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Southampton 1 v 2 Everton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 9th November 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Everton The Verdict
Sunday, 10th Nov 2019 11:05

A terrible performance from Saints that saw the same culprits making the same lapses as once again we gifted goals and in doing so the game.

It couldn't have started any worse for Saints, in the opening minutes they could not clear the ball and conceded a corner which saw schoolboy defending leaving Davies at the far post with a free header to give Everton the lead and the impetus before some hadn't even got in their seats.

Everything was awful, we had no direction, no leadership and the same culprits made the same mistakes.

About the only good thing you could say about the first half was that the crowd stuck with the team who battled hard to ensure that we only went in a single goal down at the break.

The second half saw a change with Sofiane Boufal came on for Cedric and this time it was Saints who got an early goal with Boufal making a great run and crossing for Ings to turn home.

It looked a different Saints team and for 20 minutes we looked like being in with a chance of winning, sadly though this would be Boufal's last meaningful contribution and although we huffed and puffed we barely got a shot on goal, James Ward Prowse's free kick producing a great save from Pickford being the exception.

Then on 75 minutes all the good work was undone as we were caught by a swift counter attack and again a man was left unmarked to fire home from close range with our three central defenders nowhere.

There was still time for a comeback, but there would be no rousing finish, the goal had finished us.

I have been banging on about the problem for almost three years now the stark truth is that our central defence is not good enough, Jack Stephens puts in the effort, but he cannot mark, cannot read a game cannot defend, his ability to carry the ball forward means he flatters to deceive and masks his poor passing ability, he is a Championship defender at best, not bias at all just the harsh reality.

Likewise Vestergaard, he loses his man too often struggles to clear or control the ball at times and as the most experienced man offers no organisation or leadership.

Bedanrek could be a decent defender, but he should be getting help and learning from an experienced man behind him he is getting nothing.

Yoshida was on the bench yes he is a good club man, this is his 8th season, there is a good reason for that and it is not because he is indispensable, like Stephens a tryer but not good enough in all areas.

None of these players can offer what we really need at the back and that is leadership and organisation, they run around like headless chickens, hence sides know that if they hoof the ball forward we will struggle to deal with it, they know we don't mark up tight at set pieces and they know that we don't know what we are doing.

The manager has to play some part in this, in one respect it is not totally his fault, he can only play what he has, but he has been here two transfer windows now, the entire fan base know what the problem is so why haven't we dealt with it !!!!

Match Gallery: 8 photos

Until January we have to soldier on and that means doing something different why has Kevin Danso not been played in the two positions he can actually play, he cannot be any worse as a central defender that the other four, but we don't know that because he hasn't played there for some strange reason.

If Ralph doesn't rate him as a centre back then play him as a holding central midfielder, either way lets find out if he can play or not.

The reality is that we aren't actually a bad side, but we are awful defensively and every game sees goals gifted to the opposition, one good experienced central defender who can lead the side would make an incredible difference.

You can see the frustration in the rest of the team, Oriol Romeo had a real go at Jack Stephens and he was right to do so, the marking was awful and that is starting to creep into the side, our midfield and attack try to create and score and then have to watch as our central defenders leave players completely unmarked to score.

We are in a relegation dogfight, we have to do something different, we need to bring in an experienced coach, someone who knows about the modern game, we need to try Danso, we need to spend big on a centre half, in short we need to do something different, if we don't then we will continue to do the same things and that is gifting the opposition goals.

Leicester game apart, virtually every goal has been gifted, it has to stop.

Some called for the head of Gao, it isn't his fault, the legacy for today was in place long before he bought the club, we have spent the money we have just spent it badly.

There is still a long way to go this season, we have been in worse positions, we just have to knuckle down, all pull together and keep going if only because we can do nothing else.

Gao going solves nothing unless someone better comes in, there isn't a big queue, the answer lies in January, if we sign central defenders then, we can pull clear, if the transfer window slams shut and we haven't signed any, then we are in big trouble.

Photo: Action Images

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ssxsaint added 15:27 - Nov 10
The problems are not confined to the pitch. There have been too many dismissals and resignations of non playing staff. It is very unlikely that we can change the manager because we have no money and nobody on the Board at the club has any knowledge or experience of football. We are in a mess from top to bottom. This can only end one way.

