Saints V Manchester United The Verdict Wednesday, 17th May 2017 23:43
There were a few moans coming out of the game tonight, but to put it in perspective it was a game that Saints more then deserved a point from against a side who are still a force in English football.
Saints took on Manchester United and at times it seemed their own crowd as they battled to secure that 8th position in the Premier League, but again Claude Puel baffled the Saints support by again making multiple changes this time 8 from the side that started against Middlesbrough.
It looked like it might be a storming start when Saints were awarded a penalty in the opening minutes, Manolo Gabbiadini was the third player in four games to step up to the spot and the third player in four games to miss.
Why the job wasnt given to to James Ward Prowse who was the only player on the pitch who hasn't missed this season is anyones guess
That stirred United and it took a smart save from Fraser Forster to keep the sides level, but it was Saints taking the game to United and if the first half was played at a slow pace in the second half it picked up and at times Saints laid siege to the United goal with the visiting keeper making four decent saves to keep his side level.
Those who say they havent been entertained at St Mary's this season did not see goals in this game but they did see a second half full of incident at both ends, sadly it was the United keeper Romero who was man of the match though.
This would normally be considered a good performance by Saints but sadly for many they came to bury Saints not praise them and in the first half the crowd was on the back of its own team, in the second it responded to the increase in tempo and got behind them and hopefully the supporters will see that this was a step forward to an 8th place finish and not a step back.
Now it goes to Sunday, but it is now in Saints hands, they know that a win sees them finish 8th and that is a big achievement given the issues this season.
Fair enough report their keeper saved them rather than us missing chances, even before gabbi took it the penalty i was hoping jwp would . First time ive heard a saints crowd booing at a draw with man utd as the commentators noted 'saints fans have been spoiled in recent years' Cant condone booing of players serves no usefull purpose and noticed how quick the crowd were to get on a players back exp redmond at the end for two loose passes or whenever boufal loses the ball. Shame as you say a section of the crowd came to bury saints it seems im just glad they werent around during the relegation battles they wouldnt have pulled us out of it. 4th successive top ten finjsh is nearly nailed on which is a record for saints which pretty amazing all in all and when some were predicting relegation even before vvd got injured.
Another lapse in concentration cost us dearly again - this time it was Gab who was centre stage with his lame penalty being well saved. Instead if taking an early lead against a weak an uninterested Man U side, the emphasis was quickly lost and we stooped to their level and it turned the game into a training session. Even the ref was unnecessarily checking that injured Man U players were ok for the Europa Final, with even the slightest of knocks. We were slow, showed no urgency and were never direct enough - often taking 4 to 8 passes to get somewhere we could have got to in one pass. There were too many long balls, many of which were not controlled, yet a long ball to Rooney was well controlled, then a lovely ball played through to a team mate, creating a chance and splitting our defence in one move. We offered little like this, but always looked susceptible at the back. We did create some chances though, with the pen and Redmond's first half shot, then a Tadic free kick, Romeu and JRod chances - but again we usually seemed to always choose the wrong option. Shoot when we should pass and vice verca. We also struggled to get our crosses in - many either didn't come in at all (full backs, Red, JWP), didn't beat the first man (full backs, JWP) or were over hit (Tadic). We have never had a better opportunity to beat Man U at St Marys and cement 8th place, but like the Arsenal game, we had too many players having off nights which the rest of the team struggled to carry - and most of those 'off' players were rested for the game at Boro. (Davis, JWP, Tadic - plus Boufal and Redmond) The lack of urgency really got to many sections of the crowd and it was almost like we had prearranged a 0-0. The players didn't rush to get the ball back in play, or to create chances, even in the last 10 mins. Total disrespect to the fans who pay to watch. I can only assume that Puel told them to not concede a goal at any cost, regardless of the style of play, or that there must be bigger bonuses for clean sheets than actually winning games !! Hope the Stoke game actually gives us a home goal, a win and an 8th place finish, but who knows what team we will get to see and how may changes it will contain, despite it being the last game of the season.
