Quantcast
Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
News
Comment
Southampton V Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
at 13:31:42

Number 58 - there are a small number of posters who regularly start their post by accusing Nick of various things, including have an agenda against certain players etc. alongside personal criticisms (writing styles, presentation or spelling etc). I have also seen times when the same posters have accused Nick of being employed by SFC or having an “apologist” agenda. These have been getting steadily worse, and amount to a passive-aggressive sledge regardless of what Nick has written.

As I say, whilst people have the right to disagree with the author on his view of the game (and how SFC is set up etc) they have no right to continually have a dig at the author, who (I suspect) spends a considerable amount of his own free time putting this site together and supporting his team. If you don’t like his site - or how he states his opinions - go set up your own.

Personally, whilst I sometimes disagree with Nick on his view of the game or players, he has always put across his view reasonably and with evidence to back it up.
News
Comment
Southampton V Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
at 20:24:06

I am genuinely baffled by why some posters here continue to post aggressively towards both the author of this website.

Firstly, Nick (as the person who has set up this site) has every right to offer a view and criticise or praise who he likes. It’s a fan site after all. Whilst you may disagree with him, you don’t have to continuously slate his reports or make ironic comments that suit your sledging agenda. You don’t like his views, go set up your own fan site and crack on there.

As for the game on Sunday, Saints didn’t play poorly, but neither did they play with any cutting edge, and once again they were left to rue the chances missed with the only clear cut chance Wolves had since their shot in the first minute. It is frustrating, but it isn’t the apocalyptic doom some of us are making out, and conveniently forgetting good progress made in doing what Chelsea couldn’t in keeping Man City at bay.

I’m just as frustrated as the rest, but it’s early in the season. The goals and points will come.
News
Comment
Why Is Carlton Palmer Suddenly The World's Expert On Southampton FC
at 12:47:57

Ha! This has troubled me recently.

However, it is less about Carlton Palmer and more about the rise of so called “news sites” that offer nothing but clickbait. Their strategy is to either endlessly trawl Twitter for “news” or rope in the tenuous/fringe/irrelevant ex-players or “journalists” to say something vague and then claim it is an exclusive. All to ensure they can release a new “story” and get you to click on it - enabling them to say they have huge audience for their numpty advertisers.

Best advice is to not feed the fire whatsoever. Don’t click on to it.
News
Comment
Southampton May Yet Make It 9 In The Transfer Window !
at 12:03:00

If we are having our say on the offloads this window:

- Ings: of course will be missed, but injury prone and has two seasons max left at this level.

- Vestergaard: aerial strengths, and could play a key throughball from the back, but slow and has the turning circle of a cruise ship. Head often went down/went missing at crucial stages.

- Bertrand: cannot deny his class and contribution to this club. But was clearly disinterested over past 1-2 seasons and age is catching up on him.

Hoedt was a failed gamble, Gunn too. Lemina is undoubtedly a quality player, but lacks the discipline and motivation.
News
Comment
Southampton Make 8th Signing Of The Summer
at 18:46:57

Lycano isn’t very well known - or experienced - so it will be more of a gamble. He’s not a like for like with Vester, but he is known to be very good with ball at the feet and can pick a forward pass for the counter attack. Deffo be used for quick transitions. He does look like he’s happy with physical elements of the game, so we shall see.
News
Comment
Saints Bring In Defender From Everton
at 18:11:03

It’s an understatement to say this is a stellar coup. This guy is very very highly regarded. Everton were desperate to keep him, but he refused two improved contract offers.

What we are tapping into here is the “Sancho effect” as more and more very talented young players are getting frustrated at their big clubs. It’s great to see that these players put getting valuable experience over barely warming benches whilst watching others leapfrog them on even bigger salaries. Saints are clearly a big draw for their history of developing young talent (just the fact Livremento went straight into the squad is enough to evidence our intent) and it’s great we’re proactively seeking out transfers here.

