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Tottenham Hotspur 2 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 28th September 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
Monday, 30th Sep 2019 09:44

Saints really should have come home with at least a point probably all three on their first trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but our defensive woes continue.

Saints benefited from a first half sending off, but strangely I don't think this helped our cause as it meant that we had the lions share of the possession and Spurs did what they do well, break quickly and we did what we do badly and that is defend breaks.

Saints were hit by a blow pre match with Cedric unable to play after being injured in the warm, the big question here is why he wasn't replaced like for like and Yan Valery drafted in, but instead Ralph Hasenhuttl opted to change formation and bring in Vestergaard and use JWP as the right wingback.

Whilst there aren't many Saints supporters who appreciate what Ralph has been doing here and have faith i him, of late he seems loathe to play certain players and prefers to either play square pegs in round holes of change formation than play them.

If he did want to change formation then surely he would be better playing Kevin Danso in his normal position of central defence and get the chance to show if he is the answer or not, but Danso seems to be one out of favour at the moment.

The early Spurs goal was against the run of play and had all the usual poor defending traits, players not being marked tightly, and standing off and it looked like Gunn really should have done better.

But the sending off changed things and we had the lions share of the play and the chances and Danny Ings again showed why we signed him getting a real poachers goal after closing down the keeper.

But just as we had got into it and looked like we could head into the break level, we again gifted a goal, Spurs broke and caught us in total disarray, they passed the ball and if there is one man we should have been marking it was Harry Kane , he found space and put Spurs ahead again, it truly would never have happened with a good organisational leader in the centre of our defence or at least some pace and there is where perhaps Danso should have been on the pitch.

Second half saw Saints huff and puff, but a marvellous Lloris save from Yoshida aside, we looked short of inspiration in front of goal, our play lacked inspiration and Spurs were capable of soaking up the pressure .

As mentioned perhaps the sending off aided Spurs more than Saints, it meant that we had more of the ball and pushed forward meaning that the home side had more room to counter attack us and that is their strength, it also served to bond them more as a team and gave them a spirit they have been sorely lacking in recent weeks.

All in all this was at least a point dropped for Saints and probably three, we can't keep gifting goals, but we know we will because we are lacking a vital ingredient at the back, as at Sheffield United Saints will get strokes of luck and win games, but sadly we will keep throwing away points because we have no leadership on the pitch.

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Boris1977 added 10:00 - Sep 30
Just hope that Ralph's head scratching selections is part of a bigger 'project' that will pay off in the near future. From a fans point of view the same issues - concentration at the back (Kane had as much time and space and v did v Pompey) and up an inability to convert chances.

This season feels like it's going to replicate the last few - the months will creep by and we'll be facing more lower table six pointers.

Hopefully something clicks up front and the strikers live up to that title which will take pressure off the limited back 4.

halftimeorange added 10:14 - Sep 30
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.

wessexman added 10:47 - Sep 30
Ralph performed a minor miracle last season by coming in and turning round a seemingly desperate situation. But, our defensive frailties were not addressed in the summer. Yes, we huffed and puffed but our lack of quality throughout the squad was exposed yet again. We have only scored 7 goals this season, two of which courtesy of goal keeping howlers. Therein lies our problem..... With our "generous" defense, we need to start scoring or else that trap door will open. That home defeat against Bournemouth and our inability to capitalize on that sending off could well come back to haunt us come May.

vanmans added 10:48 - Sep 30
More points lost due to bad team selection by Ralph. Time to Drop Prowse, Vestergaad and Gunn. Play 4 at the back and learn to pass the ball Forward. Why was Tadic not replaced?

surreysaint added 10:59 - Sep 30
Agreed. I know it's not fashionable to be critical of our manager, but not being Mark Hughes does not automatically make you the messiah. I think we did some decent business over the summer, but priority 1 (and quite possibly 2 as well) was a central defender and he failed in that. He then sold Targett without having any confidence in Vokins to play in the first team. It's not great Squad Management.

And then to change your entire formation and game plan when a player gets injured in the warm up when you have a like-for-like replacement on the bench is really odd and if i were Valery i would be massively hacked off.

mgprobert added 11:01 - Sep 30
I would rather have sorted the defence out as a priority and then worked my way up the field but Saints seem to be doing it the other way round. All well and good if you get the 2-3 goals to make up for the ones you're going to inevitably let in, but were not. You wonder what man-management issues are going on with the likes of Valery, Cedric, Danso and Bertie...but in Ralph we trust, I'm expecting 15-16th and then continue the rebuild.

