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Saints V West Ham United The Verdict
Sunday, 15th Dec 2019 11:21

This was perhaps the worst performance of the season as in terms of what was at stake it was more disastrous than the Leicester City debacle.

This was a game that Saints needed to be up for, but it turned out it was West Ham who turned up ready for a battle on the pitch and in the first half Saints had no organisation, no leadership and no appetite for a fight.

At the back we were a shambles the only surprise was it took the Hammers so long to take the lead, time after time they might have had only two men in our box against our four, but we failed to mark them.

The goal on 37 minutes was classic Saints conceding, a man allowed to get a cross in and our defenders stood five yards off the scorer, in this case Haller who athough totally unmarked scuffed his shot into the corner.

The second half was a little better for Saints although like the first half we needed VAR to chalk off a goal for the visitors, we made chances, Danny Ings shot off the bar being the best of them, but we huffed and puffed with little real domination and chances created.

I said in the preview that the substitutions would be crucial and to be blunt ours were awful, bring in on Romeu for Redmond at half time was a negative step, on one hand we needed Romeu to try and bring some fight to the midfield, but on the other although Redmond is not in the best form, he still had the pace and ability to attack West Ham and create chances.

This was a change that highlighted how poor our defence is, time after time we had four men in our box marking fresh air whilst their two players in the vicinity were allowed to get shots in unchallenged.

But I found it incredible that we did not make another change till the final six minutes, in the later stages we had got a little bit of possession and creating chances, why did we not bring on another striker and throw the kitchen sink at them, Stuart Armstrong was not the man required on 84 minutes when taking off Shane Long effectively meaning at a time we were chasing an equaliser we only had one striker on the pitch, and when another striker was brought on in Che Adams on 87 minutes it was too little too late.

Ralph Hasenhuttl did not go for it with around 15 minutes to go as he should have, when Haller was removed from the game on 79 minutes we should have taken a defender off and gone with three up front and brought on Adams.

We were just too conservative and we did not have the fight needed whereas West Ham did.

We should not be too shocked, after all we all know how bad our defence is and it didn't disappoint again in letting us down at a crucial moment, Haller's goal being unmarked 12 yards out was criminal with so many defender marking fresh air.

The sad fact is that West Ham are a poor team, but they were organised, had defenders who could defend and rarely gave us the chances we gave them.

But we have to lick our wounds and pick ourselves up and go to Aston Villa next week, that is now even more important now.

Photo: Action Images

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the_saint added 11:27 - Dec 15
Late subs again romeu for Redmond? Armstrong for long? Che for cedric with a couple min left? All players bar ings so afraid playing at home cant see us getting away with it again cant even get good odds at bookies so I have a tenner on us bottom without winning another game at even money

the_saint added 11:36 - Dec 15
Spot on article nick but I'm afraid there is no answer nobody is good enough to step up it's like watching a good pub teams defending and that's no exaggeration, I'm not even joking

1970 added 11:42 - Dec 15
Your right when you say we're not a bad side , we are an absolute joke and I think we have found one of the three worst teams in the league unfortunately its us, we needed to roll up our sleeves but they just don't seem capable of upping their game at all,
take Ings out of the side and we would struggle in the championship, can this season get any worse booo

saintnik added 11:54 - Dec 15
This team isn't even championship standard!

saint66 added 12:04 - Dec 15
You have told us all season how bad the defence is Nick.
This is obviously supported by the goals against statistics.
We have other failures all over the pitch.
We do not have a leader,organiser or a player who can assess how the game is being controlled by the opposition and put into place improvements.
We do not have a strong midfield player who can tackle with power and make a killer pass which may just give hope to the forwards.
The forwards are being starved of quality passes and we do not get bodies or balls into the box in numbers which means we are not scoring goals.
The players are far from being fully fit and the coaching staff behind Ralph sit on their seats like dummies.
Ralph I feel is now a forlorn figure where the whole sqaud and coaching staff are just not turning up to the plate.
We now know if you sell all the family silver you end up bankrupt which is what will happen as we tumble down the leagues as did Sunderland.

highfield49 added 12:04 - Dec 15
Unbelievably awful, shambolic performance. Aside from Ings and McCarthy not one player looked as though they were up for the game. Hojbjerg was captain invisible once again and each and every player was too easily out run and out muscled by average, at best, opponents. We're stuck with the players but surely the time has come to get a manager who can get them organised and competing for the ball. I had high hopes for RH but I'm now firmly in the camp of many posters who say he is not the man for the job.

Boris1977 added 12:10 - Dec 15
It feels like 2005-2006 season all over again with the odd encouraging result but on the whole lacking on pitch leadership, a coherent plan, substandard defenders (Jacobson, Bernard), uninspiring midfielders (Quashie FFS) and lack of quality options up front beyond a clear first choice striker (Philips). We slept walked into relegation then and that is exactly what is going on now.

Like 2005-2006 there are too many issues off the field too. History does repeat itself if lessons are not heeded. So much positive work has been undone in the last 4 seasons and this mess was entirely avoidable with bad decision following bad decision.

