper that is pretty much our first team going forwards. Though as soon as I heard that Benteke hadn't scored at home I felt that we would probably oblige in our time honoured fashion of obligingly ending record breaking runs.

Minds on Thursday or this season's Bournemouth match? Time will tell.

After the strong swing back into positive territory, I imagine the comments will swing towards Puel out/Les out/Lack of a striker etc again. Fair enough. Onward to Thursday and hopefully a record breaking run ourselves! COYR!

corkcitysaint added 14:10 - Dec 4
Oh, the highs and lows of following SFC.. yesterday was a definite low. A woeful performance IMO. Can't thnk of a positive. OK, the first goal was a mistake, fair enough. the next 2 was just bad defending.

What I find disappointing is our attitude in the match. Palace are / were struggling after the way they lost to Swansea. Playing at home, it was a big pressure match for them and Pardew but again we just seed to lapse into our tippy tappy game in front of them. First 10 mins re so we were ok. After that, it was all too easy for Palace to defend, no spark from us. Even after half time, we were still lacklustre and never went at them. We just never seemed to have a go and see if they'd cave in again. We seemed to lack confidence in the match, too stand offish.

Kind of sums things up for us at the moment, Palace struggle to keep clean sheets, they can't defend set pieces and our comers didn't threaten them at all. We struggle to score, win away from home, must have been the perfect team for them to play…

We now need to focus on Thursday and hope for a big improvement.

PatfromPoole added 14:37 - Dec 4
Can't quite understand saintmark1976's logic. Utterly bizarre.

Thursday is obviously our biggest match of the season.

The Prem is a relative irrelevance, we'll finish comfortably mid-table.

SaintBrock added 15:03 - Dec 4
That must be tongue in cheek Pat... please tell us you are not being serious!

The only thing that matters to SFC is securing our position in the Premier League, all the rest is icing on the cake. At the risk of boring everyone through repetition, we need to finish 6th or higher in the PL to be able to take part in European competition again. If we neglect the league than we MUST win the Europa League to qualify for it again and you'd have to say on yesterday's evidence that isn't remotely likely to happen. As for the EFL Cup, do you honestly believe that we will get past the Scousers in a two-legged semi?

Of course you are right to imply that we will not be relegation candidates but not because we are too good to go down, simply because there are some seriously poor teams in this division at the moment and with the inevitable up-coming manager sackings one or two of them will not recover in time.

Setting that aside where is the ambition in finishing 15th (say) which is all that will be remembered of this season in a couple of year's time most especially by the the tabloid hacks who are already sharpening their pencils to write about "our death of a thousand cuts".

schatfield added 15:20 - Dec 4
Fraser is such a frustrating keeper: good shot stopper but tha man is glued to his line, he just never leaves it! Almost as frustrating has to be our man ward-prowse, the man for who passing sideways was invented. Guaranteed to have you tearing your hair out within half an hour!

So aside from the poo performance we were lucky enough to have seats at the back of the away end where a good third of the pich cant be seen! Cheers for that!

PatfromPoole added 15:41 - Dec 4
SaintBrock, of course we can beat Liverpool. Boscombe just have.

We have a real chance to create history for the club, both in the EFL and the Europa League. To dismiss them as second-rate competitions shows an attitude that typifies everything that is wrong with modern day football.


vanmans added 16:27 - Dec 4
The fact that Bournemouth beat Liverpool today shows how bad we are. We didn't have a single shoot on target against Liverpool and Bournemouth scored against them 4 times says it all really. Very poor strikers.

saintsnutcase added 16:59 - Dec 4
I said a couple of weeks ago that Fraser is becoming a serious problem. But at least he isn't as bad as Steklenberg -- that was a classic vs Man Utd!

saintmark1976 added 17:09 - Dec 4
PatfromPoole. I assume your comments are,as SaintBrock suggests,made with your tounge in cheek and an attempt at irony? If not then perhaps it is worth reminding you that the major English cup competition (although its significance is diminishing) is the FA cup.In regard to the Europa League it is a competition for teams that fail to qualify for the Champions League. Thus on the basis of any logical judgement both the EFL and the Europa are obviously second rate.

SaintBrock is without doubt correct when he says the only thing that matters is securing our position in the Premier League. Not many fans will remember Europe or Liverpool next season if we are playing in the Championship again.

PatfromPoole added 17:18 - Dec 4
Not in the slightest tongue in cheek or with irony.

