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Southampton V Wolverhampton Wanderers The Preview
at 19:17:03

Having gained valuable points against several top-end sides , this is the sort of fixture that we need to win convincingly to kick start the season properly. Having lost their (class) goalie and manager, Wolves look a bit lop-sided and haven't shown the vigorous playing style they had last season, and don't look very convincing .....so far.
We still have a few tough fixture in the coming month and so this game is highly-winnable
and we ought not to let the opportunity slip.
Southampton Get Away Tie In Carabao Cup
at 22:26:31

SO !..........playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge TWICE in a month.
That should be INTERESTING and we can see what sort of results Ralph can get out of that.
Southampton At Sheffield United The Verdict
at 16:54:55

(Having watched the You Tube highlights) it's clear that Sheffield weren't going to lie down and surrender. Despite their relegation performances last season, they weren't the worst side in the Prem. and played a lot of good football - without getting lucky results.

Poor Lyanco had a nightmare debut, and I'm sure he will improve - given time.
Oli Mc Burnie is a real handful who wouldn't be out of place in the Prem. today and gave our defence a hard time, and (the Solent commentary) highlighted several bad fouls on Tella in particular, that went unpunished by the ref. who let a lot go during the game.

Few outstanding performances, and a few who really ought to have done a lot better, but perhaps the best on the night was Fraser Forster's penalty save in the shoot-out.
At least we are in the draw for the next round, hopefully at home this time, and a chance to get further in the competition.
Southampton At Sheffield United The Preview
at 13:16:56

This is typical of the sort of Cup match against a lower league side is always a minefield.
It's the only chance for our " bench players" to get a real start and the opposition will be up for it with a chance of a giant-killing against a Prem. side -even if half our side aren't regular players at the top level.

Sheffield won't be " another Newport " and I expect them to put up a good fight. It may well be a close-run thing, but Saints " second-choicers " have a chance to DAJFU and see us through to the next round - even if it's a narrow win.
Our only problem seems to be... scoring goals ...as we must admit that the Newport result was a "one-off " and hardly likely to be repeated in the near future.
Southampton At Manchester City The Verdict
at 11:08:54

Once again the media were massaging City's ego by suggesting they ALL had a bad day at the office, in part because they didn't score 5 against Saints (who are always painted as Prem. interlopers by team north of Watford).

The ongoing comments about TWO controversial VAR decisions is plainly meant to help City fans come to terms with the loss of TWO home points, when it was clear that when the incoming ball was played in, AT LEAST two City players were already off side and there the argument should have ended there instead of trying to create a case for a disputed/ disallowed goal.

Ralph stated that he felt it was the best performance from his side since he arrived, and few of us could disagree, and although City had more possession we certainly shaded the first half, and had more shots on target then City.
Pep G. (along with Jose M. on previous occasion) recognised that Saints do present major problems ( even the big sides ) and in the past had to be rescued from defeat by their £ mulit-million signings.

Referee Moss ( along with Dean) will get "a warm welcome" IF / WHEN they turn up at SMS, and one can only hope that their bad consciences may give Saints the benefit of the doubt on future occasions.

Southampton At Manchester City The Verdict
at 10:05:17

I'm sure we would all have settled for one point at 2.59, but as the clocked ticked on we looked more secure and even shaded the first half. Whatever Ralph's planning was - it worked and we changed formation several times and Romeu looked even better when he dropped into the back line. The closest we've ever come to giving everyone - a 10.
I cannot add more anger to everyone else's response to referee Moss' decision-making and he showed once again that in the referees eyes all England players are " fault-free" on every occasion.

Armstrong Injury Revealed
at 14:27:20

Stuart is a natural first-choice starter, and so it's just this sort of opportunity for "others" to get game time and see if they can DAJFU in an emergency, ( like long-term injuries).

We don't have to rush to get SA back, and we have adequate cover and there are still 34 Prem. games left this season, and it's only sensible to give him the time he needs to get 100% fit, rather than rush him back in panic.

These opening 8 games are a real challenge, and so giving " second-string " players some proper game time will give us a chance to see how they perform against top grade opponents, and encourage them a little - if they face the prospect of a season on the bench when we eventually have our full strength side available once again.
Southampton At Manchester City The Preview
at 14:13:56

City's last two home Prem. games have yielded 5 goals each PLUS the 6-3 annihilation of Leipzig in the CL. ...and so statistically speaking... if we ONLY lose by a 3 goal margin we will have been the toughest opposition that City have played against this season, and Pep will give us much credit for a good fighting game.

It's these sort of matches that give Ralph a chance to test his theories on different formations, and maybe HIS Plan B , (or could it be Plan C? ) . On the face of it, Saints would be on good odds to get just one point .....I wonder what the odds are for a win ?.

The net result is that we need TWO good 45 minute halves, and some real luck with penalty shouts, deflected shots and the best performance that all individuals can produce. Should be an interesting game.

