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Sheffield United 2 v 2 Southampton
Carabao Cup
Tuesday, 21st September 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Southampton At Sheffield United The Verdict
Wednesday, 22nd Sep 2021 10:00

Saints made it six game in a row unbeaten, but only one of those has been won in normal time, and up at Bramall Lane in the Carabao Cup it needed the drama of a penalty shootout to separate the sides. But Saints came through and are now in the last 16.

As was expected Ralph Hasenhuttl rung the changes and only Oriol Romeu and Nathan Redmond remained from the side that started the game against Manchester City with Lyanco coming in for his club debut to partner Mohammed Salisu in the centre of defence.

After a poor start to the season Sheffield United back in the championship after relegation had picked up in recent games, so this was not going to be as easy as the last round against Newport.

But this was not a side without experience, 8 of the starting line up had at some point been regulars in the Saints side, with the other three, new signings Romain Perraud, Lyanco & Armando Broja having experience in European Leagues.

Saints appeared to opt for a formation of 4-2-3-1 with Broja the loan striker playing as the lone striker up front.

In many respect the stats mirrored many a Saints game that has been lost, 56% possession, 17 attempts for with only 9 against, 6 shots on target with only 3 against, 13 corners 4 and only 1 against, but the end result was not more goals scored than the opposition.

But it was the Blades that went ahead after only 8 minutes and it took a well worked goal to equalise on 23 when Oriol Romeu swept a cross into the home penalty area and Ibrahima Dialo directed a very deft header into the corner of the goal.

After the break, Mohammed Salisu swept in a Nathan Tella cross on 53 minutes to give Saints the lead but it wouldn't last long as only 13 minutes later Oli McBurnie put the hosts level and although Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Lyanco with Bednarek to shore up the defence on 74 minutes after bringing on James Ward Prowse for Nathan Redmond at half time, and then sent on Che Adams for Nathan Tella to go two up top in the last 10 minutes there would be no late winner for Saints or for that matter Sheffield United.

So to penalties and a hero arose and this time it was not a funny looking dog with a big black nose, it was Fraser Forster who stepped up and became the hero.

Saints had the first attempt and JWP converted with Norwood scoring to level.

Next up was Che Adams who too made no mistake, up stepped Brewster and hit the ball well, but Forster plunged to his left and saved the low shot in the corner.

Saints were now in the driving seat, up stepped Armando Broja, but saw his shot well saved. Osborn converted for the Blades to make it 2-2 after three attempts each.

Up stepped Ibrahima Diallo, could he take a penalty, after all we had never seen him score a goal up to earlier in the game, he put it away with aplomb.

So advantage Saints again and up stepped McBurnie, who watched in horror as Forster again made a great save in the bottom right corner.

It now only needed Saints to convert their 5th penalty and up stepped Oriol Romeu who buried the spot kick to send Saints through.

So Saints are through to the last 16 of the Carabao cup and that at the end of the day was the objective of the evening, but what else could we take from this game.

Firstly that we now have a strong squad, we can now put out at least two players in every position, this game might have needed penalties to get through, but get through we did, on a night when Premier League rivals Watford went out at home to Championship Stoke City and both Everton and Leeds went to penalties themselves against Championship sides with the Toffee's going out at QPR.

There were many plus points from the night on the pitch, but also some disappointments, new central defender Lyanco looked a little off the pace, we shouldn't write him off just yet, many Saints players have had far worse debuts and gone on to have long and illustrious careers at the club, but this wasn't the start that we hoped for, we can use the language issue and a lack of game time and fitness when he joined the club, but overall there is work to be done, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

But this was an evening that we won a game of football and reached the last 16 of the Carabao Cup, so it was a good evening and one that we should be happy with and not pick too many faults, Ralph had to give his squad game time and almost as important about the result was the fact that it showed Ralph a few things in his squad.

The real work now begins at home to Wolves, we win that game and it has been a solid start to the season, defeat means that it is not a disastrous start just slow, defeat would ring an alarm bell or two.

Photo: Action Images

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DellBoyWally added 13:11 - Sep 22
Lyanco looked clearly not ready for the PL but that could be expected; he has always been described as "for the future".
Broja was poor; RH had strong words about him; rightly so.
Nathan Redmond! What can one say apart from the fact that, yet again, he contributed nothing.
Moussa? Remember the film "Bambi "? and the seen on the frozen pond? But you got to love him; he tries so hard. When it all goes right (soon?) look out PL.
The rest played good stuff and with AdamA and/or Che on from the start we could have got through with finger nails in tact.
Ibrahim Diallo coming on great, just a bit quicker in decision-making and he's the real deal.
We live on and continue to learn. 3points Sunday please.

DellBoyWally added 13:13 - Sep 22
Oh yeah. Thanks FF

landsdownsaint added 13:32 - Sep 22
Making your debut against a freshly relegated Sheffield Utd can’t be easy each one of their players has a point to prove

saintmark1976 added 13:42 - Sep 22
I suspect if we had played this game last season we would have contrived a way to lose it. Having transferred the players who didn’t want to play for us the team spirit has improved this time around.

