Southampton V Shrewsbury Town The Verdict
Tuesday, 19th Jan 2021 22:21
Shrewsbury battled hard and it took a late goal from Saints to make the score look comfortable, but this was a virtual training game for a mixed bag Saints side who only looked in any danger when they gave the ball away themselves.
In truth although most of the pre game talk was about what a weak side Saints would have to put out, truth is that had everyone been fit, I think the only two changes would have been debutants Chauke & Watts on the bench with perhaps Smallbone and Tella instead, possibly Salisu in at the back had he been fit.
Saints strategy was clear from the start, the intensity of Premier League games was taken down a gear and the tactic was pass the ball and make the opposition work, conserve energy and make sure we don't pick up anymore injuries or suspensions.
It worked perfectly well, and after an early shot that Forster saved well, the visitors were restricted to counter attacks which we usually dealt with easily and three occasions when Forster had to be quick off his line to hack clear, two of them were from short back passes.
Things went to plan when Dan N'Lundulu took a chested pass and stroked it into the far corner after only 16 minutes, after that we played the match as if it was a training ground game or pre season friendly.
The display wasn't as free flowing as usual, but that is not surprising given the number of changes made, but the longer the game went on and the more desperate Glenn Hoddle got in the commentary for Shrewsbury to score, the more we started to control the game, the only real second half scare being when Pierre headed across goal when he really should have had a go at goal.
The second took a long time to come, but when it came in the 89th minute it was another peach of a free kick from James Ward Prowse.
All in all Ralph Hasenhuttl will be satisfied with the nights work, he had a couple of debutants show him what they can do, some fringe players like Valery and Vokins confirm their promise and a win in the FA Cup with no further injuries or issues.
Saints had 74% possession, 18 attempts on goal compared to the visitors 6 and 6 of those 18 on target compared to 1 for the Shrews.
A good nights work, the only downside being that the scoreline did not reflect our domination.
We can now march on to the 4th round and take on Arsenal with confidence when hopefully we will have a player or two back from injury.
Photo: Action Images
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|HythePeer added 23:31 - Jan 19|
That showed Ings can go to balance the books if that is needed, and Saints still have enough to be mid table.
|SanMarco added 23:34 - Jan 19|
Job done but we didn't half give the ball away a lot!!
|AmericanSaint added 00:46 - Jan 20|
It was weird watching the game seeing the blend of experienced and novice. I think the only thing this game showed us is that we are thin in so many areas. The game only really looked settled when Adams and Armstrong came on and took control. My biggest concern is at left back as after this game I do not rate Vokins at all. I know some of you will hate to hear this, but I have watched him in the U23 and this was his chance to shine, but didn't in my opinion. He had two good passes the whole game and was always out of position. Three of the quality chances Shews had were on his side. The difference was obvious compared to Valery who had a very good game. Valery would comeback towards the ball to accept it, while Vokins just played a high line and was never in the game. Maybe RH told him to play that line, but as a player you need find ways to get in the game and he sat up high and was never really in the game. No it is time to put the youngsters back on the bench and play the veterans on Saturday against Arsenal. Lets keep moving forward.
|carolinasaint added 04:03 - Jan 20|
Well, it seemed everything went according to plan: a runout for some of the "kids", a rest for our injured and/or overworked starters, a lot of comfortable ball retention, little in the way of threat from the Shrews, and an early goal to make things (mostly) comfortable. No complaints here.
As for the youngsters, my two cents: I agree with (my fellow) AmericanSaint about Vokins, who was quite anonymous. Chaulke looked out of his depth. Valery was prone to the odd mistake but looked threatening going forward. And Caleb Watts looked quite good, exhibiting nice close control at times. I've high hopes for him for many reasons, not the least of which is prospect of the perfect-fitting song (cue Ray Davies...or Paul Weller): "I wish I could be like Caleb Watts!" :)
|erick added 07:48 - Jan 20|
Southampton are short of quality in Lb, Lm, Rm, Cf. If we correct this four positions I believe we have a chance of unsettling the big 'six'. We need atleast two signings in January to cope up with mounting injuries issues. Che missed a very good chance, he needs to be a sub at the moment, that left mid, we haven't any luck all season we need a consistent performer. We need to let Bertrand, long to go.
|davidargyll added 08:00 - Jan 20|
It is funny how we all see the same game differently. I think anonymous is far too strong for Vokins as the four in the back line generally did a pretty good job I thought (JWP was the Fieldmarshall Supremo as ever, Diallo is really beginning to look the part) with one exception. I’ve always given Jack Stephens the benefit of the doubt but last night he was pretty suspect, particularly with some of his appalling back-passing; he just didn’t look as if his mind was on the job.
And Watts I agree was terrific especially one amazing Cruyff turn after about 15 minutes.
Nlundulu is a bit of a bull in a China shop but can be mighty effective, so well done for getting his first goal.
And Valery was starting to look a bit more like the finished article. But am I right in saying he’s left footed? Whenever JWP passed to him - which he did, a lot - he always ran inside and never got through. If only he’d run towards the RHS corner-flag...but maybe if he’s left-footed he couldn’t centre if he did ever get there?!
And that remains my one continuing gripe about the whole Saints system, we always try to charge down the middle (or down the left wing occasionally) never it seems down the right. And guess what, if - like the Shrews managed to do last night - the way is blocked, you never get a meaningful shot on target or at least not one that isn’t easily deflected. Very frustrating, particularly as we seem to have kids - and Theo is also guilty of this - with loads of ability but they always seem to have to try and go through the middle and run into traffic.
