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Saints Closing In On Salisu But Youth Is Not The Solution In The Centre Of Defence
at 11:18:35

Broadly I'm in agreement with Nick here. I can't understand why people get so worked up about Stephens being called out for making mistakes?? You only have to look at his performance against Man U this week to see a mixture of bad positioning, turning away from the ball, sloppy passes and lack of organisation that directly led to goals. Even in the barn storming performance agains Man City that he put in (in which yes, he did play very well) there were a number of instances where he was all over the place - the deflection off his back from Bernardo Silva that went just wide of the post springs to mind. It was his spirit in that game that shone through and he deserves a lot of credit for that, but he is nowhere near a premier league quality CB in my view.

As for Salisu, I'm excited about this guy. He looks like an absolute beast in the challenge at 21 years old. Youtube clips are of course notoriously misleading when it comes to assessing a player, but I notice in a lot of them he seems to be gesturing to other players around him and communicating quite a lot - despite his young age, does he already have the leadership qualities that we have been lacking?

In summary, yes a gamble but at 12 million or whatever it is it seems like good value for money at this point. An older / more experienced head to come in alongside Salisu would be perfect, but if that doesn't happen I wouldnt be too upset. Think Ralph has got it in him to fix up someone like this and he looks to fit the bill of the sort of player we seem to be aiming for these days
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Saints At Liverpool The Preview
at 05:01:21

Agree about putting JWP at rb, and bringing in Romeu ahead of him. If we play Danso again at right back I fear we will get absolutely killed. He gets so sucked in to the middle I can only imagine what any of Liverpool's attackers will do in the acres of space they will get. Got an inexplicably good feeling about this game! 1-1
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Hoedt Reveals Permanent Transfer Option At Antwerp.
at 12:18:01

Every time this guy makes statements in the media he comes across as a bit of a pr!ck. Regardless of how good he may or may not 'potentially' be, I can't imagine he's the best influence within the squad. Get rid at any opportunity. I'd take 8 quid for him
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Saints At Chelsea The Verdict
at 20:22:52

Totally agree with everything that's been said and especially Ralph's post match interview where he was fairly open about the fact he felt he had lost his own way somewhat. It is very rare to hear a premier league manager talk so openly and honestly about his own failings. Today and last week you could really sense a togetherness about the team which we have missed for much of this season. Perhaps that 9-0 really was the best thing that could have happened to us and you have to take your hat off to Ralph for turning it around. Buzzing tonight, absolutely awesome performance to a man. Feels like getting the proper Saints team back!
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Boufal Still Struggling With His Toe
at 14:49:11

Frustrating, but you make a good point about Sofiane as an impact player. I even noticed on Saturday he was knackered heading into injury time - he barely had the energy to pressure a Watford player after a shaky clearance from one of our boys. I was surprised at that, given he'd only been on the pitch 25 mins.

So whilst he'll be missed from the start tomorrow, he is maybe best suited to coming off the bench and ripping tired defences apart. Can't stop watching that clip of him utterly destroying some poor Watford defender on Saturday - the back heel followed by the nutmeg was just outrageous. Him and Djenepo on top form on either wing is a hugely exciting prospect, if we could get them playing like that regularly with Ings up top we would suddenly look very threatening
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Saints At Everton The Verdict
at 13:54:21

For those calling for the manager to get fired, he is apparently on massive wages and so to sever his contract will mean a huge payout. On top of all the other managers we are currently paying off, plus the absolute lack of funds available for anything other than a collection of free scarves, this makes the possibility of the board sacking him extremely unlikely. It probably also explains why they were so quick to give him their backing after the Leicester game - its not because they have integrity or faith in the manager, we just haven't got any money! We're f@cked
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Jaidi Heads To The States
at 11:25:19

Absolutely right Nick, how on earth has it come to this. Staggering incompetence. It beggars belief how Saints have got away with such a shambles for such a long time. Executive management of football clubs are the least accountable professionals across any industry. The trouble is that as soon as local / national media start asking the kind of tough questions that need to be asked (and the fans deserve to hear about) the club shut them out. Blackmore tries to investigate things as diplomatically as he can, as do others like Leitch, but at the end of the day if they push too hard they are out.

There is such little transparency at Saints these days, and in the game in general, it is beyond a joke. Weren't we promised a new era of transparency by Semmens et al in a 'fans forum' at the start of the season? We would be receiving lots of updates about how 'we will be working hard on correcting some of the mistakes that we have made?'. To carry on like this shows such a lack of respect for fans it is quite sad and I'm afraid aligns perfectly with the sorry displays we have had to endure on the pitch over the last few years.
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Little Steps Again On Saturday At Manchester City
at 13:56:50

I can't understand why fans' disappointment with Tuesday's game is surprising or unreasonable?? We could have lost that game 6 or 7 nil on the balance of play, only McCarthy being in goal stopped that from happening. We were absolutely awful for the entire game except for the last ten minutes, and that is only because Man City stopped playing.

