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Saints At Manchester United The Verdict
Monday, 4th Mar 2019 09:27

Saints almost snatched a point at Old Trafford and put in a sterling performance, but it also highlighted our weakness's and the difference between us struggling and being comfortable.

Saints came through a difficult opening period and initially it looked like it might be a long afternoon , but then they found their feet and gave as good as they got as they played without fear and took the game to the home side.

You couldn't fault any player out there for effort and Saints were good for a 1-0 half tie lead after Yan Valery smashed home a long range effort , but after the break it was a different story that saw Saints weakness's exposed and three goals conceded.

We still played very well in the second half but it has to be said that in conceding three goals we have to look at ourselves and the manner in which we conceded them.

Yes one was off side but it was such a close call you cannot really blame the officials for getting it wrong and in fairness to the referee and our penalty claims, they were tight ones and the home side could make a claim or two themselves.

The other two United goals were stunners, but it exposed our weakness of not getting close enough and getting blocks in, you have to say that the likes of Van Dijk or Alderweireld would have got tighter on the man and perhaps blocked the shot.

That was especially the case on the second, someone really should have thrown themselves at the ball, a sliding tackle to block, but no one made the challenge.

Likewise up front we struggled to get any sustained attacking threat, Charlie Austin battled gainfully but you felt this was not his game, Long was better suited to this type of game, but wasn't on the bench, perhaps Gallagher should have come on earlier to offer some running, but it seems that Hasenhuttl does not have the faith in him.

Overall there is a feeling of relief about this result, in terms of points we got nothing out of it, but we did show that we are a lot better than our league position suggests, if we perform like this in the remaining 9 games then we should get more than enough points to pull clear well before the season's final day.

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underweststand added 09:45 - Mar 4
Cheated again. Rule no.1 in the Referees Handbook is never give a penalty AGAINST United at Old Trafford. Over the years a handful have done so, but two of them have already retired. Bertrand can feel rightly abused for the way he was mishandled.

Putting that aside - Lukaku's first goal might have been offside had VAR been in place.

As for the match - Saints didn't lie down and think of England, they all gave 100% and it's surely the crime of the season that we didn't come away with at least one point.
Valery is improving with every game, and he'll be lucky if he ever scores another goal like that one. (memories of Golac's goal for older fans).

Has Prowsie actually been given a role that he can flourish in ?...and a chance to show what his free-kicks can produce. He was in Steven Davis' shadow for so long, at last he has a chance to shine. Were you watching Gareth?

Difficult to fault Gunn for any of their goals, and his unorthadox penalty save kept the scoreline to respectable, if rather unjust level.


halftimeorange added 09:50 - Mar 4
Everything you say is true and you haven't named names. That is fair because they tried hard and, in some areas performed well but, why wasn't such a sustained effort maintained against lesser opposition, e.g., Cardiff? It seems the players upped their game because of the reputation of the opposition even though the class difference eventually told. I can blame the officials for getting key decisions wrong. I bet if Saints had scored an offside goal it would have been disallowed! You cannot convince me that EPL officials do not favour the bigger clubs.

wessexman added 09:54 - Mar 4
How many times have we patted ourselves on the back after a "glorious defeat" only to revert back to type the next game and put in a dreadful display? Bottom line is we conceded a winning goal with minutes to go once again. With 9 games to go, we really need to start putting points on the board, hopefully starting on Saturday against Spurs. Our chronic lack of leadership has been obvious once Fonte/van Dijk decided they were too good for our club.

darthvader added 10:07 - Mar 4
Cheated out of a result as usual . Players played well against a very good United side with the help of Fücking cheating officials with, and I'm going to say it, usual bias against us .

I can't wait for VAR . I don't care about the flow of the game it keeps happening to us.

saintmark1976 added 10:07 - Mar 4
To be honest Nick I was expecting a different summary from you along the lines of "we were robbed" and "Dunkirk spirit" etc etc so full marks to you in being realistic.

