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Southampton At Brighton The Verdict
Monday, 25th Apr 2022 10:34

Ralph Hasenhuttl rang the changes after the defeat at Burnley, but not a lot changed initially, but the good news was that they dug in got a goal back and in the second half looked a lot more like the side that had looked so good earlier in the season.

Saints could not have got off to a worse start when a mix up gifted Brighton an opening goal in the first couple of minutes, the first half was not a pretty sight for the visiting supporters but it looked like the team would get in at half time only a goal down and the chance to regroup after seeing Tino Livramento stretchered off a few minutes earlier.

But then came more Fred Karno's defending when Mohamed Salisu put through his own goal with a minute to go before the break.

That meant that many Saints supporters didn't see James Ward Prowse's free kick a couple of minutes later that reduced the deficit after streaming to the concourses, but that gave Saints the impetus they needed after the break.

They came out a different team and pushed the Seagulls back and it was no surprise when James Ward Prowse fired home a low drive on 54 minutes to complete the come back.

Brighton had their moments afterwards including a disallowed goal, but it was Saints who probably felt they deserved the three points come the final whistle.

So what could we take from this draw, firstly that several players are still going through dodgy patches, Mo Salisu can't put a foot right at present and is going through possibly the first dip in form in hie career, he is good enough to play through it and come out a better and stronger player.

The same could also be said for Armando Broja who started on the bench after a series of poor games and came on for the last 11 minutes.

It was good to see that Nathan Redmond & Nathan Tella started the game and put in good shifts, the midfield dominated the second half and drove the side forward.

Up front Che Adams and Shane Long played as a pair and put in a lot of hard work that has been missing up front of late.

So a point that did little for either side, Saints are now heading for the final four games of the season looking more to next season than this, there is plenty of good things in place in the squad, but the truth is that there are still key areas to sort out.

Up front it is far from certain where Armado Broja will be playing next season, a couple of months ago he was the hottest ticket in town being linked to all and sundry, but his form since then has been patchy and the transfer talk has died down a little.

Perhaps this will work in Saints favour as the Albanian from Slough will obviously aware that he still is in a learning curve and that to go for a big team for a big fee will perhaps be a bit early for him at the moment, another season on loan at St Mary's might serve him well.

So the job now for Saints is twofold, firstly to gain as many points as they can and finish as high as they can, but secondly and perhaps more importantly, begin the planning for next season, find out who will be staying and who we will be looking to ship out.

This season is just about job done, we have secured our place in the Premier League for an 11th consecutive season comfortably, it is now all about what we do next season that truly matters now.

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halftimeorange added 10:52 - Apr 25
Good to see Adams and Tella get meaningful game time and whilst Shane put in his usual shift but, how long we can rely on him to fill in when the cracks up front are showing remains to be seen. The coaching side really needs to be looked at. The two halves of this match further highlighted just how inconsistent a side we are. Stuart Armstrong is a prime example of a really gifted footballer who drifts in and out from one game to another. That really shouldn't be the case. Nathan Redmond is another. If Ralph is not the problem then his support staff must be culpable. Hopefully, the new regime will have highlighted this rectifiable shortcoming which has existed for several seasons.

SaintNick added 10:59 - Apr 25
I have been banging on about the coaching staff Ralph has been given, hopefully the new owners will be looking at this and it will be revamped

StEdmund added 11:02 - Apr 25
Did anyone notice that Shaun Long was first to Tino when he was injured. Top man.

wessexman added 11:08 - Apr 25
How many times have we seen Saints start a game so lacklustre, so on the back foot where we are chasing the game because the opposition has capitalised and we cannot retrieve the game. This is far from the first time we have seen this. JWP's goal could not have come at a better time. Full marks to the team for pulling back a situation which threatened to get out of control. I was high up in the gods with the Brighton fans and they were bemoaning their lack of goals.... As for are right. The amount of times Bednarek threw his arms up in the air in despair at Salisu... There seems to be a desperate lack of coaching at the club at the moment. ALSO......we shall see what our new owners are made of because, as sure as eggs are eggs, expect some bids for JWP come the summer...

PaleRider added 11:21 - Apr 25
I agree with the comments about the coaching staff - this is where a complete overhaul is needed, including a strong number 2 for Ralph. I though Tella and Adams actually played quite well.

