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Saints V Huddersfield Town The Verdict
Sunday, 24th Dec 2017 11:30

This was not a bad performance, but it was characterised by a lapse of concentration that cost us very dearly.

There could be a tendency to review this performance on just the result alone instead of take it in context, it was not a bad display, indeed over the past few years we saw many displays like this under both Pochettino and Koeman, where we kept things tight, took our chance when it came and took all three points.

But what could have been a decent display was ruined by another lapse of concentration that allowed a free header in front of goal, not the first this season by a long chalk.

I am accused of having agenda's against certain players so all I am going to say here is that a cross was put into the penalty area and that Depoitre was completely unmarked at close range, a man should have been marking him, he wasn't and it was a simple task to head home completely unchallenged.

That wasn't the first time this has happened as those who saw Burnley win and Arsenal grab a late equaliser will testify, the difference between Saints now and two years ago is the ability to keep it tight at the back for the full 90 minutes, just these three unmarked headers have cost Saints five points, with them we would be comfortably in the top 10 and looking to move up the league, but without them we are now looking over our shoulders.

That turned the game although in fairness it should have been closed out with Saints creating several good chances, not least the one by Nathan Redmond where he took on the defence and laid the ball into the path of Charlie Austin who fired narrowly wide.

Saints are not a bad team, but they are in disarray, the players seem to be low on confidence and there is something badly wrong in the dressing room, perhaps Van Dijk is at least partly to blame for that, but the reality is that we need to sort out a replacement for him literally on the opening day of the transfer window, or things will get worse.

Whether Mauricio Pellegrino is the man for the Saints job is still very much open for debate, certainly things are working against him over which he has no control, not least Van Dijk and injuries.

Photo: Action Images

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AmericanSaint added 11:41 - Dec 24
This is a fair report. I will call out Stephens for the goal as Yoshi was covering Depoitre when he was making a run to the near post. Then Depoitre cut back to the middle in front of Stephens, who should have moved in and put a body/arm on Depoitre, instead he was rooted to the ground. It was also a pin point cross that helped to leave Foster helpless to the goal.

Next - your last paragraph is write. There is room to debate and if he keeps leaving Oriel and Boufal on the bench, then he has less legs to stand on in my opinion. Davis and JWP should not be starting. AND the VVD saga is definitely causing issues all over the place. Resolve it now - either bench him for the rest of the season or sell him in one-week to anyone but Liverpool.

brownk added 12:18 - Dec 24
Yoshi at fault ..... Stephens didn't have to to react as he lost Yoshida! Same as the 4th Leicester goal and not good enough. Time to shake things up and make Oriol captain and start his best 11 in every game. The rotation isn't working and it is plain to see. Continuity is needed and at the moment players are being picked, left out and then played in different positions. Simplicity is genius as they say and we need to get it right quickly. We need to sell VVD and get another CB, target man and a direct winger with pace!

saintmark1976 added 12:24 - Dec 24
I agree with you Nick that an error at the back cost us another two points but in my opinion that is not where the problem is. No defence can be relied upon not to conceded in every game. If that were the case quite simply every fixture would end as a nil nil draw.

The problem is that (apart from a fluke result against Everton) we don't score enough goals, hardly surprising when our system of play dictates that we only ever play one man up front. This system can only be down to the manager because it is not, and never has been the "Southampton Way". If you add in the fact that yesterday we played all three of the serial under performers in Tadic,Redmond and JWP then it is not surprising that we did not win.

I never have called for a manager to be sacked (apart from Branfoot) but I will say that the current man is really trying my patience and I suspect that I am not alone.


ThereIn76 added 12:27 - Dec 24
If Liverpool want to pay £70m the more fool them. VVD isn't the player he was before his injury and his attitude is poisonous.

Yesterday's match was the most bizarre I've ever seen, certainly at this level. So many players on both sides caught in possession, so many misplaced passes, so many players making incomprehensible decisions.