At least if things aren't going spectacularly well we might keep Ralph a little longer.

saintmark1976 added 11:02 - Sep 30
A frankly pathetic result and performance against a team that played two thirds of the match with ten men. To all intents and purposes a complete mirror image of the last few seasons.

We have a powder puff forward line, a pedestrian midfield, a static defence and a suspect goal keeper. In addition we now have a manager who appears to have lost the plot completely in regard to team selection and the use of substitutes.Simply not good enough and to add insult to injury on Saturday we could not even get our strip selection correct.Our fans attend wearing red and white and we chose to play in yellow-why?


highfield49 added 11:35 - Sep 30
Quite frankly Nick I think you are being too kind in your report, this was a shambolic mess.
Other reports suggest that RH decided to change the lineup because of Spurs team selection, if so Cedric must be fuming. However, if Cedric was unable to play then what on earth was Valery doing on the bench? Spurs attacked JWP because he is not a natural defender, just like Djeneppo being selected recently instead of Bertrand.
Now the crunch question, why was Vestergaard still on the pitch after half time? Three central defenders against ten men? A tactical farce I would say. The substitutions were made too late to have any impact on the game and bringing on a mid fielder as the first substitute was a very odd decision.
I want RH to take us forward but his team selections are getting stranger and stranger, three points there for the taking and we again come away with nothing. Unless we can somehow beat Chelsea I'm concerned that the team is going to be hard to lift, there's a huge danger of total collapse on the horizon and it's very worrying.

geezershoong1 added 11:48 - Sep 30
Wrong team, wrong tactics, obvious changes needed that were implemented far too late...

There are the basics and RH is getting them wrong.

bstokesaint added 12:25 - Sep 30
Like others have said I like RH and want him to succeed, but it’s so frustrating watching a manager constantly mess around with the team, which often feels unnecessary. Rarely will we have such a great opportunity to take points of a top 6 side. Having equalised we really should have taken the game to them. If JWP isn’t under enough pressure right now, playing him out of position is not going to be a great result for anyone. Personally I feel for him because I’m imagine he’s been coached to retain the ball at all costs, or he doesn’t feel he can hit the forward balls the way we are playing.

I’d be over the moon if we ditched these over-elaborate European formations and just resorted to 4-4-2 or 4-4-3 (dropping Vestegaard in the process), stop the incessant rotation and experimenting players out of position and try to picking the best XI and sticking with it. Klopp hardly rotates his best team and it works okay for them. And similarly Ferguson and Wenger never used to chop and change constantly during their successful periods. Okay they had superior personnel, but they all knew the deal and their roles and opposition knew what to expect, but still couldn’t deal with them. There’s something to be said for consistency. Also if there are behind-the-scenes fallings-out then sort them ASAP. It’s going to cost us the chance to remain in this league.

I_would added 12:26 - Sep 30
RH is obviously, after an early bath and a saddlebag full of cash. He must have been speaking to Pellegrino, Hughes and Puel and they would have put him straight about the Saints management set up.

I would prefer to see us competing in the Championship where we belong with this squad. That would be more enjoyable actually thinking you might win a game rather than absolutely relying on luck. Plus RH would be gone then and that would be a relief.

bstokesaint added 12:29 - Sep 30
And that was supposed to be 4-3-3, although I suspect we'd not win much more with 4-4-3, or even 5,4,3!

HythePeer added 13:51 - Sep 30
Ralph works very hard with the players all week, I think he should get Saturdays off.

Farlow added 15:25 - Sep 30
Obviously the departure of Ralphs assistant was more of a loss than first thought.

SanMarco added 16:12 - Sep 30
This was a team from last year's squad so it is not over-surprising that there are still issues, particularly at the back. Once we equalised this game should have been about us patiently pressing for a winner in the second half - but instead...

Ralph obviously likes to do things his own way but eccentricity and 'unpredictability' are only worth it if they confuse the opposition. We seem to be throwing away points by confusing ourselves. I think Ralph neeeds to think less about being the 'Clough of Albania' or whatever he is called and just get back to simply motivating the team to win games. Get to 40 points and then p1ss around with eccentric selections. He is a good manager but I fear he is starting to believe his own publicity.

underweststand added 16:14 - Sep 30
Having spent £30 million + signing Ings "properly" , RH had to give them all a runout, or otherwise why did he bother to sign them in the first place. It's clear that like many young signings; Danso, Djenepo and Adams didn't have a clue what life was going to be like in the Prem. and the reality is very challenging. YERS... they've all shown traces of talent, and they may have been outstanding in teams that were below Prem.standard , but it's clear they need some extra tips on tactics / better training - and PDQ.

