Southampton At Leeds United The Verdict
Wednesday, 24th Feb 2021 09:43
Saints went to Leeds with high hopes of a first win in 8 games, but ultimately they were overrun late on by a Leeds United side who pour caution to the wind and attack in droves and defend with gusto.
There can be no real excuses for this defeat, no contentious VAR calls it was down to our own ability to stay in shape and deal with the Leeds United way of playing football and that is breaking from deep and hitting you hard and fast.
The shock of the day was the changes to the starting line up by Ralph Hasenhuttl, out went Danny Ings, Minamino & Djenepo and in came Adams, Armstrong & surprisingly Nathan Tella for his debut.
But defeat cannot be blamed on a weak side, the starting XI were the better side in the first half and could have and really should have taken the lead, but after Marcelo Bielsa tweaked his side the warning signs were there for Saints.
The real drama of the game came just before the break, firstly the lively Tella on his full debut went down in the area and Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, VAR of course looked at it and when the replays were shown there probably wasn't a Saints fan who would have given the penalty, I stop short at saying Tella dived, but he seemed to clip his own heels after touching his opponents leg.
So no one could argue about that incident, but there was a contentious decision, Saints won a free kick, but referee Marriner's mind seemed to be elsewhere as he ambled away from the position, Saints assuming that they could take the free kick and did so, finding Che Adams in space who fired home, but Marriner who had blown almost simultaneously as Saints took the free kick, blew again just as the ball reached Adams and insisted that the kick be re taken as he hadn't blown the whistle.
The ruling was a moot point, not every free kick needs the whistle to be blown and Marriner was making no effort to blow his, so it was a reasonable assumption that we could take it quickly, this didn't cost us the game, but it didn't help.
The half ended with Saints having had much the better of the play and the chances on what was a slippery pitch which in truth was dangerous with players slipping over all the time, often when they were no where near the ball.
Saints started well after the break and could have been a goal up in the first minute after the restart, however the shot was straight at the keeper and the ball was sent long to find Bamford on his own on the half way line, he still had a lot to do but despite the best efforts of Bednarek & Vestergaard he still did it and seconds after potentially going a goal up we were a goal down.
It was now end to end stuff and the game was in a pattern, Saints attacked and then Leeds counter attacked, for the next 30 minutes it could have gone either way, although it was Leeds who created the best chances and it was a combination of Alex McCarthy & poor finishing that meant as the last 10 minutes loomed it was still 1-0.
But it was Leeds who would get the second and decisive goal to put the game to bed, Bielsa had switched their fastest player Raphina from the right to the left to take on Bednarek at right back and we just couldn't deal with his pace, we should have done something to counter this, even switch Ryan Bertrand to right back or at least provided Bednarek with cover, he battled gamely, but it was a race he couldn't win.
As the game reached it's final stages Saints still kept going forward even after losing Romeu to an ankle injury sustained when the pitch gave way on him, but we were prone to the counter and Leeds had targeted our full backs.
Indeed on one counter attack, the home side looked certain to double their lead, but Oriol Romeu kept up the chase in what looked a lost cause and then made perhaps the best tackle I have seen in any game Saints or otherwise to stop a certain goal.
On 78 minutes we were caught on the break again and this time neither the keeper or Leeds themselves missing could stop a goal.
Six minutes later and a free kick saw Leeds get a 3-0 scoreline that both flattered them, and was a testament to their counter attacking game.
No excuses for this game, Nathan Tella aside, the starting XI and all three subs were experienced players, this was not a squad having to play teenagers, we should really have done better.
Certainly if Kyle Walker Peters had been in the side we would have coped better, but it was our own indiscipline that cost us this one, we played into Leeds hands, we tried to play them at their own game, we pushed people forward, but we didn't leave anyone covering the central defenders and we left them exposed for pace.
We can roll out all the stats to show we more than matched Leeds in every area, but truth is we let them draw us into playing the game on their terms and not ours.
