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Chelsea 0 v 2 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Thursday, 26th December 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Chelsea The Verdict
Thursday, 26th Dec 2019 17:40

Perhaps the best performance under Ralph Hasenhuttl saw Saints deservedly win at Stamford Bridge and in doing so move up to 14th in the table.

For perhaps the first team this season Saints completely cut out the major errors and in doing so gained a win that few Saints supporters would have laid money on and possibly not even a single neutral.

Saints were lambs to the slaughter according to the media, all the talk was about their great win at Spurs and how they were now going to move up the table and into the top 4, but Saints had a game plan and it was for the first time this season implemented from the first minute to the very last and the errors of the last few months were completely cut out.

Some raised their eyes at Danny Ings on the bench and Obafemi and Adams up front, but as I predicted in the preview I felt that Ralph Hasenhuttl might just have a surprise up his sleeve.

Adams had the better game but Obafemi took the plaudits with a superbly taken goal.

But fair play to Che Adams he got stuck in and held the ball up, created space and chances and won vital free kicks.

The longer the game went on the more we grew in confidence, in the final 20 minutes we didn't panic and tried to play our way out of trouble and Chelsea barely troubled Alex McCarthy to the final minutes when a free kick was dealt with easily.

This was a team performance though and it was hard to pick a man of the match but personally I agreed with the pundits that if everyone else was 9/10 then James Ward Prowse was 9.5.

Holding the midfield with Hojbjerg he tackled like a terrier and used the ball well whether it was short or long, he like several others had their best games of the season.

Special mention also to Jack Stephens who if Villa was his best game in a Saints shirt he surpassed that at Stamford Bridge, perhaps the threat of a January signing is spurring him on.

So Saints are now up to 14th, still only 3 points above the drop zone, but leapfrogging several teams for the first time in quite a while actually being the highest placed South Coast team.

Now we can move forward with a team that has regained it's pride, regained it's confidence and but for errors in 3 out of the last 5 away games would be 10th this evening, which shows tat we are not as bad as some would have had you believe.

We have used the defeat to Leicester in a positive way and both team and manager have learned lessons.

A year ago after 19 games we were 15th with 15 points this season we are a full 6 points better off and although the gap between us and 18th is still the same ie 3 points, we are a lot closer to the finishing line than a year ago and we can get closer if in our next two games we can replicate our away performances at St Mary's

Photo: Action Images

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Saintsforeverj added 18:07 - Dec 26
Yep, very proud of the team and the result. Stephens was excellent, Redmond was excellent, the 2 front men were excellent, ward Prowse was excellent. The biggest thing for me is the clean sheet and the narrow and compact defensive performance which was spot on.

graveworm added 18:40 - Dec 26
Well after lambasting the team after the Hammers debacle, I feel like I should compliment the team on a fantastic performance


WestSussexSaint added 18:52 - Dec 26
When you think that just 10 games ago this team lost 0-9 at home and barely looked like a championship team let alone premier league, it has been a tremendous turnaround.

Well done to all the players on the pitch today, many of whom have been (rightly) criticised for much of the season. Notable performances in my view were Stephens, JWP and Adams. A shout out too for Stuart Armstrong. His return from injury might just be a coincidence with the change in form but he just seems to make things tick going forwards and his role in the second goal was sublime.

Finally let’s recognise the influence of Ralph who admitted in the post match interview he had lost his way and made a few mistakes earlier this season. Top bloke and really pleased the hard work is paying off. I just hope the board back him in the January window and don’t assume that there is no need for reinforcements just because recent results have improved.

NYC_Saint added 19:00 - Dec 26
My only criticism has been the drop in form of PEH. I wonder if being captain is too much for him and he would benefit from passing the arm band to Ings or jwp? Stephens has concentrated and is reading the game well - I thought Abraham would have had a field day let’s hope he keeps it up.

dirk_doone added 19:09 - Dec 26
Another great performance at Stamford Bridge. It's amazing how many time we've won there by 2 goals or more. In contrast, little Pompey haven't beaten Chelsea home or away for 60 years.

