Southampton At Wolverhampton Wanderers The FA Cup Verdict
Thursday, 11th Feb 2021 20:18
Saints put in a great performance at Molyneux to not only end their losing streak, but earn a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and a trip across the New Forest to Bournemouth.
Ralph Hasenhuttl put out pretty much the side that everyone expected him to, with the only real surprise being Stuart Armstrong in the starting line up and Ce Adams dropping to the bench, meaning that Nathan Redmond played alongside Danny Ings up front.
In hindsight Saints played it just right, they rarely let the home side get on top or gave them a sight of goal and going forward we looked sharp, although our finishing was letting us down a little.
We dominated possession and had 18 attempts on goal compared to Wolves 5 and whilst we had almost half of those on target with 8, the home side only registered a single effort that produced a great save from Fraser Forster.
The winning goal as such came on 49 minutes a great ball from Stuart Armstrong played Ings through and he saw his shot hit the keeper, but then his luck changed the ball rebounded off him and into the net the linesman gave offside, but Var showed Ings to be onside.
It could be said that Wolves put out a weakened side, but by the 63rd minute they had brought on 3 of their benched players and with 20 minutes to go they added a fourth.
But it was too little too late as Saints stuck to their task and allowed them that solitary strike on target.
Truth is we looked like the old Saints again, the usual suspects put in their usual solid performances and the stand ins and newby did the job.
In goal Fraser Forster looked the part, he made a decent save and looked solid throughout, coming off his line on several occasions to clear dangerous situation, in truth he deserves to keep his place for the League game on Sunday.
In front of him Mohammed Salisu looked the part, although understandably he had to find the pace of the game, however as it went on he grew into it and seemed to read the game well and made several good blocks and interceptions, late on he tired a little and got a little sloppy, but that could be excused due to this being his first game since July.
Moussa Djenepo had a decent game on the left wing and up front Nathan Redmond was having no luck with his attempts on goal, but he put in a good display and his work rate made up for his lac of finishing.
For the last 10 minutes you thought that Wolves might get back into it, but Saints didn't let them, they dug in and won the ball, drew fouls and held it.
Special mention for Nathan Tella a surprise choice as a late sub, but he harassed the keeper into an error kept his cool and laid the ball back for Armstrong, who had plenty to do, but took his chance well to make it 2-0 as the clock hit 90.
Saints had a penalty decision overruled by VAR but they didn't care they preferred the free kick in the corner as they could run down the clock.
Hopefully this win will restore morale and confidence, especially for Danny Ings who couldn't buy a goal for the past month, he needed one to just go in and tonight it did.
The quarter final draw pits us against Bournemouth and gives us a great chance at making the semi finals, we should not count our chickens, but we start as favourites and with players returning from injury it is a great opportunity to get to Wembley.
Photo: Action Images
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|WestSussexSaint added 20:37 - Feb 11|
Certainly not the best performance you will see by Saints but the result was far more important. Not just because it puts us in the next round but the confidence it will give the team for the league matches to come.
In truth we played a poor Wolves side so difficult to get a read on Salisu but in the main he look led decent and despite a couple of wobbly moments which were down to poor decision making he will be better for the experience.
Forster in goal is must be a serious consideration for the start in the league match. Four clean sheets on the bounce and made a couple of good saves again just when Wolves were getting a foot in the game.
Finally as we have mentioned the officials in the last couple of games for the wrong reasons let’s give credit where it is due. John Moss has his detractors but today had a decent game and largely got everything right. His only mistake was awarding the pen at the when it was a tough call on where the offence took place. We even got a close VAR offside decision and pulled Bournemouth in the draw so maybe our luck has just turned......
|sandywelsh added 20:45 - Feb 11|
It was a good Saints performance with Armstrong the Motm. Mohammed Salisu looked good read the game well and was quick. Like Nick said Fraser Forster looked good in goal and should start on Sunday.
|SaintPaulVW added 21:03 - Feb 11|
2-0 and should/could have been 4-0.
Salisu looks technically very good but clearly needs some game time to get used to the speed of the PL.
Lovely timed runs from Ings and Redmond.
Djenepo started slowly but built and was constantly putting himself about up front.
Big Frase, made more headers than saves. Solid performance, great to see him back.
KWP looked to still be slightly recovering.
Armstrong looked up for it but that final shot just escaped him and then bingo!
Wolves were quick to tackle and our short passing was often disrupted but they lacked any real threat up front. They seemed to spend most of the first half rolling on the pitch.
Bertrand looked in the wars but hopefully nothing to serious.