My overwhelming impression whenever I go to Brighton is that they epitomise what happens when commercial interests take over. Nice ground, well run club but soulless atmosphere and painfully quiet fans. I suggested to one of the after the game that you couldn't really call them supporters as they don't actually support the team - not a happy bunny! I thought our support yesterday was good - trying to lift the team even after going 2 down in terrible fashion and fewer anti-Pompey songs.

ItchenNorth added 11:21 - Apr 25
Changes had to be made to the starting 11 following the shambolic performance by some players (well all) midweek. Ralph is at least a manager who has the bottle to mix things up, be it personal or formation. Unfortunately there's little a manager can do when an individual makes mistakes and Salisu was involved in both yesterday. A great goal, just in the wrong net !

The team showed fight though and JWP will get the headlines and rightfully so, but this showed me more than ever, that Ralph hasn't lost the dressing room (like some say), it's about player application. Players need to stand up and fight. It's all too easy to look elsewhere for excuses, but if you have the shirt, ya need to fight for or go elsewhere.

Saints have every chance to finish the season well; if they want it!

In Ralph we trust.

davidargyll added 12:05 - Apr 25

If we rewind to before Christmas, Saints were doing things differently to now, ie going hammer and tongs at the oppo from the off and hoping to get an early goal or two; but then we tended to get knackered early, concede, generally more than once, and lose; remember we were rated the team giving up most early leads.

Now the game plan has changed and seems to be: conserve energy, soak up early pressure, hit them on the break, and/or win late on. But, as we have seen in all our recent games, FF apart, our defence (especially against dead ball situations) simply hasn’t been good enough for this to work without huge slices of luck so we have still ended up chasing.

In other words neither tactic works consistently with the squad we’ve got. Teams underperform because they have poor DEfence not OFfence, so, as has been said numerous times, some serious work needs to be done on upgrading our back line in the next few months or we will be well stuffed next season.

The fact remains though that, despite our defensive failings, we are still capable of successfully harrying a lot of teams of similar quality, so long as everyone really puts in a shift, something that was sadly lacking throughout the Burnley game and only picked up in H2 vs BHA.

And as for Sunday’s game, where would be be without JWP? Relegation fodder probably, because without his 10 goals we’d likely be 7 or 8 points worse off and down with the dead men. Similarly, where would we be without Salisu? Conceivably inside the top 10, because I reckon he has cost us at least six goals this season, conceivably more, which is worth three or four places in the PL. I know many disagree with me but I continue to think he is vastly overrated and his performance on Sunday said it all; and if Nick you really think yesterday was his first dip in form, you clearly need to go to Specsavers, because, if he is the answer to our defensive woes, God knows what the question is…

In summary then, a typical end-of-season, nothing-to-play-for local derby and a draw was the likely and fairest result.

PS. Newcastle under Eddie Howe, suddenly are into the top half and I would say it is entirely because, from 15 league outings since the turn of the year, they have kept six clean sheets and only conceded more than one goal on one occasion. How was this achieved? After he left Bournemouth he went round several foreign clubs in a year or so and STUDIED HOW BEST DEFENCES DO THEIR JOB, and look at the result! I think RH could do a lot worse than look how Eddie does it. (And yes, I have changed my view of him, from “not very good” to “one of the best”).

SonicBoom added 12:27 - Apr 25
I thought Long was just here to be an impact sub. Now he's seen as the man to start games ahead of Broja and Adam Armstrong. I simply don't get it. He doesn't score any goals and guess what, he didn't score again. I understand what people think he brings in the last ten minutes but why he's suddenly preferred up front is yet another tactical decision Ralph makes that I find baffling.

JoeEgg added 12:43 - Apr 25
More of the same and often a total shambles at the back. I agree with DavdArgyll - Eddie Howe would have sorted this mess out and I even wonder if he would have been prepared to work initially alongside Ralph. We missed a great opportunity there and will just have to sit back and watch the revolution at Newcastle.

wrathoftazz added 13:48 - Apr 25
ANOTHER sh1t show. No def, lacklustre mid field and if it wasn't for Foster (again) and JWP, we would have lost yet another game due to dodgy tatics, no motivation and no desire.