In many respects this was the most disappointing game of the last 8 in the Premier League, we had virtually a full side to pick from and we failed,
Photo: Action Images
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|ElijahK added 09:51 - Feb 24|
You know what, this is ridiculous! 1 win in 13 games and 1 point in our last 8 games just takes the piss! Yeah you know it doesn’t help with having shit officials and VAR always giving the incorrect decisions when for us but always gives the correct ones against us (the pen today!) as yeah we’d of certainly gotten more points, and yeah we needed more players and such with our injury crisis which is down to a shit owner and bad luck whether I for shit pitches or injuries! But in the end 1 POINT! Out of 8 games or just 1 win in 13 games just takes the piss! I mean if it wasn’t for our amazing start we’d be in Fulhams position and the only real difference between either of our seasons currently is that we’re still in the FA cup.
I mean he’s set some good records, yeah, but he’s also set loads of shit ones too! Like us loosing 9-0 AGAIN! Along with being the first manager to loose 6 in a row with us! We just never seen to have a plan B and after this season we’re almost certain to loose the likes of Ings and even now maybe the likes of Prowse, Peters and Vestergaard! I mean I’ve really likes him as a manager for both his personality and tactics and has certainly been our best since Koeman, but at the same time it’s not just entertainment and personality that decides a result of a football game...
For me it’s pretty simple, if we don’t get 4 points out of our next 3 games (Everton, Sheffield United and Man City, all of which are away) then we do need to look at alternatives! I mean unless we beat Everton on Monday, if we loose to Sheffield United then Ralph just has to go! As in the end this is now just ridiculous and has to change! So unless we can beat Sheffield United and really a draw against Everton too then we need to start taking things seriously!
|davidargyll added 10:10 - Feb 24|
After last night I was so much more down about Saints than I was after the Man U game and Souness summed it up nicely on Sky, namely that we are a really good watch, but let ourselves down at the crucial moments in defence, whilst incapable of putting the ball in the net at the other end, which in his view is a sure fire recipe for not surviving in the PL.
Yes, we can blame the pitch, VAR, bad luck, the referee, dodgy goalie, possible diving for the result, but, despite dominating the midfield for most of the match, let’s be honest, we were absolutely thrashed by a no more than competent Leeds team and I haven’t been more depressed about out plight for many a month. And now we have seen that we can only play in a “non-high-press way” (like we did against Chelsea) if we are forced on the defensive from the off. In other words, if we go into overdrive from the start, we will eventually get picked off, because we run out of puff, lose shape, and by and large cannot play against a long ball over the top.
For the record, the only goal I was really hacked off about, and where we were criminally negligent in the build-up to it, was the second one: for some reason Bertrand ran with the Leeds player for 20 or 30 yards down the right wing then inexplicably suddenly peeled off toward a the centre and gave him free rein to cross and for them to score. Why? Completely bizarre, because at worst he should have tried to tackle him, but to run away and do nothing was absolutely unforgivable and smacks of the “giving-up” mentality that Ralph talked about after the match.
So where do we go now? Last night’s plan of picking “a side that is all about grafting in the first half and then having options off the bench for a strong second half” smacked of panic and was, to be charitable, somewhat unsuccessful. I reckon we need at least three points from the next three (away) games, or one at worst, because otherwise we will be in a real mess (as if we weren’t already!). So I say Boll*cks to the FACup, staying in the PL is 100 times more important and let’s play with that in mind.
To state the bleedin’ obvious, two problems, we cannot defend and we cannot score. And if OR is likely sidelined for a while and parking the bus is not the Southampton Way, it will be even tougher, so let’s at least try and not get sucked in too high up the pitch when we go on the offensive.