All in all, just what we needed. Goals, Ings scoring, solid defence, no injuries (touch wood), Salisu blooded, Tella some game time and a goal created, Big Frase looking good, Romeu another professional yellow....roll on Sunday
|wibbersda added 21:04 - Feb 11|
Stewy A MoM for me. Rednond better up front Forster now 1st choice.
|pjt50 added 21:13 - Feb 11|
Thought the same about Moss. Seemed to have a good relationship with the players & easy not to notice him at all. Also a good example of how VAR should work - and not just because all the decisions went our way.
|HythePeer added 21:16 - Feb 11|
Strangely, the FA Cup has become more important than the League, now.
|HythePeer added 21:20 - Feb 11|
Strangely, the FA Cup has become more important than the League, now.
|sidsaint added 21:27 - Feb 11|
Agree with all comments above. I thought Redmond looked happier playing up front, put in a good stint and kept going till the end, pity he didn't find the net. I wonder if Ralph might give him a run up front for the return.
|dirk_doone added 21:47 - Feb 11|
Good summary, Nick.
We knew we already had a good pair of wing-backs in Walker-Peters and Bertrand but It looks like we may have a very good spine to the team for the first time in years:
Forster > Salisu > Ward-Prowse > Ings
Ings has been unlucky not to score recently but that goal bodes well for the rest of the season. He is back scoring goals again. And, of course, Forster keeps on keeping clean sheets. His commanding presence instils confidence in the rest of the team. Top teams, including Liverpool, Arsenal and now Wolves, have found how hardit is to score against him. Salisu's debut was very promising. He looks like he is going to be an important player for us.
|Farlow added 21:54 - Feb 11|
I was impressed with Salisu and what he mmight become.As i often criticise
Ryan Bertrand i must give credit where its due he had a fine game and kept Traore
|davidpeach added 22:19 - Feb 11|
I'm feeling very positive about tonight's performance. Thought Salisu looked accomplished for first game (contrary to patronising comments from BT commentators), Redmond really put himself about, even winning the ball in the air and holding it up! Djnepo getting better and looking more comfortable, could turn out to be a real star. Could go on saying something positive about the whole team (and subs). Very enjoyable evening after a bad run.
|Colburn added 22:45 - Feb 11|
I think we wanted it a bit more than Wolves. Wasn't the silkiest of wins and at times looked like we might be the architects of our own downfall at times with some of our decision making giving the ball away in dangerous areas but a solid performance overall. Salisu good debut, good positional sense and read situations well, the odd error to be expected but very happy with the look of him. Bertrand had a great game tonight, hasn't been my fav recently but he was my motm tonight as much as Armstrong who was the liveliest player on the park. Another impressive sighting of Tella and nice to see KWP back. I also agree with many that Fraser deserves to keep his place for Sunday, the defence seems more organised in the games he has played. 4 clean sheets in 4 games and we could do with another on Sunday. Just one wish..There are odd moments in games when finding row Z makes more sense than sticking overly rigidly to our possession retention and putting ourselves in trouble. Selecting these right moments would help with the nerves and the fingernail losses. Bring on Bournemouth, will be a tough game but a great chance for us!
|A_Saint_in_Stoke added 01:05 - Feb 12|
Sorry hasn't Nathan Redmond mastered the skill of clipping the ball over the advancing keeper after seeing him falling to the ground, also Long - I appalled their work rate and efforts -- BUT it makes me SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!! Bloody frustrating when getting themselves in a fantastic shooting position then they CANNOT put the ball in the onion bag - that is their job - and paid thousands per week to do just that!
|deanosfc8 added 03:56 - Feb 12|
Wolves were poor, the only way we were going to lose that game was ourselves and we did our best to do that at times! Redmond should've made it 0-2 and killed the game but we all knew he would miss that. Lots of positives to take, firstly we came off with a clean sheet secondly Ings scoring and thirdly the long awaited debut of Salisu also avoiding both Manchester clubs in the draw.
Forster must start Sunday.
|davidargyll added 07:57 - Feb 12|
Very like Arsenal in the last round, Wolves just didn’t seem to rate us and thought we’d roll over (Maybe being short of confidence after our recent mauling maybe?) and gonly realised that they need to try a bit in the last quarter.
They are a tough side to break down and we managed it, albeit we took our time, but who cares we won and we won quite nicely.
Danny’s goal was not exactly a thing of beauty but he’s had so much bad luck recently that he deserved a bit of the good stuff.