Ralph DIDNT want a number 2, check back in his interviews... so that is a BS excuse to justify him staying. He made that decision, live with it.

His record is WORSE than Puel, yet all of you were quick for him to be given the boot. Actually, checking the stats, he has the WORST stats in a long LONG time. FACTS!!!

We will be relegated IF he stays. I'm not sure what the Ralph lovers on here are clinging to. He maybe a nice guy, he may have changed the stuff in the background but what difference does that make should we be relegated??

He should have gone (as any manager) after the numerous drubbings... but they kept him on... the owners need to grow a set and move on. We lost out on Howel, all of u said nah he's crap, yet look where they are now.. lets not make the SAME mistakes again.

There is not a single argument left for Ralph to stay, especially the usual "who would u rather" nonsense. He is useless, a one trick pony and a drain on resources.

In Ralph we trust? Really? Why?? How many seasons? How many drubbings? How many more sh1t shows do we (paying fans) have to sit through??

Farlow added 13:59 - Apr 25
Totally Agree with Sonic boom,a major retrograde step to start Shane Long he really should give Adam Armstrong some game time.Thought Tella and Che were excellent.Avery entertaining game and a great fight back to get a point.

landsdownsaint added 17:35 - Apr 25
Ralph’s done a good job & long may it continue. Remember them 2 managers who achieved a tiny bit more success than RH ? MP RK both of whom used saints as a stepping stone too further their careers & soon as an offer came in they were gone , managers like them don’t wanna manage us , we’ve actually got a manager who’s every bit as capable of them 2 &!loves the club , doesn’t that mean something too some supporters who constantly berate him ? Give the man a break ! We’re mid table & theirs no manager out there who’d take us any higher & if their was they’d do the usual 2 season stint … careful what u wish for

ElijahK added 23:37 - Apr 25
I think Landsdownsaint has hit the nail on the head here. As we’re higher than what most people put us down to finish at this season, and for what he’s got has done pretty decent.

I mean he’s made up for every poor result with a great one, like how our results against the top 7 this season has been great, with only Chelsea doing the double on us (and most likely Liverpool) with us getting just as many/more points against them than they got against us, which you could argue is equalled by us not being able to do the double over any team (other than maybe Brentford) all season. But as much as there’s room for improvement and such, the fact is that Ralph always makes up for the poor results, which is the difference between us being mid table and in the relegation battle.

As like Landsdownsaint said, we ain’t gonna get any better managers, so why swap? As I see some on here going on about Howe, but if you’ve seen how he’s done at Newcastle, which has been decent in all fairness, he wasn’t the greatest for the first month or so, but when a certain transfer market popped up and they spent more than anyone else, and basically changed most of their strongest 11, they then started getting the results, which at the end of the day, was mainly down to money, which is exactly why we (along with many others) can’t ever challenge the top regularly anymore, whilst the teams with the major money, can, which even some of them (Everton, Villa and such) not even doing great. But unless this new owner actually puts a bit of money into the club, then we won’t be finishing much higher than where we’ll be finishing this season, no matter who’s in charge.

underweststand added 08:37 - Apr 27
Thankfully JWP is a player who takes his goal chances, and might even have got himself a hat-trick with a late shot that was only inches wide. We looked much better second half and had enough chances to have got all 3 points. The same cannot be said of the others who get goal chances. Everyone compliments Long for his strong runs, and Adams for his tough terrier-like attitude but we rarely see their names on the score sheet. Sadly, Broja does not impress in a lone striker role, and gets very little ball-time to exploit.
(The recent poll dealing with "a fantasy return of Danny Ings" maybe only be pure supposition, but he was a player who understood our set-up and made it work for him).

Fans seem split on Ralph's favoured 4-2-2-2 start sides, but the problem may not be the formation, but the players who get the shirts. After arriving Redmond looked top class with his driving left wing attacks, and Stuart Armstrong has also commented on Ralph's ongoing efforts to change his role and we rarely see the best of either player.

Nathan Tella looked good on his return but got hard punishment from Brighton defenders for his unrelenting aggressive attacking moves. Hopefully he will be fit for Palace game.
We came away with one point, but with 13 drawn games, one has to wonder where we might be in the table - had we scored that extra goal in a few of those matches.


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