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Saints V Bournemouth The Verdict
Monday, 30th Apr 2018 09:13

Ahead of the game I pleaded for the fans to get behind the team and will them to their first home game in five months in the Premier League, Saints fans did just that and spurred the team on to victory.

The moaning was left at home for the first time in many moons and St Mary's trocked in a way it hasn't done at all this season as Saints supporters rallied to the cause in the team's hour of need, from the first whistle to the last the support was superb and showed our visitors from across the New Forest what they should aspire to rather than trying to stir up a rivalry that doesn't exist by the frequent use of the word scummer.

In many respects this followed the path of our last Premier League home win against Everton, complete domination in the first half and a one goal lead going into the break suddenly cancelled out with a goal out of nowhere, like that last win five months ago, this did not knock the wind out of our sails but made us more determined to win the game.

This was a team performance in the mode of old, if we had had half of our previous games with 3/4 of the passion on Saturday then we would not be in the trouble we are in.

There wasn't a player on the pitch who did not earn his money, some might question Nathan Redmond, but despite the game not going for him, he kept going and played a vital part in the first goal with a clever flick and simple pass to Lemina that meant that suddenly the Bournemouth defence was exposed and another simple but effective ball left Tadic with just the keeper to beat which he did clinically.

That put us in total command and suddenly Saints were a team again, with the crowd roaring them on we looked like we would put the Cherries to the sword, but in first half injury time we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a soft goal.

Bournemouth seem to play in bursts, they cannot play for 90 minutes with the high tempo they need, so they sit back and then have a couple of power plays in each half, this was the case on the stroke of half time, the writing was on the wall and we switched off, in the space of 2 minutes they firstly had Ake turn Yoshida and see his shot well saved by McCarthy's leg, then they got free down the right and it needed Lemina to work hard to get back and block at the expense of a corner, that saw the ball flicked on to the back post where King ran off his marker and had a free chance from close range.

But if Saints fans fought they would see another collapse they were wrong the team came out more determined than before and ten minutes after the break it was Tadic again.

Mark Hughes seemed to have read Eddie Howe's tactics perfectly, he knew that in many respects they are one dimensional, they rely on short bursts of pressing, both goals came from similar situations, we won the ball and attacked quickly.

We did this not just on the two goals but on several other occasions that should have seen us put the game to bed long before the final whistle, the truth is we should have had at least two more goals and possibly three where we had attacked Bournemouth and left them exposed, but poor finishing meant that we had to go into the last ten minutes biting our nails.

But Mark Hughes got his substitutions right, Long coming on for Redmond brought work rate to push Bournemouth back, Hojberg on for Austin brought more muscle in the midfield and finally when Tadic went off to a standing ovation, James Ward Prowse brought someone who could hold up the ball and use it well.

Bournemouth of course pressed in the final minutes and they almost snatched it at the death, the shot taking a cruel deflection but McCarthy was equal to it and produced one of the saves of the season.

A man of the match is hard, certainly McCarthy could be named due to several smart saves during the 90 minutes and that wonder save in injury time, virtually the entire side could also lay some claim, all worked hard and played their part, but overall on the pitch it was Dusan Tadic, not only did he score two but he was a constant thorn in Bournemouth's side and should have had a couple of assists to his name as well if his colleagues had finished with the same aplomb he did.

But perhaps the real man of the match was the 12th man, not Shane Long but the Saints supporters, they kept going for the full 90 minutes plus injury time and at the death the support was deafening as the crowd roared Saints on.

I have been critical of our support at times this season, but not on Saturday, they left the gripes at home and got on with the job of supporting their team, perhaps the clappers on the seats are a bit naff, but they also played a part, areas of the ground usually quite used them and they helped build up momentum in the crowd at times when nerves got the better.

But the main message from this game is belief, we finally seem to have found it both on and off the pitch, suddenly the sides above us are looking over their shoulders, we need to win at Everton and then we can dare to hope !

The final message is buy those Everton tickets and get up there, after all they are only £10 !

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Photo: Action Images

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jerseysaint added 10:07 - Apr 30
I think we have the belief to win 2 games or at least win one and draw one if we can get to the Man City game 3 points ahead of Swansea our goal difference should keep us up.
Huddersfield may not get any more points and West Ham are suddenly collapsing.

obelisk added 10:10 - Apr 30
Yes the support was excellent and the players responded well. There's still a lot of hard work required if Saints are save themselves and hopefully that win will offer some encouragement. The pessimist within me wonders whether this is all coming a bit late in the day though.

