Saints At Leicester City The Verdict
Sunday, 12th Jan 2020 10:05
This was a win not about revenge, but about regaining our pride and showing the World that the game back in October was a freak result and we did that with some style.
A little under 3 months ago Saints suffered their worst ever defeat at home to Leicester City, it was a game where there was little to be taken out of it aside from the fact that surely the next game had to be be better.
That wasn't a given though and Ralph Hasenhuttl had to work hard to strip things down to the bone and rebuild his sides confidence, this game was the valediction of that and indeed the work he had done over the past months.
A year ago Saints arrived at the King Power and won 2-1, they did so however with their backs to the wall partly due to the sending off of Yan Valery and partly because we were a struggling side.
This year it was different, we looked a good side, we had the bulk of the chances and we deserved the points and indeed we should have won by more,
In the preview I spoke of the first job should be to restore our pride and we did that in spades, from the very start we looked a side with confidence, with resolution and a determination to get a job done, we didn't need to restore our pride, we have already done that several weeks ago, what we actually needed to do was prove it to the World.
From the very start we set to our task and should have opened the scoring, but it was the home side who caught us in a rare lack of concentration taking a quick free kick that put Vardy through to cross for Praet to fire home at the far post.
We could easily have folded here and it was not lost on some that this was virtually the same minute that the chaos started back at St Mary's, bu this time we kept our focus and equalised 5 minutes later albeit with a slice of luck Stuart Armstrong's shot taking a wicked deflection.
From then on Saints controlled the game although it was VAR who would perhaps have the biggest say, it has many critics, but that should not deflect that overall it means that 99% of the time it makes sure that the right decision is reached, both sides had key moments with VAR and goals chalked out, but no one can argue that they lost because of a bad decision missed by the ref, VAR needs fine tuning but ultimately it evens up the playing field.
This was very much another team performance by Saints, perhaps Danny Ings was the ultimate man of the match, not only for his goal but his all round play, but he was only a 1/10th of a point ahead of every other player who played a part.
His winning goal on 81 minutes was largely due to Che Adams who had only been on the pitch 3 minutes, Adams got the ball shrugged off a challenge, played a neat 1-2 and then slid the ball right into Ing's path and he did the rest to give Saints all three points.
We now have something to build on, we ended the day 8 points clear of relegation although that gap will lessen slightly after the Bournemouth V Watford fixture.
As I have always maintained even in the dark days, we are a good side with a poor defence, however in recent weeks the manager has inspired that defence to play out of it's skin, we still need a central defender, but the reality is that although both Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek have done really well and can play a big part in the future of the club, there is no back up or competition for them and if one should get injured or suspended then we could be in trouble.
But they both have played their part and deserve the plaudits and have more than most done their bit and I applaud them both for it especially Jack Stephens who looks a far better player than he has ever shown in the past and that is the type of character and spirit that we need.
It is interesting to note that if we had just held on at Man City, Newcastle and Arsenal, three away games where we handed them soft goals in the final couple of minutes then this morning we would have 32 points and would be level with Sheffield United in 6th.
That shows two things, firstly we are a better side than many, some our own fans claimed and secondly we can still challenge for a top 10 place and given where we have come from earlier in the season that is a surprising boost for the rest of the season.
But we should temper that with caution, we first have to secure Premier League safety and then we can plan for the future.
But at Leicester we took a big step forward in all directions, I said a couple of games ago that our target to stay up was a point a game, this win means that we perhaps need only three more to put us on the cusp of safety, we have put a gap between us and the rest, we now need to make inroads on the teams above us.
The players believe, it now needs some of those who lost their faith to find it again and fill St Mary's and help us move forwards not just this season but next and beyond.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has proved that throwing money at a football team is not always the answer, it is an easy option, but if you take the hard road and knuckle down and work hard you can achieve just as much.
Photo: Action Images
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|davidargyll added 10:18 - Jan 12|
I will leave most of the plaudits to everyone else.
