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Saints V Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
Sunday, 26th Jan 2020 10:01

Two teams who wanted to win the game made for a pulsating game of football in which Saints managed to salvage a draw in the dying minutes.

The answer as to whether Ralph Hasenhuttl was taking the cup seriously came in the team line up, aside from giving Angus Gunn a game in goal the outfield 10 were just about as strong as the Austrian could put out given injuries.

It was a game with action at both ends and once again VAR played a controversial part rightly denying Spurs a goal in the first half when strangely the linesman couldn't spot the Spurs man four yards behind the last Saints player.

It also got it right for Spurs actual goal, Son was neither offside nor did he foul Danso, something that VAR had to check for both offences, but it got it right and that is what mattered.

Sadly this was a goal that again we should have defended better, Spurs broke from deep and carried the ball past a couple of tackles that really should have stopped them, they had our defence in disarray and once again chasing the ball and leaving men unmarked, this time Son who strode through and placed a shot into the far corner.

On the plus point, Saints did not lose heart and came back with confidence and a desire to win.

What was got wrong though was Saints should have had a penalty when Danny Ings wriggled through and replays showed that a Spurs defender clearly moved his hand towards the ball to handle, VAR did not even look at it and should have.

Ings was at the heart of all Saints play, he had a great chance in the first half when a quick free kick saw him chest the ball past Lloris and hook it towards goal only to be denied by a goal line clearance, he also flicked across the goal only inches from the post and had a free header an inch wide when he should really have scored.

He made amends though 3 minutes from time when a great through from Hojbjerg put him through on the left and he laid the ball back for Boufal to sweep home for the equaliser.

Overall a draw was probably fair, but perhaps Saints can consider themselves unlucky as they were the better side in the final half hour and created several good chances, you felt if one had gone in a little earlier than the 87th minute Saints might have gone on to win it.

Ironically we will fancy our chances more away from home than we would at St Mary's, the Spurs goal like the Wolves goals were on the counter attack and that is something we still haven't quite learn't to handle, when sides break quickly at us from deep toooften we are disorganised and fail to pick up players.

Away from home we play deeper and that does not allow sides to catch us on the break so often and suits us as we have players who can break fast ourselves, so the old FA Cup adage is twisted a little bit for us, we have got a draw and now we can get them at their place and finish the job.

We can go there with confidence that these days we are a decent side, we just need to stay a lucky side as we are still not all we should be in certain situations defensively.

Photo: Action Images

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WestSussexSaint added 10:22 - Jan 26
I agree with Nick’s assessment that a draw was a fair result. Both sides looked dangerous going forwards and a bit shaky at the back. The only real surprise was that each team only managed one goal.

Aside from that the officiating was generally poor, from the linesman ignoring Son when clearly offside, the ref being inconsistent with which fouls he was blowing for and which to let go, to VAR missing a clear handball and taking forever to rule on the spurs goal.

Unlike many jumping on the anti VAR bandwagon, especially in the media who are blaming VAR for every rule that they dislike in the game,I actually think VAR has benefitted many games but at yesterday’s match it was applied really poorly. Not to even review the handball when there were clear appeals by the players and it even looked a reasonable shout in the stands is ridiculous. It is there for clear errors by the on field officials and it dropped the ball on that one.

wibbersda added 10:30 - Jan 26
Danso...what a nightmare. Not happy at Right Back so decides to keep drifting to his preferred postion in the Center. He cause the whole defence to be pulled out of position and I'm suprised Spurs didn't score more. As for the their goal I feel McCarthy would have saved it. I think we need to value Cedric more and get him back in asap.

saintmark1976 added 10:38 - Jan 26
A very enjoyable cup tie with the correct result at the end.

Not sure what to make of playing Danso at full back who looked very disconsolate as he trudged back to the tunnel after being substituted. Was it reasonable to play him up against Son who is a quality top class forward or was there simply no alternative?

LordDZLucan added 10:54 - Jan 26
Agree with the comments on Danso. His positional sense as a right back was awful yesterday from the off. It was inevitable that the break that led to the goal was going to come down his channel. But if Ralph truly believes that he has what it takes to be a right back then hopefully that was a good learning experience for him and will pay dividends in the future. After all you only learn by your mistakes!

SanMarco added 10:57 - Jan 26
JWP is a better RB than Danso. Good game, fair result and we certainly do have at least as good a chance in the second game as in the first. Nice to see the cup being taken seriously.

davidargyll added 11:02 - Jan 26
Now we know why Ralph has not been playing poor old Danso. It was noticeable how passes out of the back 4 always went to the LHS rather than to him. He just looked like a slow, lumbering, waste of space who clearly has no confidence, precious little ability and painful to watch. I was amazed he was still on the pitch after half time. What did we pay for him? HOW MUCH? They really saw us coming didn’t they?!. We need to ship him out and sharpish! How about offering him to Leicester?!
As for the game I think 4-4 should have been the right score! Thank Christ Son wasn’t quite up to his best as his battle(!) vs Danso was a bit one-sided to put it politely.
As for individuals Obafemi gets better and better by the match; Boufal looked great when he wasn’t falling over his feet; Nathan Redmond is clearly playing like a man possessed; and Danny Ings proved he’s mortal after all.
My only concern was for Stuart Armstrong - played brilliantly as ever - who looked worrying like he’d done his Achilles. Hope I’m wrong of course but pleasingly the subs collectively were up to the challenge.
Finally I do love the Spurs fans singing at the top of their voices “we’re going to win the League”- what a complete load of ...(fill in with a suitable noun of your choice )...

ericofarabia added 11:44 - Jan 26
Danso is only on loan and no added 'and have to purchase clause' tagged on. Pity we didn't do this with Hoedt and Vestergaard!! Feel sorry for him as he has yet to play a game in his natural CB position and in general comes up against a fast skilful wide player, with especially earlier in the season little support from who ever was playing in front of him.

underweststand added 11:46 - Jan 26
Good to see that those(above) were watching the same game that I was. The type of fast and furious game we associate with Cup matches between two footballing sides, but resulted in yet another fixture that no-one, (except the clubs' treasurers) want to see.

