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Burnley 3 v 0 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 10th August 2019 Kick-off 15:00
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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mgprobert added 09:47 - Aug 12
I agree with most of that - yes, we all know the problem, experience wold have helped...oh and a bit of commitment from the CBs. I think PEH was unwell, so that's understandable. Nice for Chelsea to push us out of the relegation zone though.
5

bstokesaint added 09:48 - Aug 12
Oh £&)(; dear. So just as the majority of the fan base predicted we were guilty of gross negligence/incompetency in the summer window (yet again) and paid the appropriate price. Let’s forget the “it’s a long season” cliche. Conceding 3 goals to a team that will be near the bottom come May tells you all you need to know. I’d fancy my chances up against Jack and Jan. If they can just limit the damage to 3 or under against Liverpool I’m thinking that will feel like progress. Of course we could always throw in the new signing, who is completely unproven in this league and pray for a miracle. How did we get to this? It’s a shambles Southampton FC.
9

simmo400 added 09:53 - Aug 12
Looked the same as last season, loose a goal team collapse. Only bright spots were Redmond and Valery I thought. Ings waste of time dunno if that's because of position or just useless. Yosh would have managed far better than Stephens I thought. Sill easier game the weekend.....No wind to put us off :)
6

bstokesaint added 09:54 - Aug 12
And yes I agree Nick a team with no leaders is a struggling team. Let’s just hope Pierre is ever present this season because this team need a boot up their @r$es:
7

Sanguin added 10:00 - Aug 12
I only kept watching after the third goal to see if Boufal could do anything. Did anyone see him touch the ball?
0

saintmark1976 added 10:01 - Aug 12
Firstly thanks for the well balanced sensible report Nick.

What's concerning me more than the evident shambles on Saturday is what's going on with the owners and management at S F C. If every man, woman and their dog can see that we needed at least one quality proven centre back during the close season then why was no action taken? If we assume that the manager is not an idiot and can also see the problem then why was nothing done?

Perhaps somebody can ask this simple question at the next fans forum?

14

bstokesaint added 10:03 - Aug 12
And for the record I get no kick out of sounding desperately pi55ed off, but our inability to fix issues is very concerning. You can’t excuse a 3-0 defeat to a poor team due to bad weather. This is the PL.. in England. We have bad weather! We need to be able to adapt to conditions.
11

redwight added 10:14 - Aug 12
Pleased you mentioned Gary Cahill Nick. It's all a bit late now, but for the life of me I cannot understand why we didn't go for him. In the short term at least he was the obvious answer staring us in the face. Ever since Caceres was signed and then ignored in favour of Jack Stevens, it has been one bad decision after another.
11

highfield49 added 10:15 - Aug 12
Experienced back line leader? Martin Caceres is a free agent again and has more experience than most, he knows the club set up and several of the players. Like Cahill too old for the long term but probably better able to read the game than three of our defenders put together. As for the Burnley game I can't believe that Vestergaard and Stephens appear to have learnt absolutely nothing from experience. A tough baptism if he plays but I would get Danso in the team against Liverpool, at least they won't know from the kick off how to exploit him with sucker punches.
10

vanmans added 10:20 - Aug 12
Good report Nick I agree with you. Why we did not get 2 central defenders in at the start of the transfer window is a mystery to me. As you say Gary Cahill would have been ideal. I would never let Jack Stephens play in the first team again. I would like to see Soares, Bednarek, Danso & Bertrand start in defence against Liverpool. In midfield I would play Romeu, Højbjerg & Armstrong. What is a matter with Danny Ings he does not look fit.
10

dirk_doone added 10:37 - Aug 12
Jose Fonte captained his Lille team to yet another victory yesterday. They had the best defensive record in the French League last season and are through to the Champions League group stage. What a great leader he has been for them. Pity he fell out with Les Reed but then who didn't?
9

LoisDeem added 11:15 - Aug 12
Ridiculous.
So now we go on to pin our hopes on another raw 20 year old.
Whilst our most experienced central defender gathers splinters, worms and worse.
Bit worried that our manager might be showing his displeasure a bit soon too by bringing on a sick man for one of our failing central defenders.
It does look and sound a bit ridiculous a bit soon.
1

lemmsy added 11:26 - Aug 12
Everybody knows we needed a Cb
Ralph is undoubtedly an intelligent man
He has stated he wants young players ,
We have a limited budget & bear in mind Nathan ake was quoted at £70 million
I ask the question,who should we have bought?
It’s easy to say we need a Cb & yes that’s the boards / clubs job.lets hope Danso is the answer but please don’t judge until 8-10 games
0

StEdmund added 11:42 - Aug 12
Did anyone REALLY think that Saints would beat Burnley however they played?
Hojbjerg was ill apparently and could not start, so I read
1

TeamCortese added 11:45 - Aug 12
Everyone keeps banging on about the lack of leaders in defence but were more than happy to see Fonte leave not too long. No we're seeing the ramifications...

