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Southampton 2 v 1 Watford
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 30th November 2019 Kick-off 17:30
Saints V Watford The Verdict
Sunday, 1st Dec 2019 15:01

It was the late late show from Saints as they once again handed the opposition the lead with a defensive error, but this time they came back and won with a final flourish.

It was a woeful first half that saw Saints in control, but Watford have all the chances due to woeful defending the first of which saw Stephens failing to deal with a through ball and doing nothing other than shin it straight into the path of Sarr who finished with aplomb.

It got worse as Saints almost gifted them a second after Bertrand lost his man and McCarthy made a smart save with his legs.

Saints had most of the ball but the Hornets were resilient and we lacked spark, REdmond tried but nothing was working out and Obafemi has plenty of pace but seems to lack skill or intelligence.

The second half was pretty much in the same vein as the first to start with and it only started to look better after a double substitution just before the hour mark, on came Boufal and Long and Saints were starting to not only run at the visitors but Long was providing a target man.

Ings started to find his game as well, his clever play making space and chances for others, but he would turn from provider to scorer in the 76th minute when Djenepo got the ball and ran at his man, he carried it down the byeline and stabbed it at the near post where Ings darted in, scrambled the ball with the defender and then smashed it home virtually on the line.

It was the turn of the game Saints needed and it raised the crowd and for once it would be a grandstand finish as Ward Prowse fired home a trademark free kick to put Saints in the lead at home for shockingly the first time this season.

A tense finale saw Saints hold on to offer the fans hope for the rest of the season.

Truth is it wasn't the free flowing attacking display we wanted, aside from the last 15 minutes it was mostly woeful, but on a plus note Saints stayed focused, stayed spirited and believed they could get back in it and that bodes well.

The big worry is that it saw yet another awful defensive error gifting a goal and it highlighted that Saints are not a bad side, they just have woeful central defenders and pay the price every game, Ralph Hasenhuttl must be tearing his hair out it doesn't matter who he plays there Stephens, Yoshida or Vestergaard they all make mistakes time after time.

I would say that if we took any two central defenders from any of the other Premier League sides and we would be sat around 10th now, the problem is so bad and it must be frustrating for the team to see good work undone by unacceptable defending.

This game is gone though and we now need to look to Wednesday night and Norwich and a game that can see us pull the teams above us back in sight and could see us out of the relegation zone, if we can have a good December it will set us up for the New Year where a good centre half signing will help us pull clear.

Saints fans can believe now, they just have to stick with the team and accept that things are changing, but on the field they can't till January.

The crowd were superb on Saturday, it needs to be done again on Wednesday and some of the doubters perhaps returning and help make it two wins in a row.

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 16:25 - Dec 1
Woeful .....was a good choice of word Nick. The defenders seem to freeze, whilst the opposition strikers are quicker to the ball. We were lucky to go in only 0-1 down at HT.
Second half started little better but the introduction of Long and Boufal made the difference. Running at a defence - creates chances and hopefully errors.

Danny Ings getting his usual goal . Have we ever had a better "poacher" in the box ?
Those contributors who regularly criticise Ward-Prowse will be quieter this week, and although he has deserved some of the comments made, whilst he cam turn up with winning goals like that one - we should tolerate his shortcomings in other areas.

Several commentators raised the point of the suspicious "handball " incident from Djenepo, but as the referee and the lino both missed it, and VAR didn't pick it up either we can put that one down to some sort of revenge for the 92nd minute Watford "handball goal" that robbed us of all three points at Vicarage Road a couple of years ago.