Eddie Howe Holding Out For Southampton Job But Ralph Is Still The Man !
at 15:53:25

As a postscript to the above...the stories emerging about KWP being ...upset / dissatisfied / angry / sad ...over not being selected is just another needless " space filler " which has run on a few" pathetic" sites.
Kyle ..along with every other player in the club... knows that no-one has a Divine Right to a start place in the team and will (hopefully) accept it. Ralph said that after last season's injury chaos he wanted two players for every position - and now he 's got it.

There must have been an element of .." if this lad ( Tino) is as good as they say let's see how he performs in an un-winnable fixture" like away at Everton. Despite the result Tino was a stand-out player and continues to be so in the games that followed. Ralph may shuffle the pack in order to play both Tino and Kyle, but the inevitable question .." who do you drop in order to accomodate both ? " ..is much harder to answer.

Eddie Howe Holding Out For Southampton Job But Ralph Is Still The Man !
at 15:39:41

Of course the Board would be daft NOT to have a replacement list in mind (in case Ralph were to cross the road against the traffic - or whatever) but a number of " so-called fan sites " are printing stories about the "currently unemployed" Steve Cooper and the
" Howe scenario" has been in print ever since the day he left Bournemouth.
There is no valid reason for releasing a story like this, as it's in very poor taste, and must be a little unnerving for Ralph as it's rather like a man having to read his own obituary.
All were agreed that our starting fixtures this season are the worst challenge we've had for almost a decade, and those who will stupidly call for Ralph's sacking if we return from City pointless need a reality check PDQ.
City's destruction of their CL opponents last night shows the sort of quality there is in their £ Billion squad, and Saturday's game will be one of the biggest challenges Saints have this season.

As this thread revolves around two highly unsuitable candidates as a theoretical replacement for our current manager, this story should go "on the spike", if not straight into the waste bin.
Southampton V West Ham United The Verdict
at 16:56:51

WHam are " our toughest opponents" and so this must be regarded as a good point.
3 points from 4 games is better than I predicted, but the next 4 games will set the pattern for the rest of the season.
Neither side had any real chances that weren't well-gathered by the keepers, although Broja will count himself very unlucky to see his shot come back off the post.
Ralph's alternative formation DAJFU but it didn't make for exciting play and Adam Armstrong had a tough time as the lone striker.
Tino continues to impress, as does Perraud. Both KWP and Bednarek may have to wait a while longer to get back in the start side and Stephens and Salisu are beginning to look like a good CB pairing.
Wish I could find something positive to say about Redmond's performance but whatever his best position is..... he hasn't found it yet. Maybe Pep will have a few words of encouragement for him BEFORE the start of the next week's game. One can hope.

Southampton Need To Sort Out Central Defence Pairing For West Ham Clash
at 08:51:11

Having complained about our lack of options in defence last season, now we have an embarrassment with many to choose from. The easy way to find Livramento's quality was to start him against a side we haven't beaten away in 24 years, and despite the result he showed up and DAJFU. Now we have have Lyanco added to the pack, and likewise we need to see what his capabilities are PDQ, and WHam is another side we regularly fail to beat -home or away. Why not start him on Saturday?

Everyone who has posted (above) has their own assessment (positive or negative) of Stephens and Bednarek's abilties, and now Salisu, but we need to give all these guys some game time and find the best combination for the long term.
IMHO our biggest mistake was not in selling VvD, but in letting Jose Fonte go.
He " fostered " a good CB partnership with 7 different players in defence over a long period with the club, but we need a firm profile who can learn to command at the back.

These opening 8 games are as tough a start as Saints have had in many years, and so it's better to find out the truth - sooner rather than later.
A Satisfying Transfer Window For Southampton. Part 2 The Incomings
at 14:09:21

All in all ..... probably one of our best "windows" for quite a while.
Although he hasn't got up to speed yet, Adam Armstrong looks a very good buy.
All three "Chelsea boys " look to be good prospects with Livramento making a great start, and Chelsea may regret letting him slip away so easily. Broja has made a good first impression and his winning goal for Albania v. Hungary shows that he has quality.

Perraud may take time to settle but he has all the makings of a good LB, and Lyanco looks like a fella who can put himself about, and will hopefully be able to "take care" of some of the more physical strikers in the Prem. Although Ollie Lancashire is playing alongside some youngsters half his age in the B team, his lower league experience will be invaluable to those lads starting to find their way in the "grown-up " football world.
I don't expect to see Walcott starting many games, but at 33 his experience and presence in the dressing room will encourage the younger lads - and he did come for free.

Some have suggested that our best " signing " was Prowsey's contract extension, and in all honesty it would be hard to argue against that.
Southampton Linked With West Brom Keeper
at 11:03:14

Keepers tend to develop later in their careers, and those unfortunate enough grow up in a " BIg club" with internationals in every position find that with goalies like De Gea ahead of you the chances of regular first team games are decidedly minimal.