Yet it won’t be long before other clubs seek the same - Leicester and Brighton will be very interested in Saints transfer window for one
News
Comment
Southampton Consider Marseille Central Defender To Replace Vestergaard
at 11:40:36

Not sure this one will happen, as the fee will be £25m+
News
Comment
Southampton Linked With Gary Cahill ! Can We Hope For A Leader At last !
at 15:15:29

It’s not as crazy as you think. If Cahill is happy to take a wage cut then he would be a
fantastic addition for no transfer cost. Nat Phillips would be awesome - he’s very highly regarded but is in a Liverpool team that has some seriously good CB’s. He’s known to be fearless and a leader too. He ticks all the SFC transfer boxes as he will develop and probably have a high resale value.
News
Comment
I'm Sorry Ralph ! But You Got The Selection Wrong At Everton
at 12:13:56

My thoughts are very similar Nick. This is deja vu and is now a worry. Simple thing is that you need a confident GK and a leader at CB. We have neither at the moment, but the key issue is that McCarthy loses confidence and concentration at key stages of the game. First goal sums it up. Whilst Salisu should have headed away, McCarthy started to come and then stopped. Salisu was expecting the keeper to come rushing in to catch/punch away, but the ball landed nicely for Richarlison and you DO NOT give a player of that quality a chance like that.

Confidence then just evaporated. Defenders not committing/pressing - allowing Everton to dominate. Poor defending and keeping once again shone through.

It needs to be sorted ASAP. Forster needs to start - McCarthy’s form is shot. We also could do with an experienced CB to bed in Salisu and support Bednarek and Stephens (who wasn’t all that bad, but he should be deployed as a defensive midfielder). Cahil? If his wages are ok I say it’s a no brainier. But if we can get a Ben Mee or the like we will be much better off.
News
Comment
Southampton V Athletic Club Of Bilbao The Pre Season Verdict
at 09:33:38

Very clear in my mind about the GK question. McCarthy must be second choice. Forster not perfect but he’s miles better. With FF in goal I suspect we will recoup 6-9 points that AM will lose for us over the season.
News
Comment
Southampton Net £28 Million In Ings Transfer
at 21:22:50

This is a huge and excellent bit of business! £30m for Ings is a no brainer.
News
Comment
Absolutely ******* Disgraceful
at 13:47:18

I think it is now time for reflection, but try to do that positively. It is hard, but it is the only way forward now.

It’s important to put things into context. In some respects, we can take heart that the manner and style of the defeat have not been overshadowed by the actual result. As Sven said after Man City lost 6-0, “I would rather lose 6-0 once, than 1-0 six times.”

That’s the most important thing – there is a complete lack of confidence and effort in the squad at the moment, which has now been completely laid bare by the record-breaking capitulation. It has meant our increasing frustrations have been amplified to the power of 1000 and everybody (including the SFC Board and all of the national media) are focused in on what is wrong. We could have lost 2-0 but the same fault lines would be there (just slightly masked). The point I am making is perhaps this will be the result that finally works as a slap round the face for everybody.

My view is that Ralph’s tactical style is simply too complex for the majority of these players. That’s not his fault, but the results of several seasons of piecemeal (and poor) recruitment. We have bought square pegs for round holes – despite the fact the ‘Southampton Way’ of high energy press is exactly what Ralph brings to the table.

Put simply, it appears that many of these players are not skilful enough to work in a way Ralph wants. It has led to a dramatic loss of confidence: of players simply giving up – perhaps on the notion that the manager will go before they do (and another, less demanding manager will come in). The Leicester game laid that so bare it hurt – a complete lack of willingness to compete. It’s been identified by every pundit and even Ralph himself.

So that is why I am so glad the Club have made a quick and bold statement. They are sticking by Ralph and it will be the players who go first.

We don’t need a sixth manager in three years – that’s the classic sign of a club that hasn’t got a clue how to get out of this. Ralph is a good manager and perhaps this was the right conclusion to what was a sorry event. The onus is now firmly on the players.

What will be important is to see how exactly Ralph does pick now (most importantly, who is left completely out of the squad). Vestergaard surely has played his last game unless injuries come in. Stephens likewise. JWP will perhaps be resigned to a stint on the subs bench.

In addition, I suspect both Gunn and Valery will be taken out of the firing line.
We mustn’t forget that this is just one match. We have played well at times against decent opposition (Liverpool and Man Utd spring to mind) and so we haven’t become a league one team overnight. It’s just that some players have decided to ‘work to rule’ and its backfired on them. We will get a new Director of Football and hopefully have a better January Window than before.
News
Comment
The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 14:04:09

A bit harsh, but fair assessment Nick.

