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Newcastle United 2 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 8th December 2019 Kick-off 14:00
Saints At Newcastle United The Verdict
Tuesday, 10th Dec 2019 09:35

A good performance all undone by two lapses in concentration mean that Saints dropped back into the bottom three, but they are still in touch with the clubs above them.

Saints showed that going forward they are a good side creating several good chances early on against Newcastle that made the keeper work, the team looked in confident mood and after a good first half well deserved the lead shortly after the break with Danny Ings running through and putting it past the keeper and at this stage there looked only one winner.

But lapses in concentration again cost us dearly as did late goals, with just over 20 mins to go Jonjo Shelvey was again a thorn in Saints side as he ran in unmarked to head home, no one followed his run and truthfully at the height the ball was at we really should have cleared it anyway.

Saints still kept the upper hand, but again with only 3 minutes remaining we handed a goal to the opposition, yes the shot from distance swerved and maybe took a slight deflection but it was close to Alex McCarthy and if he couldn't hold it he should have got it out of the danger zone rather than push it only a few yards in front of him where the onrushing Fernandez was quickest to react to blast it home with the keeper still struggling to get up and block it.

This was three points dropped, three points that would have seen us up to 14th.

Ralph Hasenhuttl must be tearing his hair out, every game he puts out a side that competes, but every game he is let down by poor defending, but what can he do, if he drops one player then the man coming in does no better.

In our last three away games we have taken just a single point, in each game we have conceded a late late goal that really should have been prevented, if we had not done so then today we would be 4 points better off and now 12th.

This highlights what I have been saying for a long time, we are not a bad side, we are just et down week in week out by individuals that are no up to the job and this could cost us dearly.

At this level you have to concentrate for the entire game and we don't and we pay the price.

We will win some games and lose some, but the stark reality is that we need a defender in January, he needs to be experienced and tried and trusted at this level.

Look at those teams like Newcastle, Palace and Sheffield United, they are up where they are not because they score a lot of goals, but because they don't let many in, we have to shore up at the back in January, to be blunt anyone would be better than what we have at present.

Kevin Danso seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth, he hasn't ever been played in the position he was signed to play and his last appearance came almost six weeks ago and he has rarely even been on the bench.

Clearly he is not rated by Ralph Hasenhuttl, but given our central defensive woes it is surprising he hasn't at least tried him.

So we go into the weekend with some sort of confidence, but we need to win and we need to have a game where we don't concede and more importantly if we do it is not a soft gifted goal, the fact that we are where we are is testimony that we are not a bad side, we just have poor defenders.

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davidargyll added 10:05 - Dec 10
Sorry Nick I think that is rubbish. Both the Newcastle goals were extremely good particularly Shelvey’s. It just snuck inside the post and I don’t think anyone would have stopped it. And To say both goals were defensive errors for once I reckon is unfair.
I saw the game on TV and I was mightily impressed by our performance; so yes we might have wanted for at least a point but if the team can keep playing at that level of intensity for the next couple of games, I might even start to get a bit more optimistic.
I now think there is definitely one worse team in the PL, probably two. I’m struggling a bit to find the third but I have higher hopes of there being one than a month ago...

Dobbin60 added 10:22 - Dec 10
The manager must take his share of blame. Over a year In charge and we are no better off, he’s had two windows to sort it and now we’re hoping he will get it right third time of asking. His game management is poor the high press is set by the forwards and as they tire in the second half we drop deeper and deeper inviting pressure. Changes should be made when they start to tire to keep the high press and momentum, not two minutes from the end. The opposition can’t score when the ball is deep in their half. We know we can’t defend so keep the ball away from the defence.

landsdownsaint added 10:31 - Dec 10
It’s all the managers fault ! He’s gone the 442 playing players who are employed by the club to play in the position the club bought them for, if he had read the Ugly Inside earlier in the season we wouldn’t be in this position, not the sign of a good manager

HythePeer added 10:36 - Dec 10
"This highlights what I have been saying for a long time, we are not a bad side, we are just et down week in week out by individuals that are no up to the job" Eh!!!???
I've got a new car, it's a great car; every week something goes wrong with it, but it's a great car!

saint22 added 10:39 - Dec 10
Clearly Danso isn't rated so why the fork was he signed???
Where is Valery?
Time to call back Hoedt and Forster????