And Stuart Armstrong is my idea of a real quality player, skilful, great turn of acceleration and knows where the goal is, as he showed last night.
And Tella reminded me of early Che, chasing the ball even though there may not have been much chance of getting it, but it paid off, and he followed that with a great cutback to SA to make the second goal.
Can’t make up my mind about Redmond: has he always had unlocked potential which we saw a glimpse of yesterday? Or flattering to deceive, which arguably he also showed?
Salisu was taken off his feet a couple of times but having been off games for so long and playing at this level for the first time, I’m not surprised, particularly if he had been ill with hepatitis for so long which was the rumour; he looks an interesting talent and will hopefully soon start to justify his purchase price.
But I think my final takeaway was we didn’t seem to get into so much of a muddle up front as we have done in the last few games - all charging down the middle and falling over feet or trying to thread the attack through the eye of a needle - which I think has been a lot behind our lack of goals.
OK it was a cup game but, as I said after Newcastle, I did feel then we had reached the bottom and there were signs of things getting better and so it proved yesterday.
Let’s hope this weekend we don’t do what we did against Arsenal, ie win the cup game and lost the following PL match; I’m actually rather optimistic that, on last night’s showing, we won’t ....
|underweststand added 08:52 - Feb 12|
Many of you (above) covered the right points. Danny Ings - goal poacher extraordinary .
A bit scrappy at times, but everyone DAJFU on the night with Armstrong coming out MoM after making the miss of the season earlier in the game.
Excellent chase back by NathanTella, (only on the pitch 3 minutes) to harass the keeper and then provide the assist for Armstrong to score an excellent goal.
Salisu - a bit unsteady at the start, and took a little time to find the pace of the game, but was superb in second half with several last-ditch tackles. A very good prospect.
Getting B'mouth in the next round , just about the best draw we could have hoped for and when you get to the Semi's-anything can happen. ....
|Consigliere added 09:10 - Feb 12|
Good to read so many positive comments on this thread, I went through the Gruaniad's comments section after the game and was surprised how much criticism Redmond came in for - I thought he had quite a good game and put the Wolves defence under a lot of pressure. Completely agree with praise for Forster, he seems to have got his Mojo back, but for me, the jury is still out on Silisu. I didn't think he was much of an improvement on Stevens and there were a few heart-stopping moments of his own creation. Armstong and Tella should play every game, great to see their eagerness to get after the opposition!
|SanMarco added 09:10 - Feb 12|
I think everyone has covered all the points I was going to make. Now we need to not repeat the second leg vs Arsenal and get at least a point on Sunday.
|KriSaint added 11:52 - Feb 12|
I'd like to emphasize how superior Saints were in the second half and that Salisu won all his headers and only made one mistake with his feet - which was a serious one, unfortunately, but it gave Forster a chance to show that he wants to continue his clean sheets. Great positioning on the line and great save.
I loved how, on at least two occasions, our back line STOOD as it should on freekicks against us, and no less than 5 Wolves players looked offside on the slow motion replay. FIVE!
A lot of practice has been done there, people :-D
A very, very deserved win and I can forgive Armstrong for miss of the season and at least I didn't break anything when Redmond missed the most golden opportunity...
Thnx for good article, Nick. For the record, it was Bertrand, not Armstrong, who made the assist for Ingsys goal.
|Saint60 added 14:40 - Feb 12|
if we get a good result on Sunday, do we think that we have turned a corner ? With JV back from injury, MS having made his long awaited debut, TM eager to get some regular game time, and hopefully ID recovering from his injury, Ralph will have more options from which to choose and thus more competition for places. Also, with SL now on loan, it will give our young forwards more of an opportunity.
|KriSaint added 20:06 - Feb 12|
I think Saints were very superior in the second half, and that Salisu had an ok debut. More game time under his belt, and he will become a great asset, I think.
Very happy for Fraser Forster :-)
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Letters from Wiltshire #34 by wessex_exile
I won’t dwell on Robbie’s latest message to the supporters – we’ve all read it, and we’ve all probably drawn our own conclusions about what it doesn’t say as much as what it does. To me, bottom line, I suspect the clock is now ticking for Steve Ball (at least), turn around this terrible form pretty damn quick, or start clearing out your locker. Regardless of personal opinions on any of the individuals concerned, I would like to think none of us actually wants to see people made redundant in the current climate. But, these are difficult times that require tough decisions. If Steve Ball is up to the job and can turn this around, I’ll be more than happy to support him. If he’s not, he has to go before irreparable harm is done…and we all know what that will look like, we’ve been there before…
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.