Personally, I would try a 3-5-2 in which you have Yoshida and Bednarek (or Vestergaard at a push) in CB with Danso playing slightly in front of them as protection and to roam into supporting midfield and countering any counter-attacks. You then have Bertrand and Valery as wing backs, leaving you with three central midfielders to flex with.

You can mix up those three central midfielders according to specific tactics. Most times, employ a defensive midfielder to break up play but also with a bit of creative spark and ability to score = PEH. You DO NOT have PEH and Romeu in the same equation, use Danso and PEH or Romeu to create a solid link between defence and midfield.

That leaves you filling up the middle of the park with creativity. Ideally, I would see this as Redmond and Armstrong, but with JWP and Boufal being able deputies and adding a bit of tactical flex. You would build that on having Ings and Adams up front, although you could again flex up by having Redmond up top and bringing in JWP/Boufal etc.

Personally I would build my team around this with variances to keep teams guessing but placing emphasis on high field pressing and ability to attack without leaving us totally exposed to counter attacks. Get people playing in a certain formula first before flexing.

I would also like to see more of Armstrong – giving him a bit more licence to go collect the ball as well as high press etc.

But then what do I know?!
News
Comment
The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 14:04:09

A bit harsh, but fair assessment Nick.

Personally, I would try a 3-5-2 in which you have Yoshida and Bednarek (or Vestergaard at a push) in CB with Danso playing slightly in front of them as protection and to roam into supporting midfield and countering any counter-attacks. You then have Bertrand and Valery as wing backs, leaving you with three central midfielders to flex with.

You can mix up those three central midfielders according to specific tactics. Most times, employ a defensive midfielder to break up play but also with a bit of creative spark and ability to score = PEH. You DO NOT have PEH and Romeu in the same equation, use Danso and PEH or Romeu to create a solid link between defence and midfield.

That leaves you filling up the middle of the park with creativity. Ideally, I would see this as Redmond and Armstrong, but with JWP and Boufal being able deputies and adding a bit of tactical flex. You would build that on having Ings and Adams up front, although you could again flex up by having Redmond up top and bringing in JWP/Boufal etc.

Personally I would build my team around this with variances to keep teams guessing but placing emphasis on high field pressing and ability to attack without leaving us totally exposed to counter attacks. Get people playing in a certain formula first before flexing.

I would also like to see more of Armstrong – giving him a bit more licence to go collect the ball as well as high press etc.

But then what do I know?!
News
Comment
Time To Identify The Real Cause Of Saints Problems !
at 15:36:02

What an amazing co-incidence: the headline of this article and the emerging Saints news regarding Ross Wilson!

It may well be the case that our senior leaders may have played an important part in our troubles. And perhaps this has seen a weak link in our set-up. It is no co-incidence that Mr Wilson was instrumental in advising Les Reed in a number of our now fabled ‘disaster’ signings and sales.

You ask Nick what might be the cause. The answer is that it is never just one thing, but you have to look at the myriad of issues you rightly raise (Head Coach issues, poor coaching team, poor recruitment of players and managers etc) and note that much of these fall at the door of the past (or soon to be past) Directors.
News
Comment
Saints V Chelsea The Verdict
at 14:22:09

I see there has been a lot already said on this thread: all valid and all very astute.

I fear RH is lost at the moment, panicking a little bit. RH spoke about lack of confidence in the after match presser, but I think that should also be attributed to him too. To be fair to him, he’s not the first Saints manager to do so in the last 3-4 years.

I am at loss as to why Danso is not being played in the CB role he was clearly brought in to fill, and can only put it down to RH wanting to protect him (and not see his confidence knocked like all the other young CB’s we have brought in – Hoedt and Stephens immediately spring to mind).

Yet defensively we are lacking in leadership and confidence. I do believe we have raw talent there, but it can only be nurtured and brought out by having confident experienced leaders next to you. Yoshida is currently the only defender who can tick those boxes, but he’s not Fonte or VVD, Lovren or Alderwiereld. He’s not a solid rock that you can rely on.

I strongly suspect we tried to look for an experienced CB in the summer but couldn’t land one without having to pay silly money in wages or be stung by having a disinterested journeyman come into the frame. Yet ‘Plan B’ is Danso, and it feels like we’ve gone straight to ‘Plan C’, which looks alarmingly familiar to the plans MP2 and Hughes had.