I fully expect to be slated for pointing it out but the match was yet another from which we gained nothing after being in a winning position,being unable to even collect a solitary point. The same scenario happens match after match and is the prime reason why we are fighting against relegation. Is it simply bad luck or something more fundamental?

In regard to V A R next season.If it operates in a manner even remotely similar to the way it did in our cup game against Derby I personally would prefer to be without it.


HythePeer added 11:36 - Mar 4
As regards offside, the laws say: "The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not
I'm just a guy in a bar and I know that, the level of ignorance of the laws by commentators who do it for a living is astounding.

Any direct free kick offence, according to the laws, has to be done with "using excessive force" the fact that contact has taken place is NOT sufficient. Ryan Bertrand was "contacted" by a tug on his shirt but it was not enough for his legs to collapse beneath him and as such he was guilty of simulation and should have been given 2 yellow cards.

legod7 added 11:39 - Mar 4
The one and only criticism I have is Vestergaard appealing for offside against Lukaku. He had enough time to get a tackle in instead of standing there with his arm in the air.

bstokesaint added 12:17 - Mar 4
Gutted to have come away with nothing. Have to agree with SaintMark and Wessex though that, bad luck/officiating aside, it’s another match lost from a winning position and a point thrown away in the penultimate minute. That’s the 4th massive point (also Cardiff and Burnley) which we’ve blown recently and that would alter our position considerably. The fact is good teams with good leaders don’t capitulate late on. It was a good display, but this is a huge concern.

saintsnutcase added 13:11 - Mar 4
We played well but as long as we keep conceding very late goals, we will stay near the bottom. Ralph said the same thing on Saturday. It is soul destroying to be a Saints fan and watch them lose the number of points to very late goals that we have done in the last 3 years.

LordDZLucan added 13:22 - Mar 4
HythePeer, the 'excessive force' argument clearly has to be applied with a bit of common sense, To my mind it should only be applied when a player is tackled but not when he is deliberately fouled. Bertrand was deliberately held back by Smalling and after that by Young. They didn't put in tackles and therefore Bertrand should have been awarded penalties on both occasions. The excessive force argument can apply to United's penalty because Rashford was tackled. In my book he went down far too easily and should not have got a penalty.

SaintPaulVW added 13:47 - Mar 4
I'm struggling to be too negative about it as it was a great game to watch. With the lack of screens at Old Trafford all the incidents occurred at the other end so were a bit difficult to see from the rather snug visitor's corner, not that they would have been screened anyway lol.

I take the point onboard about late goals. I think part of our problem is that we drop back into a tight formation and invite teams to play at us. We need to have some outlets up the field to take the pressure off. Our game management definitely needs working on. However, Saints did well for the most part and regardless of the dodgy refereeing really deserved the draw. And Certainly not 4-2. If we play like that in our remaining games we should be more than okay.

If you think about it Cardiff have only got 19 points from 27 games against the rest of the league. If we can't finish above them we deserve relegation.

COYYellows sorry.... Saints

landerwal added 13:57 - Mar 4
The main difference between the sides was they had a striker who scored two of their goals including the winner. Both our goals were scored by midfielders not our strikers, which has been the problem this and previous seasons. Tighten up the defence as much as you like, but we will still be a team in the middle to bottom of the Premiership if we don't sort out our problem of a lack of class strikers. The fact that Redmond (nominally a winger) and Ward Prowse are now our main strike force proves the point.

ItchenNorth added 14:05 - Mar 4
It wasn't offside. The game can't be managed to such fine margins to rule it out when VAR comes in; it'll be a farce. The first pen shout was good but second wasn't.

Saints played well of course and were unlucky with the decisions on the day, but id rather the FA set about increasing the quality of refereeing or rather than what's coming with VAR, and consider a 'review challenge system' say two per team.

underweststand added 14:47 - Mar 4
In reading several sites - there's almost as much comment about " refereeing decisions " as about the game. Either the ref. " didn't see " the incidents, or chose to ignore them.
Maybe playing at Old Trafford is just as challenging for referees as it is for players.