1970 added 10:39 - Dec 10
I don't think we are a good side as you suggest Nick I think we are the victims of years of asset stripping and are now at rock bottom, if you take Ings out of the side we would struggle in the championship and could you put your hand on your heart and say we will beat Huddersfield at home in the cup?
The truth is no which also suggests we are not a good side, I know anything can happen in the cup but I don't think there are many fans that are confident of victory more of hope,
Your right about the Danso situation which is very bizarre just like caceras who only had one game, may be this is a talking point at the forums because quite frankly if you took Bertrand out of our defence we would be league 1 standard so he's got to be better than that,
Casting our minds back to our League 1 days if we drew this current Saints side in the FA cup away we would definitely fancy our chances wouldn't we Nick

SaintNick added 10:43 - Dec 10
The truth is that week in week out we are let down by individual errors, it must be frustrating for the manager and the players, the car analogy is wide of the mark, if you have a new car and you put cheap tyres on it that are part worn don't be surprised if you get a puncture or they don't stop as quickly as a brand new pair.

underweststand added 10:56 - Dec 10
Aside from the match... it's known that every manager likes his own special formation. (Strachan did in 2003 and several players couldn't get a look-in because of it, and Koeman had his favourite, too). Obviously 4-2-2-2- is something that was successful for Ralph in Germany, but the real question is ..Do Saints have the players to make it work here?.

Clearly we've been a bit better in the last month, and few would dent that we deserved more from the Arseanl game well as at Newcastle. Our real weakness a.t.m isn't defence but the reliance on our one-man striked force - thank goodness for Danny Ings.

21-12 shots v. Arsenal and 19 -12 at Newcastle shows that we can create chances, but few players who can put them away. Sorry Nick, I also have to agree with David Argyll
(above) that both the Newcastle goals had an element of luck about them. You can argue that Shelvey should have been picked up , but he came from nowhere and was lucky to find the top corner with his header...and the second was a thunderbolt shot that Alex was fortunate to push away.. only for it to fall to their defender.
Steve Bruce must haev been the most relieved man in St.James Park , and Ralpoh the most frustrated after such an otherwise good performance.

Once again Long showed us how to miss even good half-chances and Bertrand missed a sitter, when the one he scored the previous week was argueably more difficult .
We didn't do wrong in signing Che Adams ,(but rather like Carrillo) he was pushed into a side that lacked creativity and got litte or no service in those early games.
We need replacements for Gabbiadini and Carrillo and Che looked a good buy on paper, but ti hasn't worked out YET, but sooner or later he may coem good. Every goalscorer has dry spells, (there was a time whe both Pelle and Mane went a dozen games without either of them scoring) and felt the wrath of the crowd.

Even though we haven't got all the points that our play deserved , things are slowly looking up, but with West Ham and Villa games coming up it's really time to make those games count and pick up two decisive wins...Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester might not be so accommodating.,,judging on past perfomances and current form.

wibbersda added 11:22 - Dec 10
Let's face the defence need to be switched on in the last 10 + 4 Mins. Every club now knows that they just need to blitz us during this time as our record shows we will concede. Stephens timing was all wrong for the Shelby goal, as he jumped up too early and the ball cleared his head. Once again McCarthy pushes out a shot/cross on a plate for the opposition to score. That needs to stop. Regard the main issue, and it is the defence, then pinning our hopes on January then I cannot see any of these 3 Issues being satisfied.
Issue 1: Are there any Quality Experienced CB's available?
Issue 2: Would they want to come to a struggling team and with the pressure heaped on them?
Issue 3: Will Gao dig deep and pay January prices.


saintmark1976 added 11:38 - Dec 10
Once again Nick, the serial underachieving Redmond gets away without criticism. Clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat and fails to score. He can't score goals, regularly loses the ball and backs out of physical challenges yet he appears to be the first name on the team sheet. Why?

Rustyhelmet added 11:49 - Dec 10
Redmond offers a threat, fine he may not always score or might appear to take the difficult pass when a simple will do, but what he does offer is a quick break and his pace is part of counter attack tactic - who else would you suggests replaces him?

The defence has been crap for years, and every transfer window we all wait for the club to sign someone that we've a. heard of and b. will actually do the job they have been signed for, it just appears that those judgements are incorrect - Vestergard cant jump and has the turning circle of the QE2, and Danso for whatever reason cant seem to get into RH's team selection.

Its very simple, a fundamental almost - if you DON'T concede then you cant lose.

nysaint added 12:03 - Dec 10
Newcastle, City , Arsenal all games with late goals against. I wonder if it isn't just concentration but fitness levels that are not up to requirement. Admittedly I was disappointed that Ralph didn't do a double substitution at 60 mins (given the squad was unchanged and played mid week).

