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Saints At Newcastle The Verdict
Monday, 22nd Apr 2019 22:20

Back in the January transfer window Saints took a gamble, they knew that there would be games that gamble would backfire on them, the result at Newcastle was one of them.

Ralph Hasenhuttl took a gamble in the January transfer window when he allowed Wesley Hoedt and Cedric Soares to go on loan and did not sign replacements, Hasenhuttl knew that his central defence was not strong enough, but he was confident that it was good enough to keep the club up, so he preferred to keep his transfer budget dry for the summer, unfortunately this would be one of the games that it would backfire.

It is fine to talk of loyalty and good club men and there is usually a reason that long serving players are just that and that is that they cannot get a better club elsewhere, that is the case with the likes of several of our central defenders and it came home to roost on Saturday at Newcastle when we handed two first half goals to Newcastle on a plate.

Tactical changes at half time from Ralph were good and we almost got back in the game, but ultimately we had made the same old mistakes with the same old culprits.

Injuries did not help the manager, but ultimately he could have had a better performance from some of his side.

We have to write off this game, ultimately Cardiff's loss and Brighton's draw did not damage us too much and our position is essentially unchanged, we just need to hit that 40 point mark and then we can prepare for next season.

This game was like many other in this campaign, reasonable overall performances ruined by individual errors and we have to grit our teeth and accept that, but next season we want more quality in the centre of our defence.

On a plus side Mario Lemina's return can only be a help in the final games.

Photo: Action Images

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wibbersda added 22:34 - Apr 22
Seems like a veiled dig on Yosh again.

perazi added 22:48 - Apr 22
The one part of your critique you've got right is the last sentence praising Lemina's return - it was a rollicking 45 minutes underlying how much our midfield has missed him. A midfield of PEH, Romeu and Lemina is definitely our best lineup and needs to be employed until we are mathematically safe.

I presume when you talk of "it is fine to talk of loyalty and good club men and there is a reason long serving players are just that and can't get a move elsewhere" you are referring to Yoshida - your favourite scapegoat - it is true he was responsible for one of the goals, but he nearly scored a brace and saved the game and overall has had a good season - it didn't help that Yoshida and Bednarek were forced to play out of position. It's true that Jack Stephens has fatal flaws as a CB and really needs a move to a Championship Club to regroup his career. And by the way the CB you defend and praise, Hoedt is the one whose recruitment you really should be questioning.

How about highlighting how appalling JWP was for the fourth game in a row? One of the reasons our CBs were under pressure was the perceived need to shoehorn Ward-Prowse in somewhere - in the last four weeks he has demonstrated he can't play CM in a 4-2-4 against a strong team; is limited as a wide right attacker due to lack of pace, movement or quick feet and the RB/wingback experiment failed and essentially led to the 2-0 deficit as Newcastle exploited the Sims/Ward-Prowse weakness on the right side. I know JWP had a string of 4 or 5 good games where his dead ball skills flatter the limited other parts of his game - but if there's one thing Ralph has got wrong since he arrived it's the belief that WP should be undroppable or un-subbable. There's a reason that he cannot get a move elsewhere as a long serving player too!

I_would added 23:07 - Apr 22
Unfortunately Perazi the club is infested with 'Prowsey Droolers', some kind of collective hysteria. I thought we'd see the back of it with Reed's ignominious booting but it seems to have infected RH, clouded his judgment and made the boy undroppable. We're playing with 10 men with him on the pitch and even the other players only pass to him as a last resort otherwise it comes pinging back to them.

1teeminants added 23:37 - Apr 22
What I and others find annoying is we can all see with our own eyes that Yoshida has recently played very well up to this point and you have hardly mentioned him like he doesn’t exist .Saints have looked a lot stronger and more confident with Yoshida ,Bednarek and Vestergaard in recent games. Yes he was at fault yesterday for one of the goals but he very nearly scored 2 goals he’s certainly a better option than Hoedt which thousands of saints fans and Ralph himself obviously agree on.We do need another central defender though but this has been the case for a very long time.

saintwizzler added 05:57 - Apr 23
Yoshida and Stephens are Championship standard defenders at best.
Which is not their fault. They try their best, but at the end of the day are not good enough.
Vestergaard has improved but the lack of pace will always be a worry.
Bednarek has been a great since coming back into the team and will only get better.
We are stuck with what we have now till the end of the season and in the summer the club need to back the excellent new manager with cash for new players. At least one quality Center Back is a must.
A big few months on and off the pitch approaches for Southampton FC...

Number_58 added 07:33 - Apr 23
What a load of nonsense. Newcastle were better than us all over the pitch in the first half. Stephens and Yoshida were no worse than anyone else. Nick's report was just a poor excuse to bring up his beloved Hoedt's name. Sometimes even good coaches get outfoxed by the opposition manager, and that's what happened on Saturday in that first half.

davidargyll added 08:45 - Apr 23
Here we go again!
We have a good couple of games and everybody goes wild. We have one bad one against a very in and out one AWAY from SMS, we get beaten and everyone goes into meltdown.
Accepting the rough with the smooth is all part of being a genuine fan isn’t it?
No player goes out of their way not to play as well as they can. The opposition changes every match and our players adapt as best they can, sometimes well, sometimes not. Yes we need to strengthen our defence and get a striker but when you’re up against a player on fire like Perez, all teams below the best are going to struggle. So for Christ’s sake guys, GET REAL!!!
We need 4 points from as many games so as you say Nick, what’s done is done, move on.

vanmans added 09:34 - Apr 23
AS soon as I saw that Stephens was in the starting line up I feared the worst. Stephens should not start another game for Saints. Sims is not ready to start games but should be used as a late sub. Against Watford we need to start Armstrong and Lemina and drop Prowse. Prowse has gone back to his old ways and has been bad in the last 3 games. You cant have a player in the team just incase you get a freekick just outside the penalty area.

