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Saints - Restart Re-Cap
Friday, 19th Jun 2020 07:57

It has been over 3 months since Saints last saw action, so here we give a quick overview of what the situation was when we were furloughed and what we need to do now.

It seems like ancient history the last time Saints played a game, so what was the scenario back in March and what do we need to do now, here we take a look.

The truth was back in March we were not in a rung of Golden form, after a great period stretching over Xmas and into the New Year , we had won 5 out of 7 Premier League games, the only blips being a draw at home to Crystal Palace and a home defeat to Wolves.

But it was this defeat that sounded the warning sirens, 2-0 up at half time and cruising we suddenly collapsed at the back conceding 3 goals in 22 minutes, getting caught on the break in a game where we had the bulk of possession and chances.

There then followed a run of 5 Premier League games where we lost 4 winning only one and that against bottom 3 club Aston Villa, one of these was excusable as it was away to Liverpool, but even that saw a second half collapse after we had looked good in the first half.

The other three defeats leading up to the suspension of football all followed the same pattern, we lost them for the same reasons that had been dogging us earlier in the season, firstly we cannot defend when teams break quickly against us, secondly we are disorganised when it comes to defending set pieces including corners and lastly plain individual errors.

The 3-1 loss at West Ham was the very epitome of that, it had all of those issues, but the 2 other home matches also saw us lose due to those reasons and if we had cut out the mistakes then the League table would look a lot different.

So what do Saints need to so when we return tonight, the simple answer is to get back to basics again, we have to accept that we currently do not have players in key areas that have the ability to eradicate those issues, it doesn't matter what combination of central defenders we have, they have all been culpable, some more than others.

We lack a leader, perhaps some of that will change with the appointment of James Ward Prowse who in the last year or so has thrived on being given responsibility by Ralph Hasenhuttl, it certainly wasn't there with Pierre Emile Hojbjerg as captain, getting caught on the break was not just to poor defenders, but a lack of organisation when we have the ball in the final third, we would commit too many players and leave the defence exposed.

The plethora of individual errors was also something that must have made Ralph tear his hair out, time and time again it kept happening and that has to stop, perhaps the break will have helped that, certainly I think the abysmal home form is partly due to certain individuals struggling to play in front of our home crowd, there was a tension created that weighed heavily on them and you could see it, they were scared to make the right decisions , we might just be the only team happy to have an empty stadium.

So the task for Saints is simple, we need to get six points on the board as quickly as possible and take us to that magic 40 points that usually sees a club clear of the relegation zone.

If we can start tonight with a win at Norwich that will take a big weight off our shoulders and that is the quest, to take the pressure off us and give us that breathing space that can allow us to play without fear again.

Until we do that there will be that nagging thought in our heads that we could get dragged into a relegation zone, this is entirely mental for both supporters and indeed the players, ask any other football fan and they will tell you that we are safe, but history tells us never to count our chickens until they are hatched, this is very true given the number of late goals we have conceded over the past few seasons and number of two goal leads we have given away including that aforementioned Wolves game.

We do have the right manager in charge, we have to trust him to get things right, I think he will, but first we have to complete this season and get out of that grey area we currently sit in as quickly as possible.

The overview of the first half of the season is that in midfield and going forward we are potentially a top 10 side, but in defence we are a bottom 3 side.

When we restart those players culpable are not suddenly have turned into World beaters, there will still be errors and poor defending, but we can hopefully reduce the number and like the first half of the season some we will get away with and win games and others we won't.

Photo: Action Images

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halftimeorange added 09:56 - Jun 19
Personally, I think it's hold your breath time. I just hope that Norwich are more nervous about losing than we are. At no time this season have Saints convinced me they will be safe. We might have a decent manager but real talent and organisation is spread thinly throughout the squad. Tonight's fixture is truly a defining point in us securing our EPL place. If we fail, then it's down to other sides to also perform feebly and keep us up. That's the uncomfortable reality - as it has been for the past couple of seasons.

60yearsandcounting added 11:08 - Jun 19
When you have the 2 worst defenders in the league based on errors leading to a goal per minute played - Valery and Badnarek - it doesn't help. Badnarek's record has him the worst central defender in the PL and in the top 5 worst defenders in the top 5 European leagues!

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