DorsetIan added 10:24 - Apr 30
I'll give all the credit to Hughes for this one. I have noticed recently that he has repeated the same thing a few times - that he has been instilling in the team 'what it takes to win a Premier League game'. That is the say, the extent to which the players need to battle and press and concentrate, for the full 90 minutes to win in the Premier League.

It's been that winning attitude and spirit that we've been missing.

We're back in the mix !!


AirFlorida added 10:33 - Apr 30
Can't remember the last time I wanted to watch MOTD! It's nice to still have something to play for and it still being in our own hands. If we'd not chalked up so many draws.. Sigh. We've only lost 3 more than 6th place Arsenal. Two wins should do it BUT my gut feeling is the best we'll collect from our two away games is 4pts so we'll be praying on the last day that our goal difference keeps us up on 36pts (at worse) or we find miracle point against city. But let's hope we take it to the wire and have a cracker against City. COYR

KriSaint added 10:59 - Apr 30
The margins were on our side for a change. Our 3-5-1-1 formation looked pretty good, and this is how we should play in the remaining 3 games.
A bit disappointed to see Hojbjerg left out of the side. However both Lemina and Romeu played well.
As I see it we need at least 4 more points to have 3 clubs below us in the table after the last ball of the season has been kicked.
Hunting those 4 points we will have to start with winning against our boogey team, Everton, at Goodison Park.
To achieve this, solid defending is required and dangerousness in counter attacks and on set pieces. And a bit of luck.

LordDZLucan added 11:16 - Apr 30
What a transformation! A different atmosphere from the start. I was almost in tears before the kick-off. And the team kept fighting beyond the 70 minute mark and took yellow cards at exactly the right times – 2 things we haven’t been doing up until now. Those clappers were great as well – until one hit me and cut my head open when they were being thrown around like confetti at the end!

Sanguin added 11:40 - Apr 30
Tadic gets a lot of stick, but he’s been a fantastic servant of Southampton. His contribution in terms of assists speaks for itself. His celebration after scoring against Chelsea had him kissing his badge and pointing at the ground to show that he wasn’t going anywhere in the Summer. He is a really important player and we’re really lucky to have him.

I we can beat Swansea and get a point out of Everton or Man City then I think we will stay up.

ItchenNorth added 12:02 - Apr 30
Who wants mid table football; that's boring. This was why I love football and Saints; drama, excitement, nerves, passion, atmosphere. It was like the 90s all over again.

Now let's push on, we CAN do this !


warrens76 added 12:05 - Apr 30
Sensational atmosphere, no one left early either...the media made a huge song and dance about LCFC's atmosphere 2 seasons ago and with good reason yet SMS was as good not a peep from our media yet Stateside all commented on it....

bstokesaint added 12:13 - Apr 30
The atmosphere was great at the weekend. You certainly couldn’t fault the fans. We’ve missed that this season, although you can’t blame the supporters for feeling miffed. The players looked up for this one and that makes a huge difference. It gives the crowd something to be proud of.
There are plenty of positives to take away from this one including game-winning tactics from the manager, a great (and long overdue) performance from Tadic and a big self-confidence boost for the keeper.
Looking at other bottom-of-the-table-teams’ run-ins I’d give us a 50/50 chance at this stage. If we can take something from Everton and then beat Swansea we have a great chance. Even though the majority of that Man C team will have one mind on Russia and not doing anything to ruin that, I still think looking for anything against them is a big ask given how good they’ve been this season. Goodison needs to be kind for a change. Wouldn’t it be nice to win at Everton and Swansea and be able to enjoy the last game of the season against the Champions – would be a much better atmosphere before we all let off steam during the summer!

bstokesaint added 12:16 - Apr 30
Sanguin, Tadic gets a lot of stick because like a lot of other players in the current team has obvious talent, but doesn’t perform consistently. Arguably I think that’s why a number of our players haven’t made it at the clubs we’ve prised them away from and probably wouldn’t attract much interest from anyone bigger right now.

DPeps added 12:24 - Apr 30
It was a much better performance and has given me some hope. It's most likely that Huddersfield won't get another point, so 4 points from the next 3 games should see us safe.
My only concerns are that Bournemouth gifted us 2 goals and we still look dodgy from set pieces.

