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Saints At Klagenfurt The Verdict
Tuesday, 19th Jul 2022 09:09

It was all change at Half time for Saints at Klagenfurt but it was no change in the score line by the end of the game as although we had the better chances we failed to take them including a missed penalty.

The first thing to recognise is that this was all part of the summer training camp although judging by social media this was a cup final that we lost according to some fans, the first half saw a line up that potentially only included two players likely to start the season in the first XI in Oriol Romeo and Che Adams.

There were a couple of good chances though with the woodwork being hit twice, but the emphasis was on passing the ball and getting used to a new way of playing.

Half time saw all change aside from Alex McCarthy who played the entire game, this saw the tempo picked up and Saints dominated and should have taken the lead but Adam Armstrong saw his penalty saved.

Social media was awash after the game with Saints fans predicting doom and gloom this coming season, however given that this was a mixed bag of players not a lot can be taken from the result and it was clear to the 150 or so Saints fans present that they were not witnessing a side looking to win the game, but two sides looking to get a feeling for the ball and the new formations that Ralph Hasenhuttl will want to employ this season.

Of course we want to see results go our way pre season, but that isn’t the main aim and we know our business in the transfer window isn’t done yet, we need a striker so there is no use bemoaning a lack of goals until either we have a striker come in who doesn’t score or we have failed to sign one, with three weeks to go before the season starts there is still a long way to go in our preparations.

So there were enough positives from this game to give hope for the season, the squad is bigger and has more depth, it just needs to see a quality striker arrive.

Photo: Action Images

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IanRC added 09:16 - Jul 19
Thought Smallbone was very good and Diamond Edwards looks a good prospect. Lyanco impressed too. Disappointing to see McCarthy in goal but fortunately he had little to do.

davidargyll added 10:50 - Jul 19
Sorry Nick but I think what you saying - that pre-season scores don’t matter - is rubbish. Had we won each game you would have crowing like a cock on heat. So now you’re relying on the old excuse for failure, ie we are trying out formations from which you cannot expect fantastic things. But presumably you try formations that you think are going to work. And last night they clearly didn’t.
I only watched the second half of which frankly was pretty tawdry although I thought Ariibo and Latvia showed promise.
The commentator said Smallbone was good in H1 which was nice to hear. But The rest of our forwards were awful, with Adam Armstrong and Djneppo in particular showing that they have not improved one iota since last season. Cr*p they were and cr*p they remain.
Watford on Saturday will be interesting, if only to show how we compare with the Championship teams. Only a decent win will stop me from getting really depressed ahead of what is surely going to be a really tough 22/23…

JoeEgg added 11:02 - Jul 19
"new formations that Ralph Hasenhuttl will want to employ this season."

Ever the dreamer Nck - dreaming of another glorious 15th place if we can achieve enough 0-0 draws to gain the necessary points!

With Adams and Armstrong as the only route at the moment to a goal, even 15th place will be unobtainable. Where are the forwards we so badly need? Even if we acquire one they will have missed pre-season football.

So you think Ralph has new formations?!!! Keep dreaming.
We dont just need new formations we need strikers and a new manager!

Boris1977 added 11:10 - Jul 19
Optimism is at a premium for Saints supporters. The only thing I hope for is a football team from my hometown to support and that's the extent of my optimism.

It's clear we cannot compete with teams outside the bottom half of this league and this moneyball model is fine for teams like Doncaster who tried a similar system several years ago but for a premiership team it's a dead end with diminishing returns.

My expectation has been low for 5 seasons and nothing has changed over the past few years and without competent CBs, no threat up front and some un-utilised talent in midfield.

Can anyone shed light on the point of McCarthy playing preseason friendlies? Do the opposition need near post scoring practice?

Maybe Ralph is content to pick up his pay packet regardless of results results until he retires in 2024 as he's certainly under performed for the last few years but it doesn't bode well for the future success of the club.

At least all you needed to do for the last two match reports is dust down the template from the last few seasons Nick. I don't think you'll need to reach for the thesaurus over the coming season - you've written it all before.

Together as one

SaintPaulVW added 11:18 - Jul 19
Just cannot get too excited. We rarely win in August so I can't get too bothered about pre-season warm ups. Players aren't match fit, are in odd formations and may even be looking over their shoulder at an upcoming move that an injury could scupper.

Some players looked good, some looked off the pace. The only slight downer was the missed penalty. Hey ho.

