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Southampton 2 v 2 Leicester City
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 1st December 2021 Kick-off 19:30
Southampton V Leicester City The Verdict
Thursday, 2nd Dec 2021 14:10

Once again Saints threw away a winning position due to poor goalkeeping not once but twice, this has to end now otherwise we will be looking over our shoulders and in trouble.

The last three games have seen 8 goals shipped in and to be perfectly blunt Alex McCarthy should have stopped 5 of them including two against Norwich and another two last night where he did not exactly cover himself in glory with one glaring error and a second that saw him caught at his near post yet again.

Football is a fine line and if we had taken all three points at Norwich as we should have done and again last night then those extra 5 points would have seen us now lying 7th in the table and only 4 points off a top four spot.

If it is frustrating for me as a fan to have to see points thrown away again due to goalkeeping error, how frustrating must it be for those out there on the pitch who have seen all their hard work come to virtually nothing and the single point we gained leaving us in 16th place.

Ralph Hasenhuttl in my mind has done a good job this season, but he held his hands up at Liverpool with the wrong team selection and now he has to hold his hands up again and remove Alex McCarthy from the firing line.

In a season a keeper should make no more than 4 or 5 errors for a goal, we have now had 5 in 3 games and to be blunt that is not good enough, especially when you consider that these are not his first of the season.

To have conceded 20 goals and over a quarter down to the keeper says something, indeed it will be nearer 50% if we look carefully.

At this level keepers have to be consistent, we are not asking him to make wonder saves, just keep out the attempts that any even average Premier League keeper should stop.

Ralph Hasenhuttl must be frustrated himself, but he is the only man who can rectify it on Saturday against Brighton, a change has to be made.

Aside from that Saints put up a good fight against Leicester, OK it wasn't perfect and McCarthy wasn't the only error, but overall it was a pleasing performance that started well when Jan Bednarek poked home from close range in the 3rd minute.

That got Saints in the ascendency, but the visitors were on level terms on 22 mins when what should have been a simple save saw McCarthy scoop the ball into the path of Johnny Evans.

Saints were not perturbed and were back in the lead 10 minutes later when Che Adams dived to head home and restore the lead, at the break Saints were good for the 2-1 scoreline.

But after a delayed start it was Saints who handed the impetus back to the Foxes when again poor goalkeeping allowed a shot to creep in at the near post, not a glaring error, but one at this level you expect your keeper to save.

Leicester now had the upper hand, but Saints dug in and clung to the point they had.

A disappointing result due to the way we handed a draw to Leicester that although on the run of play they deserved, but on the balance of things didn't, if we had Schmeichel in goal for us we win that is the plain truth.

But this game is done and dusted, Ralph Hasenhuttl has to now show he is the man to make a decision, after the Norwich debacle in fairness he stuck with his keeper, hindsight now shows he made a bad choice, now he has to rectify it.

Photo: Action Images

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AmericanSaint added 14:22 - Dec 2
Nick - I agree a change needs to be made and FF needs to start the next game, but I will say on the 1st goal, AM was blocked visually, so the initial stop was a good one. Unfortunately it went back to the middle and was an easy tap in. There must be something going on behind the scenes for RH not to select FF after the Norwich game. The 2nd, there are no excuses. While AM has played some great games, his inconsistency at this level is something that can't be hidden. Additionally, the other mistakes that led to LC chances should have RH looking at KWP sitting as well. We got lucky to get a point based on our 2nd half play. Well now we need to win this weekend and keep building positive momentum. COYR.