Our young British players, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Redmond, Obafemi etc are all improving together and developing a terrific team spirit. Credit to Ralph, the manager who has inspired them. That 2nd goal today was one of the best team goals scored in the Premier League.

saintlee added 19:11 - Dec 26
Massive shout out to Che Adam's. He was terrific today. We would be bonkers loaning him out in January. He just needs a goal then he'll be away.
Well done Ssints. Let's just sort our home form out now cause that really is dogs*it. COYR !!

IanRC added 19:13 - Dec 26
Hopefully this will start to silence all the so called fans who say the players are just not good enough. Still work to do but a number of players have more than answered their critics over the last few games, think Long, Redmond, JWP. Have to agree that the reintroduction of Armstrong (and Long) have been major factors in our resurgence. Not sure about Romeu at the moment, still has too much of a tendency to give away silly free kicks in dangerous areas.

HythePeer added 19:39 - Dec 26
Santa does read our letters! 🎅🏻

underweststand added 19:44 - Dec 26
Obafemi and Adams put themselves about enough to show that they could be in real contention during the rest of the season. Although Che didn't score he was brave up top and surely deserves more gametime to help him get his first goal.
Are there even more superlatives for Jack Stephens? It has talken a long time for him to get a regular place in the team and now he looks to be holding the back line solo.

Stu Armstrong really does make the difference in midfield , and hope he keeps his place.
Even JWP's strongest critic (and there are a few) would have to admit that he really DAJFU today, covering more ground / more tackles than anyone else.

Another good game for Alex McCarthy, and a clean sheet will up his confidence even more. Overall a very good team performance, and now let's look for a good win over Palace who we have been far too charitable toward in the last few seasons.

Colburn added 19:50 - Dec 26
Tremendous performance by each and every player. Adams and Stephens were immense and JWP looked like a man possessed in the middle of the park. That was his best all round performance in his career, won every tackle, fouled at the right time and zipped the ball around after winning the ball. Jack Stephens beginning to show what can happen if you keep faith with a quality player and give him a proper run in the team. He is learning quicker because of that. Obafemi great goal and a special mention for Armstrong who showed why we bought him with an outstanding effort, especially considering he has just stepped back in to a team in need of results. Pleased for Redmond too, who had a better game today, in sync with the team as they all were today. This wasn't a scrappy away win, it was classy. Well done Ralph, our best game under him for me and the best team goal. Great to see us win without needing Ings or Djenepo.. Finally I agree with the above comments, it will be madness to loan out Che, he's vital to our progress and should be with Ings up front every game. Well done lads!

davidargyll added 20:01 - Dec 26
Is this really the same team that got hammered by Leicester?
I find myself truly humbled by the performance today following the fact that I was calling for Ralph’s head. I don’t think I have ever seen such a gentlemanly and honest interview by a manager after a game.
I originally thought he was a good appointment. Then I didn’t. Now I do. Emphatically. Thank god no one listens to me.
And I thought everyone was really good and tried really hard. PEH did have a bad gane but it was his killer pass that put Obafemi through so I’ve no complaints. I’ve not been a Che fan or Of JWP. But I am now. I’ve always liked Armstrong and Stephens so delighted how well they played.
I had hope for three points from three matches. Do you think we might now squeak 5? Or more?
Can’t wait for the next home game. If they play like that at home - defend like bricks and then catch the oppo on the break - who knows what might happen.
And I thought I was only dreaming before today. I think there really might be a Santa Claus ...!

Ripleys_revenge added 20:22 - Dec 26
Totally agree with everything that's been said and especially Ralph's post match interview where he was fairly open about the fact he felt he had lost his own way somewhat. It is very rare to hear a premier league manager talk so openly and honestly about his own failings. Today and last week you could really sense a togetherness about the team which we have missed for much of this season. Perhaps that 9-0 really was the best thing that could have happened to us and you have to take your hat off to Ralph for turning it around. Buzzing tonight, absolutely awesome performance to a man. Feels like getting the proper Saints team back!

NewburySaint added 21:17 - Dec 26
Credit where credit’s due, and everybody deserves credit today because that was the perfect performance.

Big shout out to JWP today as well-I’m 1 of his biggest critics but he was superb today & I’ve never seen such a tenacious performance from him.