And so far as the other end is concerned, I recall several earlier posts on TUI along the lines of, “where would we be if we didn’t have Danny Ings or he gets injured?” Well now we know. He used to be the talisman of the team but seems to have completely lost his mojo since he got his leg. Has he gone a bit soft? Or nervous about his injury flaring up again? Or not playing in a system in which he feels comfortable? Or really saving himself for the transfer list? Or maybe all four?
The more I think about it I feel sure that he is really where all our problems stem from: fix Danny and you fix the team, so Ralph has to sit him down and tell him that he has a real responsibility to lead us out of this slump by example, because, if he doesn’t, sure as hell no one else is going to...
|HythePeer added 10:22 - Feb 24|
The front players run around fall over and shoot when there's somebody stood in front of them yet the manager picks them every week. Ings doesn't so he's not playing, Tella did well so he's taken off. Right backs need to be fast these days so Bednarek gets the nod! All replacements for the injured right back are playing for someone else. Backs have to go up front, forwards are expected to defend and everyone has to run around uselessly until they are injured. Backs have to bunch up where the ball is leaving the space in front of goal empty cos no one ever scores from there! JWP is allowed to wander up front only getting back in time to see the goal being scored from where he is meant to be standing. The goalie has been told to play out from the back even if player that is marked. And half the players are facing the wrong way and if they get the ball pass it back to the same player especially if they see a player in front of them.
Tella did well but he's young, he'll learn.
Romeu did the best tackle I have ever seen.
Perhaps Nick can write another mid week article on how good this manager is cos I've forgotten. And being so good with the stats, perhaps he could highlight what other records are there to be broken?
|saintmark1976 added 10:29 - Feb 24|
Credit where credit is due Nick in that this time you have made a sensible report on yet another shambolic display. I fully expected one of your support the Owners/Manager/Players “ it will be all right on the night “efforts.
If nothing else it’s now plain to see to even the most strident members of the Cult of Saint Ralph that it’s finally over. To me he is a decent man totally lacking in the tactical ability to coach and the man management ability necessary to be in charge of a Premiership football club.Further, I suspect that the players have reluctantly reached the same conclusion.In short, I suspect that he has “lost the dressing room”, witness his post match interview when he admitted that the players gave up.
|halftimeorange added 10:59 - Feb 24|
The second half was a shambles and I'm afraid that Ralph doesn't seem to be able to turn the tide this time. Our results indicate that we are a really poor side whereas we all know that we do have some talented players but, when the opposition change tactics our coaches have no answers. Why Tella was taken off is beyond me, he was by far our most dangerous attacker in the first half and showed no signs of running out of steam. To leave Bednarek playing out of position with Minamino in front of him was a worse than poor decision. As for the referee well, we know he's unpredictable and loses concentration from previous experience. If we had been Man U or Liverpool I doubt he'd have disallowed that goal. We've all seen quick free kicks permitted and I felt for Che Adams, he is a really unlucky player. I can certainly see us being drawn into a relegation battle and it will be a brave supporter who thinks we have the nous to get out of it. It wouldn't surprise me if Ralph is gone in the next couple of weeks.
|felly1 added 11:07 - Feb 24|
An awful second half performance..yet again. Once the first goal went in I went and cleaned the kitchen because you just know there is no way we are coming back in the game.
With Fulham fighting hard and showing real team spirit and with us in freefall it wouldn't surprise me to see us struggling to stay up.
We currently have a supposedly Premier League squad where we have only one fit full back and one other injured. In the Jan transfer window we brought in Minamo .
We already have Redmond, Djenpo, Armstrong, Walcott and Tella , plus two youngsters to fill the wide attacking role.
|Fordy added 11:16 - Feb 24|
In this league, as Liverpool are finding out, you can't really get away with even one or two players playing in a position that is totally alien to them and Bednarek is no full back.