davidargyll added 14:23 - Dec 2
For the first time for a while, apart from a couple of pretty average performance from AM and AA, I did think the team really gelled, with a lot of recent underperformers (JB, Salisu, Tino, JWP) back to their best.
1. Che Adams gets better and better. Enough said. (Where would we be without him…?)
2. A special word for Nathan Tella who put in some great runs down the RHS and really earned his spurs last night. And for KWP who was generally pretty impressive; one surging run forward particularly comes to mind…
3. Even though it’s heart-in-mouth stuff when the Saints start playing around with the ball close to their own goal and look as if they could so often lose it, last night on at least three occasions they turned tippy-tappy defence in to devastating attack which, if only our finishing had been better, could easily have led to more goals.
4. James Maddison’s goal was class, although once again Alex McCarthy was beaten at the near post. But for the first goal, he really should have held onto the initial shot rather than parry it back into the path of Evans. (Equally though you could argue that Schmichael should also have held onto the initial shot that led to our first goal).
5. But deep into the second half AM did the same thing again and, if it hadn’t been for Elyonoussi (i think) being a couple of yards in front of him to kick it away, we’d have been three down. Yes he did make a couple of top saves which undoubtedly kept us in the game - which interestingly was RH’s cup-half-full view of his match performance too - but Christ he does make some cock-ups along the way. Trouble is a lot of us increasingly highlight his mistakes rather than his attributes which must eat away at his confidence.
6. Meanwhile up front Adam Armstrong simply doesn’t get any better, yes he runs around a lot but is just so UNTHREATENING. I swear to God he has taken lessons from Theo Walcott: “all you have to do is run fast and the goals will come…” Complete nonsense of course, because at the moment he simply cannot control the ball and turn defenders.
7. In a similar vein, there were were several players who consistently fell over their own feet when running forward with the ball. Yes I can forgive Nathan Tella as he’s only young and Che because he works and works and works and is scoring. But Adam Armstrong really does need to go back to school and learn how to do it if he wants to become a top class striker. His stature doesn’t help, but then there have been some world class front men who are no taller than he is. So come on Adam, I’m sure you’ve got the ability but if you can’t get the basics right, you’re on a road to nowhere…

As a foot note, I commented a couple of weeks ago about how poor JWPs corner seemed to have been recently. And blow me down, last night all of a sudden he handed the baton to Tella who played a couple of short ones, one of which led to a goal. Who says that The Ugly Side has no power…?!
Now if someone on the coaching staff is reading this and notes my point about lousy dribbling skills…

leighsaint added 14:40 - Dec 2
All teams study their opponents especially their goalkeepers and they all know now that instead of trying to go to the far post with our keeper coming in from the wing just go near post and you have a goal. Also shoot hard straight at him and it bounces off of him. How many times has Haselnut got to see it before he changes the keeper

Colburn added 14:50 - Dec 2
Ralph actually praised Mccarthy for saving a point for us last night in his post match comments. He admitted the Norwich faults but glossed over last night adding that he saved us a point. I tend to agree with Nick (shock, horror) that he could have and should have done better for their goals. The first goal we conceded was also down to poor attempts to clear the ball, we had three and all were weak, Salisu header going straight to an oppo in the box. He will make mistakes and as with A Armstrong needs to learn a little more composure and not panic.
Overall though, I thought we played pretty well and moved the ball forward quicker scaring Leicester with the intensity of Tella and Redmond, who I thought were worthy of their selections. Redmond has been a bug bear for me over the last couple of years but he showed more interest in winning the ball back yesterday and showed some nice touches. I hope they both remain in the starting line up on Saturday but would prefer to see Che start with Broja for a change and see how the Brighton defence handles that. I would also rest Bednarek who is losing his way and confidence at the moment with some suspect positioning and defending. Time for the return of Stephens or Lyanco for Saturday for me. Tino was better last night but I still think Ralph had not managed him that well recently, he could have done with a break for one game.
If we can grab the win on Saturday, then 4 points from the two home games is a good return. If not, we will start to look over our shoulders throughout the festive period.

dirk_doone added 15:03 - Dec 2
A good report, Nick. The rest of the team played well and deserved to win. Walker-Peters was my man of the match. It was great to see both him and Che Adams back to their best form. But, sadly, the result was effectively: Southampton 2 Alex McCarthy 2 and against Norwich it was Alex McCarthy 2 Southampton 1. Bill Shankley once said that a good goalkeeper is worth 20 points a season. Well, McCarthy is worth minus 20 to us because that's how many points he's costing us.

He is a League One standard goalkeeper, at best, and should not be playing at this level. His reflexes are slow, which is why he always starts his dives a fraction of a second too late, and if he reaches the ball at all, as he did once last night, it can look quite impressive but for any other goalkeeper, with better reflexes and positioning, it would just be a routine save that you'd barely notice. McCarthy makes the easy look difficult and the difficult, impossible.