Horndeansaint added 12:48 - Apr 30
Agreed the fans in general were great but stand up the 2 in row W block 35 and hang your heads in shame. Hoedt put a ball into touch whilst under pressure. No problem really, he conceded a throw in no more. Up jump these 2 shouting abuse at him. Myself amongst others advised them shall we say but no they are right to do this. I noticed abuser no 1 didn’t even applaud when Tadic scored his second. A skate in disguise I reckon.

SanMarco added 12:49 - Apr 30
Huddersfield vs Arsenal on the last day is interesting DPeps. If Arsenal go out on Thursday then it will be Wenger's last game, if they are in the final he will play youngsters like yesterday. I will be cheering on Athletico on Thursday for that reason.

Saturday showed that we CAN stay up - the next two will answer the question over whether we WILL. We need Bournemouth to play a lot better next week and beat Swansea. Then at least a draw at Everton sets up a winner takes all game at Swansea. My fear is two draws which would mean we needed something vs Man City. Sorry to be negative but our defence is too weak for that to be a realistic hope.

It is often said that it is the HOPE that kills you. We now have hope and therefore two very, very stressful matches to come...

AirFlorida added 13:48 - Apr 30
I am praying Man City lose one of their two remaining home games so that they don't come to St Mary's with fire in their bellies to break the 100pts mark! But as those two games are Huddersfield and Brighton I think they'll arrive motivated.. That said we could be down by then! One game at a time eh?

landerwal added 13:54 - Apr 30
A great performance from the team. The final whistle said it all with most of the player's sinking to the ground with exhaustion where they had given their all. This how you want to see a team play and Hughes deserves the credit. Everton will not be a push over but on this form I can see us winning it and the game against Swansea. For the first time in ages there is real hope of avoiding the drop.

Consigliere added 13:56 - Apr 30
At the risk of carping, I thought that the midfield was getting a bit over-run in the second half and that JWP should have been on a bit sooner but that minor matter aside, what a vast improvement in attitude and application from all the players. I think the 50/50 assessment above is probably about right but that in itself is an improvement and leaves us in a position of realistic hope.

Roll on next Saturday (I see that the game is going to be televised on BT Sport).

helpineedsomebody added 14:55 - Apr 30
nice to see you all happy but a bit concern about the next 2 games
we were the same in 99 when we went to selhurst park we were in the ground 1hr before kick off & sitting right right at the front i noticed a lot of chinese people they were sitting there not saying a dicky bird infact they looked scared.
well as the the kick off got nearer one off the boys came down the steps went straight to the front where they were sitting he was dressed as a arab + a fes
well within seconds these chinese were up smiling tacking photos having agreat time
so next saturday relax we did

BoondockSaint added 15:08 - Apr 30
i have always thought Tadic was an emotional player. When he's angry, he plays better. Glad to see he was on fire yesterday.

While his critics are eating humble pie, I have to tuck into a large potion myself since I was slagging Lemina a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday he was great! Fast, physical getting rid of the ball quickly. fighting to the end. Glad he proved me wrong.

McCarthy again makes you wonder what the season would have be like if he was in goal from the beginning....

DPeps added 16:44 - Apr 30
SanMarco - under normal circumstances I'd expect Arsenal to struggle away at Huddersfield, but with it being Wenger's last PL game you'd think the Arsenal players will want to perform.
Plus Huddersfield look abject at the moment. Of course, we're only a bit better than abject...

SanMarco added 18:10 - Apr 30
Yes - that's what I mean DPeps. It will be a lot better if it is his last game ever - if they are in the Joker League final he will 'rest' lots of players and give Huddersfield a chance (a chance, incidently, that we didn't take at the Emirates the other week).

king_sid added 18:55 - Apr 30
I have been one of Tadic's fiercest critics this season, but he was excellent on Saturday. However that was in no small part because Hughes played him in his best position as a wide man and not as a 'Number 10' as Pellegrino kept doing. He seems to know what to do and where to go when out wide - tucked in behind the striker he looked lost.

skiptonsaint added 21:50 - Apr 30
Just gonna say well done boys. That’s why we put up with all the bad days.

Now onto a very important next 2 games.

We are taking 3k to Everton and it can be a mini dell burst park to keep this run going


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