Now onto Norwich and another 3 points .
4

the_saint added 17:06 - Dec 1
It was a bad display again and we got away with it. Dont forget this was only Watford at home. I dont blame the defence I wonder what the hell the coaches are doing not only have we got a good team on paper playing poorly but you have hoedt, fozzy, ellenousei, lamena Carrillo gunn vesta and che are they all poor signings or has the coac,hing staff made them look that bad
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the_saint added 17:11 - Dec 1
Against Norwich start the game with the same side that finished.
Boufal for redmond as boufal deserves a shot and lifts the crowd where redmond has gone back in his shell.
Long for obefemi as the latter is just not ready yet.
And valery for cedric, Cedric just dont want to be here and dont deserve the shirt as playing like he doesn't give a damn.
7

mattthelegend added 17:29 - Dec 1
Maybe a defensive error Nick, but like Arsenal away last week, plenty of opportunities from our forward line that were wasted! Team game and to continually blame the defence smacks of short sightedness we have an attack as well who need to be accountable for not relieving the pressure on the defence. Ings MOTM followed by Djenepo and Boufal. Cedric can do one as not remotely interested. UTS 😇
4

saintlee added 17:31 - Dec 1
3 points is 3 points and that can only bode well for a bit of confidence at St Marys.
The million dollar question for me though is whether we start Boufal on Wednesday night instead of Obafemi who really does have the brains of a rocking horse. Djenepo, Redmond and Boufal as an attacking 3 supporting Ings is an attack that I would love to see.
Shame about the back 4 though 😁😁
1

RobtheSaint added 17:33 - Dec 1
I just wish Ward Prowse could move the ball forward from the back. Every time he receives a pass in the central midfield position he looks back or sideways.
Please could whoever is in goal not keep booting the ball up in the sky which because of our short forward line will always be won by the centre half. Basics.
10

Editor_Saint added 17:35 - Dec 1
What really puzzles me is the signing of Danso. He looked reasonable and surely is a better option than Stephens.
8

HythePeer added 17:50 - Dec 1
Saints are so bad that if a team fails to beat then their manger is fired, 🤣
9

the_saint added 18:15 - Dec 1
Yes hythepeer I would be scrapping myself now if I was the Norwich boss.
Every chairman must be thinking if saints can beat us then the manager got to go.
You can imagine the conversation
Manager: why are you sacking me
Chairman: cos saints beat you close the door on the way out.
5

Saints0 added 19:43 - Dec 1
Finally, the fella that gets to work the mood lighting in the swanky new dressing room gets to try out the ‘happy bulbs’! He was probably on the verge of sending them back for a refund!!
0

Colburn added 19:48 - Dec 1
Its hard on Obafemi, coming in to a team struggling, we can't expect miracles immediately, he did create the penalty at Arsenal on his first prem start of the season. The changes we need for weds are Valery in for the wantaway Cedric and Boufal in for Redmond, who has just lost his way this season. Djenepo and Boufal scared Watford into submission and Long ran them ragged at the back. This changed the game. Apart from one 60 yard pass, JWP's performance was effectively rescued by his great free kick. I think all the players are nervous playing at home this season because of our lack of wins but hopefully they will take the spirit they showed at Arsenal and the last half an hour into Wed's game. You're right Nick, another defensive error but as with goalies, they are hammered for their mistakes more than firwards are for missing chances or messing up an assist, equally impacting on the final scoreline. If we keep scoring two goals a game we'll be ok. I agree the same team who finished the game on Sat should be the starting line up. Win weds and were back in the pack and moving in the right direction with our confidence.
5

DorsetIan added 20:51 - Dec 1
First, you are too hard on Stephens. Watch the replay again. He was running at full tilt and the ball took a wicked spin. I don't think that there was much he could have done about it hitting his knee, given how hard he was running.

Second, for all those on here saying that the subs should start next time. I've been watching this bunch for long enough to know that if they do start, they don't have the same impact. I say stick with the starting 11. I can't see Norwich trying to be as defensive as Watford from the off, so attacking should be easier. Also, the players should be feeling more confident after the win.

When Boufal particularly comes on he moves us into another gear on all levels. I want that ability to shift up. I just want us to be shifting up from a better gear to start with.
2

A1079 added 21:52 - Dec 1
I can't argue with that report Nick. A pretty good all round summary.