Number_58 added 15:48 - Nov 10
Sorry Nick, I thought Stephens did well yesterday. At least he showed a bit of attacking intent, especially in the first half. I really think you need to look beyond our own penalty area to see the extent of our troubles. We have somehow landed ourselves with the slowest, least creative and most uninspiring midfield that most of us can ever remember. There's no creativity whatesoever. They offer nothing going forward and absolutely no protection to our beleaguered defence. Romeu and JWP look totally shot. Maybe it's because they just need a rest but from what I can see they have to play because there is literally no-one else. The club's dreadful transfer record on defenders is well documented but its chronic failure to bring in any creative midfield players is, I feel, just as big a factor in our current predicament.

djtsaints123 added 16:07 - Nov 10
Do you remember those heady days when koeman fell out with Reid,because he said u23 s were not good enough and we needed to strengthen team but Kat with her stooge Kruger wanted different somebody elses money Reid believed he was god as bids for all his players kept the money coming in then the slide began. Kat got her way its Gao's money now Reid following a 4 yr slide finds a home in England international proving you can fool some of the people, we got Ralph and following early enthusiasm which we avoided relegation we continued with stupidity no new defenders except a 19yr old, Ralf lost what little backup in assistant manager and director of football and we are surprised . There is no quick fix apart from a influx of cash which is not going to happen, a new manager wont get our defense to be premier class because the players aren't, joshi good squad player vesta and stephens are at best championship level so we will continue to leak goals ward prowse great at dead ball can a team have a player who can only do that we are 100% going to be relegated as we are the worst team in the league,

1970 added 17:25 - Nov 10
Gao has walked into this club with exactly the same intention as KL that's why he has no back room staff and kept miss piggy on in the back ground, all those that go to the forum need to start asking harsh questions and repeat them over and over again until we get rid of these people and build a team to play football not to sell to the highest bidder.
we need several quality players to survive this season which wont happen and I think ralp has had his time now so we wil see what Gao has to say about signings in Jan.

davidargyll added 17:53 - Nov 10
A couple more comments. KL was there yesterday as was Gao’s daughter I think. I would be amazed if they didn’t get the message loud and clear that something has got to change and sharpish or else their investment is going to be worth one helluva lot less than it was a year or so back.

Secondly I recall a poll on here when Sparky was on the slide as to whether or not we should keep him. It was a resounding OUT from memory. I would think that if/when you do another one Nick, it will be the same for RH.

AmericanSaint added 18:46 - Nov 10
So I said this yesterday after the game "Well that was a waste. I think I am going to be like some of the players and if we win, feel great if we lose, then oh well. Only 3 player son the pitch today that gave a crap. Ings, Djanepo and Boufal. Redmond was pissed that nobody was playing into the channels after all his runs and he gave up after the half. This 3-5-2 formation has to go out the window. It's simple, 4-4-2. McCarthy, Betrand (LB), Benderick and someone (CBs), Valery or Cedric (RB), Djanepo (RM), PEH and Armstrong (MID) and Boufal (LM), Ings and Redmond (F). Our midfield was horrible today and JWP needs to sit on the bench for a few since he doesnt know how to pass the ball forward. That is all for now........."

After more thought and reading some very valid comments here, I think some keys points must be stressed (1) Selling Matt Taggert was a mistake as we do not have balance on the left (2) As I stated last year, Goa is not the answer as he just wants the name of SFC to sell his merchandise in China, he has no intent of putting a penny into the club (3) with the contant revolving head coaches we have had, we are probably considered very damaged goods and no decent manager will come now (4) so if we are to go down, then pick one manager -RH or someone else and stick with him. Lastly, will our upcoming 5 games, I will give RH until end of Dec to move us up the table and out of the Reg zone. If it doesnt happen then I will be the 1st to call for his axing. I have a little faith, but it is disappearing quickly. OH and bench JWP now.

the_saint added 20:09 - Nov 10
I went in the bookies to place a bet on us not winning another home game and the buggers only offered me evens after a while I went back to take the bet and the assistant said after talking to the manager said they were not taking any more bets

underweststand added 21:55 - Nov 10
YES - the main problem is confidence - or rather the lack of it.
Players are not played their best positions - and the formations change every week.
Ralph's 4-2-2-2 doesn't seem to work and in the last few games we have seen 5-3-2
4-4-2 and 3-5-2 and with a succession of players given roles they can't play effectively and in consequence don't know what anyone else is suppposed to be doing.

The shortcomings in Valery's game are beginning to show and neither Vestergaard or Yoshida have settled into their CB role. JWP is out of touch and Redmond is just a shadow of the man we knew last season. I'm not alone in thinking Armstrong should have been given game time weeks ago, and now he's brought in when the worst has already happened. Whatever Ralph's future plans may be - needs to get it right PDQ.
If we don't pick up points from our "winnable " December fixtures , I fear the worst.

The discussion surrounding Forster and Elyounoussi is making headlines every week in Scotland - and even in the CL -and they look to be different players altogether.