He has no command of his area, never seems sure where to position himself and when the oppostion has a corner, he looks like he just wants to hide or on a few occasions just comes out blindly and flaps, usually missing the ball completetly. He looks just as nervous when he has the ball at his feet and his long kicks nearly all go to opposition players. As for his glaring weakness at his near post, every team that plays us is aware of it and exploit it as Leicester did again last night.

Forster has played well when called upon this season. We'd have won last night if he'd been in goal and if we want to win on Saturday he should be in goal.

131153 added 15:06 - Dec 2
I can only assume FF has told the club he will not sign again (whether the club are offering a new contract who knows) and assume RH has decided not to play him on that basis. It wasn't until I saw the highlights this morning I saw what a pigs ear AM made with the first goal. Same old same old regarding their second goal I accept it was hard and fast and pretty close but should have been blocked with his foot.Still not got over his dithering for Leeds first goal in the last home game of last season. A Palace fan said after we signed him he was the worst keeper he had ever seen!

All in all a good game to watch last night and a draw probably the correct result. Nick is right mistakes are killing us, but overall we play pretty good football.

landsdownsaint added 15:06 - Dec 2
Ralph has got to start Broja he was a handful when he came on & it’s about time KWP was given a go at his natural position , Tinos is doing the same thing all the time now & oppositions have wised up & I still think Djennpo is the only player we got that’s able to unlock defences but Ralph seems to have shackled him when he gets too play

IanRC added 15:09 - Dec 2
Agree about McCarthy, though in fairness he made some good collections under pressure too. May be Fraser Fosters wages are the thing that is making us lean towards retaining McCarthy but FF has got to be worth a try on the weekend. McCarthy wasn’t alone thought Tino was good going forward but poor defensively, really should have done better against Maddison for the goal amongst others. AA constantly makes the wrong choices and much as I would like to see him succeed I am beginning to have my doubts. Thought Che was very good again last night as was Redmond.

Don’t know if it was the long half time break or what but for the early part of the second half we created nothing.

Referee was again appalling giving a Leicester player a free kick every time they fell over whilst allowing KWP to be repeatedly kicked and tripped. If the roles had been reversed I am sure we would have been down to ten men.

So a disappointing two games all in all, definitely must do better against Brighton at the weekend.

SaintPaulVW added 15:25 - Dec 2
It was an enjoyable game last night and both teams can point to errors that meant they could have won.

Let's not be too harsh on McCarthy that finger tip save from Barnes saved us the point. However, I agree that with all the work that goes into studying opposition teams, McCarthy's tendancy for errors at the near post will be known and targeted. For this reason alone Ralph needs to be sensible and give him a rest so he that he can work on this aspect of his game.

Redmond again looked good, great assist. I appreciate that this will be disappointing news for many lol

Tella deserves a regular place. Great running and tacking last night. Perhaps alternate with Redmond to keep them both fresh given their high intensity roles.

Hopefully Che has finally emerged as the new Ings.

Still not quite sold on Eli, lot of running but no end product.

Adam Armstrong, he is taking time to adapt. Exactly like Che did. I think we don't help him by all our ball to feet. In the prem he needs to have have diagonal balls played into space behind the defenders. That's hampered by KWP playing on the left. On the Right Tino preferred to carry the ball all the way, which can leave him out of position for a quick counter. Perhaps a bit of coaching for an earlier release would help both players?

I'm interested that people rated Tino's performance last night. To me his inexperience showed on several occasions. Like McCarthy other teams have sussed how to play him. I still think play Perraud and switch KWP, who was excellent, back to the right for top half games.

Romeu was his disruptive self and JWP looked better although dead balls still aren't back up to his high standard.

If Jack Stephens made the errors that Salisu does we would never hear the last of it. Salisu is still a great defender tho. Some great tackles last night to stop Leicester dead.

Overall I felt a draw was fair, Brendan screaming 'for f***sake' at his players was the icing on the cake

Roll on Brighton

COYR (or TLDR lol)


DorsetIan added 16:07 - Dec 2
I didn’t enjoy the game at all. I am just increasingly frustrated at how flimsy we are. And every single kick out from McCarthy (and Armstrong’s attempted header out for the first goal) going straight back to Leicester was driving me mad by the end. We were lucky to get a point and had Vardy scored the comments sections today would not be so gentle.

