Saints Under Fire Players Come Good At Chelsea
Friday, 27th Dec 2019 09:25
Over the last few months you won't have found many in our squad who don't have a detractor or two on social media, but at Stamford Bridge they all put in their best performances of the season.
Since his return in goal Alex McCarthy has been steady but not completely convincing, errors in the final minutes at both Manchester City and Newcastle cost us dearly, but on Boxing Day he put in a steady performance and in the main dominated his penalty area.
Ryan Bertrand and Cedric have both had a lot of critics, especially Cedric, but yesterday they looked more like the players of old, solid defending and surging forward.
Jack Stephens has had his critics including me, but credit where credit is due in the last two games he has cut out the errors and had his best two games of the season, Jan Bednarek is one of the few who hasn't had many on his back on line, but he has not been at his best, but at Chelsea for perhaps the first time he and Stephens looked a partnership.
In midfield Nathan Redmond has never stopped running at his man and at Chelsea he did that and not only created chances but scored a good poachers goal.
In the centre both James Ward Prowse and Pierre Emille Hojbjerg have those on social media who take their criticism beyond reason, yet in contrasting ways at Chelsea both showed their detractors they are vital players to our cause.
Ward Prowse was immense, he tackled he passed and he ran the midfield from a deep position, alongside him PEH was not having a great game in terms of his passing which was not great, but his effort and determination meant that he turned a potential bad game into a reasonable one.
Stuart Armstrong had his critics last season but has mainly escaped that this season, possibly due to his lack of game time more than anything, starting only 4 Premier games before the trip to Stamford Bridge, but again he had a great game in midfield suggesting that perhaps Ralph Hasenhuttl finally found the right balance with the right players in the right positions.
Up front Che Adams has been the subject of much speculation that Saints are going to loan him out, that is harsh, his lack of goals earlier in the season perhaps overshadowed the fact that he still contributed to some good early results, at Stamford Bridge though he truly showed what he can do, he played the central strikers role brilliantly, he fought for the ball and won it, held it up and drew fouls and also had pace, he could well come good in the second half of the season.
Alongside him Michael Obafemi has spent the last year mainly failing to live up for the hopes many had for him a year ago when he burst on to the scene last December, here he scored a great goal and showed that when he applies himself he can be an asset, both he and Adams could well be vital in the second half of the season.
Even Danny Ings had many who said he was not worth the £20 million we paid for him and was not good enough.
so up at Stamford Bridge it was almost as if Ralph's team talk was basically about going out there and proving the critics wrong, indeed Hasenhuttl himself has come under fire of late, but in truth since the defeat to Leicester has turned it round and we would be well clear but for individual errors and that is not the managers fault.
Hopefully this performance as well as the win at Aston Villa will not only give the players confidence and they certainly looked to have found that again in the final third at Chelsea when they showed that they can see a game out and keep a clean sheet, but also keep the fans off their backs and that in itself aids not only confidence but performance.
This is not a dig at supporters here for criticising the players, indeed few of them can say they have had good seasons, but pointing out that they are all capable of performing at a decent level, perhaps not all of them as first choice, but they can all do a job.
As I have always maintained this is a good team capable of challenging for the top 10 if the errors are cut out, with the addition of a defender or two we can have a successful second half of the season and hopefully look to the future with hope once more.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 30 bloggers
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Lincoln 27/10/18 by wessex_exile
Firstly, my apologies that this is a bit later than usual – it’s been a pretty hectic week at work, and by the time I got home last night, I was ready for a few beers and not a lot more. As we approach a vital double-header at home for the U’s promotion challenge, and on 12 games unbeaten, we come right up to date with an equally vital home game from last season.
Matches of Yesteryear - Cheltenham v U's 22/2/03 by wessex_exile
The U’s travel to the Globe Arena tomorrow, aiming at the very least to keep the unbeaten run going – though in truth after three somewhat disappointing draws against Exeter, Crawley and Stevenage, surely nothing less than three points is acceptable? Ahead of this trip, the Matches of Yesteryear random number generator has chosen a match which for me has a particularly bitter-sweet poignancy.
Manager interviews: Graham Barrow 1996-1999 by fitzochris
One name in Rochdale’s modern history that seems to be knocked more than most is that of Graham Barrow.
Matches of Yesteryear - Newport v U's 14/1/17 by wessex_exile
Ahead of tomorrow’s match at Stevenage, the Matches of Yesteryear random match selector has chosen one with some familiar faces in, one or two of whom we will see tomorrow, and one we probably won’t.
Matches of Yesteryear - Notts County v U's 21/3/98 by wessex_exile
And so we come to the end of 2019 – halfway through a season that promises much, so it seems appropriate that we dip into the 1997/98 season for this blog. May I take the opportunity to wish you all a very Healthy, Prosperous and most of all Happy New Year, starting of course with three points for the U’s against Crawley tomorrow.
[ Vote here ]