Johnstone (like Pickford before him) played very well in sides that were later relegated, and there is a lot to be said for the old adage that " goalkeepers are only as good as the defence in front of them". Johnstone was outstanding in a number of games I saw him in last season, yet even that wasn't enough to save them.

With a contract going out next summer, he will surely be in demand but would be wise to choose a club who might make him their first choice, rather than going back to sitting on the United bench and get the occasional Cup game.

A good deal - if we can get him.
Why Is Carlton Palmer Suddenly The World's Expert On Southampton FC
at 18:47:05

An expert ..once described as someone who knows more and more about less and less...on Saints Palmer is not.

As others have noted above CP hasnt always been so kind in his comments about his time with Saints.
Being a former player..or a former anything ..doesnt make you an expert and I have long ago lost patience with TV Sports progs.who parade former athletes with double digit IQs to give their expert opinions.

Of course Palmer is not the only former player to get media air time. If anyone is qualifed to speak as an expert on Saints it should be MLT ..but even Sky didnt recognise that when they fired him...and kept Merse.
Palmer is a long way down the list.
Farewell To Michael Obafemi
at 15:06:56

Always a tough call and in Michael's case more difficult because when he was fit he was faced with the task of understudying an highly in-form Danny Ings, and when he did get game time might have doubled his goal tally with better luck and slightly wider goals.
He impressed with his pace, which will certainly shock a few Championship defenders.
I look forward to watching for Swansea's results.

(A note after A1079's comments above)... it's always tough to double-guess yourself as to whether a sold / released player goes onto greater things, or just become a forgotten name in the Club records. Those who are rejected at a young age might come back and bite you ...but we did have luck in buying /selling Danny Ings (who we first let go when he was 11 or 12 ?). AND Tyrone Mings was a victim when Nicola Cortese butchered the Youth / Academy programme in the name of better economy, and a slightly unimpressive 16 y.o. Ben White has obviously improved with age.

At Prem. level there are very few " maybe's ", either you make it to the first team squad and get minutes, or make way for the next young talent to take your place on the bench.

I hope MIchael can get established with a good career, but these days any young 20+ plusser who doesn't get some game time and who hasn't got past the U23 is going to lose his way in a rather short time.
Obafemi Said To Be Having Medical
at 21:15:40

Michael was on the way to Swansea in January before getting a freak injury at the last moment. Looking at our present squad, he may never get regular game time ahead of the other names but he needs first team football, and I expect him to flourish at the lower level

I hope he gets the success that has sought and this is the perfect chance for him to show up.
Transfer Deadline Day Is Here But Who Will Be In Or Out At Southampton
at 09:30:39

IF - we sign someone else - or not, this has still been the best window in a long time.
Adam Armstrong fits the part, and Broja looks as though he can DAJFU when needed.

Tino Livramento has shown us that he has Prem-quality - even if Chelsea didn't think so.
New CB Lyanco meets the criteria for a no-nonsense defender, as does Roman Perraud.

As for the younger signings, the addition of Thierry (what a name ! ) Small looks like a good investment, as does CB Dykel Simeu.

Our income in sales has exceeded our expenditure and even if some of the "expensive misfits" have moved for smaller fees, the club has still saved on their huge salaries.

Whichever way you look at it - it's been a good month.

Southampton At Newcastle United The Verdict
at 12:24:41

Surely a game that should have been put to bed in the first half.
Over 60 % possession and a dozen shots denied only by a packed Newcastle defence.
As usual - we couldn't sustain that style of play in the second half, but a good recovery with a goal by Elyounoussi that goes a long way to making him a good squad player after his two seasons in Scotland.
Tino a stand-out player - again - and even KWP seemed to thrive on the left side.
Shows that we have players with a bit of versatility in the team.

Even if Adam A. didn't score against Newcastle, his tireless running did win us a penalty and up came Captain Prowsey to slot home a good penalty kick and rescue a point, but
we really ought to have tied it up before half time.
Southampton May Yet Make It 9 In The Transfer Window !
at 20:02:24

I'm surprised that we have signed SO MANY new players and maybe haven't finished yet.
Despite bringing in a number of promising youngsters, it seems as though they won't have to wait too long to get game time if Ralph is giving them early chances.

Nick's maths are in line with my own rough calculations, and big reductions in the salary bill will help ease the losses from all those " no-fan " games in the last 2 seasons. Interesting to look at other clubs signings, and note that those " big clubs " who think they have a Divine Right get the 3 points when they come to SMS too often regard So'ton as the end of the line, but that might not be quite so easy this season.

Man U. were shocked to return home with just one point and reacted by dramatically signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the hope of restoring some club pride (and sell a few more
shirts), but at least we have shown up and that should be a warning to others who think we will be " an easy touch ".
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