Also, surely the days of waiting for the referee's whistle must be numbered. It seems a bizarre way of the referee trying to show who's boss. With VAR the "I wasn't ready" doesn't really matter because any play can be checked. I don't see why we have to wait 30 seconds for the ref to walk really slowly.
|wessexman added 11:23 - Feb 24|
Let us not kid ourselves. Looking at the table.... If all the teams around us pick up points next weekend and we lose to Everton, we will be in a relegation scrap. Our goal difference is now also becoming a big concern. There are those who defend our owner which is fine. But, it does not matter which league you are in, be it the Premiership or the Southern Premier League, clubs with the deepest pockets always prevail eventually. Ralph has managed to turn water into wine for two years.....but, it was never going to last. Hang on to your hats for the last 12 games......
|JoeEgg added 11:30 - Feb 24|
Having read Nick's preview which seemed to suggest that all would quickly be back to normal and that Ralph would sort it out, I myself wrote that Leeds were just the kind of team that could add to Saints woes. They fight for everything and have some quality players - and like Saints have been hit by moments of bad luck and many injuries.
Watching the second half last night Leeds were different side from the one seen in the first half. They have a clever manager who made the appropriate changes to their line up to put Saints to the sword - in fact, they could easily have scored five or six times. Ralph has the opportunity to prepare his team for the second half and it cant just be the players fault that they let themselves down after the first 45 minutes.
Looking at the forthcoming fixtures I see one is against Manchester City. This really has the potential to be another 9-0! This, and the Sheffied Utd match - obviously for very different reasons - will answer many pertinent questions about Ralph himself and about the quality and character of our players. It could go either way - nail-biting stuff!
|Colburn added 11:41 - Feb 24|
I can only echo everything said. A fair report which includes the most worrying but telling statement which was from Ralph after the game. I believe we started the season with a plan and a style of approach both physically and mentally. For the first ten games it worked well, with teams yet to find a solution and some just playing poorly against us, particularly at St Mary's, as in Everton, Newcastle and West Brom. At this stage we had kept a consistent line up with little rest for those playing. Other teams in the league were already rotating a bit and making early substitutions, perhaps to keep the fitness levels balanced and to give a chance to fringe players who had, like all of us, been in a small bubble of people trying to find our way through the lockdown measures whilst keeping their sanity. Perhaps this explains the rush of blood from Jankewitz. Anyway we came to the Utd home game, ran them ragged first half and then came what was for me the turning point of the season, especially psychologically. We stopped attacking in the second half, told Utd we didn't want to hurt them anymore and handed them the initiative. No interest in a ball over the top to counter Utd, instead we tried to outpass them on half a pitch for 45 mins. This set a precedent which other teams have picked up on and addressed. Aside from losing games from winning positions, this tactic stifles the natural way of playing for many of the team and this has led to the likes of Redmond, Adams, at times Djenepo losing confidence as they are asked to receive the ball then best two men on their way back to their own goal in order to give the ball to Romeu or JWP. It has been at times bordering on insanity. It is no wonder we have lost our way in an attacking sense because we have had the wrong mentality for too long now. Ten men away at Arsenal were not remotely pushed by our 11, in fact we settled for a point when Arsenal were there for the taking and Ralph himself showed his hand after that game talking about his concerns about being hit on the counter by the ten gunners.
So we have completely lost our way and the two players who haven't wanted to sign their contracts don't appear to be the same players at times and I fear that our negativite approaches to some games has wrecked what flow we had. In addition, Ralph continued to stick with the same group, tiring them out and then the replacements were either too rusty or too keen. The man management had not been good for me this season and I am not sure how we will get back to the way we were..
|Braveheart added 11:46 - Feb 24|
Mad inconsistant decisions by Ralph cost us yet another defeat..When are people going to wake up to reality? Why is there not call back clauses in these loan out deals. Where is Theo? Is there any other Manager out there that wouldn't have been sacked by now after 2 9-0 defeats 13 games without a win and just 1 point from the past eight games?
