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Saints V Manchester United The Verdict
Sunday, 1st Sep 2019 09:37

A great game at St Mary's with action a plenty and Saints having to battle adversity with injury and poor refereeing seemingly all against them.

It felt like a win when the final whistle blew, such was the battle Saints had come through with injury, poor refereeing and to be blunt an off par performance as putting us at a disadvantage.

Saints were missing 4 players with injury, meaning that Ralph Hasenhuttl had to reshuffle his pack and surprisingly also finding time to also drop a player with Yan Valery dropping to the bench and Cedric Soares coming into the side.

It looked a little disjointed starting with a back four with Kevin Danso as left back and a midfield that had no real width and two up top with Che Adams clearly desperately needing to get a goal.

But we started well before United hit us on 10 minutes, it was a very similar goal to the one that Sadio Mane scored a couple of weeks ago, with the defenders failing to close down Daniel James and letting him get in a shot that rocketed into the top corner leaving Gunn with no chance.

For a while Manchester United where on top, Saints lack a leader on field, you could see that there was absolutely no talking and on several occasions United got chances where a simple word telling a player there was someone behind him would have stopped the situation dead.

This is the major problem for Saints, no one talks, when Matic came on for United in the 68th minute he did more organising in his first 30 seconds than any of our players did in 90 minutes.

Mike Dean was also doing us no favours, maybe i'm biased but it seemed to me that United got every decision, his booking of Kevin Danso was farcical in that it was a nothing foul where Danso had barely touched their man and United players had got away with a lot less, this would have big repercussions later.

But we were playing a United side who don't have a lot under the surface, they had plenty of the ball, plenty of shots but few real chances, they looked good in the centre of the park passing it around, but they couldn't hit the killer pass.

As the hour mark approached the game changed, Saints had been in the ascendancy and won a corner, it was met with a superb Danny Ings header that produced a great save from De Gea, the ball fell to Kevin Danso in the corner of the penalty area, he put in a pin point curling cross that JWP would have been proud of and Jannik Vestergaard met it perfectly to bring us level.

Saints now looked most likely to go on and win the game United had no appetite for a fight with the likes of Paul Pogba happy to go through the motions but not break sweat and he was not the only one for the visitors.

But on 73 minutes the game swung again, there is no doubt that Kevin Danso had to make the challenge and no doubt it was a yellow, but Dean's booking of him in the first half meant that he had to go.

Now Saints were on the back foot, but they dug in and fought tooth and nail, United ploughed forward but they lacked passion, they lacked flair, they lacked invention and although they had shots, they had few real chances aside from a couple of fairly straight forward saves for Angus Gunn.

Oriol Romeu was Saints man of the match, he lead by example and encouraged his team mates to match his efforts which they did.

The real difference between this and the first two games of the season was our willingness to get in tackles, we went to ground and blocked shots and crosses, something we failed to do especially against Burnley.

But against United our central defenders blocked and tackled meaning that the shots never reached our goal, pleasing to see and it has made a big difference.

Ralph Hasenhuttl used his subs well bringing on Yoshida to slot in at left back and Stuart Armstrong to replace Boufal, he had already brought on Shane Long for Che Adams a few minutes before the equaliser.

It was a tense finish and for once no one was leaving early even to avoid the queues on the stairs and bridge, the final whistle was received with a huge roar, it felt like a win !

All in all the point means we have made a solid start to the season, it was a tough opening four games and the Burnley game aside we have performed well and a point a game average is good, of course more would have been better, but we would have taken this at the start.

This game told us a lot, it told us that we lack organisation on the pitch, sometimes we get away with it and at others we won't, it told us that we have a squad that doesn't lack heart and fight and will win us points and games over a season.

Things are still far from perfect, but we can move forward with confidence and the hope is we can stabilise our position in mid table in the first half of the season and then perhaps in January bring in the organiser in the back four we clearly need.

The one question it did not tell us though was the one regarding Sofiane Boufal, he had some classy moments, not least early on when he pulled a shot an inch wide, but was his overall performance good enough to suggest that when everyone is fit he would be near the starting line up ? The jury is out !