Everybody knows you cannot become a solid team without a solid defence. You simply cannot adopt a ‘score one more than then’ tactic if your defence is constantly letting 2-3-4 goals per game. I really feel for the strikers and midfielders as it is often the case now that we are playing catch up from early periods in the game, which puts even more pressure on them to deliver.

Midfield is more solid but just lacks creativity – no spark. Romeu is doing well but his job is the ‘Wanyama’ disrupt play option. He can’t pick a killer pass or score a blinder from 25 yards. Hoijberg is similar, but with a bit more purpose. We need to stop playing with both and get some creativity in there.

And I agree with the comment about where are all the academy players, but first we need to sort out the back four. Danso and Yoshida must now be the first choice.
News
Comment
Saints V Bournemouth The Verdict
at 13:51:20

Very wise Nick to let everybody calm down first!

I haven’t had much time recently to comment here, but this game has prompted me to make a few quick observations:

1. Ralph needs an experienced assistant manager, given he is very capable but still inexperienced in what is the most competitive league in the world. I suspect the lack of a calming presence next to him is resulting in some of the strange starting formations.

2. I respect Ralph’s tactic of ‘always keep them guessing’ but I agree with Nick that we haven’t got enough confidence/stability at the back at the moment to be doing it there. Keep it consistent and get them used to each other first.

3. I hope that this was the ‘shot in the arm’ Ralph needs to stop with some of this meddling. Whatever has gone on with Bertrand needs to be sorted. You cannot keep playing players out of position and not expect it to hit their confidence. Danso’s must be rocking at the moment.

4. Vestergaard. Doesn’t do it for me. I’ve given him lots of benefits of doubt, but he is far too ponderous and slow and he lacks leadership skills. I would start bedding in Bednarek and Danso (if a back 4 or with Yoshida in a back 3) to give stability.

5. Che Adams will come good, but I wholly agree he now needs some time and space to kickstart his Saints career by coming off the bench. I would deffo do that for the Pompey game.

6. I am not certain it is right to be playing two defensive midfielders in this current formation (and especially not at home) if you are trying to adopt pressing/attacking football. PEH and Oriel are good players but they are not creative midfielders, so this formation doesn’t current suit strengths. It is clear this is having an impact on creating golden chances for our forwards. I would play PEH and have Oriel as a solid substitute option.

7. But who to play in creative central midfield? We’ve not replaced Tadic. Perhaps JWP should be given a turn. Failing that Armstrong. Given them licence to roam/create and press.

8. Personally I think a 4-3-3 best suits us. Adams/Ings up front supported by Redmond and Djenepo. Have PEH and JWP/Armstrong in midfield – potentially with Danso sitting in front of back four. Bednarek/Yoshi (or Danso) in Centre with Bertrand/Valery and Cedric on the wings.

9. It’s still early days and we have done well – but we need a consistent game plan now.
News
Comment
Hoedt Explains Why He Had To Go !
at 11:01:01

Let’s not over analyse or read too much into this. Hoedt didn’t have to play in order for Hass to take a view. Whilst I take the point his performances were no worse than others, they were no better either. It’s also just his take on the matter; we know Hass spoke to all the players 121.

Suspect that a combination of prior intell and observation in training/121 made Hass feel that he wasn’t a team player who was worth fighting for.

Let’s move on. Hoedt is part of history now, not the future.
News
Comment
Saints V Cardiff City The Verdict
at 14:27:58

This result – more than any other recent results - appears to have brought out the extremes in our opinions. Either we are all good (a minor lapse) or we are sailing to oblivion in storm-ravaged ship.

I sense that the truth will be somewhere in-between, so a little bit of reality dosed with constructive criticism and optimism thrown in (we are – after all –fans of SFC) will probably give a clear picture.

Firstly, on the ‘sack the board for failure to invest in Jan etc.’ brigade: clearly a lot of emotion that is clouding judgment here. I saw some numpty on Twitter blaming Gao/the Board for failing to “buy Che Adams” in the transfer window. That would be fair comment if it wasn’t for the fact Birmingham made it absolutely clear they weren’t selling! This SFC Fan seemed to conveniently not let fact get in the way of a good rant.

Trouble is the January window is (for most clubs) only really for those who panic – or have enough spare cash to scratch a particular itch. SFC are neither this season. Compare that to last January when we forked an extortionate fee for Carillo, who didn’t exactly live up to expectations. That was panic personified: short term gain for longer term pain. We couldn’t afford to do that again.

