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Saints V Burnley The Verdict
Saints V Burnley The Verdict
Sunday, 12th Feb 2012 10:00

Saints did what they had to do and more in a win against Burnley that was pretty comprehensive. But did Billy Sharp score the second or not ?

The question on most Saints fans lips at kick off though was why was Jason Puncheon left out of the starting line up ? After going to great lengths to broker a peace between the player and the club followed by two decent performances from Puncheon himself, many Saints supporters expected him to get the nod ahead of Guly, however this would not be the case and the conspiracy theorists had a field day speculating as to why !

Selection wise though Nigel dkins got it just about right, apart from Guly/Puncheon there wouldnt have been too many in the ground who would have picked different players in the other 10 positions, it seems that Adkins has learnt a few lessons from the past few months, instead of tinkering he went for a solid line up with what most would consider just about his best XI and this stability paid off and although one win doesnt yet mean we are back to our best, it does mean we have now put together a three match unbeaten run in the League and whilst five points from those three games isnt quite the ratio we need, its getting back there.

The side looked like it wanted to play and win from the very start and the early goal settled the nerves and put us in the driving seat, from there we never looked like giving it away apart from one nervy period in the second half when we just couldnt seem to clear the ball, but overall it was a good solid performance with the only real disapointment being that we didnt score more than two.

The second goal was credited to Billy Sharp and certainly he deserves praise for the way he didnt give up what looked a lost cause for him and created confusion between defender and keeper, however not having seen a replay at time of writing have to rely on my own eyes and that of a well known member of this site who was sat right behind the goal and swears that Sharp didnt touch the ball, so whether this will remain credited to Sharp is open to debate.

Nigel Adkins not only got his selections right at the start, but he made the right changes, although the first two were puzzling at first glance, Sharp looked, well Sharp, so many wondered why he came off so early and then why it was Connolly and not Lee, but Adkins went to the known quantity there, Hammond on for Guly in the last 13 minutes might have been slightly strange in that he didnt bring on Puncheon in a like for like, but what it did do was close out the game, Puncheon would have offered more going forward, but Hammond naturally sits deeper, it gave the clear message that we were concentrating on getting three points rather than three goals.

All in all a satisfying result, not just for the scoreline but for the way it was achieved and another clean sheet to boot, making it two in a row and that has to be a good sign.

Again results went for us elsewhere and we have opened up a gap between us and third place, its not plain sailing, we have to negotiate a tricky trip to Upton Park and a draw there would suit us just fine.

 

 

Photo: Action Images



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tiptop added 11:15 - Feb 12
As you say NA's selections were solid and his decisions worked well yesterday.

Puncheon? Keeping him fresh for Tues?
He was on the bench and thats no mean feat.
Guly creates problems/chances, hes got height and he did well.
Defensively we looked better. Fonte stood out for me.
Still not quite bossing the possession enough at times.
Thought we found more belief in our passing in the second half.
Great shot from Lambert for Connolly's 'goal'.
The midfield to take shooting practice! No threat here at all. Chaplow and Reeves should be practicing that in training!
Tadanari Lee chant.. awesome!
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nobby added 11:27 - Feb 12
The only disappointing thing for me was the person sat behind me moaning about Guly throughout the match. Why? As I've said before it really bugs ma as I thought he had a good game.
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bstokesaint added 11:40 - Feb 12
Great team display. Think it proves what I've been saying for a long time that out first XI can beat the best, and Burnley were a form team made to look average. Stand out performances for me were Lambert, Lallana and Cork. Anyone who questions Cork's contribution should have watched him yesterday. Good to have Jos back in defence. Feel much safer with him partnering Fonte. And for all those saying our full backs don't cut it at this level Richardson again proved his worth with a decent display and assist. I'd take a point against West Ham, but really I'd be quietly disappointed if we didn't beat them. It's our chance to put the pressure on them as Brighton did to us last season. It's about seizing the opportunity now.
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StrasbourgSaint added 11:54 - Feb 12
Although I don't get to many games, I totally agree with Nobby. We all know Guly can be frustrating but he gives a lot to the team and his stats speak for themselves.

That sort of answers Nick's question as to why Guly started ahead of Punchean. It's good to see Puncheon back in the fold, but that doesn't give him an automatic right to start every game. Once Guly was fit again, he had to be considered.