But I do want to mention two players.
Firstly, McCarthy who did an AMAZING job and without a doubt gave us at least two of the three points. Some if it all his saves were too top clas.
And Che. I used to think that he was useless. But yesterday that sweet through pass to Danny was one of the best you’ll ever see. And what’s more he did it without looking up, he just knew Danny would be there to pick it up and promptly slot it home. Now that really was class. Che don’t you dare even think about Leeds, you’re definitely one of us now...!
|IanRC added 10:40 - Jan 12|
Terrific result, Leicester not so good without dodgy sendings off. Ok they had some excuses but a great performance throughout our team. Still think the weight of captaincy weighs heavy on Hojbergs shoulders but some signs he is returning to his best. I hold my hands up about Ings. After his late misses against Liverpool and MUFC I had my doubts but so pleased to be wrong, a revelation. Just hope Spurs et al don’t turn his head. I hope those call for Ralph’s head and saying how poor the squad is can admit how wrong they were too.
On a separate matter I hope a way can be found to give Josh Sims some time. I think he is a great prospect and sad to see him continually loaned out.
|halftimeorange added 10:42 - Jan 12|
Taking a different perspective, this season's EPL is rather like a game of Snakes & Ladders - currently we are wriggling ourselves up to midway safety whilst the Cherries have slid into relegation territory. This shows that nothing is guaranteed. No-one can deny that Eddie Howe has done a good job at Bournemouth and, despite some earlier misgivings, Ralph has our players on board and believing in the system he requires them to play but, Saints have few injuries whereas Howe must be worried sick as he has even fewer resources to call on. As the lead article has pointed out, we ourselves don't have enough strength in depth in terms of quality. A central defender is a must but, there is also no realistic goalscoring back-up if Danny Ings is injured or, like Callum Wilson becomes injured and/or loses his form. The form of Stuart Armstrong and Jack Stephens is another factor in our resurging performances plus overall improving fitness recently - a contributing element to our previous habit of leaking late goals. This is all very uplifting for us fans and a couple of shrewd signings now would surely seal our place in football's elite league next season. Yesterday's performance was the best, in my opinion, by a Saints team since the heady days of Lambert and Lallana. I'm actually quite looking forward to Wolves.
|warrens76 added 11:07 - Jan 12|
A shocking start to the season now a welcome purple patch what is needed is for the next 5 games to prove the last 5 games are the norm not a blip.
|LordDZLucan added 11:07 - Jan 12|
Pleased to see you're now talking about signing a central defender to provide backup and competition to the established pair rather than to replace them!
|wibbersda added 11:30 - Jan 12|
Played like absolute Warriors. The 9-0 is now academic because ultimately the only thing that matters is 3 points, and on that score, the honors for this season are even. As for them playing the St.Mary's match on the stadium screens, it was totally disrespectful and I could not be happier that it backfired on them, scumbags. If we carry on with this form we could push for Top 6 and that would be an amazing turnaround. COYR.
|legod7 added 12:49 - Jan 12|
0I've said this before and I'll say it again. Ralph had a whole preseason to work on the formation he was going to use. He always said he preferred 4-2-2-2 .So why oh why did he persist with 3/5 at the back and us in the bottom 3 before he changed it ?
|landsdownsaint added 14:17 - Jan 12|
I really can’t believe this turnaround & all credit goes to RH, we still got problems at the back but to come from where they were is amazing , I genuinly thought we had no chance of avoiding relegation & now I’m think top 6? I should stay out of commenting on football coz I realise I no f all
|Colburn added 15:23 - Jan 12|
Fantastic result, incredible performance by everyone and what an impact Che Adams made, the back heel pass to Redmond 2 mins after our winner was sublime too.
I see a midfield which has become a pride of lions in recent weeks, giving our back 4 so much better protection. I see this as pivotal as the development of Jack and Jan when assessing the upturn in performance and results, if not more. Particularly one man.. I'm very happy to admit I was wrong about JWP who I felt wasn't doing nearly enough to warrant his place and couldn't see why he was playing, now hes playing like he deserves another call up to the national team, with his hunger and aggression returning stronger than ever. Fair play to him.