SanMarco added 09:34 - Apr 23
Good report. The centre of our defence was a shambles because the only half decent player in it was playing out of position. JWP at right-back was not a good move either. The core reason for the poor performance in the first half was the lack of quality in our defence. When I played football I played worse when there was a cr*p defence behind me so I don't blame the others (although Ings was poor). When you play 5 at the back that is essentially half of the outfield team. Our strength is midfield so why sacrifice a midfielder for Stephens? The Yoshi arguments, on both sides, are pretty pointless - he is what he is. He is a great back up and I hope he stays as cover.

I think this team is 2 decent CBs, a right-back and a goalscorer able to stay fit, away from being a 'best of the rest' challenger - over to you in the summer Ralph.

Finally - I agree with davidargyll that there is no need for a meltdown : we will stay up. Knowing Saints they will stretch our nerves a bit more yet but there is an interesting summer ahead...

1teeminants added 11:10 - Apr 23
Wiz all our central defenders apart from Bednarek imo are championship defenders at Best although Vestergaard is improving But Yoshida never gets any praise from some and you have to admit up until Newcastle he had done well recently , its the deafening silence which pisses me off.

saintmark1976 added 11:53 - Apr 23
Our recent run of good results (up until Saturday) has coincided with Yoshida being back in the team,yet he was vilified by some over the weekend for missing goal scoring chances at Newcastle.For goodness sake what does he have to do? He's a centre half not a centre forward. We had a centre forward in Ings who by all accounts went missing on Saturday yet he appears to escape any criticism whatsoever. Furthermore is it Yoshida's fault that we were reduced to playing J W P at right full back,a tactic which defies all logic in my opinion.

saintjf added 12:13 - Apr 23
Fair report. Not the end of the world but Newcastle are hardly top draw. We just need to get over the line safely out of the relegation zone. That still looks likely. There is no escaping the fact that we are not blessed with a good central defence.

SaintBrock added 12:16 - Apr 23
"Seems like a veiled dig on Yosh again" - Yep, wibbersda as the man himself said "why is it always me?"

Fact is Ralph cocked up big time op on team selection and did not intervene enough to pull the game back. This was one of his poorer matches and judging by his low beat demeanour at yesterday's interview with Adam his ebullient mood has deserted him. Leadership has to come from the very top and if players sense all is not well with the boss we could be in trouble.

If Ralph Kreuger's dismissal is getting to him at a personal level then it does not bode well. V one me down by all means but at lest thing about it.

SaintBrock added 12:17 - Apr 23
least think...

BoondockSaint added 13:36 - Apr 23
Nick can go on about Yoshi and the defenders (VAR would have negated their first goal), but Saints have only scored more than 2 goals in just 3 games all season (and then only 3 in each of them), and have only managed to score 2 goals in just 8 of the other 31.

The difference between Newcastle and Saints is Newcastle have bought players with speed and goal scoring ability. Yes, they have top level manager, and they are higher up the table, but they are not one of the Big 6-----how can I prove that? If they were, Saints would have been down to 10 or maybe 9 men on Sunday.

helpineedsomebody added 14:44 - Apr 23
fraser foster would have saved the second goal why becouse he would have stayed on his feet . a bad mistake by gunn .
no team in the country are going to pay the wages that saints pay yoshi & shakey
i like armstrong but no end product or is there no forwards in the box
newcastle had 9 men at the back second half we did play well but all they did was wait & hit us on the break missed valery on the right side shows how important attacking wise he is to the side takes so much pressure off the team when we attack lets hope he plays tonight

underweststand added 15:28 - Apr 23
Our record against Newcastle is only a little better than those many visits to Everton.
In the 1960/70's (one joker remarked)...we'd have saved coach fares if we'd just sent the points to Newcastle - by post, and in later years it was little better.
(However, we frequently thrashed them at home during the same era. (?)

Ralph followed the managers rule - never change a winning side, then lost two defenders at the last minute. Stephens is even worse at full back and JWP was forced to play so deep he was almost in our own penalty area. Compare with his diff. positioning during his recent goal spree . Yoshida AND Bednarek were both given wrong roles but looked much better after the HT changes after which Lemina and Armstrong brightened things up.

Even Nick should be forced to admit that Yoshida was very unlucky not to score at least once, with his third effort on goal hitting the keeper's knee and bouncing away. As for the rest - not much to cheer about. Neither Ings ot Hojbjerg had much influence on a game that was already lost after the first 30 minutes, and Josh Sims was almost invisisble and is clearly best playing in front of a SMS crowd.- goodness knows what Watford's " bully boys" might do to him - if they manage to catch him.

You win some - and lose some . Move on.

lemmsy added 17:14 - Apr 23
Not quite sure why but the first half was for me the poorest under Ralph,you can blam team selection but we were constantly second best in 50/50s and that is not down to the manager. More worrying was the breakaway when JWP could of /should of been sent off was very similar to the no salad goal for the bin dippers.The second half was obviously much better but JWP form seems to have dropped since joining the England squad!

djtsaints123 added 18:08 - Apr 23
why does no one ever criticize bertrand great when goes forward but always jogs back never sprints second goal his fault agreed back three slow to react and again that is the problem we at times do not work hard enough jog not sprint man c and liverpool have better talent than us but the still sprint not jog when loose possession, man U lost against everton thru lack of effort not lack of talent

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