Photo: Action Images

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deanderwent added 09:58 - Sep 1
No mention of our new secret weapon, the Danso long throw.

saintnik added 10:44 - Sep 1
Absolutely no chance of any organiser arriving in January. They had 3 transfer windows to sort it out and have made no attempt. Incompetence of the mgmt team.

davidargyll added 11:16 - Sep 1
I know it’s early days but am I alone in thinking that Che Adams may not quite be the answer to all our problems up front and is a touch of the “good in championship but well short of class for the PL” type of player?! Or is the team without Nathan Redmond the reason for his seeming complete lack of impact yesterday? No prizes for guessing which camp I’m in.
Danso though I reckon IS class. And is he really only 20? What a performance yesterday; I think he is the Best Buy we’ve made for years.

deanosfc8 added 11:27 - Sep 1
I know where your coming from with regards to Adams, but I think its early days and confidence is everything. Im glad he got a decent reception when he went off, the last thing he would want is us on his back so lets back him and hopefully he will come good in time.

landerwal added 11:27 - Sep 1
Sorry but the above sounds like an excuse for a poor Manchester United showing. Yes, United did not manage to score when we were down to 10 men, but that was down Saints playing with more passion and commitment , not United's lack of it. Matic may "organised" his team when he came on, but they still did not score. I disagree that Saints were disorganized on the field because if we are so bad why in the last three matches have we only conceded three goals against the runaway leaders of the Premiership and European champions and two other teams in the top half of the table. We are defending better than the last few seasons and this game reflected that. If we start scoring more goals, who knows what we could achieve this season.

landsdownsaint added 12:07 - Sep 1
I think Redmond & DJenepo would’ve hurt Utd ,Boufal dons well , my disappointment was JWP I just didn’t think he wanted the ball first half , Romeu was incredible ... great day & to see Danny Wallace made it even better

mattthelegend added 13:08 - Sep 1
Started well for the first 10 minutes and then lost our way a bit after that, second half we were much a better and for a terrible refereeing decision would have probably gone on to win it. Boufal I thought had a good game aside from Romeu, Vestergaard and Bednarek, what has happened to JWP obviously still living off the goals of last season!!! Went home happy which is the main thing. 😇😇

EvertonSaint added 13:40 - Sep 1
I have to agree with the comments about JWP. His normal attacking flair has disappeared and several times the crowd were on his back for lack of forward balls. Too many passed backwards. Maybe Danso alongside Romeu in centre midfield? He has the speed, skill and not afraid to tackle.
Overall a good performance...we have now banished the Mark Hughes memories to the dustbin....showing much more effort, determination and team camaraderie.....COYR

halftimeorange added 14:14 - Sep 1
I believe that Che Adams needs to work harder, something pointed out to him earlier in his career by Nigel Adkins when they were both at Sheffield United. Also, on yesterday's evidence, he needs to recognise where he is supposed to be in relation to his teammates, particularly Danny Ings. I do recall that Graziano Pelle took an age to score when he arrived at Saints. He couldn't hit a barn door but, eventually scrambled home a goal in a cup-tie away at Millwall. He then went on to net 23 times in 68 appearances. Goalscorers don't generally lose their touch - as Billy Sharp (generously released by the Saints) has shown. They go through poor patches, but then go on a run a la James Beattie. We haven't seen enough of Che to pass considered judgement and, as deanosfc8 said, we need to support him. If he doesn't work out then Dan N'Lundulu is waiting in the wings and he's no slouch and has more height on his side (1.83M).

bstokesaint added 14:51 - Sep 1
I’ll take a point against a ‘top 6 side’. It’s something we struggled with last season. Danso looks like he may be the missing link. Shame about the red card, but hardly surprising. Young, raw, tenacious defender and ageing, incompetent ref and voila.. Would like to have seen us on 6 points by now, but 4 is respectable from a fairly tough start.

RedandWight added 15:15 - Sep 1
Danso IS the defender we've been missing; power, speed and a 'get stuck in' tackler! Red Card, Yes but he'll learn. Class - a rough diamond!