AirFlorida added 11:22 - Jul 19
Nice attempt at a political spin. Facts are we are no stronger than last season and have to look forward to another season of hoping at least two of the newly promoted sides are worse than us (one of the three normally has a good season) and hoping that we can compete with another equally poor Prem team (like Leeds) to avoid the drop. Let's hope JWP stays fit because I can't see anyone else getting close to double figures next season.

highfield49 added 11:27 - Jul 19
The desire for supporters to see positive results is natural but pre season training ups and downs are certainly not worthy of the doom and gloom social media melt down by some. I watched some of the match on the official site and certainly didn't feel the need to watch the entire game as it was clearly a fitness and tactical exercise. Just a couple of observations therefore, firstly, I suspect that I'm not alone in dreading the thought of McCarthy starting in goal. From my perspective his already poor concentration levels are going to amplify without crowd support and his errors are going to cost us goals every game. Secondly, from the parts of pre season I've watched, Smallbone should not go on loan anywhere and certainly not if the likes of Elyounissi and Djenepo are given selection preference. Early days of course but I'm hoping that JWP is available soon, unless he's considering a move elsewhere, and we sign someone from somewhere who can put the ball in the net regularly.

davidargyll added 11:48 - Jul 19
On the subject of McCarthy, here’s my theory to why he was played:
1. Ahead of the take over, the management were wetting themselves that, with Forster on his way, they might be short in the GK department, so against their better judgement they reluctantly sign him up again. This reluctance explains the lack of admission that they gave him a new contract halfway through last season - and a similar argument also applies to Jack Stephens.
2. In comes the new bunch who are horrified but are stuck with him - well done his agent I say.
3. Rasmus et al are so pissed off by this ludicrous waste of money that they fire all the back room staff.
4. Desperate to get him off the books, he is played in all the pre season games in the hope that someone, anyone might make an offer; wishful thinking inevitably but you never know…
5. So we are stuck, the only hope being that the new coaching staff will somehow improve him - silk purses and sows ears come to mind…


TeamCortese added 12:04 - Jul 19
What we need are two decent strikers (with Che & Adam Armstrong as backups), a left back to challenge Perraud, Adama Traore if the rumours are to be true that he's worth £10m and a creative midfielder in Jan. Now some of you would disagree on Adama but the reality is he is far superior to the rest of our wingers and is approaching the peak years of his career at 26. If the coaching staff can get the best out of him (through bettering his end product, mindset, positional awareness and fitness) we'd have an absolute world beater. We could even recoup a resale value if the move works out after a couple of years or so.

We also need to clear out the deadwood. More specifically, Nathan Redmond, Tella, possibly Djenepo, Walcott, possibly Valery (depending on Tino's injury), Stephens, and McCarthy.

We need to keep Jan B and promote Simeu or possibly even buy the Chelsea lad Levi Colwill.

Strikerwise, I'd like to see us buy two of any of the following: Dembele (Lyon), Kalajdzic, Delap, and Cornet.

If we don't address the above then we're definitely going to struggle this season and likely be embroiled in a relegation fight. We were lucky last season to have an in-form JWP, KWP, and to a lesser extent Salisu, Broja, and Forster.

Block8 added 12:05 - Jul 19
Good displays by Smallbone and Edwards both need to stay with the first team.
It does show (and yes here I go again) that we do have some talent in our own academy that perhaps needs to be looked at before spending millions on untried players from elsewhere.
With only two strikers why didn't we take Ballard or Bellis and give them a run, you never know?

GRIM added 12:20 - Jul 19
No matter what formation you play this bunch of very average players in, it won't work.
It plain & simple we have a squad of players that are all of a similar standard, we need a few players that stand out as Premier lge players.
Ralph just doesn't know what system he wants to play so how are the players expected to know.
It showed last season when Ralph made his substitutions, there was no plan, we lost our shape & it was like watching a bunch of schoolboys having a kick about.
You can't necessarily blame the players, they can't help not being very good & I'm sure most of them are trying to the best of their ability.
These games might only be friendlies but we should be getting into the habit of winning them. The playing systems & formations should have been sorted on the training ground.
Obviously friendlies are an opportunity to raise the fitness levels ready for the first lge match, but if you can play well & win them it's good preparation for the lge games.
I've watched the 2 friendlies & apart Bazuna I've not seen anything to get enthusiastic about.
We may have a bigger squad but it does not look any better than the last few seasons.

WoolstonSaint2 added 12:25 - Jul 19
We have a rubbish squad. No PL quality aside from JWP and KWP, that is it. Pre-season does matter, to get our shape, work ethic, and mentality right. It is clear nothing has changed at all. We can't even beat Klagenfartypants FC or score against them. Same old excuses from Ralph, 4 years now....15th or lower once again. We are desperate for 3 or 4 decent players to improve us significantly.