I'm reminded of the legendary story - back in the 1970's - of the ref. who officiated at a particulary volatile Northern "derby game " when he gave several controversial decisions AGAINST the home side. Brave man.
After the match was over he went to the car park, to find his car was - without its wheels.


Rustyhelmet added 15:36 - Mar 4
I cant believe we are still moaning and whining about referees and what should/could/might have happened?! Bottom line is that firstly it levels itself over the course of a season and secondly are we really that pathetic that we are reliant on what ifs?

We played relatively well (annoyingly against a high level of opposition - maybe some were putting themselves in the shop window so to speak (only my opinion)) but the same defensive frailties were present and if we hadn't scored 2 cracking goals the score line would have still been a fair representation of the match.

schatfield added 18:24 - Mar 4
come on guys, we just witnessed a fantastic game of football, this is why we watch the sport we love. Some cracking performances from individuals, JWP again a standout and we gave it our all. Don't keep moaning about the defense, we played the most in-form team in the country and only (just) lost!

davidargyll added 19:42 - Mar 4
Yes I agree that it was a great game of football and on another day we would have got a point or three; why did we play better against Man U than vs eg Cardiff? Because, as they play an open flowing game, they allowed us to do the same. Borediff were just so negative and were playing to snatch a goal or two from a break and/or a set piece, which of course they did. I still firmly believe that we will stay up as we are not so much "too good to go down" but more that we are a hundred miles better than the dross around us. Now if we can keep that Harry Whatshisname out next weekend, who knows...Keep the faith boys...

SanMarco added 00:32 - Mar 5
These are always the most difficult games to comment on - I feel totally torn between the schatfield line of what a great game and saintmark1976's oh no not again attitude. Time will tell - if we stay up then I am with the former, if not the latter.

As for VAR - rather than announce we are having it and then working out a system they should get as good a procedure as possible and introduce it when it is ready. The World Cup VAR was a farce and I fear next season will be too because this is a very difficult thing to get right and the administrators aren't very clever. The most important thing of all is that hand balls must be considered in REAL TIME - everything looks intentional in slow motion...

BoondockSaint added 01:56 - Mar 5
Unfortunately, the usual, "Play up or down to the level of the opposition, and then lose"
If Saints could just keep the same mind-set they had in this and the Arsenal game, we'd be doing OK.

I don't know what RH is saying to JWP on the practice pitch, but it's working wonders!

Can't wait for VAR - the end of: diving, the pecking order of the table, the crowd intimidating the ref and managers yapping all game long in the officials ear. As for how to implement, check the NHL, RK should know......

sidsaint added 15:45 - Mar 5
It's always good to see us score 2 great long range goals, I just hope that with our strikers missing or not scoring that we are keeping a few more in the locker to use when up against lesser opposition and when such a strike could win us all 3 points.

underweststand added 15:57 - Mar 5
Sorry "Rusty helmet"
....but I don't think it does " even it self out " if it did we wouldn't be in the position we are today.......or the pit we climbed out of last season.

Games like the Watford away game where they scored with through a handball in added time, robbed us of 2 points that we really deserved ..everyone can make their own list...the Everton game with the ref. awarding a free kick whe there was no foul . The free kick taken 15 yeards further forward than the foul was supposed to have taken place -resulted in added time and another late goal against us ...etc, etc, etc.

I'd ike someone to make a list of incidents where we scored from penalties that "never were"...or "offside goals" that we scored. YES our problem was / is conceding late goals, but along the way we've been robbed by bad decsions for the last couple of seasons.

If you are a Top 6 side, with a chance of Euro football, it's amazing how much "good luck" you get from "blind referees" and "extra added time ". .it rarely benefits struggling sides who few people care about.


KriSaint added 00:41 - Mar 7
I´m still pissed with the referee having such a small d*ck.
He denied us 2 penalties + Luck-kakoo was offside when he scored his first goal.
Saints played well with intelligence and a good shape and scored 2 classy goals.
RH seems to be the right manager for Saints and I hope he will guide us through the rest of this season and keep us in the PL. I can´t wait to see the impact he will have next season.

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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
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