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Everton 3 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 14th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Everton The Verdict
Monday, 16th Aug 2021 10:19

It was very much a game of two halves at Goodison Park after some strange team selections by Ralph Hasenhuttl, but ultimately like many defeats last season we were architects of our own downfall.

Much of the talk ahead of kick off was the fact that Ralph Hasenhuttl had left three of last season's best performers on the bench, out went Kyle Walker Peters, Jan Bednarek & Stuart Armstrong and in came Valentino Livramento, Jack Stephens & Theo Walcott in their place.

The first half though was a good one for Saints, they won the ball when needed and looked good and were good money for the opening goal when Che Adams nicked the ball off a dithering defender and laid it into the path of debutant Adam Armstrong who finished with aplomb with a shot into the top corner which left the onrushing Jordan Pickford with no chance.

For those who believe in good omens, Armstrong's predecessor Danny Ings scored his first goal for Saints past the same keeper on the same ground almost three years ago to the exact day.

For much of the rest of the first half Saints dominated, they had chances of their own and in the main prevented the home side getting much of a look in in front of goal.

When the half time whistle went it was a very satisfactory first half and the travelling Saints fans headed down to the concourse in a happy mood.

Many were still in a happy mood on the concourse when there was a roar and Everton had scored before they could get back into the stand.

Everton came out like a train and Saints needed to weather the storm and didn't, the goal was sloppy and avoidable, a needless corner conceded and from the move Everton went ahead.

A little chip over Salisu's head left the defender in two minds, he opted not to try and head perhaps feeling he was so close in the ball would go back to the keeper, but McCarthy remained rooted to his line and Richarlison stuck out a foot, perhaps I am being harsh on the keeper, but the ball flew inches past his head with his arms by his side, you need a keeper with reactions and they were not on show here.

It looked tough from now on and Saints had to dig in which they did and they had a lot of the ball still, Mossa Djenepo was lively on the left and on several occasions skipped past defenders, but too often he failed to get an end product either a decent attempt on goal or a pull back to a team mate.

But with 15 minutes to go Saints had weathered the storm, the home crowd were starting to rumble and you felt that a subtle change or two might swing the game our way, but it changed against us before we could make the swap.

Iwobi had barely been on the pitch 5 minutes and with his back to the goal he turned one way and the next, but didn't seem to have anywhere to go, but we were too far backed off him and he swivelled and hit a shot that gave McCarthy no chance in the top corner, some at the time said that the keeper should have stopped it, but I wouldn't agree with that, it was a goal out of nowhere and too often we concede those, it could have gone anywhere.

We threw the dice, on came Diallo & Tella , but it was too little too late and before we could get a head of steam up Everton had a third and it was the Richarlison/McCarthy show again, the Everton man threw himself in where you get hurt, the Saints keeper was rooted to the spot, OK it was harsh to suggest he should have got the ball ahead of Richarlison, but it was again his lack of reaction and reflexes, he didn't make himself big he didn't throw his arms out, I'm sorry I can forgive a keeper for letting a goal in, but he has to make an effort, too often last season the ball flew past McCarthy before he reacted and it seems that is still the case.

In fairness too him for most of the game he looked the part, came out and got crosses and dominated his box, but he has a lack of concentration that comes from having spend most of his career as a back up keeper, you have to concentrate for the entire game and he hasn't got that ability.

But there were plenty of good points to take, Tino Livramento looked the part at right back, a good tackler and reader of the game he also surged forward, most at the game said that it would have been good to see him and KWP on that right side complementing each other .

Romain Perraud on the left looked strong and an acquisition.

Moussa Djenepo took on the Everton defence down the left wing and with a little better final ball could have done some damage, the home fans in the pub after the game were raving about him.

Adam Armstrong and Che Adams appeared to strike up a good understanding, the newcomer looked nippy and fast and was a constant threat and Adams did some great work to win the ball and find his new strike partner for our goal.