The other reality is that Ings and Adams are not that good. Other top teams top scorers have 20 + goals already. Our top scorer has 7. Give Fraser the next 4 starts to see how he does.. The elation of being momentarily at the top of the table, is forgotten. We have our usual season worries now of avoiding relegation.. The time for change to salvage this mess is now. With likes of Eddie Howe and now Neil Lennon available, why not
|LordDZLucan added 11:57 - Feb 24|
Pace is something you can defend against. You just fight fire with fire. And therein lies the problem. I can't think of one player in our squad who I'd describe as quick except maybe Theo!
|SaintPaulVW added 12:14 - Feb 24|
Good report. Nothing much to add.
My only comment about VAR is that I thought that the footage was now reviewed in real time. There seemed to be slowing and unpicking of the incident. Everything looks worse in slow motion. You put your interpretation of intentions onto the pictures and then play through the given conclusion. I agree with comments that this decision would not have been overturned for a bigger club because they would give the 'top class' striker different intentions.
Not much to add but it should be remembered that we are short of experienced players due to poor recruitment with approx £40 million of players who should have played a part in our last few seasons still being parked up on loan. This deadweight stops us recruiting and is partially responsible for our understrength squad.
We also lack leaders. Even our good experienced players don't seem to be captain material. Bertrand, Romeu and Ings are great technically but don't seem to have the win at all costs attitude a Captain needs. JWP is probably the best of the bunch but I am not sure he is giving any real on pitch leadership.
Ralph is a good manager but even good managers can get the sack. I am beginning to slightly worry that he has lost the dressing room and the players are just going through the motions. Hence the second half collapses. I think relegation this season is very unlikely but we need to snap out of this mindset ASAP.
We seem to raise our game for the 'top' sides so roll on Everton and City!
COYR things have to start looking up soon
|mattlegod added 12:19 - Feb 24|
I have been saying in recent weeks that perspective is required and I stand by that, until now. Yesterdays match was a line in the sand for me, there were many contributing factors before last night but last night those factors could have been addressed.
I still do not see Redmond as a striker, he doesn't have the natural instinct. Minamino can score goals but cant pass for toffee and as such should play up front. Bednarek was on a hiding to nothing. McCarthy should have done better with goals 2 & 3. As soon as Romeu went off the game was over.
On a positive note, I have been saying for a while that Tella should start (but instead of Redmond) and I felt he took his start and was brilliant and deserve to keep his place in the team.
|janecook added 12:23 - Feb 24|
This performance was absolutely disgraceful! Southampton fans deserve better than this and need a new owner. One that has an interest in the football team and willing to put money into it. The team has been under funded for several years and this needs to change if we are to stay in the top League. After 25 games last year we had 31 points now we have only 30. Why was Valery aloud to go out on loan when we did not have any cover at right back? Prehaps next game we should play Ramsay he cant do worse than Bednarek last night. I also agree with what others have said about Redmond and he needs to be Dropped.
|schatfield added 12:57 - Feb 24|
bad performances and you fans blame the owner/manager. hahahaha!
Tella was very good (except for his embarassing dive)
Romeu's last ditch tackle was astonishingly good and best part of the whole game
|Saintaxidriver added 13:05 - Feb 24|
Same old same old. Bright start and missed chances. Run out of steam and lose the game. Ralph has always mysified me a bit sometimes with his team selections and tactics going back to his misuse of Danso last season. We need points so maybe eeking out a couple of boring defensive draws is what is required. Play 5 at the back 3 in middle and 2 to play on the break. With all our players fit maybe go back to the high press but at the mo we haven't got the team to make it successful!
|Farlow added 13:19 - Feb 24|
The main reason we lost this game was because we did not play a right back.An average
full back would have been more effective than trying to make Bednarek into one.
I thought Kane Ramsey did ok in that United rout.It seems hes being blamed for it.
If Hassenhutl has no trust in him why did they let Valery out on loan or indeed not
secure cover in the Jan window.I like Walker Peters butwith his stature im sure he,ll
have his share of injury problems.We also need some physical stature up front or in midfield.
