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Leeds United Confirm Their Kit For Wembley Showdown With Southampton
at 15:14:42

It will be the socks that clash with Leeds. The Hull away game was mentioned as to why we played in white but although the tops were different (Yellow vs Red) the shorts were both black. My expectation is that we will go with the all black kit. At then end of the day I don’t mind as long as we win. After all we were in our changed yellow kit for 1976!
Could Adam Lallana Make A Surprise Return To Southampton
at 10:35:58

I have no ill will towards AL for moving on to Liverpool from Saints. He was looking to progress his career at a time when his stock was high. However I don’t see him coming back and fear it would be another Theo Walcott signing I.e. high wages for little return except possibly with slightly fewer injuries.
Southampton At West Bromwich Albion The Play Off Verdict
at 10:25:41

All in all I think a draw was a fair result and it was certainly the case of “must not lose” attitude in this first leg.

Positives - McCarthy was confident in claiming dangerous corners and saved well when needed. Downes was outstanding (again). Stewart when he came on gave us something extra in attack and was unlucky not to score.

Negatives - Stephens seem to be the main culprit when dwelling too long or misplaced passes. He needs to be a bit sharper in possession. Mara was a waste of space for me. If Che is not fit on Friday (and assuming Stewart cannot do a full match) I would rather stick Brooks, Sulimana or Wee man in a more attacking role.

Overall we are in the box seat so should have confidence in turning them over on Friday. That said this is Saints and we never take the easy route!

P.s. does anyone know the rules on yellow cards in the playoffs? I worry if Downes picks up another on Friday that will mean he is suspended in the final.
Southampton At Leeds United The Verdict
at 09:50:25

There was a freedom about the teams play yesterday which went a long way towards making the performance and result one of the best this season. They need to replicate that in the playoffs and if they do then we stand every chance of success.

Flynn Downes was again outstanding,particularly in the first half. But there were strong performances all over the pitch. Credit to the manager too for being experimental with the formation and tactics but still playing players in their favoured positions.

Playoffs here we come!
Southampton V Stoke City The Preview
at 13:00:38

I realise everyone is entitled to their opinion but this site regularly presents itself as being in tune with the fan base. I don’t know how you can suggest that the fan base is feeling like we have been relegated. Yes there is a degree of disappointment at recent results which have meant we missed out on automatic promotion. But this is nothing like the feeling I and most fans experienced last season when each week we turned up to watch expecting to get beaten regardless of the opposition.

We are in the playoffs and on balance this season the fan experience has been ten times better than recent seasons in the PL because we have been competitive and winning most of the time. So I for one hope we are promoted but even if we are not will be thankful to the management and team for bringing som joy back to SMS this season. Protestations that the fan base are bereft with the current side are way off the mark (in my opinion).
Russell Martin Admits He Won't Change Tactics Or Drop Jack Stephens
at 17:53:19

If we were winning he could play JS as a striker and no one would care. At this stage of the season it comes down to results and they have not been good enough recently.
Southampton Need 8 Points To Secure A Play Off Place
at 16:18:18

Nick, give it a rest with the Stephens bashing. I see you pointing the finger at RM’s selection of Stephens but the results in the most recent two games were not down to the selection of Stephens nor the tactics employed for his use.

We dropped points against Boris due to woeful finishing with Che Adams largely the main culprit compounded by poor marking by KWP and THB for the late equaliser.

Against Ipswich no one was complaining about the tactics given we dominated the majority of the match. Two sloppy goals were again down to other players not closing down and Bazunu not making saves he probably should have.

Is Stephens the best player- not by a long way. But neither is he or his selection the core reason for the dropped points either. It would be nice to have a balanced view of the team performance on occasion.
Southampton At Ipswich The Verdict
at 12:59:09

Should add that the most significant point of the night was news breaking that Jason Wilcox had resigned following an approach from Man Utd. Long term this could be more significant for the club than this one result.
Southampton At Ipswich The Verdict
at 12:57:37

As the write up correctly states, the tactics worked for 65 mins. This included having Stephens as an inverted left back drifting into midfield to provide an outlet. The issue was that Ipswich changed their approach in the second half and Saints didn’t adapt. The damaging goal was the equaliser as a draw was not really any better than defeat.

It highlights that Saints aren’t as good as the three teams above us at present so RM has 8 games to work out how he wants to play for the playoffs and the players/tactics for that.
Southampton V Preston North End The Preview
at 14:20:04

Heads up for those attending the match tonight. There is a large factory fire in the industrial estate that backs into the family zone at the Chapel End of SMS. Britannia Road is closed to help the emergency service access.

No word on whether it will impact tonight’s game. Hopefully it will be all cleared before fans start their journeys.
Southampton Promotion Campaign Will Go To The Wire
at 12:46:51

All we can do is focus on winning our own games and then see where that leads to going into the final 2 or 3 games of the season. If it remains close with Leeds for the second spot then I don’t think my nerves will cope well on the final day!
Southampton At West Bromwich Albion The Verdict
at 07:15:42

There is no doubt that the performance and result was our best away from SMS this season. In a week where we had too tough matches I would argue our promotion credentials are now stronger at the end of the week than it was at the start. Saints could have easily focused on maintaining the unbeaten run and got two draws. But we are better off by a point and the spirit in the camp must be sky high.

We can’t control what Leicester and in particular Leeds and Ipswich do until we play then so let’s just keep taking each next opponent on its merit and do our thing!
Southampton At Bristol City The Verdict
at 21:44:51

I agree with Halftimeorange as every player last night including subs were well below their best and that combined with a spirited Bristol City side led to the inevitable defeat. It’s worth saying though that these are the same group of players that had been undefeated for 25 games before last night so one poor game does not mean we have a bad team.