But there are still a few areas we lacked, we need an organiser in the centre of defence, I truly do not know what the manager was doing leaving Jan Bednarek on the bench and playing Jack Stephens, no disrespect to Stephens who had an ok game, but we were playing Everton whose game basically consists of finding Richarlison and Calvert Lewin in the box, Bednarek is one of the best blockers in the Premier League, we missed him.

A disappointing ending to a game that for a long time looked like we would get something out of it, but there are two times when we rarely win, the first is on the opening day of the season and the second when we go to Goodison Park, when they both coincide we have no hope.

Photo: Action Images

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felly1 added 10:46 - Aug 16
We would have still lost the game if Bednerek played.
Anyone remember the last 5 months of last season?
Did Stephens play in all these games?
Not a great player by any stretch on the imagination but is he any better or worse than the others?
Do we lose more when he plays? Anyone got any stats on this?
We simply lack quality in all areas of the pitch which comes down to a club like Everton spending much more than us.
Also surely away from home we would surely be better served played Diallo, Romeu and Jpw in the centre, with Jpw in a more advanced role and dropping Walcott.

ExiledSupporter added 10:48 - Aug 16
Yes, to all your comments, but some more inexplicable (weird?) selections from Ralf re McCarthy, Walcott and Stephens and the usual overly delayed substitutions. Though heartened by the performances of Livramento and Djenepo. Armstrong is fundamental to our cause too. Perhaps having more players to choose from is more challenging for Ralph than having fewer. Also think we must have Broja on the bench as an alternative to two too similar strikers. But promising start from Armstrong with a very Ings-like goal.

Ralf has to get himself together

aspensaint added 10:52 - Aug 16
We had the second worst defence in the prem last season and have lost our left back and first choice centre half. How on earth does Ralph think we can be defensively stronger this season? Everyone knows we need an experienced , quality centre half not a youngster, and Fraser needs a run in goal.

WestSussexSaint added 10:57 - Aug 16
New Season, same old story!

Good opening period but then cannot hold onto a lead as the opposition change their tactics. We conceded but before we can react and consolidate we lose two more goals so the game is effectively unrecoverable.

McCarthy has to be dropped and Stephens as well. That won’t solve all the problems but it will surely help mitigate some.

On the plus side we looked good going forwards and Adam A looks like a decent signing.

VeloSaint added 11:07 - Aug 16
Aside from the team going to sleep at the start of the second half again (Stephens and Salisu at fault in my opinion) you have to question Ralph's subs. The starting XI looked a little risky before the game but without a doubt paid off in the first half, an excellent performance. BUT when you start with 2 CM's who by Ralph's own admission weren't fully fit you know before the game you're going to need to replace 1 of them at least from about the 60min mark. Same goes for Tino, playing his first prem game ever. I'm not sure Walcott has played a full 90 min either for us. So you surely know that whatever is happening in the game you've got to make at least 2 of those changes midway through the second half. I'm not saying for one moment we would therefore have got something from the match, but Everton were poor and were there for the taking. At 1-1 we'd got back into the game, earlier changes may well have shored things up but also tipped the balance in our favour.

dirk_doone added 11:23 - Aug 16
Ultimately, the difference was the goalkeeper. If they'd had our goalkeeper and we'd had theirs, the result would have been at least a draw and we'd possibly have even won. McCarthy concedes an average of 2.5 goals per game. It's no wonder we always lose when he plays.

geezershoong1 added 11:27 - Aug 16
Same old as last season then...