Well, if anyone needed proof that not all 0-0s are created equal, all they'd have to do is watch the Hull match and this one back to back.The tactics were what I hoped for: they played expansively and didn't sit back--night and day from the Liverpool match. Furthermore, the performance was (almost) what I hoped for: not only did they not get hammered by playing aggressively and pushing men forward, they looked the better side against a top six team for the first time since the match at the Emirates in September (don't even get me started on that travesty of justice). Of course, we still couldn't actually get the ball over the goal line, but I lost count of how many times I rose from my seat (on the couch, mind you--I live abroad) in anticipation of the breakthrough. Ultimately disappointed in the result, but in a good way--we deserved more against the "mighty" Man U.
same dross as usual under puel slow passing back and forward and then back again with then an aimless long ball when the idea runs out no wonder Gabbiadini looks inafective and bored this was a seriously weakened man u we failed to beat and to be honest their keeper didn't have that much to do please get rid of puel and black I don't think I can stomach another season of this .
I think how you view this game is in the eye of the beholder. I thought it was a fairly entertaining end to end game that we should have won but a draw wasn't an unfair result.
Missing our third penalty on the bounce is inexcusable. In my mind this ties in with the abject disjointed attacking displays we've had too often this year. The defence has taken far too much of the blame for the inability of Strikers and attacking midfielders to actually get a shot on target. J Rod did it again last night, gets the space, unmarked, clear shot on goal - misses.
Boufal though finally seemed to be able to do something with his final ball which is encouraging. The odd skyed shot but hopefully this is a step in the right direction.
Not sure I think the crowd is helping. Relegation behaviour with a top half finish is a bit off really. The manager may change, I personally doubt it, but it's still going to be the same players next year. Laying in to them isn't helping us achieve what we all want.
From my perspective this was a big improvement on the last 3 home games, especially second half when I thought we were excellent. Tadic dropping deeper to get hold of the ball and try to dictate the play, Stephens showing confidence to bring the ball out (And playing higher up the pitch in general). We engineered good positions to cross the ball into the box, although Targett, Redmond, Cedric and Pied all ultimately failed in the quality of delivery. Ghe second half performance does show me that Puel can set them up in an attacking fashion, why we revert to the cautious style of play so often is a bit of a mystery. Maybe both Puel and the players are just lacking in confidence, how different it was when we battered both ManC and CrystalP this time last year......
RK relied on a strong defence and luckily he had Fonte and VVD. RK very happy to sit back and rely on the breaks of Mane and Pelle. Puel likes his players to keep the ball and some of the attacks are a bit ponderous but all season he has shown by his team selections that he wants to attack, apart from a couple of games where better oppostion has determined how we play. The criticism of Puel is very unfair, for instance moaning about 8 changes after resting several players in the previoous game, and getting a point in both. Finally this penalty nonsense has to end. It seems that we are trying to outsmart the goalkeeper and it ends up a 50/50 chance of scoring. Lambert and Tiss knew where they were going to hit and no goalie would be able to stop it. As othes have said JWP, if on the field, should be our no 1 man but a more regular non subbed player like Maya should start practicing.
My take - higher than usual rate of individual errors on our part. Redmond by far the worst offender. The wrong substitutions - JWP's face said it all. Bouffal offers ... nothing. And plain bad luck - can't really link the three penalty misses as its three different players, and they were all on target.
The game, like the season, looks good on paper, but given the quality of players we have out there on the pitch - it can see why it leaves some fans disappointed.
What a weird game. You can kind of see where Puel is going and with a bit more clinical finishing we would be laughing. However it is also so negative, why we didn't go two up top or at least only play one holding midfielder is the negative tactics in a nutshell. That first half was generally pretty dire. United were there for the taking and we should have gone for it. Equally you can't blame Puel that all those penalties were missed and I don't believe that is something you can really practice, you have either got the minerals or you don't. Everybody can miss which is why sport is interesting but not everybody can score otherwise it really would be easy.