And now our only goal scorer will be absent for a long time because of his injury and possibly a ban as well. If we don't sign an effective replacement in January we are done for.

highfield49 added 13:01 - Dec 24
Targett looked pretty good on his return to the team, Stephens did a fair job filling in down the right and Forster made some decent saves.....hmmm now I'm searching for some other positives. Hopefully there are signings on the way because, like many others, I can't see enough fight in the team to drag us out of the relegation mire. Maybe Swansea, Bournemouth, West Brom and others have equal problems but this squad needs sorting very soon because, if the worst happened, there is little sign that we could do much better in the Championship.

halftimeorange added 13:14 - Dec 24
The warning signs have been there to see all season long and on this form relegation is a real prospect. It is obvious that the continual tinkering with the team is not working. Until Hobjberg came on there was no leadership in the midfield and by then it was far too late. Saints now need a Noble type fighter and Hobjberg looks to be that man. He should be alongside Romeu and Lemina. Steve Davis has run his race. And, for goodness sake, has nobody told Boufal that showboating flicks play no part in the EPL when you are in a battle. He's performing like he's in a friendly 5-a-side team. Tadic was largely a passenger again yesterday and Redmond, apart from his one incisive run, once again served only to stifle our attacks. JWP was out on his feet by halftime. Most of all, give us some height in attack - we are constantly being bullied. The dream is dying before us and sadly, the board seems to be sitting on its collective hands.

geezershoong1 added 13:16 - Dec 24
Wtf do we always seem to tactically outplayed even when we're winning?

A_Saint_in_Stoke added 13:40 - Dec 24
In reply to brownk's " make Oriol captain and start his best 11 in every game " the problem is that he Pellegrino hasn't got a f'ing clue what his best team is - it does seem that he doesn't even know what day it is - I am sorry but it is all of his own making ..... the bottom line is - that he has no balls is extremely WEAK with nil leadership - now reverting to lieing re: why VVD was "rested"

aceofthebase added 13:52 - Dec 24
Not sure if any of us on here know what is our best team. I think the best we can hope for with our present bunch of players is a moderate team, whatever that is.

SanMarco added 14:01 - Dec 24
It is very easy to blame the manager but this squad is unbalanced and is clearly in need of surgery. This was true last summer but those who are supposed to do the thinking sacked the manager and presumably assumed that signing a less experienced one would be the answer to more goals and entertainment. If Les Reed and whoever else makes the transfer decisions were judged like a manager is they would be sacked by now.
We have too much dead wood in our attacking 'options' - Pep Guardiola wouldn't be able to get this lot scoring. The defensive arguments are a distraction. With the exception of the Leicester debacle we have not been conceding heavily (although I agree on unmarked headers from open play crosses) - it is the goals scored column that is hitting us. Yoshi has scored as many from open play as Tadic, Boufal, Long and Redmond combined - that is not an amusing statistic. Given that the owner is up to his eyeballs in debt I expect we will need to sell VVD just to fund the overhaul we need. We should sell Redmond, Long, JWP, Tadic and possibly Boufal. That and the VVD cash will give us a chance. Continue on as we are, especially with Austin now out, and there is no reason on earth why we should not go down. "Saints are not a bad team" - really??

TeamCortese added 14:01 - Dec 24
This is just crazy!!!

Why hasn't Les Reed and Pellegrino been sacked already...Why are Tadic, Redmond, Davis, Forster, and JWP still being considered for the starting line-up? Is there something I'm missing? Honestly I'm worried about my understanding of football. Our best eleven is beyond common sense.

For Tottenham I would play this team below and tell them to express themselves:

GK: Forster's replacement (even try out McCarthy)

Defence: Cedric, Hoedt, Yoshi (make him captain), Stephens, Bertrand

Midfield: Lemina, Romeu (behind the two), Hojberg

Attack: Boufal (Tadic if he can be arsed) and Gabbiadini/Austin

Why has Pellegrino not tried that out? That team is good enough to trouble any team in the EPL. It's just crazy!

What is going on at this football club? Behind the scenes it feels like it's run by a bunch of nutters!

Also for those of you blaming Yoshi and Stephens please, please, please be CONSISTENT. There is no denying they're at fault for the goal but equally Charlie Austin should have put his sitter away. That miss was unforgivable and he knows it. HE'S PAID TENS OF THOUSANDS A WEEK TO PUT THOSE AWAY. YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE FOR THAT LEVEL OF INCOMPETENCE AS A MANAGER OR TEAM-MATE. HE HAS TO PUT IT AWAY! THAT'S WHAT HE'S PAID FOR!