And finally a mention of the Chelsea “supporters” and their spoilt attitude to the game in particular when trying to (& succeeding with Bertrand) getting our players booked for time wasting at dead balls when we’d barely collected the ball-if you think today was time wasting good luck with when you play Burnley & Watford!

bstokesaint added 21:28 - Dec 26
Not much you can say about that performance other than a class plan, executed perfectly. I had to laugh at the Chelsea fans booing us for time-wasting. We looked comfortable all game and defended brilliantly and controlled the midfield winning tackle after tackle. Stephens and JWP were brilliant. Armstrong and Redmond were tireless upfront and I’m well chuffed the latter got a goal to crown a great passing move. We deserved that today. We’ve not got great overnight and are still near the brown stuff, but Ralph has reminded me why I was so pleased with his original appointment. Hope he has a celebratory drink tonight. A great team performance. Proper solid showing.

AndrewW_London added 22:19 - Dec 26
A great summary and, yes, it was a thoroughly deserved win to pick up a massive three points. We were superb from start to finish and, for once, managed to keep a clean sheet as well as scoring two cracking goals.
I was proud to be amongst the Saints fans at Stamford Bridge and we out-sang the so-called Chelsea fans throughout.
The gap from the relegation zone is still only three points but at least we go into the second half of the season with a sense of hope and purpose!

schatfield added 22:21 - Dec 26
Astonishing good display, and again away from home. Maybe this will stop the nick thoughts of Stephen's being only championship standard too!

BoondockSaint added 22:41 - Dec 26
What a difference playing 2 up front and going after other teams defenders makes!
Keep up the good work!

KriSaint added 02:44 - Dec 27
Great comments which I echo 95 % and thanks for the, positive, fine verdict article, Nick.
I think one of you mentioned that PEH didn´t have a good game, which is simply untrue.
Yes, he gave the ball away a couple of times under pressure, but he gave 110 % (like everybody else) and he had an assist and generally played very, VERY well.
Even Cedric did very well today.
Armstrong can not be saluted enough for his performance today. It was AWESOME, and the build-up to 2-0 was - not least because of him - simply fantastic - and - for me - the best team goal since Channons famous goal after a sensational build-up involving among others Keegan and D. Armstrong back in 1981 or 1982.

AmericanSaint added 03:58 - Dec 27
Now that was a fun game to watch. If the team keeps giving this kind of effort, we will only be looking upwards. I said this back on October, a 4-4-2 formation sets us up well for our speed on the wings and all we need to do is pass the ball forward. On to the next and COYR.

landsdownsaint added 06:00 - Dec 27
I think RH has had a right good look at himself & has taken it on the chin for some very bad decisions ! Beginning of this season I got the impression that he thought we were lucky to have him with all his tactical experimenting , I & most of the people around where I sit really want him to do well both fans & board have had a lot of patience with him & it just might pay off

ItchenNorth added 08:10 - Dec 27
Ok,For a brief moment I was b

highfield49 added 08:17 - Dec 27
I'll add my name to the list of those eating humble pie. Only a few days ago I was on here saying that it was time to change the manager as RH didn't seem able to motivate the players. It's now looking like the addition of a couple of players in January will see us move safely into mid table. Suspensions and injuries are going to disrupt the balance of the current squad but whilst Adams and Obafemi haven't looked great coming off the bench today showed what they might achieve given proper game time. Well done RH.

ItchenNorth added 08:21 - Dec 27
Chelsea are no anywhere near the Liverpool side of 1982 and are our current Saints team is a mile away from those heady days back at The Dell as well, but for a brief moment, when Redmond scored our 2nd yesterday following that passage of play, it was "one of the best team goals I think I can ever remember".

Consigliere added 09:33 - Dec 27
Add me to the list of humble-pie eaters Highfield! Who'd have thunk it! Caution calls of course as we will have to maintain that form at home, which has been the difficulty all season but the lesson learned is that if the ball and the team moves forwards at pace, good things are more likely to happen. Agree with others about the excellent team goal and particularly enjoyed the little celebratory jig from our Irish fella, O'Befami!

SaintPaulVW added 10:09 - Dec 27
10/10 nuff said

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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile

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