Genuinely baffled by what some people perceive as success. Who cares about finishing 8th, 10th, 12th or 14th in the Prem? It's completely irrelevant to the history of a football club.

Europe and the EFL are our best chances of having a REAL moment as a club. Something to remember for generations.

NewburySaint added 17:51 - Dec 4
What a load of c&@p that was. What happened to the fast paced & forward thinking & playing we displayed against Everton?? Why no Sims from the start-an opportunity wasted to further integrate him into the 1st team.

My mate said to me after we went 1 down "let's go to the pub" & of course he was right because we all know that this season the game is lost once we go behind away from home.

The only player that can say they put in a shift yesterday is Cedric, with Boufal showing glimpses of his ability as well.

I was shocked to be told on the train after the game that Redmond played........

redwight added 17:52 - Dec 4
I really cannot believe we are still having this conversation. Pat is right - cup final appearances matter far more, and will be remembered much longer than whether we finished 7th rather than 12th in any given season. I had thought that most of us were agreed on that.

SaintBrock added 18:01 - Dec 4
Something doesn't feel right today. After years of hype about our climb from near bankruptcy to PL and Europa League fame we are still not the best club on the South coast bested by a team of minnows who were in league 1 with us; who have no star players; who have stuck with the same young inexperienced English manager through thick and thin and who boast a cobbled together third world stadium that holds less than half the capacity of St Mary's.

Oh... and who incidentally can come back from 3-1 down against the Scousers and win on merit 4-3.

Embarrassing does not begin to explain my emotions tonight.

vanmans added 18:32 - Dec 4
So now Bournemouth are the top team on the south coast.

SanMarco added 18:40 - Dec 4
I wonder how many time phrases such as "but they rarely looked like troubling the keeper" have/will be in the verdict this season? The point with the cup vs league thing is they are both important - we do need to saty up. It is a touch complacent to assume that we will simply pick up enough points for safety - we need to earn them on cold afternoons at places like Hull and Crystal Palace. Our league position so far is solely based on defensive strength and when that goes awol we lose. Bournemouth also conceded 3 this weekend..............

SaintBrock added 18:41 - Dec 4
I think that's what you are saying as well.

abingdonsaint added 19:33 - Dec 4
Blimey! We lost a game of football. That happens. We are still a very good team, but I agree that Thursday night is very important for the development of the club. For what it's worth, also confident that we we will finish above Bournemouth for those that are worried about south coast bragging rights.....

law101 added 19:46 - Dec 4
While I am not by any means a fan of Austin, it is clear we lack any threat or flair from midfield! You only have to look at our line up before kick off to know we will struggle for goals. We simply aren't nasty enough in the final third and don't create enough chances for the possession we have. We desperately need Tadic back fit and to give Boufal more game time. We have struggled to score against a very poor defensive team and have gifted a side low on confidence with three goals... to be a Saints fan!!

law101 added 19:46 - Dec 4
While I am not by any means a fan of Austin, it is clear we lack any threat or flair from midfield! You only have to look at our line up before kick off to know we will struggle for goals. We simply aren't nasty enough in the final third and don't create enough chances for the possession we have. We desperately need Tadic back fit and to give Boufal more game time. We have struggled to score against a very poor defensive team and have gifted a side low on confidence with three goals... to be a Saints fan!!

whitty added 20:38 - Dec 4
Agree with Pat. Give me a cup final, continuing European tour and mid table any day rather than season over and trying to scrape into 6. I thought football was about trying to win trophies.

rjh added 21:14 - Dec 4
Try this.... If you ever got bored in the away end, just count how many times Redmond gives the ball away. Dreadful today.

bstokesaint added 21:46 - Dec 4
I swear the same fans that bemoan the club "lacking ambition" are the same ones that are happier finishing higher up the table (or even just surviving) rather than actually winning something! It's like taking a trip back down memory lane to the Saints of two decades ago. I don't think I'd get away with boasting to my mates that I'm proud to support a "top 6/7/8 club" who never win anything. What's more the occasional failure not to finish outside the top 6 doesn't always guarantee no Europe or guarantee relegation, there is other non-humiliating middle ground!

That aside, I'm still hugely pi55ed off with yesterday's result. Palace, a team with no form and the worst defence in the PL and we can't score against them. That latter point just resounds more and more with every game. It won't go away.

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