Oriel seems to be the only one eho can tackle.
|SanMarco added 13:20 - Feb 24|
I was going to say this whatever the result: That pitch is a disgrace - in cricket you lose points for it and if the EPL really is the best league in the world then that should happen to Leeds. Romeu's injury was totally caused by it. If any action is taken at all it will be a small, meaningless fine. Appalling.
We are in trouble. The revival hasn't started and quite frankly we melted away once the going got tough. We seem to only be able to play for 15-30 mins. Dropping the only two guys who have scored from open play since Christmas was interesting given the fact that we usually start well and fade. Ralph looks pretty hapless and helpless at the moment - he said he had cover for RB, he quite clearly hasn't. He admits that the injuries are, at least partly, down to his methods and he doesn't seem to adapt during matches. I am NOT joining the growing 'Ralph Out' brigade. I eventually made that mistake with Puel and look at his two successors!!
We looked like relegation favourites last night but 30 points says we are not. If we are Crisp with Red Rum approaching we are fine because Crisp was still moving and kept ahead of the other horses. If we stop altogether then the horses behind us, however slow they are, will catch us. We are stalled at the moment but surely, surely we will get a win soon. Please... Our extreme goalscoring problems are now every bit as important as our dozy defence and at least the latter has the KWP return to help. Adams is not looking like scoring, Redmond doesn't score and Ings has now joined that particular party. Minamino is lightweight but at least looks like scoring if offered the chance. Over to you Ralph
As for the ref, important not to allow it to feed our justifiable paranoia. He was dozy and blew the whistle for the freekick AFTER it had been taken because he wasn't looking. He had no choice but th blown again to stop the game. Leeds had stopped. Bad mistake but it didn't deny us a goal. My only gripe with the penalty (and it is a big one) is that it was overturned as a 'clear and obvious error' - fine, that was correct, but against Villa and Wolves we had THREE clear and obvious errors that WERE NOT overturned. That's not why we lost last night though.
|Saint4Life247 added 13:23 - Feb 24|
I am a RH supporter but I still believe he has not been the same since Danny Rohl left. Tactically we changed overnight and since then it's almost like RH has been learning how to do what DR clearly brought to the table. Dare I say, almost winging it at times. I like the guy but I think he needs stronger people around him to allow him to manage rather than coach. Do I think we should consider his position? No. Given the current climate it would be suicidal to change managers. If the club is sold, decent investment is brought into the club and the club once again becomes a attractive option for new players then perhaps a review of all managerial and coaching staff needs to be conducted. That said I think if RH had the resources and the right support he would excel all expectations.
Until then I guess the disappointment of games like last night will continue. I think it'll be close but I think we'll be alright this season and we'll stay up
|ItchenNorth added 13:38 - Feb 24|
I think we should sack Ralph and go get Pep or Jurgen now !
I don't know what some fans want tbh, but getting rid of Ralph is not the answer. Who do we get in? How long will that honeymoon last and the we go round and round again ! Ralph was the second coming of Christ a few weeks ago and oh, how fans crowed about our league position and performances. It's gone south since the turn of the year, but you don't become a bad manager over night. Injuries and squad depth have been a major issue. Maybe even the Ings contract issues have, hence signing Minamino to add striking depth. But it's a tough league. Results can't keep going as currently they are, but we surely have enough in our starting 11 and manager to turn the corner.
I think we'll finish somewhere between 10-15 and based on injuries, squad depth, suspect officiating, that's fine. Any more is a bonus but probably not realistic to where we are as a club this year.
Finally, Tella needs to start. I've been impressed everytime he plays.
|sandywelsh added 14:11 - Feb 24|
Should have bought in a right back in January if Ramsay is not good enough to play. Tonight Bednarek was given the run around at right back and he plays a lot better in the middle of defence. Our defence was opened up time and again by Leeds and none of them had a good game. McCarthy needs dropping to as he should have done better with the goals. Looks like Romeu is another injured player to add to the list. Ralphs substitutions of Ings and Minamino did very little to change the game. Things are starting to look bleak and I cant see where the next points are coming from. Next game we need to start with Forster, Ramsay and Tella.
|KilkennySaint added 14:29 - Feb 24|
Very frustrating time for Saints Fans.