The key is what happens next. Does RM stick with his principles and what has worked for the last 4 months or so or does he try and force the issue and make some radical changes. I suspect and hope he will stick with what has worked. There might need to be a few tweaks particularly for looking to rest players who are fatigued but the old saying “Don’t panic!” comes to mind.

Reading some of the socials last night the bedwetters weee out in force with some ridiculous statements about how we will miss out on the playoffs and RM should be sacked and half the team are the worst we have ever seen!

No one is denying that last nights game was a disappointment but I think RM and the players deserve our trust and support to believe that this is a blip and they will get back to positive ways quickly.
Southampton V Huddersfield Town The Verdict
at 08:43:20

Given the unbeaten run we have been on, especially with the home results, there was almost an air of complacency in the crowd and possibly in the players as well at the start of the match. Huddersfield made it clear they weren’t here to lay down and Saints were a yard off the pace everywhere on the pitch.

It was not so long ago under previous managers that we would have a stronger first half and the half time instruction was hang on in the second. Not with Russell Martin. Whatever he said at half time lit a fuse and boy did the players respond. Every sub had an impact so without taking anything away from Joe Rothwell, my call for Motm is Russell Martin.

I’m sure RM will look closely at the first half performance and even defensively in the second we were exposed. Opponents will have seen the Huddersfield tactics and see how we can be got at so RM will need to cover that off as there will be more difficult challenges to come.

For now though let’s enjoy what was the best entertainment at SMS for as long as I can remember.
Southampton V Watford The FA Cup Replay Verdict
at 23:46:11

The less said about the first half the better. RMs half time team talk did the trick as the second half the team moved the ball quicker and were far more direct. I thought Mara was chief culprit in the first half for wasting attacking chances but credit where credit is due as he took his goals well. Credit also to Che Adams whose assist for the first was sublime and a well taken third was deserved.

The stand out player for me was Tyler Dibling (who is Dibden?). He turned the left back of Watford inside out and drove Saints forward with some dynamic runs. Watfords only answer was to repeatedly foul him. On that note, I have no idea what the referee was watching most of the time - worst ref so far this season.

Finally best chant of the night - “Wesley, Wesley, what’s the score???” Priceless.
Financial Details Of Alcaraz Loan Deal Revealed
at 07:32:49

On the face of it the deal looks very good for Saints but there are a lot of elements which are likely to mean that the headline 49m Euro transfer fee is not realised.

If Saints get promoted to the PL then it’s likely that Alcaraz returns to the club.

If Saints do not get promoted then if he plays well at Juve and they want him he will not want to return to play championship football next season. Juve will be in a strong position to renegotiate the transfer fee to something much lower.

If the player bombs at Juve then they will not want to make the move permanent and the player will be back, possibly worse off for the experience.

The only way I see the pre agreed amount being paid is if Alcaraz plays out of his skin during the loan period so Juve are keen to retain him AND Saints are promoted. Then Saints have a strong negotiating position to keep the price high IF they feel they can get better replacement for less money elsewhere.
Southampton V Sheffield Wednesday The Verdict
at 12:07:27

A good write up of the match and performances.

Overall it was truly a complete team performance but I agree with Nicks view on MOTM being Adam Armstrong. A Captains performance by demonstrating how to attack and cover in defence.

That said a quick couple of call outs for players who have been maligned at times. Smallbone was largely unnoticed in midfield but he has worked hard on attacking part of his game so there is less sideways and backwards passing now. Consequentially Saints are now dominating teams, keeping them on the back foot, and not just keeping possession for the sake of it. Also Ryan Manning had a really good game. He might have benefited from Wee man being ahead of him who is better with defensive cover than Sulimana or Edozie. That said he did the simple things well, allowing Wee man to terrorise the Wednesday right back.

Finally, a call out to Flynn Downes. That tackles in the first few minutes was as joyful to watch as any of the four goals scored and set the tone for the game. He is the player we have been missing in that role since Romeu left for Spain.
Southampton V Sheffield Wednesday The Preview
at 13:07:43

Complacency is the biggest fear as SW have improved recently under Danny Rohl. It will be interesting to see if they are employing the high press which Rohl and Hassenhuttl employed at Saints. If they are then our defence need to be sharp when playing out from the back and avoid some of the mistakes we saw against Walsall.

I don’t know why you persist with the view that when Stephens plays it is with a back 3. Stephens quite clearly is playing RB as part of a back 4 since his return from injury with KWP pushed forward almost as one of the front 3. Personally I hope KWP is back at RB as I think he is more of a threat coming from deep. Stephens will have to bide his time on the bench until injury / suspension or form mean he has a chance to replace Bednarek or THB.

Other than that I think Che has hit one of his mini periods of goal scoring form. So as long as his head is on Saints and not on interest from elsewhere then I expect him to start as the central striker alongside AA and wee man. Charley seems to be more dangerous in the second half of games when there is a bit more space to operate in the pocket between opposition defence and midfield.
Aston Villa Loan Star On Southampton Radar
at 13:16:01

According to The Athletic Azaz is about to sign for Middlesbrough for £2.5m. If he was on Saints radar then we haven’t acted quickly enough.
Southampton V Plymouth Argyle The Verdict
at 10:40:43

This time last year we had an idiot in charge and looked clueless on the pitch as Brighton showed us how to play football. I was thoroughly despondent and was in no doubt that we would be relegated at the end of the season although the pathetic nature of our relegation was a further slap in the face.

Fast forward 12 months and the transformation is amazing. The team is playing good football, scoring goals and it is a joy to visit SMS once more. The club has regained its identity and purpose so credit must go to the ownership and new management on the football side.

If we do achieve promotion at the end of this season I hope 2024 is not a reverse of 2023 and we find ourselves back in the doldrums. Either was I’m enjoying the run at the moment so long may it continue.
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