IanRC added 11:33 - Aug 16
Some good points, Armstrong /Adams partnership, Tino first half, Djenepo ability to beat players but some woeful points too - Walcott invisible, unmartialed defence, Bednarak sorely missed. Manager had a poor game Walcott should have gone much earlier, thought Tino tired and WP should have come on. JWP and Oriel not up to full fitness yet so why was Stuart Armstrong not on. Tella too must be aggrieved at his late introduction.

highfield49 added 11:41 - Aug 16
So frustrating that we don't seem to have a switched on leader and organiser on the pitch. Everton's tactical change at the start of the second half was visible to everyone and surely someone out there needed to compensate by getting the wide players to drop back and give additional cover? I'm not suggesting that we played the rest of the half sitting back and inviting pressure but the opportunity was there to consolidate and then substitute the players taking on the additional workload. However, as much as I like RH and his enthusiasm neither he nor his coaching staff react quickly enough to the opposition tactical switches. Such a strong first half negated by failure to adapt.

geezershoong1 added 11:44 - Aug 16
It took Everton's change of tactics all of 3 minutes to work - the management team are either tactically inept or the players cannot understand them - or both.

Colburn added 11:47 - Aug 16
Groundhog day persists then.. Control the first half without gaining enough of an advantage to cover for the customary second half demise where we fail to react to the change in the game by making the necessary substitutions before the inevitable equaliser and winner comes. Will Ralph ever make the changes before its too late? Giving Tella 7 mins is pathetic and I can't believe that bringing him on earlier would have been detrimental to our game, given the threat he carries to the tiring opposition defence. Armstrong sat on the bench with Diallo while two less than fully fit cdms lose their way. It was very noticeable that it was those two who allowed Doucoure to turn and get a clear shot away for their second goal. They should have made more effort to stop the shot but were tired. It seems that Ralph has learned nothing from the persistently repeated failures to hold a lead and maintain an appropriate level for 90 mins to win games of football. He is neither proactive or reactive until its too late. I have to ask where was the communication from Mccarthy to Salisu for their equaliser? He should have been bellowing at him and then tried to come off his line a bit to close the gap, he did neither. I agree with you Nick that he seems airheaded at times and loses focus. It's easy to see the defence as the problem though when the whole team lose their way and no subs are made to readdress the game situation.
Wonderful to see Livramento play so well first game for such a young lad, shame he plays in a position where we have a solid starter rather than a position we are lacking in...still.. I would be happy to see us sign Nat Phillips from Liverpool, I thought he was magnificent at times last season for a young guy in his first year.

Nomaesaints added 11:49 - Aug 16
I didn't see the game only the highlights.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the team selection.

The following should have started

S Armstrong
Kyle Walker

Why play Warrd Prowse when he wasn't fit. Theo Walcott is no longer the player he was and that is why Everton got rid of him. Best option for him is on the bench. You would get more effort from Shane Long.

I am really concerned this year as we haven't got a quality CH who can command the area and keep the other defenders on their toes.

Its going to be very tough to keep a respectable score line on Sunday.

ItchenNorth added 12:13 - Aug 16
We need a center back, but when will they spend some of this money we keep getting from transfers on a decent keeper! We've been crying out for an number 1 we can really be confident in for a number of seasons now. Buy a b%%%%% keeper !

Kenm added 13:09 - Aug 16
Mccarthy to blame YES he should be ordering the back line up to watch the dangerous threats, so the back line up is useless. Leeds in my eyes has a better DEFENCE that Saints (they finished above us and let in fewer goals), if they let in 5, ManU should do better than the 9 they put passed us last season ??. The worst thing is that Hasenhuttl never seams to have a PLAN B or C to fall back on ??. Everyone is saying buy more players ?, if they prove themselves they are then sold for profit, and we are then back at square 1. Saints to win the premiership ? odds should be 1,000,000,000/1 because IF we the top of the table at xmas most of the team will be GONE in January

SaintPaulVW added 13:57 - Aug 16
Unfortunately, you can easily imagine our oppositions half time team talks this season..

'Lads, it's Southampton...'

Peterx added 15:30 - Aug 16
How's this for a (maybe not so) novel idea, RH tells the team at the start if the game that he will make one change at half time for the person he sees as least effective even if the team is playing well and then also a 2nd guaranteed sub at 60 minutes of the person he feels has dropped off the most.