The trick is not necessarily to pick the players who did well last time but to pick those who will do well next time, and it seems NA got it right yesterday.
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Olley added 12:26 - Feb 12
Just the result we needed, 3 points, clean sheet & everyone looking better on the ball than in recent months. I thought Guly played the best I have seen him in a while & Richardson was more like we have come to known him by. The early signs for the striking partnership with Ricky / Sharp looked good, which can only get better & with some competition for places, I felt Connolly came on & also played better then when he has started [maybe that us the key with him]. I know Chapers was properly disappointed not to get on the bench & as mentioned above Puncheon was unlucky not to start. All in all the best way to meet a great 6 pointer at the Hammers, COYRS
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legod7 added 13:30 - Feb 12
I like Guly a lot and thought yesterday he gave a good display in his midfield role.But how he was on the team sheet in the first place does slightly baffle me. I thought Puncheon would have got the nod.On Tuesday night against Millwall Guly had one his worst games I have seen at home. He did not seem to want to be there.
As for Chaplow not even being on the bench was the right decision after Tuesday night. He seemed well off the pace as was not match fit.
After that display yesterday it should be a cracking game on Tuesday. Hopefully we will boss the midfield again and without Kevin Nolan for West Ham it seems they could be there for the taking.
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StSaint added 13:43 - Feb 12
Great result yesterday. Good going forward, solid at the back and lots of reasons for optimism. Considering their current form, away record and our recent wobbles, that gives me a great deal of confidence for the rest of the season. Mind you, I never lost faith.
After banging on all season about must win games, I'm surprised that you wouldn't be looking to win on Tues. Whilst its not a must win, I too would be slightly disappointed with a draw. WH aren't great at home, we have already beaten them once this season and it will land a psychological blow in the race for promotion if we do the double. Can't wait for the game and am hopeful of taking three points.
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squidofdespair added 14:34 - Feb 12
Squid was sat close enough to the goal to see the look on Sharpy's face and he knew he got close but wouldn't be able to claim it. Fair play to him for not trying to bag it.

With SRL and Sharpy plus Lamaboy we looked dangerous whenever we were forward. Shame we didn't score 6. Squid out.
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geezershoong added 14:49 - Feb 12
Guly Do Prado put in a good shift especially first half, chasing & hassling Burnley, trying to stop them from getting out of their half.

But Lambert was superb yesterday, best player on the pitch for me, he looked hungry & his knock downs & especially his first touch when plucking the ball out of the air were Prem level.

Not surprised he didn't get a mention for the whole article though, shame.
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Stephen added 15:07 - Feb 12
I have to empathise with Nobby as I have a Neanderthal sitting next me who keeps saying that Guly is out of position. Enough said...

I thought Guly was the man of the match given he was back on the wing which he hadn't played for a long time. I thought his running between the lines opened up Burnley on numerous occasions and his running the line in support of Richardson even made Richardson look good. When Richardson overlapped, Guly was behind to make sure the back door was still closed. When Richardson was under pressure at the back Guly was there to help. As I am a great fan of Chaplow playing that exact same role and I thought that Adkins might have made Guly watch the videos of Chaplow dominating the wing. He surely did!!

In Adkins we trust.
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Whatsforpud added 16:04 - Feb 12
Totally agree with Geezershoong about Lambert. I assume the incident he refers to was when he pulled down an awkward high ball on the right wing, with two markers close by. Superb example to youngsters to practice skills. Although he isn't quick, he has quick feet-like Le Tiss, and has time to pick out a pass or a shot. That shot in the first half was only stopped by a fine reaction save by the keeper. His hold-up play has improved enormously, and this brings others into play.
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nobby added 16:46 - Feb 12
No looking back once Lallana had put us in front, and a professional display throughout the 2nd half. No 3rd goal but securing the 3 points and keeping a clean sheet was the important thing. Not the usual quick slick passing game as we saw at the start of the season but they seemed to want to get the ball in the box quicker which was good to see. Also, I noticed that Kelvin often booted the ball upfield rather than keep trying to play it out from the back all the time. Would have liked to seen Fox close down their winger a bit more as he didn't manage to block many of their crosses but lucky for us they were not strong in the air and our defence coped with them ok. A good team selection by NA with so many options now that we've just about got a fully fit squad. Look out Hammers!
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Holbury_City added 19:58 - Feb 12
Without wishing to sound like Mick Channon, we won because we got to the byeline and got some decent crosses in for a change. I was also amazed Lambert never got a mention in Nick's report - he was awesome throughout. I guess we just take his talent for granted nowadays. The closest thing we'll ever get to another MLT.
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iswhite10 added 23:24 - Feb 12
Just so pleased we won. Tactics spot on. Chappers coming back (I suspect) for WH tho maybe starting on the bench? Punch def held back for same game. When will we stupid fans (see above) learn that there are so many factors behind a selection. Trust the Bus Driver until he gets it wrong! Roll on Tuesday... West Ham we're coming for you.... !!!
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bstokesaint added 06:17 - Feb 13
I think it's a given these days that Lambert will play well. He'd be the first name on my teamsheet. I still find it ironic that Andy Carroll cost £30m and Rickie £1m (from memory). Not only is only Rickie better, but we didn't get ripped off. It makes you appreciate not paying over the odds in the transfer market. Long may that continue.
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Stephen added 11:43 - Feb 13
bstokesaint

Some of the difference in price must be due to shelf life; Andy Carroll has more of it.
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