Saints At Burnley The Verdict
Monday, 12th Aug 2019 09:20
The result says another opening day disaster for Saints, so what went wrong in a game that was turned on it's head in a 12 minute spell of calamity chaos in the second half.
If you read the match stats before the scoreline you would be hard pressed to predict a 3-0 defeat, so what went wrong for Saints.
Firstly the weather did not do any favours, it was awful, driving wind rain and a pitch that the ball skimmed off the surface and was well suited to Burnley's style of play of going long and chasing everything.
Secondly Ralph Hasenhuttl hasn't got many things wrong at Saints so far, but at Burnley he got his line up completely wrong, the back four lacked leadership and just wasn't suited to the game in hand, if the back four lacked leadership then so did the rest of the team with Pierre Emile Hojbjerg strangely on the bench, the nearest thing we have to a leader.
I can understand why we did it tactically, but we lost so much of his inspiration.
The harsh reality though is that we have all known for over two years where the problem has been and it seems that this summer we have again failed to address it, I hope Kevin Danso will be the answer but at 20 he is going to lack the experience that we need to bring in to the centre of defence.
Having said this we didn't play too badly, up till they had scored Burnley had created very little and although we did not look sharp we looked comfortable with the only issues usually being of our own making where we failed to take account for the slippery pitch.
The first goal though saw awful defending, Burnley knocked the ball long and it swirled in the wind with Jannik Vestergaard failing to judge it's flight, but this was still a long way out and it should have been dealt with.
Jack Stephens go goal side of the player, but failed to make any attempt at a tackle on Ashley Barnes, at the other end Burnley's defence were throwing themselves in front of the ball and making last ditch blocking tackles, Stephens did none of this and allowed the player to get a shot in, perhaps Gunn should have done better, but the damage had already been done.
The second goal was just as bad in that Barnes was unmarked at the far post, no one seems to talk at the back, a policy of young players is all very well and good but they need organising.
The third goal saw us lose the ball and leave ourselves exposed at the back, in fairness Gudmundsson finished well.
The lesson we should learn was up on show at the other end, Burnley defended as their lives depended on it even in the final minutes when the game was well won, several players in the centre of our defence don't seem to make tackles, they don't go to ground and block when needed and that is something we need to address.
Of course there are other issues that need looking at, but we know that we can fix them, as an attacking force we did not look like we were firing on all cylinders, but we still created more chances than the home side, the difference was they did not give us a single thing, we gifted them three goals.
Ralph said afterwards that we lost focus for a period, he is right, but that is why we need a leader in the back line that can organise, Gary Cahill would have been a good option there, maybe hasn't got the pace , but he can make sure that others are in a position to cover that.
If I was Ralph Hasenhuttl I would be looking at what I can do there, there must be someone out of contract out there who can fit this bill and therefore we could sign.
Everyone at Burnley saw what the problem was and what needs to be done, i'm sorry to harp on but the solution is not at the club we need to bring someone in.
We are not a bad side so from that viewpoint there is no need to panic, we will win games, but we will also drop points in games like this where we really should have got something from.
This was a bad day at the office, that cannot be denied, but on this showing we learned nothing from what cost us so dearly last season.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #12 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile
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