LordDZLucan added 13:01 - Dec 10
It's always possible to find an individual error when a team let's in a goal even when it's a wonder goal. So let's not harp on about individual errors all the time and let's focus on what the team needs to do better. And in that regard Dobbin60 has hit the nail on the head. For the last few years we have been extremely poor at managing the last 20 minutes of a game. We let teams come on to us far too much and end up camped in our box. Inevitably we then concede a goal. Whether we make substitutions or not we need more energy in the legs in those last 20 minutes.

landerwal added 13:20 - Dec 10
We have spent £35 million on two central defenders, one of whom is on loan and the other can barely get a place on the bench, yet Jack Stephens, an academy player, is the managers choice. We might as well saved our money and bought a decent forward who could put the ball in the net, unlike Adams, Long, Ofremi, Redmond etc with one goal between them so far this season. Goals win matches and if you miss chances like at Arsenal and Newcastle then you end up in the position we have been in so often in this and the past three seasons of desperately defending single goal leads then losing/drawing in the final minutes. There is enormous pressure on defenders in this situation especially if they subjected to it week in, week out and it no wonder they have "lapses of concentration." Yet our forwards can miss numerous chances and nothing is said or as happened with Long when he went most of last season without scoring, got praised in an Ugly Inside article for his work rate! Double standards?

saintmark1976 added 13:51 - Dec 10
Rusty helmet, in answer to your question, any fit forward that the Saints have on their books,Redmond is that consistently poor. His career record is that on average he has scored one goal every ten games. No amount of pace can make up for his obvious shortcomings particularly his blatant dislike of the physical side of the game.

SanMarco added 15:23 - Dec 10
Although the defence is our biggest weakness (and will be the cause of relegation if we do go down) I feel, also, that we have too many attcking players who can do a job for the side but do not score nearly enough. Having one or two such players is fine but we have Redmond, Long, Boufal, Obafemi (and possibly Djenepo) who all seem to be in this mode. That means you should only play one of them at a time. I think I'm right in saying serial underachiever JWP is outscoring all of them combined. I am all for creative geniuses but if Ings is the only attacker who ever scores then, given our defence, we will have lots of days like Sunday.

Colburn added 17:38 - Dec 10
You get punished at this level if you don't take your chances and put the game to bed. We were by far the better team but were not clinical enough in the last third. This was a bigger reason for losing the game than our defence. Shelveys goal was a good one and you can point fingers at many. The needless free kick, the ease with which Carroll was able to turn and put in a dangerous cross. Same with their winner, the lad shouldn't have been able to get the first shot in but in reality we squandered our dominance, once again putting pressure on the defence. None of us enjoy making negative comments about players, we all wish they were brilliant every week but it's fair to air our views on what or who we think are causing the lost points. Im baffled personally as to why Valery is second choice, he certainly has more effect going forward and I believe we would have scored more with him on the pitch. Redmond needs a rest, his decision making has loat it's way. Is Djenepo playing on the right now to keep Redmond in the team? Maybe Redders should go back to basics, play right wing and get to the by line for the crosses. Hopefully Boufal is fit for Saturday. 2 big performances and we could have 21 points before Christmas.

aceofthebase added 17:59 - Dec 10
Management needs to make a statement on why Valery no longer features. Cedric remains poor.

IanRC added 18:18 - Dec 10
Don’t think most of those commenting on here watched the same game as me. Redmond was a constant threat and only two brilliant saves by the Newcastle keeper prevented him from scoring. The addition of Long to the team has transformed us, he may not be scoring as much as we would like but he is every defenders nightmare giving us a constant get out and stretching the defences to give space for others. I agree that substitutions should be considered earlier as players tire but Long seems pretty indefatigable.

underweststand added 18:59 - Dec 10
Valery makes mistakes, too, and I really don't see much difference between them, but as we are looking to sell Cedric in January. He is more marketable as a first team regular rather than a " bench warmer." . Within a month he'll be gone. If he stays he can " walk for nothing in June" and we still have to get a replacement.
Get the best price we can now and bring in a new face before Feb 1st.
If Ralph is also looking to loan out Vestergaard too, then our list of "loan-outs" is now becoming embarrassingly long.
As for our strike force.. Danny Ings is doing it alone, and the rest show little sign of breaking their very poor runs of form. At 33.. Shane long (a very likeable man) is already past his sell-by date, and Redmond has completely lost the form he showed in the Spring.
Whatever it is that upsets Ralph to draw out the "unprofessional " comment about Obafemi must surely be something outside of the game, and poor Che Adams has had the worst start imaginable...and doesn't look a patch on his Brum form of last season.
Danny Ings shows how it can be done, but the others aren't in the running, to be considered as "regulars".


the_saint added 07:48 - Dec 11
Late late Subs again by the manager.

LoisDeem added 17:20 - Dec 11
For information, Danso was on the bench v Newcastle, not that this is any indication that he is ready, or that Ralph might think he is. It's probably too late to see him tried out in the position he was allegedly purchased for, so, failing this, perhaps we could lend him to Celtic at (Gao's?) further expense, and have a really good look at him.
The one tactic I'm happier for Saints to take a risk on is not worrying about the clean sheets, and challenging this team to outscore the opposition. After all, we are forever being told that the Leicester result was a fluke and to forget it, and it could work. At least Saints would be repaying us with both visible effort and entertainment, which is better than a poke in the eye with a very cheap scarf isn't it?.

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