Hope we can build on this result though for Saturday.

Saintaxidriver added 16:12 - Dec 2
I think we have had a goalkeeping problem for a while now. On their day they are both good keepers but neither is consistent enough at this level!
Defensively I thought we were poor with both goals having chances to stop them scoring in the run up to each one.
KWP was good going forward but had a 10 min spell where he almost givted them 2 goals. He tries too much sometimes.
Salisu was good but he tends to overcomit himself which was what lead to the first goal.
Bednarek seems to have lost a bit of his edge
Livramento was I feel poor defensively for the second goal and is getting sussed out going forward more now.
Midfield Romeu awsome as usual and JWP played ok but still not back to his best.
Wide I thought Redmond had one of his best games for a while and Tella is still developing but worked hard tho needs to improve his heading
Adams worked hard and deserved his goal
Armstrong is I feel a selfish player who doesn't look around him but just heads towards goal which is easily dealt with by the defence
Broja is a player I would start every time because he scares the opposition and although a bit raw will improve with playing time.
Ellyonoussi flatters to decieve with little end product and I would play Lyanco ahead of Bednarek who maybe needs a rest!
Finally, our shooting is poor with little power and straight at or too near the keeper. Get Lambert in to give them some lessons!

I_would added 16:40 - Dec 2
Arrogant manager. Won't change and would probably rather keep McCarthy and lose than admit he's wrong. Will not change ever, that's why he fell out with the other Ralf.

131153 added 16:50 - Dec 2
One further point already mentioned by DorsetIan when AM kicks the ball out not one of our players will have the foggiest idea where the ball might be heading.

highfield49 added 17:03 - Dec 2
Lots of good posts, as usual, and most of my post match reflections aired by others. However, why on earth is McCarthy likely to be given a new contract? It's too late in the day for his weaknesses to be resolved by practice or coaching and time for both keepers to move on next summer. The wages saved would enable the signing of a quality keeper who could mentor one of the young lads on the books as the reserve. Ok, I've made that point before but I think it's worth repeating.
The other point that I feel is relevant in the current situation relates to Everton's showing against Liverpool. If ours was poor theirs was absolutely woeful. Catastrophic defending, iffy goalkeeping and few shots on target. To think of the money they've spent in recent years and the manager's they've hired with little progress once again shows that sacking Ralph is not going to improve the quality of the squad he has at his disposal. I still think that an experienced coach to advise him when he loses his way is a better solution than just believing that all will be well with a new manager in place.

ItchenNorth added 17:15 - Dec 2
Not one of our best performances, but in the end, happy to take a point. We were asleep at the back for both goals, even before the shots for McCarthy to save. Lapses in concentration at the back very nearly cost us. We can count ourselves lucky that Leicester didn't have their shooting boots on. In the second they missed two you would have put your house on.

A frustrating game, where neither side really hit anywhere near top form.

There were some good performances. KWP, Adams and Romeu stood out for me. I'd like to see Broja start Saturday though.

Up the Saints. In Ralph we trust.

halftimeorange added 17:17 - Dec 2
I do wonder who is picking our team or pulling Ralph's strings. If you know the keeper behind you is a bit dodgy, to put it mildly, then you and your team mates are always on edge, frightened to make an error which will often not be repaired by the man between the sticks. JWP is the captain and must have Ralph's ear. Surely he can, from his position in the centre of the pitch, see where the weaknesses are. He's said to be quite bright. Saints were the better team for long periods last night but, Ralph's predictability and our errors stole two points from us. There are now too many stand-out flaws in our play and, consequently, our confidence that are not being addressed as they're there for all to see week in week out. It is, sadly a recipe for relegation.

cocklebreath added 17:26 - Dec 2
McCarthy cost us again. I can’t believe he has been offered a new contract, both goalies need to go on frees in the summer and we need to buy 2 goalies, one of which is premier league standard, it’s mental we’ve got ourselves in this position.

wrathoftazz added 17:33 - Dec 2
The squad selection baffled me... Bro, Ely, Dje and FF on the bench for a game we really needed to win? I must admit, 2 mins in and I was doubting my views, the goal, the build up was great... and then it went back to "same old saints" on a positive there was NO THEO!!