Flamingbankers added 13:16 - Jul 19
Being realistic it is surely difficult to be optimistic with our current squad. Last season we only escaped relegation by two wins ( otherwise we'd have gone down not Burnley by 1 point). In other words Broja's performances in the two away wins at Spurs and West Ham. At the time Broja was fully committed to performing and Spurs and West Ham just couldn't cope with him. Unless we buy a sticker of his calibre I can't see us getting 10 wins and 10 draws to avoid relegation. Aribo seems useful but he's not a prolific goal scorer. Another two areas have to be looked at: the defence and the midfield ( and that's presuming Buzuna plays in goal)! We need a strong, creative player at the heart of the midfield (JWP needs somebody like that alongside him but currently no-one fits that bill although we scraped-by last season. Lavia is more of a holding player) and assured players in all defensive positions - this is possible but with all the chopping and changing that there's likely to be ( like last season) I can't see us keeping less goals out than last year. So I'm looking forward to the arrival of at least two quality players to keep us in the Premiership.

schatfield added 13:31 - Jul 19
Sounds like all the so-called fans above should sod off and support Liverpool or someone else. Clearly they are going to be annoyed and angry all season, so what's the point of watching and cheering on your team? You are likely the same lot that boo your own players when they are struggling cos that will motivate them of course. Good site and article Nick, appreciate the work you do.

felly1 added 13:51 - Jul 19
Are we going to struggle this season?... Highly Likely.
If we removed Ralph would we improve.. Highly unlikely
Do we need a new striker and will we sign one... Highly likely.
Should we put the club in a financially perilous position with a smallish fan base and small worldwide merchandising clout....No Thankyou.
Are pre season friendly results important.. Of course not.
Are the Angry Brigade sharpening their knives for the coming season?... You betcha!!

WoolstonSaint2 added 13:52 - Jul 19
We do cheer on our team, very much so. Almost 50 years in my case. We're just sick of mediocrity, or worse. Sick of numerous poor performances. Why should we happily go along with all the garbage we've been dished up continually the past 4 years? Unless you are ok with 15th place and a Championship standard squad? #notahappyclapper

I_would added 14:26 - Jul 19
Wait until the end of the season. Draw 38 lines under the poor performances (plus cup games) and move on to season 2023-2024. At least that's what Nick will be doing and it's better than being miserable and suffering every week. Why enjoy watching Saints, it's asking too much?

GRIM added 14:30 - Jul 19
I've never booed the team, never would & probably most of the fans that take the trouble to post a comment wouldn't boo the team either.
But we care about the club & we're not blind, we can see what's happening to the club & don't like what we see.
Just wish those that run the club could see it as well.

Peterx added 15:38 - Jul 19
Personally I would be happy if we continue our strategy of getting an up and coming type players for the front positions (like DeLap) and then supplement that with something more proven like a Dembele (that would be Christmas in July).

I liked the look of Aribo, Lavia and Bela-Kotchap considering it is really early days.

I also think with 5 subs Djenepo and Smallbone will step up quickly with more time on the pitch.

I think we can do what we did last year, which was to give some of the better sides a good run and then because of the 5 subs and the (hopefully) improved coaching team not lose as many from winning positions, to give us more comfortable mid table and perhaps 8th, 9th if we outperform.

Also if you look at our squad I would say everyone apart from Walcott, McCarthy and possibly Romeu are in decline at a personal level whereas every one else is moving into their peak years or in their peak years.

The standard of the league does get better every year but I am positive given some astute striker business that we can do ok.

Colburn added 17:54 - Jul 19
I have to defend Nick here, shock-horror. The pre-season results are pretty irrelevant, teams from different countries and within England are at different stages of their fitness building, etc. In the past Nick has always added notes of caution after winning pre-season games and to be fair, these last two games have meant nothing, merely a run out for the younger, newer and fringe players to gain time on the pitch in the new shirt..
My concern is that we have not brought in the most important aspects of our transfer needs. We know we have a huge problem creating and scoring goals and it's very disappointing to be without the two new strikers we need, both of whom have to be better than what we have. But whoever comes in now will not be ready for the start as they all have to learn the Ralph way first. To be rejected for Delap, if true, does not fill me with hope. These negotiations should have occurred long before now and the club really needs to walk the talk.. So if we can bring players in before we sell, then why, when we knew that Long and Broja would be gone, have we failed to put their claims into practice? Now we are more likely to be held to ransom because the rumours suggest we are willing to pay a decent fee for a new striker and clubs know we are bordering on desperate.. Poor club management for me.

saintmark1976 added 19:48 - Jul 19
Colburn, “Poor club management for me” appears to sum up the club at all levels unfortunately.

Three and a half weeks to the first home game and I haven’t received the two season tickets I purchased and paid for in May. Additionally I’ve not been able to renew my match day car parking space which I need due to ongoing mobility problems. When last I spoke with the ticket office I was told “ the club hasn’t yet finalised contract details with off stadium car parking site providers”. Why? they have had weeks to do it since early May when the last season finished.

Every season it’s the same, yet the club appears never to learn, giving the impression that us fans are just something of an after thought. Given that the bulk of the club's revenue comes from T V, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as to how we are treated. Sad nonetheless.


PeterL22 added 11:29 - Jul 21
My feeling is that it’s another 90 mins of my life I won’t get back. Take homes for me -
1Adam Armstrong should never take another penalty - truly awful effort.
2 Smallbone pick of first half and Lavia looks like a good buy!
3 KWP MUST play at right back with Aribo in front of him - a potentially good combo.
4 Concerns that JWP played zero mins (even though away with England). Need to see him T Ruislip on Saturday to reassure me
5. Not sure why Lis bought- another with zero game time.

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