|Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 19th October 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
Sunday, 20th Oct 2019 10:15
A hard fought point, but it told us nothing that we didn't already know, this was one of those games that we got away with it.
I have said from the beginning of the season that with our centre of defence there will be some games we will get mauled and others that we will get away with it and the game up at Molyneux was one of the latter.
In the build up I said that Ralph Hasenhuttl should make some brave changes, he chose not to and kept with basically what is fast becoming his first XI changed only if he wants to go 2 or 3 in the centre of the back..
He went for three central defenders in this version but for the first 10 minutes or so we looked a shambles, Wolves piled forward and we barely had a kick, the only good thing though was that the home side for all their possession lacked innovation and the spark to break us down.
As the game progressed we found our feet a little and got back into it, but we still looked like we could shoot us in the foot at any time.
We seemed to have realised that we needed to sit back a little against Wolves and not give them the chance to go on the break, in the main we stuck to that, but there were moments that we lost our composure and discipline.
Two of those moments saw the ball in the net and us relying on our best defender this season in terms of goals prevented and that is VAR.
The first saw Raul handle the ball and even the lines man flagged that one with VAR just needing to confirm it.
The second just before the break saw another bout of Captain Chaos defending, a long high ball was not dealt with by Yoshida and suddenly Wolves saw their moment and broke with numbers, we were at sixes and sevens and none of our central three seemed to have a clue who they were meant to be marking and we were in disarray, luckily a Wolves leg had strayed offside and VAR pulled this up as Saints kicked off the restart.
So we got away with it this time.
Ironically throughout all this we seemed to be the only side who got shots on target, Danny Ings ploughed a lone furrow and got in some shots, some better than others, but early in the second half he capitalised on a mistake in the home defence to get through on goal, he did everything right, crossed the defenders path inviting him to bring him down and not only concede a penalty but get a red card and then he finished with aplomb.
But the lead would not last long, again it was defensive frailties, we really should have cleared the ball several times as Wolves attacked and to be blunt VAR did us no favours on the penalty shout, it was a clear dive. the angle of his body was not of a man being tripped but of one diving into a swimming pool.
But with half an hour to go the onslaught never came, it fell back into the first half pattern with Wolves huffing and puffing and like their namesake in the Fairy Tale being unable to blow our house down.
Even a strange couple of substitutions near the end when firstly Boufal came on for Valery causing us to lose our shape as he seemed to think he had a free reign not have to do a job.
Match Gallery: 8 photos
This was a major problem and Wolves saw this and poured down our right flank, but we managed to dig in, just !
Danso coming on was good to see but again he was played completely out of position and looked vunerable out wide.
At the end of the day though this was a good point well won given Wolves form of late, the problems are still there and as I said there will be some games we get punished for our shortcomings at the back and others less so and this was one of those games.
The plus points were that we had a spirit about us and Danny Ings is clearly a man in form and he offers us a goal scoring threat that we have lacked in the past few seasons.
We now have to build on this and Ralph needs to get his selections right and more importantly his substitutions back on track, the downside of this game was that I felt he did not use those on the bench to the best of their abilities, Boufal is a flare player, but he was a liablity in the position we were in on Saturday, Armstrong would have been a better bet to come on in this situation.
Danny Ings had run himself into the ground, we had Long and Adams on the bench, fresh legs up front would not be amiss.
Again Hasenhuttl cut a lone figure on the bench, he is lacking a tight hand man, he has too many on his bench who do not have enough experience and are not tactically aware enough to help him make the right decisions.
Ralph is a great manager, but every great manager needs the right sidemen, sorry Kelvin Davis, Craig Fleming and David Watson, but at the moment you are none of those, perhaps in the future with time you will be, we cannot afford to have three men all trying to get that experience at the same time, the balance is not right and that is part of the problem.
We can go into the Leicester game with some confidence, but lets make sure that the VAR system is up and ready to go, it is fast becoming a contender for player of the season.
Photo: Action Images
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