This is what I had to say at the time of his departure:

"Southampton FC is at a crossroad. The reason why I'm so emotionally invested in Fonte's departure isn't just because he's an excellent footballer and a great servant to the club. It's more because of what he represents and I would like to think the qualities he's demonstrated over the years is a reflection of Southampton FC.

We may not be the most prestigious club in the world to play for but above all else we have demonstrated to everyone in the footballing world the idea of success. Success isn't necessarily about winning it's more about the manner in which one picks themself up from failure. Fonte epitomises that story and is the foundation of the dressing room.

While it makes economic sense to sell him (especially when you factor his age) it will have wider ramifications. It will send out a message to the fans and the football community that we are no longer a football club operating on the principles mentioned earlier but rather as a profit maximising business machine no longer connected to the game.

Even if he does want to leave what upsets me most is the manner of his departure. This could have been handled much better and in a more sensitive way for the fans at the very least.

If you think I'm being naive or too ideological let me ask you this:

- Would Man Utd let Giggs or Scholes leave in this manner?
- Would Barcelona let Xavi leave in this manner?
- Would Liverpool let Gerrard leave in this manner?
- Would Chelsea let Lampard or Terry leave in this manner?
- Would even Watford let Troy Deeney leave in this manner?

All of the above names make/made up the core of their respective club's dressing rooms. They're all characters and Fonte is one of our own!

It's about the bigger picture and I don't see that from the board at the moment."
8

SaintPaulVW added 11:53 - Aug 12
Hjojberg was ill so if true that explains his omission. We looked pretty much like we did at the start of last year really, lots of pretty soft attempts to score but as soon as a goal went in it all fell apart. Pretty poor show for a team fielding 6 defensive, including OR, outfield players. I agree we need a leader.

Lucky that Evans didn't get a red card for what was a horrible challenge.

In the recent past we have bounced back well against good teams after similar calamities. Just got to hope we do it again.

The CB situation is bonkers really but everyone in the Prem seemed to want a CB this year. Just got to hope Danso can hit the ground running.

We always start slow, so my toys are still in my pram.
3

codge added 11:56 - Aug 12
Thanks Nick for your indepth reporting as usual,but you could of rehashed any number of reports from the last two seasons and just recycled them and it would be the same results.
7

SanMarco added 12:05 - Aug 12
Great verdict and although comments on the defence are (sadly/obviously) predictable I agree with them too.

It is a huge concern that the club chose not to strengthen the centre of defence. Lemmsy's point is a good one re who we might have bought but buying no one apart from an untried 20 year old was NOT an option. We are now reliant on our attacking resources + Hojberg in MF - if they don't work there is no reason for us not to go down.
1

1970 added 13:22 - Aug 12
Trying to find a young up in coming cb that is going to double in value is as rare as hens teeth that's why saints haven't had any for a couple of seasons getting danso is there attempt at this,
but to not buy anyone is a complete failure at the very top level,we terminated classie's contract we could of done this with stephens to free up a defensive slot and got cahill or even jagielka(wow desperate) but that is how desperate we are at the moment,
I think ralph got his tactics and selection completely wrong on Saturday but he obviously has his reasons
how we could do with a fit and fired up lamina this season but even that situation we knew and fair warning this season looks very bleak
2

BoondockSaint added 14:10 - Aug 12
And here I was thinking we had a fairly good transfer window......RH, who had to come in mid-season now had the team from the start of pre-season training....he had got rid of a couple of players he didn't want and brought in ones he wanted.....things would be much better than last season............And here we are, right back where we left off last season!

And like last season, I look at the fixtures and wonder where are we getting points? We can't even get draw against Burnley! Yes, I know it is just the first game, but this is the type of opponent that we need to get points from if we are to survive. It's not like Saints lost because (usual excuses): bad officiating, their good keeper was having a great game, our shots were bouncing off the woodwork, etc. They lost because they were crap.
9

schatfield added 14:26 - Aug 12
It's the first game chaps, and we lost. Not the end of the world. We are not already relegated. No need to start the Stephens/Vestergaard out campaign, maybe just give them our support and see where this goes. It's a long old season.
-5

landsdownsaint added 14:41 - Aug 12
Problem is Jack Stephens has no composure it panic stations always , I’m not to sure about Gunn either
3

LoisDeem added 16:24 - Aug 12
I presume this deal happened so late, and in this manner because we were waiting to move some of our surplus timber -without being too offensive?
1

beynali73 added 16:42 - Aug 12
Jesus. Can't add anything to the above. Embarrassing, amateurish defending and slow throughout. I can understand those who say it’s only one game into the new season but this comes off the back of 120 similar games over the past 3 years. The issues of the past 3 seasons have not been addressed and there is little optimism that these issues will be addressed in the immediate future.
6

GeordieSaint added 17:05 - Aug 12
Southern softies don't like it up em on a cold and windy day? Burnley is over 150 miles south of where I'm from. That's how hard I am!!! Can we just forget about this week and start again next week please?
-3


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