I still think Ralph is a good manager but i will criticize him last night for not starting his strongest 11.
I don't get all this bad owner/need a new owner hype, while i would agree the owner is not a football fan we are still suffering on 3-4 years of atrocious recruitment (for crying out loud Carrillo was our most expensive player at the time and he played 8 games). To quote SaintPaulVW “£40 million of players out on loan” this can’t happen at a club like ours, we just don't have the pockets & we are still carrying this burden which is reflected in our current squad. Nick has noted plenty of times on this site that we have seen teams who have invested millions, even hundreds of millions to break into the top 6 and hasn't paid off.
Not getting RB/LB coverage is a mystery and we are suffering from it, Ralph doesn't rate Valery but we should be stating Ramsay in that position & if Ralph doesn't rate him we should have at least kept Valery who has some PL experience.
Our lack of goal scoring is a concern, looks like Adams is a 6-7 goals a season striker, Ings is off form, I don't know Redmond's statistics over his 4 years here but i would assume not good enough for the amount of ball his receives, looks like Minamino could end up one of our top goal scorers at this rate.
While i think we finally got our defense problems addressed (back 4 of Bert, West, Salisu, KWP) we now seem to be struggling at the other end of the field
|teamster1 added 15:53 - Feb 24|
My concern are players who do not appear to improve and continue to make the same mistakes.
McCarthy is not suited with the ball at his feet and looks uncomfortable he is flat footed.
Redmond annoys the hell out of me. How long has he played for us? Has he ever improved? He thinks he is better than he actually is talks and moans too much instead of playing the game. Tella showed him what he should be doing and that is running at people. Adams his hold up play and touch for a strong guy is abysmal. We have no leaders on the pitch and no talking when things don’t go to plan.
I honestly can’t see where the next points are coming from. After the next 3 games we better hope Fulham do as badly as us. We are now in a relegation battle for sure.
|underweststand added 16:01 - Feb 24|
THE PITCH. Yes, clubs should be held accountable for bad pitches - and OVER- watering, especially when it's been raining cats and dogs during the previous day. It causes injuries not preventing them. Someone at Prem. needs to talk with the Leeds ground staff PDQ.
THE GAME. VAR doing us no favours again, but for those who called out Tella for diving should have watched the foul in the first place, and then watch the BIG defender pushing his arm across Tella's back after the tackle which helped bring him down. OH well.
Disallowed goal from a free kick !. Oh really Ref, you might be correct according to the book but everyone was ready for 20 seconds waiting for you to re-start the action.
THE STATS. SAINTS 53% possession and 13 shots -no goals. LEEDS 47% 11 shots = 3 goals In last 12 Prem. games.. Saints have had over 100 shots and scored ... just 6 goals.
Forget about the tactical plays in training Ralph, make everyone practice shooting on goal
and find a few more who can take free-kicks ..and penalties too - in case we ever get one.
THE PLAYERS . I'm one of those who are advocating giving Forster a run out in Prem. games. I know McCarthy had a "better game" with some v.g. saves, but he did concede 3 more and that makes 25 in the last 12 games. It would be easy to blame some of them on the defenders, but Alex must be going out every game now, wondering just when the next one will go in. Forster has been good with 4 clean sheets, and in one way or another is now playing for his future, either continuing with Saints...or elsewhere. Give him a go.
INJURIES ?..well they never seem to stop, we can hope that Romeu will recover PDQ, or we can look forward to an unusual defensive line-up against Everton, although IF we do win there...it will be yet another record ..the first win at Goodison in several decades.(!)
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Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!