I can't agree with this criticism of Boufal, he is the one player in the side who can create something out of nothing. His technique in tight areas is incredible. Sure, he is making some wrong decisions, when to hold on it it, when to pass, but that comes down to experience and game time. I get the impression he is trying too hard to impress at times as well. Clearly the players see that as well, reference Tadic dropping to the left side to give Boufal the central role when he came on. Who cares if Boufal gives the ball away at the edge of the opposition penalty area whilst trying something when we are searching for a goal. You want your most skilful player to be getting in those positions causing damage. I think he did ok in the 20 mins or so he was on, beating people and getting a shot off. Could be sensational next season
53% possession..17 shots...6 on target....against a top 6 side...that's got to be worth booing at the end of the game?? Do we have the worst fans in the league? Strange though last night, the fans around us in the Kingsland that normally leave around 82 mins stayed until nearly the 90th minute. I've come to the conclusion these people are armchair top 6 side TV fans who have to come to St Mary's disguised as Saints fans, to see these teams live as we're their closest Prem club. What ever happened to supporting your club through "thick and thin?" (And I wouldn't call this thin). I think I'd rather be amongst a 25k crowd that supports the team week in week out, than than the moaning 82 minute crowd we have at the moment. Yes , things could be better on the field... some of Puels team selections and substitutions could be better... would it have been a different season if we hadn't lost Virgil and Charlie for a long period? Possibly? But Personally a cup final (which we deserved to win) and a top 10 finish 4th year in a row ain't too bad!
Cost of Man Utd starting 11 - £260m; cost of Saints starting 11 - more like £60m. A good result in the circumstances. Well done Claude Puel. Message to the board: Don't you dare take money out of the squad this summer like you have done over the last 3. I'd like to think that any boos are aimed at the board and not the players and have generally been magnificent.
Boufal has true ability but has to learn how to use it. He seems like a work in progress but he is currently a liability to the first team and needs coaching or mentoring or both. He could be brilliant but he sure as hell isn't much use now.
The fans have a right to an opinion and Saints haven't scored at home in over 5 hours of football. That's a long time for people to sit there bored because we're not creating anything. I can understand the boo's. The time, effort and money it takes to watch your team deserves more than what we're getting at the moment. If there was a bit more urgency from the players then it would be appreciated. United weren't really interested last night, they were just going through the motions trying to avoid injuries. It wasn't a bad performance from Saints, it was just the same old story of recent weeks where we don't create any clear cut chances. I can't think of a great chance that Gabbiadini's had since he's been back from injury, apart from the penalty of course. A lot of this is to do with how Puel has set us up to play. If the club keeps Puel then next season he really needs to change the way we play so we are a bit more aggresive going forward and speed things up, it's all too slow and turgid at the moment. It's fine if you're away from home and you want to stifle the game but at home its dreadful, there's just such little goal threat. We lack players who can strike from 20 yards+ , only Redmond threatens reguarly with a shot from distance. JWP needs to to get himself into these positions more often and get shots away like he did once last night. To really progress JWP needs to score 10 goals a season, he can strike a ball and we need more end product in this team. Defensively we were good, not that United tested us much, but Stephens is improving and definitely has a future at the club, probably as back up though, but he would provide very good cover. I think if Saints fail to score again on Sunday then Puel's end of season review with Reed, Kruger & co could be very very uncomfortable.
Some decent posts here today.. Puel took over a team minus top two scorers in mane and pelle our strongest midfielder in vic,lost fonte vvd an austin for half the season had a fixture congestion yet took us to our only 3rd major final in 50 years reached 8th place and were never in danger of going down. The fans who didnt want him in the first place predicted relegation and the same ones now complain about lack of entertainment as thats the only stick they have to beat him with. We just outplayed man utd again its no mean feat whatever team they put out.Do these 'fans' really think any body could have done any better given the circumstances that Puel had to face?. As some one posted its in the eye of the beholder i wasnt bored in the second half several timesi i was on the edge of my seat as it looked like we had a goal coming. Thought Stephens had great game bringing the ball out of defence like vvd used to. Booing cos we drew with Man utd some need a reality check.