TeamCortese added 14:04 - Dec 24
Also completely agree with this below. Only person that makes sense to me.


A_Saint_in_Stoke added 14:04 - Dec 24
I do not agree with you aceofthebase - we have the players ( as proved when we played recently with passion and desire and picked up points ) but you tell me - if you were playing under a manager - that although your playing well - YOU ARE THEN DROPPED, and no reason being given ..... would you have complete faith and confidence in your boss ..... this is WHY we have produced the results we are now experiencing!

Libertine36 added 14:15 - Dec 24
Not a bad performance mmm because the previous games were so rubbish it was a little better.

skiptonsaint added 14:16 - Dec 24
I have said on here a few times that imo the bottom 13/14 are all about as good each other and if someone gets unlucky with injuries then that could be what decides one or more of the relegation spots

Now we are without our 2 first choice fullbacks which makes our system , our top scorer and our best player of the season Lemina has had an injury and has come back a shadow of himself..

It is starting to look like a slow motion car crash for us and all the rest of the football world seems to be cheering it on as Karma for Puel. Our national press seems so negitive all the time now which doesn't exactly lift our fans.

Just can't see Les not giving MP a spell after VVD goes to try and show he can do it without a poisonous dressing room as I honestly believe Les knows his job is hanging by a thread with the new owners so he has to show he got it right as I think he realises that the manager options available who would come in under our current system are so limited by people wbo won't work under him ie Tuchel

This season could just be the perfect storm for saints.

Big big test for the new owners to be decisive and make some tough , bold and clever decisions because clubs have been bought by clueless owners such as Venkys at Blackburn) . It can happen

We need some reassurance and steadying of the ship and fast

the_saint added 14:58 - Dec 24
Manager is useless how can he pick Davis in DM instead of Hojberg his team is in disarray they don’t have a clue no disrespect but this was Huddersfield town the manager seems a nice bloke but is not premier standard, reading what les Reed said on his appointment mp definitely pulled the wool over his head

DorsetIan added 15:14 - Dec 24
We only won 5 EPL home games in 2017 - Leicester and Palace in the second half of last season, and the three wins so far this season. This is a shocking stat, and as it’s been broadly the same under both managers, youve got to look at the players. Teams need to be built around a solid core of really good leaders/players that can carry the game for 90 mins and give some of the more skilful players the platform to express themselves. We dont have those players - particularly with VVD awol, and in attacking midfield. Losing Austen for a few games will hurt us badly but we now have an opportunity to sell VVD (and others) and build a new team in Jan. But we need decent players - game changers please, not the latest wunderkind from the Latvian league.

SaintPaulVW added 15:21 - Dec 24
Just a bit concerned that we hear nothing from the board, let alone the owners. MP is just being left to dangle at the moment. Are we getting reinforcements in Jan, is the squad good enough, are the performances acceptable, is there a new coach on the way, is VVD on the way out???.....all stuff that I would expect to hear from a level above MP but nothing is being said. I'm positive but becoming concerned about our prospects this season.

SaintBrock added 16:42 - Dec 24
From afar, why no surprise at another farcical failure. Nothing has changed so same old result. Simples! Pellegrino is a tedious bore just like his football and not much good at managing players either by all accounts.

If it's him or me, increasingly is is looking like me. Glad to have missed this one and the next one and the one after that.

LordDZLucan added 16:50 - Dec 24
Huddersfield scored because they gambled. They committed a lot of players forward and stretched our back four. Unlike most other teams we don't have a tall defensive midfielder who can drop into the back four when needed and we always get punished for that.

EDLiner added 17:31 - Dec 24
I thought the whole thing was a shambles from the line up to the formation to performance. Hjobjerg has been our best player recently and he is rested? RESTED? He has hardly played all season. I honestly believe that Pellegrino is out of his depth. He doesn't know how to make this unbalanced team win. He picks the team out of a hat. Probably controversial but if Big Sam had come in I bet he could get a tune out of this broke flute of a club. When we attack we have 1 or maybe 2 players running into the box. Watch other teams and 4 of the players are busting their gonads to be in the box to score. As long as this continues and we keep buying Dusan Tadic, Dusan Redmond and Dusan Boufal and not getting in players who can cross or pass we wont improve.