No one expected us to win, no one even expected us to come close so a 3-1 defeat on paper actually feels quite a decent result. But the point is that the performance of the players was terrible once again. What is extremely disheartening is hearing from the likes of Jack Stephens and others after the game that they feel they actually played well and gave City a good game in the second half, ultimately restoring some pride! WHAT?!

Criticism aimed at the team on the back of Tuesday's game was as a result of the performance. We were sh!te, it's as simple as that. We got away with one by only losing 3-1, and for fans to draw attention to that fact is fair and valid in my opinion.
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Hasenhuttl Showed His Tactical Skills Against Wolves.
at 18:11:07

I think you're spot on here Nick - I recall also Ralph mentioned pre match that his analysis of the previous defeat to Chelsea was that a big part of the reason for shipping so many goals was getting caught out without the ball, and transitioning from losing the ball to getting back into a solid shape. Clearly they worked on this a lot in the two weeks off, so fair play to Ralph for that.

Unfortunately I'm not confident that we'll sign a CB in the January window. With the five that we currently have at the club, the chances of us signing another one seem slim to zero - especially given how little we seem to want to spend anyway and how hamstrung we are by the ludicrous signings / wages of the Reed / Wilson era which is now thankfully at an end. I cannot also understand Danso's signing. Him not getting a game in his actual position means that he is currently worse than Vestergaard. Can this really be the case? If so, which class A f@ckwit sanctioned this signing!!?!?
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Time To Identify The Real Cause Of Saints Problems !
at 11:54:27

Have to agree with this, there is clearly something wrong with our coaching staff - the run down of keepers, non leaguers and entry level analysts you describe Nick is frankly laughable. There’s no excuse for this situation, a coaches fees aren’t the same as a premier league players; the failure to sort out the coaching staff can’t be financial limitations - I’m afraid I see it as gross incompetence.

Premier league footballers, as ego driven as they are, are always going to struggle to work with people they don’t respect. Not saying that’s right buts it’s how it is. I think Ross Wilson also has a lot To answer for, his role even under les Reed always seemed strange for someone with such little experience. Recruitment and staffing has been appalling at saints for a long long time, that includes players and coaches / behind the scenes staff.

Having reflected on the disappointment against Chelsea, I do think ralf has his work cut out and his reactions on the bench were very telling. Very little discussion between him and the new guy who is apparently Supposed to be his number 2. It somehow seems like such a typically saints thing to
Do to hire a quality manager and give everyone a bit of hope for some improvement only to hamstring the boss and let everyone down by shoddy off the pitch management / recruitment! The atmosphere on Sunday certainly did reflect the general sense of disillusionment around the club which is very palpable.

Hey ho I suppose this is what saints do! We’ve always done this stupid sh!t and we always will - we can not enjoy the brief flickers of good times when they come along as much as we can!
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Saints V Chelsea The Verdict
at 09:19:22

Totally agree with this. I now see this Saints team as back to the 90s era teams of having a pretty appalling collection of players (MLT excepted of course!) somehow scraping over the line in epic relegation dogfights.

Our defending is just so poor, there is nothing else that needs to be said about it. Yesterday was the most predictable pattern in that we start with a bit of wind in our sails, then concede a stupid goal (always defender or goalkeeper individual error) from their first attack and from there everything goes flat. Defeat was absolutely inevitable yesterday as soon as we conceded.

I think we can all see that we're no where near a top half team now. It's not even about confidence - even at sky high levels of confidence, these players just wouldn't be able to compete with half decent PL players. Just look at how easily Bournemouth beat us.

Finally yes the Danso thing is just weird. I can only assume him not being played is due to the fact that he looks like a liability in training, but can he really be any worse than what we have already got? It is truly remarkable that Yoshida is now genuinely our best CB. I remember when we signed him the season we came up how far out of his depth he looked. Don't get me wrong, I love him and he seems like one of the rare genuinely decent blokes you find in football but for him to be our best CB after having had so many transfer windows to find sort this issue out is unforgivable.
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Carrillo Rejoins Club
at 17:25:01

*should read “it IS good news relatively speaking”, not isn’t!
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Carrillo Rejoins Club
at 15:54:50

Agreed, it isn’t good news relatively speaking - it would be interesting to know how much of his wages we are still paying and how much we paid last season. Leganes have basically signed a player Off us on a two year contract, with us still paying (probably quite a significant) portion of his wages and he is still our player!

If any signing has ever illustrated the absolutely awful recruitment at our club over the past three or so seasons it would have to be Carrillo. Good luck to him, hope it works out for him

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Danso Needs To Start At Brighton But Who Will He Replace
at 10:19:27

The more we play with a back 5 the less it seems to suit us. I recall Hughes introduced it when he brought in Bednarek as we squeezed to safety the season before last.

Given how sh!te all our centre backs are, wouldnt it make sense to play with less of them? The more CBs we play, the more space there is for monumental f@ck ups as we have seen over these first two games and throughout last season.

No an expert by any means but my feeling is that by playing 3 rubbish CBs you increase the chances of them messing up due to their individual incompetence and the increased difficulties in organising yourselves as a three, rather than simply as a two.