A fair report Nick. We need to get things in perspective for this season. We’ve been hampered by injuries and we have a manager in his first season in the PL, who given the lower quality of his previous club and division, probably errs on the side of caution. Let’s not forget more than one journalist who wrote about him before joining Saints described him as a promising manager who had managed exciting teams. He’ll have learned a lot from this season, whatever the outcome for him at the end of it for him.
As Lucan said, even a “depleted” Man U side would cost much more than our own and I’d love to have the ability of Juan Mata in a Saints’ first team! As much as I dislike the bloke, it must be nice to have England’s all-time goal scoring record to fall back on too as a reserve striker. We’d generally really on cover from a player coming back from a lengthy lay-off or an unproven kid.
No, I don’t think it was a bad result. On another day one of those shots we had would have found its way in and we’d have had a fairly comfortable 1-0 win and everyone would have been fairly content. The one thing I can’t condone is three missed penalties. This isn’t bad luck. Le Tiss, Beattie, Lambert.. decades of football with no (okay maybe one) bad fortune. Pick a spot a foot inside the post and hit it like you mean it. We’ve been spoiled by ‘dead certs’ over the years, but come on guys it’s a free shot from 12 yards. Any pro should be able to score 90% of the time from that distance. Give it to JWP next time please.
Aceofthebase has hit the nail of the head - if we had a more reliable and experienced defence then Puel might be more expansive. A good manager knows his team's strengths and limitations. And LordLucan is right - another summer of stripping away the talent could be a disaster this time
Think it probably is. An unwanted one. It's ironic we moan all season about not getting the rub of the green and getting some poor officials and when we get three big calls, including one from Mike ****** Dean, then we fluff them all. I'm really glad we didn't fall further down the table and that we needed those pens to keep us up. Good ol' Tiss never faltered under that pressure.
Another inept performance against a Man United reserve team. As I said before cant see us winning either of the two games we have left. To win a game you need to score a goal and we don't do that at home lately. 0-0 looks like the best result we can hope for. Looks like I could be right. The first half was dire last night with Man U players not interested and Saints players passing the ball sideways and backwards. The second half was a bit better.
The penalty record is a disgrace. It's not like we don't have a former player who could coach the players! This I can blame Puel for since there should be one player picked by the manager in every game to be the penalty taker-don't leave it up to the players. To cover having different line ups, 3 or 4 players would be in the penalty shooter pool who would practice regularly.
We had a reputation for always scoring penalties and now that is gone!
Followers of our previous discussions as to whether Puel should stay or go should have watched him for a bit in the second half. He was urging the players up the field and encouraging them to attack, and he was clearly as frustrated as the fans that we couldn't get the ball over the line no matter how hard we tried. I saw a huge passion in him yesterday and it left me with hope that with time he can develop the attacking team we all want to see. Sure,it was a draw that felt like a loss but the team played well and sometimes very well. No one "deserves" to win unless they actually do and the explanation for not winning comes down to the fine margins by which these things are decided, but I remain of the opinion that we should stick with the manager for another season.
I never expected to say this but I'd prefer to have Puel as manager rather than spoilt brat Mourhino. In fact it's hard to see any motivation for players to perform for this surly excuse of a man. Thankfully that's their problem but I can well imagine another Chelsea style melt down for manure next season. What does concern me though is that we appear to have a Mourhino clone sitting, in 45 minute stints, next to Puel on our bench. Even when Puel was hit in the face by a stray clearance ball the supposed assistant couldn't even get off his backside to check on his colleague's welbeing. If there is an end of season review coming up please, please get Puel an asssistant who at the very least looks as though he cares about the club, the players and the supporters.
Watching from the Norvum I thought we showed endeavour and commitment. Sadly we lack a twenty goal a season striker and this continually hurts us. A lot of our frontmen couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo. Missing the PKs is tough and not good enough. On the whole I am happy with the season. It's just football. I've seen some entertaining games including a trip to Wembley. Puel can stay. Hopefully we can retain key players. The so called fans can stop booing FFS and stay til the end rather than piss me off by walking past my seat in droves from 80mins onwards. Generally happy. I realise we are unlikely to challenge for the league but who knows once we are rice-powered...