Obafemi is improving all the time, although perhaps not yet for 90+ mins. at that pace.
Danso, (supposedly a CB and clearly out of position) looked unhappy at RB ..
(as did Maya Yoshida whenever he was given that task) and it won't do anything to improve his reputation until we actually see him playing at CB against good opposition.
Worrying about Stuart Armstrong's injury - especially with Liverpool next week.

However, most concerned about the lack of VAR in critical situations. It's there to help refs. and the ref. missed the handball, but surely the mass appeal from Saints players told another story about the obvious handball that even I saw (on TV) .
I've been an advocate of VAR for years, and accept that you win / lose some BUT at least it gives "dubious incident" a fair analysis, but to ignore a call like that doesn't enhance the reputations of VAR ref's when they are in control of a system can analyse things to the "nth degree" and yet ignore it. ¨
There was a not-disimilar incident in the earlier Spurs League game, which didn't go our way. Does the " Big Club bias" exist even with VAR refs, and not just those on the pitch?


aceofthebase added 11:50 - Jan 26
I don't suppose Danso was that keen to play 'out of position' once again' against an in form Son. RH did not have much choice tho, Danso or JWP, and I think JWP is better in the thick of it. Danso may never be good enough but it's early days so give him a chance. Give all our non achievers a chance you never know what they will be like in a year or even next match. A bit like the rubbish team we had a month or so ago who are now top ten material or better

davidargyll added 13:15 - Jan 26
Phew re Danso - only on loan - and I may be being naive but I don't agree about him being better at CB than at RB; if you have the talent you can do either, OK maybe one a bit better than the other but still; had he been in the thick of it yesterday I reckon we'd have been 3 or 4 down before you could say knife. Sorry but if your team mates won't pass the ball to you, that suggests they do not think you are very good, end of.
(That said, take what I say with a large pinch of the white stuff - I was v anti-Che until a couple of weeks ago, so what do I know...?)

SaintPaulVW added 15:39 - Jan 26
Danso looks like what he is a defensive midfielder/ CB. He certainly doesn't look like a right back. I was having a total meltdown when he kept on leaving Son of all players unmarked and drifting across to the middle. I accept that Ralph may have had to play him given Valery's mystery long term illness.

Good game, really enjoyed it. PEH was brilliant. Ralph made the right subs. Shame DI couldn't quite hit the target. I suppose 'Boufy' is here to stay now. A Redmond/Boufy tag team could cause a lot of problems in different ways and both stay fresh.

Obafemi looks to have a lot to learn, kept sitting too deep. Shane in a similar role pulls the defenders out of shape and gives an outlet for balls to be played into space.


To give him his due he did some great blocks in the middle and

vanmans added 16:02 - Jan 26
I think Danso and Obafemi both looked lost yesterday. Lets hope Shane Long is not out injured for to long, if Shane was playing yesterday we would have won. We need to get a new RB in this week.

ItchenNorth added 17:34 - Jan 26
The club must sort out the positioning of the away end for next season, to protect our vocal support in our home ends (Northam Stand and Itchen North). It's a massive disadvantage to us as it currently stands and fragments the atmosphere, especially for in big cup games like these.
Move the away end to the Kingsland North and reserve the home end support to across the Northam and into the Itchen North.

SanMarco added 19:00 - Jan 26
Yes Itchen - its ludicrous that the away support section has not been moved yet.

LoisDeem added 10:00 - Jan 27
Two good teams going for it -Spurs are getting better -but the whole game nearly wrecked by VAR and an apparently sleepy official. This stands for Video ASSISTED Referee -but there's a trend for them to be totally undermined, apathetic, slovenly or a combination of all three.
The way this is panning out, this is totally distorting and ruining our national game.
(I'm not a fan)
As far as the old chestnut away fan location, other than big FA Cup matches, where I believe we're still obliged to offer up to 25% allocation, so it should not be an issue, and it is up to us to support the Saints, which I believe more did on Saturday. We do need to add to our selection of songs, though it was nice to see those NLY joining in with our standard OWTSGMI.
(I'm a fan)

IanRC added 11:13 - Jan 27
It's not often I disagree with you Nick would I do on this occasion. I agree Son did not foul Danso in the build up to his goal but Alli certainly took him out and prevented him getting across to try to block Son's shot.

On the var handball incident, I agree it was scandalous it was not reviewed but I suspect Danny Ings handballed it as well earlier in the move.

Really hope we have Shane Long and Stuart Armstrong fit for the Liverpool game, although I thought the substitutes did well too. Before really is the most frustrating player moments of brilliance mixed in with a lot of the mediocre.

IanRC added 11:15 - Jan 27
Boufal RT before, flippin auto correct

Billeewithers added 17:44 - Jan 27
Give Danso a break .... never properly played in his best position, new to the club and the league. He looks a strong option and is not afraid to take responsibility.
I thought Deli Ali deliberately ran into him and took him out which gave just the space for spurs to score ..... very cynical and abooking .... no goal in my book.
Penalty for Saints later .... clear hand to ball.
So not a fair result.
But this new side never give up and we’re rewarded.

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