We were woeful for about 65 minutes. During the first half, I kept asking myself, how could we play so well and how we did at Arsenal but again at home we can be so poor? I concluded that there was/is some sort of fear that is getting to the players at St Marys. But, we dug out a win from somewhere and Ralph was criticised but his substitutions worked. Redmond was doing what he has done alot recently, not producing an end product and his lack of conversion rate is as costly as the defensive errors.

I have never been one to be anti-JWP, though there have been moments this season when I think he could do with a break. Yes, I do wish he would be more forward thinking and incisive but he loves our club and he does produce the goods at key times and I would rather have him at our club than someone elses.

Managers of other clubs must be dreading playing us at the moment, as it something, that if you cannot beat us, club owners see that as a benchmark for possible dismissal.

The Norwich games is another key game, as many of them will be. We will really need to win that one and give us some hope. Not sure when the last time was when we won 2 in the row and 2 in the row at home, but however long it is, we need to do this week.
1

IanRC added 22:01 - Dec 1
Think the criticism of Redmond is unjustified, in the first half thought he was the one bright spark. Agree however that Long and Boufal injected fresh life and we looked a different team. Also agree JWP had a poor game prior to redeeming himself. Stephen was a little unlucky with the bounce but if he had concentrated and put his foot through it to clear at the expense of a corner we would not have conceded. Djenepo looks a real handful though and if we can stop leaking goals I think we should be fine.
0

davidargyll added 22:54 - Dec 1
Munch munch. The sound of humble pie eating.
Everyone seems to agree we were lucky to win. A terrible error to give away the first goal. An unspotted handball for our first. But then a dream of a free kick from the man who shouldn’t be anywhere near the team. And some dreadful final minutes by Watford to whom we gifted corners they simply couldn’t take advantage of.
I said we’d get a couple of points from the last two games and we got 4. I’m now going to say that we will only get a draw vs Norwich in the hope that I will have to do more munching.
And I still think RH is out of his depth...
1

Peterx added 04:18 - Dec 2
Mostly agree, but think Stephens is getting better with some game time and he also has more of a goal threat. To me for Wednesday it's Long for Obafemi & also we missed Armstrong's work rate as the big difference to the Arsenal performance, but unti he is back Djenepo to start. Kick in the pants from being subbed for Redmond will hopefully work to make him better starting for Wednesday. Boufal to me still an impact player. Cedric v Valery a toss up.
0

halftimeorange added 09:52 - Dec 2
This game was decided by a probable sleight of hand, a memorable free kick and two top class saves. It was also punctuated by long periods of fear and negative play in the first half where it was patently clear to all of us in the stands that there was no Saints player linking the back with the front allowing Watford to dominate the space between the two penalty areas. Why this glaring error was not addressed earlier before Boufal, in particular, entered the fray is beyond my comprehension. Watford should have won this encounter in the final panic-stricken minutes but, unaccountably fluffed their chances. On this showing both teams will do well to be in the EPL next season.
2

Consigliere added 10:18 - Dec 2
Where to begin?

How about the half time whistle, since until then the game was pretty well unwatchable. At that time we needed not one but two dressing rooms, so as to provide eight corners into which each of the players bar Ings, Redmond and the goalkeeper should have been made to stand, writing out in longhand "I must not pass the ball backwards every time I get it" until they were heartily sick of doing so or the 15 minutes was up.

Second half appreciably better and (humble pie time here) Bouffal made a considerable difference, as did Shane Long, but even when we were ahead, no Saints fan could have confidently relaxed that we were about to see our first home win this season. The whistle came as a mighty relief.

However, a win is a win and as Mrs Thatcher once said, nothing succeeds like success. I really hope that the result, plus the Arsenal game where we played much better, will instil a bit of confidence into the team. Just so long as they remember their lines ("I must not pass the ball backwards every time I get it"), we may just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps!
2


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