Saints Draw Opening Pre Season Game
Sunday, 16th Jul 2017 10:01
Saints mixed and matched in the opening pre season friendly in Switzerland, however they came away with a draw.
Mauricio Pellegrino had announced before the game that he would be putting out a different side in each half and that was the case
Pellegrino’s XI for the first half was almost as much youth as experience, with Aaron O’Driscoll and Jake Flannigan joining Maya Yoshida and Sam McQueen in defence, while 18-year-old Nathan Tella started on the right wing.
Oriol Romeu, Jordy Clasie, Sofiane Boufal, Dušan Tadić and Charlie Austin completed the outfield line-up, with Fraser Forster in goal.
Two notable absentee's where Virgil Van Dijk and Ryan Bertrand, however both where with the squad, Van Dijk is yet to start full contact training yet so is unlikely to feature in a pre season game for a few weeks yet and Bertrand has a slight hamstring problem.
The game was lively but no side could break the deadlock despite chances at both ends, Tella almost made it a dream start to his first team career on the half hour but his shot was blocked, sadly just before the break he took a knock and was replaced by Tyreke Johnson.
In the second half it was almost all change and all but Johnson were replaced.
Alex McCarthy replaced Forster in goal for his first appearance in nearly a year due to injury and he was joined by Jérémy Pied, Alfie Jones, Florin Gardos and Armani Little in w what was a very inexperienced defence at Premier league level.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Steven Davis joined fellow midfielder Johnson, while Shane Long, Sam Gallagher and Manolo Gabbiadini also came in.
The second half followed pretty much the same pattern as the first with both sides having chances, but both keepers were in good form to ensure the game ended scoreless.
All in all a good work out for Saints, results mean little at this stage but for Mauricio Pellegrino it must have been satisfying to see some good individual performances as well as the fact that we competed without the services of several key players who have been away on International duty.
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