One thing we can credit RH for is the repatriation of Cedric, Yoshida, Romeu and Boufal who were tragically omitted / and or / ignored by Hughes. They have made us look like half-a- good team this season, but we still have one of / the /youngest squads in the Prem. and it'll take time for the newcomers to "gell" with the rest of the regulars.

I'm still not sold on the idea of Gunn as first choice keeper, and IMHO our back line has to be Yoshida + who know?. (sorry about that Nick), but surely no-one can afford to ignore an international captain with 96 caps. Bednarek is probably the most consistant CB, but despite his height advantage Vestergaard is painfully slow on the turn and easily exploited.

OH ...about the game. OK... even if it was Spurs, we should have put the game to bed in the second half playing 11 v.10, instead of racking up 20 passes at a time, and playing keep-ball when we should have gone for goal and tested Lloris a lot more than we did.

the_saint added 16:30 - Sep 30
First Frazer goes down hill rapidly then McCarthy has a wobble gunn comes in promising younger and hes gone to ruin what the hell are our goalkeeping coaches doing three good goalkeepers ruined

Block8 added 18:35 - Sep 30
We let in the second goal, badly again, despite a great Spurs move. They didn't need to score!
This allowed an extremely good team to sit deep, a problem we failed to overcome.
In circumstances like this our high press closes out our own space, leaving no room for Redmonds pace of Boufals skills.
Definitely points lost!!

Ali_Diarea added 20:07 - Sep 30
Just two things from me:

1. I think it’s harsh to blame Gunn for the first goal, what’s the point in having a defence if they’re just going to stand on the six-yard box, they should be throwing their bodies at the striker for the first goal.

2. As mentioned by others above, the team that started against spurs (except for Boufal) was the same bunch of under-achievers from the last two or three seasons, so why expect a better return? Proof of another failed transfer window.

landsdownsaint added 21:22 - Sep 30
Bottom line is us fans could pick the Saints first 11 & again for some reason we got a manager who can’t , iv only ever seen Valery have one slightly dodgy performance & that was to Liverpool , have we got a manager that constantly falls out with players ? If we have we ‘re I’m bother ... again!!

davidargyll added 07:17 - Oct 1
Although I only listened to the match on R5L, the impression I got was our goal was a complete fluke and Spurs’ second goal was pretty exceptional and yes we definitely got badly caught. But they are a top side and we are nowhere near it. But I am inclined to agree more or less with underweststand. We have a young squad some of whom are barely up to PL standard yet (I hope they’ll get better but I have my doubts). And most fans here need a dose of reality: we are no more than a bottom third quality club. I’d love to say we are better and have the potential to be better but unless we spend gazillions, we are going to be stuck down in the teens positions in the PL. As a result sometimes we win against a top half team when we have good luck, more often like vs Spurs we don’t. Let’s not get depressed about it. Shoot for the stars by all means but don’t let’s beat ourselves up about losing to last year’s Champions League finalists! When we lose at home to Watford in November, then you can start beating yourselves up!
PS. Re Watford, after last year’s performance would you rather be a Saints or Hornets?

bstokesaint added 12:16 - Oct 1
David, CL runners up they might be, but not when playing nearly two thirds of the game with 10 men. That was an opportunity blown no question.

aceofthebase added 22:04 - Oct 1
Spurs such a difficult team to break down and score against unless .... you are Bayern!!! Ho Ho1

saintjf added 22:15 - Oct 1
Exactly ace they are in a complete mess. We should have got at least a point but we are not that good ourselves at the moment and seem to have one or two problems of our own.

underweststand added 16:34 - Oct 2
3 days after the event, and probabaly no-one will bother to comeback and read this
BUT.. against my better judgement I watched the Spurs game against Bayern Munich and the (appropriately German).. word "Schadenfreude"... came directlty to mind.

In my 60+ years as a Saints fan, I have heard us denegrated by egotistical Spurs fans, routed on the pitch and cheated in transfer deals, and I thought our performance at the weekend was just another chapter in our sad history versus Tottenham Hotspur, but I was so overjoyed that it took me a hour to get to sleep as I savoured that result.

It may take time, but we can await the mass exit of their "better " players (and probably manager) and just maybe bring them down to the level of the rest of us who fight to survive in the Prem. every season. Having invested £1 billion pounds in his brand new stadium, Mr.Levy might ponder why he didn't invest more in the team instead of the "mausoleum" he has built in the club's name.


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