Ralph is the one making the decisions and if you compare stats, he is actually worse or at a push, equal to managers we have sacked before (yes, including Puel) .. There is no logic for his decisions and no place In the Pl for being tactically inept. He has run his course, he is just not suited to the Prem... he maybe a really nice guy (I've met him and he is) but being nice, good intentions or trying, will not keep us in the league.

JoeEgg added 17:52 - Dec 2
Some excellent posts that alongside a pretty good summary from our Nick, leave you scratching your head rather than having a clearer picture of what is going right and wrong.
Ralph continues to defend McCarthy and rightly points to two terrific stops late in the game; but apparently accepts that the two errors that cost us goals were far less significant and can be blamed on others. So he's both right and wrong at the same time! Livramento is a tremendous asset but again there must be question marks about how he is being handled by Ralph. Surely Walker-Peters should play at right back - of course we say, but Ralph sticks with his left sided ideas! Elyounoussi is another that Ralph favours - but where is the end product? I dont think there will ever be an 'assist' from him and certainly scoring a goal is only for the fantasy players! The most obvious plusses are undoubtedly Redmond and Adams who in recent games have been the players most likely to make things happen. But where does all this leave us? In the end Leicester looked the more likely team to take all three points and considering we were also lucky to hold on to all three points against a weak Villa side recently, we should be thinking that we are lucky not to be much closer to those relegation positions.
So who is to blame or are we just not good enough? I have found Ralph's team selections baffling at times although it was difficult at last to find much fault with the eleven chosen to play Leicester. But what is annoying me more and more now are the post match comments that he makes that appear to reveal a stubborness that suggests he would rather plug on with mistakes and his shamed favourites (in and out of position) than admit - as he was forced to do at Anfield - that he is still getting things wrong.
So now we approach the Brighton game and Ralph assures us he both the team and game plan in his head! Unlike me apparently he is not scratching his head. Well this head of his is something he could soon be losing
if we dont do better and get all three points against Brighton!

PaleRider added 18:42 - Dec 2
I think the Ralph thing is as follows:

1) He is too stubborn and needs either a DoF or good number 2; and
2) I think he tries to out fox the opposition by being too clever and just outfoxes the Saints players and fans!

I like him but believe something needs to change.

mattlegod added 18:44 - Dec 2
Tella deserved his start and certainly made a difference.
Adam Armstrong needs work, needs to look up more.
Offensive players need to work and communicate better, was clear last night we could have had more shots on goal with a final pass rather than a hit and hope shot.
It's clear Adams and Armstrong don't work well together, would like to see either of them partner Broja.
Forster deserves a stint in goal but I get the impression he isn't being given the opportunity for contractual and future planning reasons

Saintly_Mix added 19:05 - Dec 2
I agree that Alex McCarthy has had a few howlers recently and he’s been getting done at his near post for years.
I disagree that he made a blunder for the first goal, it was a good save and it didn’t matter where he pushed it, Leicester players were everywhere. Pretty similar to Bednarek’s goal and we’re not complaining about that.
I do think we should put Fraser in now though, at least give him a chance.

PezzaSaint added 19:25 - Dec 2
Some have said that teams will have sussed McCarthy out and realise that he doesn’t cover his near post at all well, but Jamie Vardy must have missed the team briefing! His one on one showed a big gap again at McCarthy’s near post, but he blazed over!

What is disappointing for me is how far Maddison was allowed to travel before anyone got near him, but even then it didn’t stop him from scoring!

I actually think McCarthy was more at fault for the second goal than the first, leaving your near post vulnerable is sacrilege for a goalkeeper! With their first goal the shot was hard and I thing he saw it late.

Having tried to be balanced on McCarthy I think he should have been dropped after Norwich because he was crap in that game!

deanosfc8 added 20:58 - Dec 2
At last some decent posts to read rather than the pathetic dribble about sacking the manager. Agree with most posts about AM, maybe its out of Ralph's hands about playing FF, who knows.

stmichael added 23:35 - Dec 2
Agree it’s time for a change..
But unfair to do an article on the GK last night and not mention the point saving save he made from Harvey Barnes…

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