Saintsforeverj added 15:27 - Sep 1
I was really happy with the point in the end. The team showed resilience with 10 men. Vestergaard was excellent and what a good sign that is: that he is clearly improving to become a great player. Danso was excellent. Yes, he made a mistake with the tackle but Ralph's honesty after the match that he is should have taken him off, was refreshing too. Looking at the table after a really tough start, to see Saints 13th and only 3 points off 5th, is cause for optimism, I think. Ralph is building a young team that is clearly improving. Things are not perfect, sure but give it time and I am sure that Ralph will get it right.

helpineedsomebody added 15:45 - Sep 1
when the front 6 are all available they are all going to give the BIG 6 real problems + where do you play kevin by all accounts benny & janick played well yesterday so he may not be going in there yet. but if you paired him with pierre in midfield what a PAIR OF POWER HOUSES we would have there . i might be getting a bit radical now but what ive seen of this boy he is better than VVD when he 1st played for us . we now have a top4 player in our team now .

underweststand added 18:32 - Sep 1
Che Adams .(and Danny Ings for that matter) will come good in time, and though we didn't see goals from them, good chances were created, and next time they may go in.

Those who have posted above have covered most of the main points...Danso (and Djenepo) will have to learn about the Prem. PDQ....but they both look good prospects.
Boufal looks more like a new signing. Gone is the selfish, sulky individualist, but suddenly he has become a very good team player, and made a good sub. for Redmond.

Bednarek and Vestergaard are beginning to look like the real thing as first choice CB's, and although Valery will come again, it was nice to see a good contribution from Cedric.

Romeu looks to be back to the form he had a couple of years ago, and PEH did a captain's job, but does look a bit uncomfortable playing so far back. His best games have been playing alongside Romeu as DM's.

YES... I agree JWP hasn't set the World alight, but he does form a good partnership with Redmond which hasn't developed - so far this season.

We are 4 points better off than we were after the Liverpool game, and when we get everyone fit agai , and string together some results a more comfortable mid-table spot will feel a whole lot better.

Oh ..and Man Utd...I think OGS will have his work cut out moulding together a new team in the short term, and MU fans aren't the most patient in the Prem. All those years with Ferguson at the helm made them real champions. Yesterday they looked like an ordinary mid-table side for certain periods of the game.
Had we not lost Danso, we might well have taken the other two points as well.

SaintBrock added 21:18 - Sep 1
Fair report Nick. Agree, Romeu MotM by a country mile. Mike Dean totally out-of-sorts with many strange decisions. VAR is supposed to sort out red card issues but wasn't used to check that first booking which looked unfairly harsh to me. Was it because he is big and looks mean?

Boufal to be fair had his first start for over a year so certainly isn't match for for 90 mins. He needs some time in the team to settle and a little patience from the manager. He did show us a few moments of magic that no other player on the pitch could hope to match. We need a truly unpredictable creative player like him to unlock doors.

Cedric did OK also for a second start but he has to remember to get touch tight on his man and not stand off him for too long. Quite rightly he was trying to channel James to the outside but giving him a yard of space allowed the Man U youngster to cut back inside to use his right foot. Touch tight and James could not have done that.

We could spend several years discussing the short-comings of James Ward Drosse but with luck he'll be retired before then.

SaintBrock added 21:29 - Sep 1
The omission of Bertrand yet again is a concern. If he's being shut out by Hutch because of a spat over his substation at Brighton then shame on the manager for being so bloody petty minded. I'd hoped he was m such bigger than that.

kristianJ added 22:07 - Sep 1
Good shout for Romeu as MotM, I think he’s been excellent this season and seems to have got a bit of fire in his belly again. The two CBs played well although Bednarek was slow getting across to help Cedric out for their goal. Danso looks a good prospect, but he’s clearly not a leftback, I don’t know why Vokins isn’t at least on the bench, whilst I thought Danso put in a decent effort it would surely be better to have someone with a left foot playing at leftback. I thought the midfield 3 played well and I was impressed with the efforts they put in in harrying a mediocre Man Utd midfield. I am a tad worried about the front two who try hard but aren’t quite clicking. I was hoping Adams would have a bit more pace. He clearly needs more time but he was pretty wasteful with the ball. Finally I am still not convinced about Boufal his problem is his decision making rather than his effort. He gives the ball away too often to be a regular starter.

BoondockSaint added 01:30 - Sep 2
Happy with the point and the performance!

Of course, as usual, just when Saints are getting themselves sorted, and are ready to kick on........here comes an international break to throw them off stride!

Just curious-How many of you, like me, when the game is winding down and Saints are either up by one goal, or level, try to guess how many minutes of extra time is going to be added? ( I try to prepare myself for the stress.)