We then must go back to the Summer: different manager, different DoF. We bought Vestergaard and Ings but did they really settle the problem? Trouble is, the answer is still ‘not sure’. Both come highly regarded but have not hit the ground running (one due to lack of experience, the other due to our familiar punt on a player with iffy limbs). Armstrong has shown signs of promise, but he needs more time. It’s not so much that the bet has backfired, but that it has failed to produce the instant results perhaps the club needed.

So, were Saints correct to offload so many players? To answer that, you have to ask yourself whether any of the players who left you would consider to be ‘game changers’. Hoedt? Nah. Cedric? Well he’s one you could rely on, but full backs are not really where our difficulties lie. Gabbi? Trend over the last few seasons indicated he wasn’t the answer to our goal scoring drought. Davis? Past it for the Prem. Etc. etc.

Point here is that we got rid of mostly fringe players. Our manager likes to have a pared down squad and he didn’t sell the family jewels in order to do so. Yet I get the point that it lays bare whether we have any family jewels at all...

And that’s where reality and optimism must align. Hass has assessed and seen potential across the squad. He’s got Redmond on an upward trajectory and that’s an incredible plus: Redmond has the raw talent to become a star player. Bednarek can also be placed into the ‘rough diamond’ category too – as well as Valery, Hojiberg, Obafemi and a number of others. JWP even! He has the ability to become a significant mainstay of the EPL – he just needed the right coach to bring that out of him.

But whilst this is positive, we are in a serious state of transition – and we’re running out of time. Being unbeaten in 2019 until Saturday is immense, but the fact we dropped points due to failure to convert chances/last minute defensive clangers has meant we have taken two steps forward and one step back at each time. Had luck (and some calm heads) prevailed, we could have been a far different position and likely to have seen more confidence and vigour returning to St Mary’s.

And so to Cardiff. It typifies everything I say above. Hats off to Cardiff; they recognised we play better when we have less possession, so they came to sit behind the ball and wait until our faults (lack of ability to convert chances) started to bring out the nervousness/lack of confidence that has built up over the past one-and-a-half seasons. Then the classic ‘rope-a-dope’ and suddenly SFC are panicking.

I feel for Stephens. He is another with potential, but I fear he’s been placed into a position where there is too much pressure for him to deal with right now. I don’t think CB is for him. You can see he’s trying too hard: trying to play the ball out calmly under pressure. But he should be sending it up into the stands before thinking that way. Clearly there is a psychological barrier now whenever the game goes into additional time at the end of 90. Teams know that. Cardiff knew that. Stephens probably knew it too much.

If I was Hass I would use Yoshida for now, whilst encouraging Stephens to bounce back. I just wouldn’t throw him under the bus again for a little while.

So where are we? We are massively better off than this time last year (even this time two months ago). Yet we are still a very fragile team that is being asked to find confidence and skill at a time where the pressure is intense. There are no new ‘players’ with supreme confidence and skill to bring in (and there never was to be fair – unless Che Adams was prepared to throw a sulk to get a transfer...) so it is about how we dig in and continue to grasp points and confidence.

I’m not prone to wetting the bed but I’m not into relentless optimism either. Just realism. And a passion to want to see Saints do the best they can in what is another difficult season.
News
Comment
Hoedt On Verge Of A Move To Spain
at 13:55:53

Any transfer is a gamble; even those involving ready-proven, world class footballers. This is because it is not just down to form and ability, but also affected by psychological and social factors too. I suspect any loan move isn't simply down to Hoedt not living up to his potential yet.

A key factor for me (IMO) is our policy of looking for ball playing CB's that are marked as 'potential' in european leagues. Hoedt and Vestergaard are in a similar bracket here; looking for players who are deemed to be useful to play out and quickly transition defence to attack.

There is nothing wrong with that; it's part of Southampton's tactical foundation. Yet it has meant that an incoming defender has been brought in on the assumption they will acclimatise to the rough and tumble of the EPL. That hasn't happened for Hoedt and he has also had the issue of having to play in overtly negative squads (i.e. Puel and MoPo2).

Will be interesting to see how Saints approach the area of CB going forward now.
Please log in to use all the site's facilities

pintsizedsaint


Site Scores

Forum Votes: 0
Comment Votes: 691
Prediction League: 0
TOTAL: 691
About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2021