Interesting stat... we have won 3 matches out of 17 in December in the last 3 years.

king_sid added 17:39 - Dec 24
I was finally forced to register to add my comments after yesterday's shambles.
What worries me is that none of last season's issues have been addressed and we have plenty of new ones! I said early in the season we were going to be in a relegation battle and I take no pleasure in being proved right.
In no particular order -
Forster has been found out - certainly by England. We are grateful & forgiving these days if he makes any saves at all, but a 6'7" goalkeeper should be dominating and not staying on his line with crosses inside the penalty spot – is it any coincidence that we concede so many goals from ‘soft’ headers? Defenders aren’t blameless, but if they miss it we have no chance. Compare with their goalie yesterday – even after a kicking from Austin – he came for everything – and that is why we never score from ‘soft’ headers.
Tadic – He is a waste of space, more interested in diving than competing. He’s not a winger, he’s not a striker, he’s not a midfielder. So many times this season I have watched him waft around the middle of the park to zero effect. And yet he keeps getting picked!
Davis – is a decent, if one paced, attacking midfielder. He has never been a holding/defensive midfielder, and we have three decent players who can play there, so why in God’s name does he keep getting picked in that position?
Boufal – has some talent, but he’s not what we need at present.
Redmond – is a decent player, but why pick a right-winger and play him on the left?
In fact, as you start to look at it, more and more the cause of the problem becomes obvious, I’m afraid – it is the manager.
He refuses to change his style, even though it didn’t work last season and still doesn’t now. He keeps trying to shoehorn the above players into the team - ie Tadic & Davis were woeful against Leicester, then he brings them in again. Hjojberg plays well and gets left out. We seem to rotate for the sake of it & it showed yesterday. No cohesion, nobody sure of who was where or doing what and mostly outplayed by a very average team.
We have decent players and the basis of a decent team, but the definition of stupidity is to keep repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome and I don’t think I have ever seen a Saints manager repeating the same unsuccessful actions quite so many times.
I am not normally a fan of sacking the manager, but we look truly clueless at the moment and there is nothing to suggest Pellegrino has any idea how to turn it around.

PJ17 added 20:31 - Dec 24
Agree with most comments here. Have had a enough of of MP saying we need to try harder. I would just like to see us try. The team are absolutely clueless an lack any passion or leadership. No one on the field yesterday wanted to take any form of responsibility in any area of the field. The referee and linesmen missed everything and then spent most of the match wasting time. I know Lossi's injury was bad but he should have been taken off for treatment. But that still takes nothing away from another abject performance from a team that is now in a dire relegation battle. Whatever is going on behind the scenes is destroying the club and again we have a board who do not how serious the situation is and don't have the balls or skills to fix it. Mr GAO is probably rubbing his hands at the thought of selling players to pay off his debts. Don't expect any money to be reinvested in players. Katherine Liebherr had miliked the club dry and all the new owner wants to sell the rest of the assets. Happy Xmas from the Southampton board, I don't think so. Funny how quiet they have all been.

sidsaint added 20:42 - Dec 24
Do we not have anyone in the boardroom that understands football? Is there no one that can't see that week after week we play the same way make the same mistakes and get the same results. If we don't make a move soon it will be too late.

saintsnutcase added 20:49 - Dec 24
Nick is right about the centre backs - Yoshida has a great attitude and tries very hard but he is so error prone that he costs many goals each season. However, having said that, most Prem goalkeepers would have come for that cross anyway.

My main criticism of MP is that he is far too slow to bring on subs. Huddersfield were dominant for 15 mins before they scored and both Hojbjerg and Romeu were left sitting on the bench. Sadly, Davis has completely lost it.

After the next two impossible away games, we then have two home games vs Palace and Brighton coming up, without VVD, Austin and maybe Bertrand. I think we’ll have to win both of those games to stay up. It’s very worrying!

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