We become too predictable and let the opposing managers take the initiative, lets take it back.

Peterx added 15:33 - Aug 16
I was hoping to wake up this morning to Saints have signed Cahill on a free because he impressed so much in his medical, Delaney on a 3 year deal for 5M and Phillips from Liverpool for 12M on a 5 year deal....OK didn't happen yet...maybe tomorrow.

NewburySaint added 15:50 - Aug 16
Good to see we’ve worked on our deficiencies from last season, in particular our penchant of losing from winning positions-oh, wait a minute……

davidargyll added 18:09 - Aug 16
Same old same old…
Is that now 12 losses in the last 13 away games?
But at least we have a new greedy and successful forward in Adam Armstrong; great purchase he looks. As does Tino Livramento, a real harrier and will go far I reckon.
But why oh why are we always so slow to get going at the beginning of the second half? It has happened time and time again, we control the first 45 minutes half only to allow the oppo back in the game because we are asleep. It’s almost as if someone has put dope in the oranges at half time.
Frankly though Everton were a better team than us and showed when they got the bit between their teeth what they can do. But I still reckon it could have been a draw if only we’d had more application in H2. That said, I definitely got the feeling that our players had convinced themselves that the burden of our awful first match/away record at Goodison was preying on their minds. And they didn’t have the mindset to change yesterday, despite the H1 performance.
As for individuals, McCarthy was a real curate’s egg, some good saves early on but then unforgiveable when he hesitated at that cross and allowed Richarlison in. No bottle? Well that’s what I thought at least. FF I like to think would have made a much better job of it.
Walcott? An utter waste of space. Why the hell did we ever buy him? He has lots of speed but very little skill when it really matters. Does he draw players? Well maybe, but if he then always loses the ball what’s the point of him being in the team?
Perraud? Awful performance - he too kept losing the ball - can he really play any worse in the future...?
Salisu on the other hand I thought looked competent but doesn’t as yet give me massive amounts of confidence when he’s in possession. That said, I did notice he didn’t try to be too clever and kicked it in touch when in any danger, which was a welcome change from last season.
Djneppo? FFS, Ralph tell that incredibly talented kid to be less selfish when he does his amazing tricks and PASS the ball more…!
And JWP, OR, JS all looked ring-rusty.
Ultimately though the differences between the two teams, I reckon, was that their crossing - from which they scored two of their goals - was so much better than ours, in fact ours continues to be virtually non-existent: we always aim to get to the byline and cut back as opposed to fast running down the wing and a welly into the middle. Our way works sometimes, the usual way always causes us problems.
In summary, a few glimpses to encourage the die-hards, but frankly on Saturday’s evidence I defy anyone to say we are now looking any better than a bottom third club…

KriSaint added 12:56 - Aug 19
1-1: Individuel mistake by Alex McC. Not worth arguing about. Salisu trusted his keeper, who, however, did NOTHING.
2-1: No protection of our defence from Romeu. Not totally wrong to call it an individuel mistake by Romeu who couldn't move his legs in the situation. Look for yourselves. You can even tell from his post-goal body language, that he knew he let the team down right there. He was obviously NOT fit enough for that match.
3-1: Bednarek would have defended successfully with his life. Individuel mistake by Stephens.

I really think the above sums it up, and let me add that Bednarek should have come on for the beginning of the second half as should Tella. Diallo should have come on after max. 60 minutes.

Yes, I know it's easy to be clever in hindsight, but - and this is proven by now - Ralph is not good enough at anticipating the development of a match, sadly.

A small footnote:
If we beat Man.U. on sunday, Ralph wil have beaten every team in 'my top 8'. In 101 PL matches!
City, L'pool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, Chelsea, Everton AND Manure.

How happy will I get if we beat MU on sunday? Well, it'll be somewhere in the "extreme" part of my happiness spectrum.

COYS! <3

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