Anybody got any thoughts as to why? Is this perhaps the smallest blot in Ralph’s playbook?
|underweststand added 08:42 - Jan 20|
NOT the best example of a slick passing game with dozens of misplaced passes, and we won very few second balls, which proved there was no need to water the pitch at HT.
However, a good outing for Valery and Vokins who didn't look out of place at all, and the bull-dozing style of Dan N'Lundulu showed he was not going to be totally dependent on Shane Long's role in the game, but nevertheless opened his first team goal tally with a well-taken chance - almost out of nowhere.
Can't recall the last match where Saints fielded 4 debutants (?), but with Caleb Watts showing up as the stand-out performer. Chauke took time to find his feet, but showed some good moves as well as getting his first yellow card. Jankewicz had little time to impress, and last minute sub. Finnegan didn't get a kick, but a first team debut looks good on any youngster's CV.
Not a classic Cup match, but made safe in the final minutes with the sort of chance that Ward-Prowse seldom misses. Probably a game we could have done without, but a safe introduction to some new names who will be walking a little bit taller this morning.
Now we have Arsenal twice in 4 days (gulp) and having almost done enough to get all the points at The Emirates in December, we must make sure the Gunners don't sneak a last minute equaliser and ask both sides - is a Cup win more important than 3 Prem. points?
|halftimeorange added 10:50 - Jan 20|
Ralph seems to think we will cope without Ings (I see Spurs are rumoured to be interested) and that might well be the case if JWP would play cutting passes to onrushing forwards instead of preferring sideways and backwards. Although N'Lundulu is still finding his feet (and needs to control his frustration) JWP ignored all of his surging runs and this reminded me of how we didn't use Gabbiadini properly and capitalise on his movement. Of the other youngsters, Caleb Watts was certainly the pick and Jankewitz caught the eye in his seven minutes on the pitch. I also thought Chauke wasn't ready for his step up and Valery wanted too many touches. He is undoubtedly quick and could be coached to usefully play in front of and with KWP. Some criticism has been expressed over Vokins performance but, I don't remember too many attacks down the Shrews right and he seemed more than competent to me. There were a few of the usual Stephens aberrations. Sadly, Jack makes far too many misjudgments and it must be a rare game when our keeper has to rescue more situations created by our own centre back than those fashioned by the opposition. Jack really isn't quite up to our required standard.
|ExiledSupporter added 12:42 - Jan 20|
Like davidargyll I also think it is odd how we all see the same game and performances so differently
So, yes I also thought Stephens was unfocused at key parts of the game and his supposedly good passing wasn't evident...quite the opposite. I thought Bednarek held the defence together despite Jack's hot/cold display.
Aside from the excellent free kick at the end, the more I watched JWP the more I fell back into wondering what was the point of his selection which I had been troubled about two years back, but not recently. Last night we were back to passing sideways and backwards and rarely taking the ball forwards in the opposition's half. For most of the game we were very unambitious and that wasn't good enough while we only led by a single goal.
By comparison I thought that it was very telling how much Armstrong changed the whole momentum of the game when he came on and Adams running off the ball helped with this (although yet again his ability to miss an easy opportunity to smash the ball in from c 2 yds (because he wanted another touch) rather reinforces my view that despite many qualities being free scoring is not his best attribute
Despite trying hard I thought Valery looked a long way from seriously challenging KWP; Vokins performance was not all that memorable and Shane Long was pretty abject, certainly looked as though he not only hadn't scored for a year but also as tho' he hadn't played for 12 mths!
Yes, it's good to see the academy players get a start and N'lundulu both looked promising but inexperienced, Chauke struggled somewhat.
Finally yet again still no Salisu, isn't it time we were given some idea as to why we bought a player thought to be such a talent that we paid plenty of cash for him and the prospect of seeing him play endlessly diminishes. This tie would have been ideal exposure for him but yet again he is 'injured', such frailty is astonishing. Perhaps he will be a serious squad member by next September?
Okay so the match was relatively easy and the team was loaded with inexperienced players, but where was there any leadership on the pitch, only Foster (for coming off his line so swiftly when sold short by Stephens), Bednarek and later Armstrong deserved credit on the night
|Nomaesaints added 12:46 - Jan 20|
A lot of criticism for Longs performance last night. It's not easy when you are only getting minutes in previous games. His header at our own post took the ball of the head off the Shrewsbury attacker who looked destined to score. If they had scored would they have gone on to win? A chance set up by Long for Stephens straight in front of the goal was fluffed. I see very little criticism of the newbies some looked out of their depth.
|sandywelsh added 17:15 - Jan 20|
Like others have said once again Stephens has had a bad game. He gave the ball away several times in dangerous positions and against a better team they would have scored. I am not a great fan of Valery and he did little last night to change that. I think Diallo is getting better with each game and Watts looks like he could turn into a good player. I also thought we looked a lot more in control when Adams and Armstrong came on.
|Peterx added 09:20 - Jan 22|
I think I must have watched a different game to many of the rest of you. It was a Saturday afternoon stroll which we never looked like losing, blooded some promising youngsters especially Watts and we were in control from the start.
It was all about getting the W, resting some of our starters and blooding some youngsters.
As for Long he ran hard, used his head well and put Shrewsbury into full on defensive mode where they hardly thought about attacking.
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