Given that Nick’s favourite Jack Stephens is reportedly unavailable for three months, I hope that Lyanco improves or we could be in trouble if our other central defenders are injured or suspended.

As for Redmond. Exactly how many more opportunities is he to be given before Ralph realises that Nathan has good ball control and pace but completely lacks a footballing brain?

KriSaint added 14:27 - Sep 22
Good article, Nick. Congrats to the players, Ralph and the staff and us supporters, especially those who took the travel to Bramall Lane.
Great that Salisu and Diallo scored their first goals!
Let's hope for a good draw in the next round. I do love the League Cup competition.

A1079 added 15:54 - Sep 22
For a game that was poorly attended by the home supporters I was surprised to see how many Saints supporters there were - though it is hard to really tell the numbers stood amongst others but there seemed a reasonably good turn out. The ticket price may have helped and to be honest, we should be going for these competitions because we sure as hell not going to be winning the league any time soon.

On the game itself. One of mixed emotions and feelings and overall Nick's assessment seems a fair one. Some good performances and some not so good ones. An entertaining game for various reasons. Goal scoring really is an issue with us. Sheff Utd had 3 chances of note and took 2. I am not sure how many we had but we are just not clinical enough and at the moment we just don't seem to have someone up front experienced or not, that is going to make the opposition pay.

Alot has been said about Lyanco. I think it is unfair to judge him on one performance. He definitely had an uncomfortable evening but it is hard to just come in and get it right first time. Some do, but many don't. If Stephens is out for a while and should we get another injury in that area we could be in trouble though. Those mis-hitting strikers are going to need to up their game.

My main disappointment last night was Broja. He really did not match his earlier promise but again, may be he just had an off night/game. But, he is still new and learning whereas Redmond - if he thinks a cameo at Newcastle where he provided 2 influential assists are good enough then in my view he is mistaken. Personally, I would transfer list Redmond at the end of the season (if such a thing exists). He has had long enough at our club to become the player that other managers and media seem to think he is, but he consistently fails to deliver. Djenepro - as said before - 10/10 out for endeavour about 2/10 for composure. If he could get the 2nd part right he would be a great player. I Keep hoping it will happen. Diallo played well and Tella didn't have a great start but got stronger as the game progressed.

Penalties (Broja aside) were good and of course Fraser Forster played his part in getting us through

An enjoyable evening and pleased we are through. Really need that win on Sunday. It is not a must win but it would make such a difference if we do.

underweststand added 16:54 - Sep 22
(Having watched the You Tube highlights) it's clear that Sheffield weren't going to lie down and surrender. Despite their relegation performances last season, they weren't the worst side in the Prem. and played a lot of good football - without getting lucky results.

Poor Lyanco had a nightmare debut, and I'm sure he will improve - given time.
Oli Mc Burnie is a real handful who wouldn't be out of place in the Prem. today and gave our defence a hard time, and (the Solent commentary) highlighted several bad fouls on Tella in particular, that went unpunished by the ref. who let a lot go during the game.

Few outstanding performances, and a few who really ought to have done a lot better, but perhaps the best on the night was Fraser Forster's penalty save in the shoot-out.
At least we are in the draw for the next round, hopefully at home this time, and a chance to get further in the competition.

JoeEgg added 17:07 - Sep 22
As I said in previous comments I saw Lyanco making one of his very few appearances in Italy against Milan and he looked very poor even then. Saints have their work cut out there . As others have said we now know why we were able to secure Broja for the season. Bags of ability but playing him as a lone striker was ridiculous. Yes it was nice to see two new goalscorers but I still get the strong feeling that in the much more competitive Premier Lerague, its going to be SCORING goals that proves to be our Achiles heel.

highfield49 added 17:47 - Sep 22
I've only seen the brief highlights on the official site, so I certainly can't claim to be in a position to offer much in the way of constructive feedback, but clearly Forster deserves huge credit for his penalty saves. We also seem to have unexpected resources to take penalties in the future and it was good to see the confident strikes hit the net. Broja maybe thinks that he is on the same level as Livramento but will benefit from understanding that he isn't and would do well to realise he has a lot to learn. Hopefully RH will get his attitude sorted, because he isn't good enough to be picked before Adams or Armstrong on recent performances. Lyanco is going to need to deal with the hard knocks of English football and I hope last evening's fright night hasn't damaged his confidence too much. Hopefully, our new goal scoring hero, Salisu and Bednarek can keep injury free and maintain form whist Stephens recovers fitness but let's not forget that McBurnie has made life difficult for a lot of defenders and Lyanco shouldn't be written off by supporters on the basis of one match! As has been said, Sheffield were unlikely to roll over without a fight and we're still in the mix. Fingers crossed that we can find the goal scoring touch against Wolves and get three points.

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