My system is to estimate the actual added time I think should be added then factor in the opposition:

Newly promoted or bottom 5 : Add nothing.
Perennial mid-table dwellers: Add another 2 minutes.
Big Six: Add minimum of another 4 minutes (of course if they score late in regulation, the whistle blows within 10 seconds.)


Colburn added 01:42 - Sep 2
Good effort all round. Its a bit early to knock some and heap too much praise on others. Che will be fine, it's not easy to settle straight away. Good to see Jannik have a great game alongside Bedders. Danso looks like he has a big future, just what was missing and he's clearly versatile. Very happy with Boufals performance, created the chance for Che and won the corner we scored from. He played 90 mins midweek and he's building back up to match sharpness. All players like him lose the ball a few times each game including Salah, but create a few moments which change games. Overall, we are improving and slowly gelling. 4 points is a solid start especially after losing the first 2! Romeu was outstanding, particularly in second half and deserves motm. Utd were poor, be surprised if they make top 6.

underweststand added 06:24 - Sep 2
AS a tailpiece to someof the above : Boondock Saint...Yes I try to reckon added time with the knowledge that every substitution ios calculated as 30 secs. and when every sub.is used that a standard 3 mins plus (by guess) 1 min. for an injury treated on the pitch.
Referees have an option to add-on time if they think there's been substantial time-wasting. After that? -well..your guess is as good as anyone's. Hence the infamous Fergie -time...and IMHO that equates with " Poch- time" nowadays considering the number of late goals that Spurs get in many games.

Which brings me to my point...Why is it that any time MU come to SMS and don't win ..alarm bells ring at Old Trafford. Are we so poor in their estimation?. With memories of the young MLT booting MU out of the League Cup in 1986, (and their bitter memories of 1976) ...losing even one point to us causes strong reaction in Manchester.
Dell defeats in the late 1990's (the 6-3 and those grey shirts) were typical lame excuses.
On (past) occasions, even Mourinho admitted that Saints were a good side - even when MU had just scraped a lucky win.

Yes they were short of some key players, but so were Saints...and TBF many have said that (had it not been for Danso's red card) we might have taken all 3 points.
Maybe our recent wins at OT is a factor, and it took an offside goal for them to win last season....certainly losing even one point to Saints shows their contempt for us.


LoisDeem added 10:56 - Sep 2
There's always contradictions in football, and Saturday's paradox was not catching United out by gaining the 3 points whilst two teams blew hot and cold.
Would Valery have been fitter and closer to Daniel James for their goal?
(James' performance otherwise was not M of M.)
Our Danso -whilst looking good -could also have cost us those three points.
JWP and PEH's unselfish running and work rate would have been more appreciated by his team mates than SB's and some of our myopic fan base.
I see a more flexible squad that is improving, know they can improve more, and strikers that will get goals. Unfortunately, I cannot see the future, but along with the best of the fanbase, still believe I can influence it positively.

davenbennett added 15:14 - Sep 2
Watched the game again, and spotted that the J WP
" handball" in the 1st half, hit his shoulder. Not only that, Young had his foot up at head height. Dangerous play, free kick to Saints and a yellow card. Young was booked in the game, so should have picked up two yellows, and been sent off.

djtsaints123 added 16:08 - Sep 2
Its amazing how we all see game differently. I thought Cedric was the worst player by far not backed up by Ward prowse who was in pass back mode again. Thought Vesterguard man of match but truthfully apart from when Boufal attacked from middle when on wing was totally in pocket of bissaka, we were totally toothless too many long balls but apart from james running cedric run ragged were very good in defense.
United also toothless in midfield thanks to pogba for another uninspiring display and Rashford having a day off.
Great result though.

IanRC added 22:26 - Sep 2
Looking at MOTD looked like Danso diverted the ball, referee chose not to see that though. Different rules apply to them with Young as mentioned above (similar to Vertonghan's unpunished attempt to remove Josh Sims head in the penalty area last season) and Maguire who was unpunished for a yellow card of fence just after he had been booked.

Patience is needed with Adams but it is so frustrating. Long still does a good job for us though. Presumably, Bertrand will be fit for next game to take up left back position and Danso coming back after suspension will be a big boost. Vaguely disappointed that we didn't win but I guess we shouldn't be greedy. Progress is being made.

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