Meantime... we still have the burden of Carrillo, Hoedt and Lemina on the books for some years to come. Any future financial burden will need to include the £15 million a year that their combined salaries are costingf the club..we can only hope that Che Adams will make good ASAP otherwise he will also join them on the list of "non-starters ".

saint66 added 22:48 - Nov 10
Nick we all know how much you hate him but to make your comment,actually we are not a board team,I really begin to wonder which football team you are watching.
We do not exactly have confidence in goal!the defence do not communicate and are totally at a loss how to defend.
The midfield allow attacking forces to run though them apart from Romeou who has to take cards on behalf of the team on many occasions. They cannot pass to save their lives and this creates starvation of the ball to the forwards who do not score goals.
The whole club is in a complete mess,with an owner who is also chairman and rarely at the club.
By the way how long ago was when Saints actually won at st Mary's,and on a final point we lose 9-0 at home to Leicester but we are not a bad team in your eyes Nick so all is honey at St Mary's.

Colburn added 02:34 - Nov 11
The structure of the club has weakened with currently no leadership from top to bottom and gaps in the staff which desperately need solving. How long ago did Reed and Kreuger leave? Gao, unlike foreign investors at other clubs, seems to show no interest in the city or its community. So the identity is struggling, as is our direction. Danso missed preseason with us as we left it too late to efficiently solve our need for a new CB, so this hasn't helped his introduction but you have to wonder why he's been played out of position when he has played.

It seems we are having to try 3 CBs because our fullbacks are attacking types and at RB, we don't have the defensive qualities to play a back 4. Losing Targett means yet again Bertie has to play every game, league and cup, or we play someone out of position as a left wing back which doesn't work with a back 4!

Blaming one player makes no sense to me. Romeu himself is guilty of losing his man in our box, frequently, but players make mistakes all over the pitch which have am overall effect on the game. Boufal changed the game but you dont seem to like him Nick. He will lose the ball, Salah and Mane also do but its those moments of brilliance which define them. Moments which wouldn't happen if they weren't brave enough to try them.

Ralph does seem to have lost the plot making JWP captain when he looks like the weak link in our midfield. He's only real use is the dead ball and that has been poor this season. Valery is not a defender but brilliant going forward, why is he not played a little more advanced instead of JWP. He gets involved and has pace, something absent in our midfield at present. Adams played well, didn't score but we looked more of a threat with him in the team, he's a handful.

Gary Monk please or anyone who wont keep making the same selection mistakes.. At least Ralph needs to revamp the slow, lightweight, uncreative midfield or we will never take the pressure off our defenders or give service to our attackers. This for me is our biggest issue Nick, championship quality midfield performances with no change to the personnel whilst expecting different outcomes.

saintsnutcase added 03:27 - Nov 11
Cahill was available last summer. We did nothing.

saintlee added 07:06 - Nov 11
How can you say were not a bad team? Fact of the matter is were bloody awful. Yes, i will concede we have a few decent players but mostly it is a championship level squad at best.
Cant for the life of me figure out Ralphs tactics. Why is he not play 4-2-3-1. Its a solid formation, the players know it inside out and most importantly it doesnt necessitate players playing out of position.
Lose to Arsenal and Watford and I think its Ta ta Ralph.
Steven Gerrard anyone 😁😁

Peterx added 08:15 - Nov 11
Our players are OK, need to start playing people in position starting with LB and RB. Bertie coming back from suspension will help. If Bertie is not available we need to start Vokins. If Cedric is not available we start Valery. We are massively overcomplicating things. I'm ok with Vestergaard, Stephens and Bednarek at the back.

SaintPaulVW added 09:38 - Nov 11
I think there is an awful lot wrong with us now. I agree a new CB has been a priority for 3 years.

Recruitment has been poor. Now we lack experience in management and boardroom.

Agree RH needs to pick players in position, pick to their strengths and find on field leaders from somewhere.

We really are up against it now. Not doomed yet but RH is unlikely to be here past Xmas if he can't work with what we've got.

Saint4Life247 added 10:30 - Nov 11
I have read all the comments on here so far and I agree with every single one of them.

I genuinely supported RH up until Saturdays game. It was a must win, no question about that. The players should have had fire in their bellies from the moment they woke up Saturday morning, with blood and sweat given until the last kick of the game. What we actually got was far from that. Even the weakest team can put up a fight but we simply have no resistance. None - and I'm sorry to say this lies firmly at the feet of the man in charge, RH

I am sat at work now still 'effed off' with the result and I am genuinely thinking we should give Big Sam a go!!! I never thought I would say or think that (SHOOT ME NOW)... However, I think we need his type to go back to old school football. Pretty Pep style attacking football won't get you out of relegation (and we don't have the players to achieve that), so maybe back to basics, 4-4-2, play players in their correct positions and pick up two or three experienced heads in Jan. Then we might have a chance


SanMarco added 11:18 - Nov 11
Fair few CDO Cubed on the pitch on Saturday Consig !