We defend from the front and this has been excellent of late. So it is a team effort to prevent goals from going in, not just about the centre backs, although I do agree with you Nick (shock, lol) that we need more cover for Jack and Jan.
Finally, my hat goes off to Cedric who has been a revelation the last couple of months and now looks strong enough to play in a back 4, enabling us to revert to the 4-2-2-2. Before this period, neither Valery nor Cedric appeared to be effective in a back 4, hence the switch which was even worse.
Well done Ralph and the boys, dont stop now. Exciting times again! Kudos to Danny Murphy who predicted we'd win 2-1.
Up The Saints!
|Colburn added 15:29 - Jan 12|
* apologies, I meant the switch to back 5 was worse.
|ItchenNorth added 15:47 - Jan 12|
It always frustrates me how fans just want to write players off after virtually no time to adjust to either a move or to a step up in level, especially strikers. Don'write Che off. He just needs game time and Premier League experience.. Personally I've seen a good player and have done since say one. Yesterday hopefully changed a few people's minds as well. It wasn't just the final pass to Ings, but the link play before that as well, which opened up the Foxes midfield. It was a great counter attacking move and goal.
A massive win though. The team is looking good. We can't take our foot off the gas though, as the mid table is so close. Up The Saints !
|Consigliere added 16:53 - Jan 12|
In over 40 years of watching the Saints I don't think I have seen a swifter or more dramatic turnaround in our fortunes. Like many others I was resigned to a spell in the championship after the game that shall not be mentioned unless there was a root and branch change of personnel at the club but I was wrong and am pleased to have been wrong. Defending from the front as Colburn rightly says is the key difference but that by itself is not enough, the defence has tightened up and the midfield has become the engine-room of the team it should be.
First on MOTD too, that doesn't happen often!
|underweststand added 17:34 - Jan 12|
Best game of the season ? An away win against the second-best team in the Best League in the World ? .and few people can say it wasn't deserved. Won't pick out any individuals as I thought everyone put in a shift and DAJFU on the day.
Whatever bad vibes were left after the "October massacre" were put to bed yesterday, but why oh why.. can't we play like that at St.Mary's ?
I share Ralph's quote that VAR is fair to everyone. YES - we deserved the penalty for the foul on Shane Long , but without VAR we'd have certainly lost that game yesterday. In the " supposed 2-2 equaliser" there were two Leicester players in offside positions, and yet the "lino" was right on the spot but didn't flag them. I don't buy the arguement about the time delay ..if a penalty is given, or a player is seriously injured ...the delay even be longer. Offside is offisde and handball is exactly that ..I've spent decades watching Sky Sports replays proving officials wrong in key suitations and I'd prefer a FAIR result ..it brings " the Spurs and United's" down to the same level as the rest of us.
|SaintPaulVW added 17:39 - Jan 12|
Everyone did their job and gave their full effort. Ings was unlucky not to get a hat trick.
We made Leicester's defence look slow.
It was a great performance and a very enjoyable game to watch.
They can stick their 9 goal highlights compilation where the sun don't shine.
|bstokesaint added 19:46 - Jan 12|
Like others I am struggling to see where this resurgence has come from, other than a manager who has stopped over coaching and stuck with consistent team selections. I like Ralph the person and I liked Ralph the manager, and then I didn’t and now he’s won me back over again. I hope he realises how lucky he is because in this day and age it’s very rare to escape a sacking after just a defeat of that magnitude, let alone the run preceding it. That should have been the icing on the cake. But it wasn’t, whether that was penny pinching luck or just good foresight who knows, but it’s worked out well for us and the players look happy again and are working their socks off. Ings is just incredible. I’d still like to see us bolster the squad though. We’re playing well, but we’re paper thin cover wise in some positions. And there’s no room for complacency.
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