Therefore for me it has to be a back four, with extra protection in midfield, one of whom drops very deep (i.e. Romeu) as and when needed. Against Brighton I'd go with Danso and Bednarek, 3 CBs just seems to bring teams on to us more. I also noticed against Liverpool and Burnley the amount of times the 3 CBs line was all over the place - very easy to spring the offside trap when we're so poorly coordinated

Still can't believe we haven't sorted this after six transfer windows
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Danso Needs To Start At Brighton But Who Will He Replace
at 10:19:27

The more we play with a back 5 the less it seems to suit us. I recall Hughes introduced it when he brought in Bednarek as we squeezed to safety the season before last.

Given how sh!te all our centre backs are, wouldnt it make sense to play with less of them? The more CBs we play, the more space there is for monumental f@ck ups as we have seen over these first two games and throughout last season.

No an expert by any means but my feeling is that by playing 3 rubbish CBs you increase the chances of them messing up due to their individual incompetence and the increased difficulties in organising yourselves as a three, rather than simply as a two.

Therefore for me it has to be a back four, with extra protection in midfield, one of whom drops very deep (i.e. Romeu) as and when needed. Against Brighton I'd go with Danso and Bednarek, 3 CBs just seems to bring teams on to us more. I also noticed against Liverpool and Burnley the amount of times the 3 CBs line was all over the place - very easy to spring the offside trap when we're so poorly coordinated

Still can't believe we haven't sorted this after six transfer windows
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Why Kevin Danso Has To Play Against Liverpool
at 15:55:58

Must agree that as bad as Vestergaard was against Burnley, Stephens more than matched him. His defending for all three goals was absolutely appalling - if you watch them closely you will see his positioning, technique and desire to make a block or indeed any sort
Of meaningful action are all sorely lacking.

He looks great carrying the ball out of defence with time and space but as soon as he is put under any pressure he crumbles. Truly painful to watch. Let’s not also forget that it could easily have been 4 0 if his slip up wasn’t redeemed by the offside.

Ultimately what does for Stephens is not just his technical deficiencies but he seems to have a bit of an attitude problem where is everyone else’s fault and never his own. I remember after the Bournemouth draw last season where we secured safety he didn’t join the lap of honour and headed straight down the tunnel. Struck me as a bit off at the time, and seeing how he interacts with his team mates on the pitch when he does play gives me zero confidence that he contributes anything in the way of being a good lad off it.

Truly and utterly incomprehensible that he is still employed as a premier league footballer. Of all Les’s f@ck ups, Stephens’s reported 45k per week has to be the worst
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Lemina Claims That His Stay At Saints Was A Two Year Plan
at 17:05:25

It is indeed a sad indictment of the game when Lemina acting like this is perceived as somehow being up front and honest.

You're absolutely right - it is simply footballers being footballers, doing what footballers do. Truly some of the most deplorable individuals to inhabit the earth!

For what it's worth I'm not too disheartened by his departure. 1 good game in 5 (at best) isn't good enough and frankly I lost any semblance of respect I had for him after seeing his instagram page. #toniclikeleminade?? Dear God shoot me
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Five Minutes And You're Almost There !
at 12:29:54

I've got to agree with Nick here. It seems a bit weird to suggest that criticising Yoshida means you have something against him. The fact is that as much as I love him for his commitment, he just isn't a very technically good footballer. He never has been since he signed for us!

Against Watford I would say he put in a very classic Maya Yoshida type performance - a lot of last minute blocks, brave headers etc. But he wouldn't have to put in such challenges if his first touch, positional awareness, ability to organise the defence etc etc was better (all parts of what being a decent defender is all about).

When Maya plays, the amount of times I sh!t myself when he receives a pass is too many to count. Very often you can see a mistake coming from a mile off. I think its time everyone got over this weird anti-Yoshia narrative and just accept that as much as he's clearly a solid bloke, he's nowhere near good enough to escape criticism, let alone be a first choice centre back for a premier league team
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Saints V Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
at 11:27:29

Thanks nick, excellent write up.

As has been written the subs made a huge impact yesterday, and as excellent as sims was, I’d like to recognise Shane longs input to the team. One HORRIFIC header aside, that’s the Shane log saints fans enjoy watching - putting himself about, disrupting players. Put a great ball in for Armstrong before he was fouled by walker peters too.

I don’t think anyone expects long to out-skill players or devastate defenders with an exemplary touch but when he plays like he did yesterday he can definitely contribute to
Our team. Haven’t seen it enough this season from him, but well done yesterday Longy!
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Saints V Fulham The Verdict !
at 17:52:19

Very happy with the win, and agree that Bertrand clearly gives us so much more than Targett. We have really missed him, and if we had similar capabilities on our right flank (something like Clyne a couple of seasons ago) we would be twice the side we are now. Really can't put enough emphasis on the wing backs, especially playing a back 3 / 5.

Not knocking valery by the way, but he's clearly got a lot of development to go!

Otherwise, pleased to see Hojberg boss things in the middle and big shout out to both Austin (who gave everything last night) and to Shane Long who looked a lot more fired up than the last game at St Marys...
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