I admire Nick for still believing "The reality is that we aren't actually a bad side". I am not being sarcastic there I do admire it - I just wish I believed it. Where I totally agree with the article is in its concentration on the disease that is our defence. Yes it is a contagious disease that is spreading further up the pitch but it is our defence that is destroying us. Whose fault is that? The people who bought our recent CBs + those that thought the centre of defence didn't need strengthening - after all Danso was a last minute thing and we haven't even seen him at CB. Its not that we haven't spent - we have simply spent extremely unwisely.

Nick doesn't shine much of a spotlight on the manager's attempt to confuse the opposition by playing an attacking MF as RB and the RB as attacking LB and then our best goalscoring MF option as a LB (went well at Sheffield didn't it Ralph?) Those decisions cost us both goals and I do have to wonder whether Ralph WANTS to be sacked. Those decisions were total nonsense and the continuing playing of 3 CBs is insane. It is like a cricket team having 4 good fast bowlers and three very poor spinners and playing all 3 spinners every match.

Are we going down? Too early to say that it is done and dusted but we musn't think our habit in recent years of not winning loads of must-wins will work again. No Huddersfields, Cardiffs and Fulhams around this year. 2 or 3 more performance like this one in the next few matches and the rest of the field will be disappearing into the distance.

Just a note to the KL abusers. Yes - the decision to sell to Gao was wrong but other than that I think she has done her best to honour a legacy that she never asked for or expected. Nick has pointed out that Markus never intended to pour billions in - he was an old-fashioned construction entrepreneur, not a gulf state or a Russian crook. Given the money we have spent we should be doing far better - if you want to blame her for anything it is the appointment of Les Reed. If one individual has contributed most to our slide it is him.

If it is decided that Ralph needs to go then PLEASE, PLEASE have a replacement lined up to be up and running. No more sack and THEN 'Saints start the search'...

Saint4Life247 added 12:09 - Nov 11
Just thinking about it... RH ain't going nowhere until someone has been appointed in a position (i.e. DOF) that is responsible for managing coaching and playing staff. So if we aren't in a decent position to fire someone we are certainly not in a decent position to hire anyone...

Until we recruit the replacements for Reed, Kruger and Wilson then we continue rudderless and in fairness any new persons coming into those roles will not immediately sack someone, they will want to form their own opinion. Even if they did, it could take weeks/months to appoint someone new.

It beggars belief that the owner and board are not doing all they can to rectify this ridiculous and rather embarrassing state of affairs... They are not businessmen, they are amateurs

bstokesaint added 13:26 - Nov 11
I’ve accepted the inevitable relegation this season and as I said before I’ve supported the team through thick and thin through many a bad season, but I always previously had faith. This is the worst for me though because of the disconnect between the players and the fans, the players and the manager and the owners and the club/everyone else! As Saint4Life247 says our hierarchy are a bunch of amateurs. We’ve sold our crown jewels to a team that are 8 points clear at the top of the Premier League. They invested wisely whilst we’ve pi%%ed the cash away, instead of using the proceeds and TV money to buy 3-4 high quality replacements. We’ve failed season after season to recruit in the right areas. I can’t be bothered to comment on individual players anymore. There are only a handful that are worthy of their place. And the manager does seem like he’s fast-tracking his own demise. If we’re going to survive this and a financial hammering, then we need to get the manager out ASAP, spend big and pray for a miracle. Quite simply though we know that it won’t happen under the current administration and ownership.

Nick, I’m not quite sure why you think Gao cannot be blamed. I’m still waiting to hear any positives that have come out of his reign? We’re looking for leadership and ambition. What is our current 5-year plan, ‘scrimp and scrape’? We’re hearing nothing and seeing a load of rubbish. We hear about home country corruption and hear about horrific loan debts. And we see proportionately low spending on generally poor players and hear about the need to recycle to strengthen. And then we hear of coaching, recruitment and board changes and nothing to suggest all is not well behind the scenes. It’s hard to stomach and as fans I don’t see how we can be expected to buy into the belief that anything is going to change.

Jesus_02 added 14:48 - Nov 11
Managers play 3 at the back when they know that 2 isn't enough. They also switch full backs round to try and narrow the play and further protect the CBS. We effectively had 3 defensive midfielders on the pitch too.

We tried focusing ion attack - we hot hammered 9-0

Basically Ralf is trying to do everything to resolve the fact that we have NO decent CB's and inexperienced Keepers.

He has the boards confidence now because he will have made the board aware of this in the summer. We have lost the majority of those that would have downplayed the risk and gone for Danso ahead of someone like Cahill. If he had advocated this approach he would have simply been the one to go.

Ralph is our best and only hope of staying up.

We needs some luck and some confidence to attack more than defend. Our strengths are Redmond, Boufal, Djenepo and Ings. Our Team needs to be set up to win the ball and get it to those players. We couldn't stop other teams from playing with 12 defenders.

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