I’m annoyed, depressed and resigned. COYR’s.

davidargyll added 12:17 - Dec 15
First half utterly awful. Second half a bit better. in fact when we did start to press, the Hammers were just like us and fell away so why on earth couldn’t we do that to start with?! It seems that there is an in-built inability to press forward From the first whistle. Are they scared? Of making mistakes? Is that what the SMS crowd induces in them? Certainly seems that way. I ran out of fingers and toes the number of basic ball control errors they made, PEH in particular. And Djenepo? In H1 he habitually gave the ball away so much it was painful to watch. Ok in H2 he showed some flashes but too little too late. And how come he was on the RHS in H1 - and nobody passed to him at all perhaps because they knew he’d lose it! - and the opposite in H2. Strange tactics indeed by our beloved manager.
The one person who did play well apart from Ings and McCarthy - except for his complete lack of urgency when kicking out of his area thus giving the oppo time to regroup - was Jack Stephens. He made some killer passes in H2 and I reckon is improving all the time.
But I think you could sum up our complete lack of tactics, nouse and organisation by the whole load of long balls forward. How uninspiring was that?
I was hoping that we might be on the verge of seeing three teams worse than us. On yesterday’s performance 18th place is the best we can hope for.

saintnige added 12:41 - Dec 15
No point in 'posting bad language' - especially as I ran out about 7.00 last night. Will the club refund the £10.00 I spent on a Now TV pass to watch this load of rubbish?
Whenever we had the opportunity to break on West Ham, we seemed to slow right down and pass either backwards or sideways (if feeling bold). The body language isn't great (witness cedric when Long shot into the side netting after Ings hit the bar -- ironic given the pass Cedir hit to adams in from of goal the other week). I wonder if there is an absence of feeling for the club - I'm more inlined to think that it's all so important that players 'freeze'. Hojbjerg in particular seems burdened by emotion to the point he is almost inert, giving the ball away with simple passes. People praise Bednarek for his commitmnt and his passion, sadly not for his defending which is committed but not very effective. this is not to single these players out, they would appear to suffer from the collective fear and from the lack of investment in proper areas of the team.
Having sat throuh every one of Saints' relegations since 1966, the signs are there, total lack of confidence, distraction and lack of creativity.
Are we sure Rickie Lambert wouldn't last 60 minutes? It would help.

1teeminants added 12:46 - Dec 15
West Ham were awful ,we are even worse. I can’t recall seeing many worse saints teams than this and I’ve been going since early 70’s. Owner could t give a Shyte, players not good enough or not interested bar Danny Ings. We’re heading down but I’m not too bothered as I prefer the championship to the premier plastic circus any day of the week.

saintmark1976 added 12:49 - Dec 15
At long last you have finally caught up with the rest of us Nick and now appear to understand that we are in fact a very poor team with an equally poor manager who is completely out of his depth and should have been gone the day after the Leicester fiasco.

In regard to Redmond I've no idea where you are coming from. He is a serial underperformer who far from being sustituted should in fact never have started.

Highlight of the day? The band and stilt walkers outside the ground.


Number_58 added 12:50 - Dec 15
How can a match report on yesterday's game not mention how terrible PEH was? Nick constantly berates our defenders for not marking, but when a professional footballer can't trap a ball or pass it to his own side surely that is just as worthy of criticism. The only difference is that if a midfielder makes a terrible mistake he often gets bailed out by someone else. The defenders usually don't have that luxury. Reading most of Nicks reports it's almost as if we'd be champions league material if we had a couple of decent defenders; I'm not sure when the penny will finally drop that our problems exist all over the pitch (and beyond).

felly1 added 13:19 - Dec 15
No 58....Exactly.

Saintsforeverj added 13:38 - Dec 15
The defence is terrible yes. But the whole team is terrible Nick, not just the defence. Apart from Ings, the whole is team rubbish. What makes a good player? Not just ability, it's about mentality too. They are all mentally weak and that makes them all rubbish. But, Ralph yes is getting it wrong.

allsaint54 added 13:45 - Dec 15
Another absolutely woeful home performance. Not sure where to start. Our defence is poor but the midfield are just as much to blame. Redmond is getting worse each week, he doesn't even deserve to be on the bench let alone start. When he's on the pitch everything goes through him & he consistently fails to deliver meaning Djenepo is starved of the ball. PEH was dire, just cannot pass. Playing 2 wide men of average ability doesn't work. Start with Romeo, Armstrong, JWP & Djenepo with Boufal as impact sub.
What has happened to Bertie, I lost count how many times he was caught out of possession or bottled a challenge which resulted in Bednarek being pulled all over the place. Stephens actually looked the best of our defenders.
Why does Adams only get 5 minutes, give the guy a chance please. I'd like to see him start against Villa with Long as sub to stretch a tiring defence.
Oh for a few more players with the desire, passion & effort of Ings.
Are there 3 teams worse than us at the moment, I don't think so. Unfortunately this side won't survive in the Championship.

HythePeer added 14:34 - Dec 15
He starts with 9 men and 2 joke players, takes off an attacking MF and puts on a defender at 1 down, puts on another attacker 2 minutes from the end. He has as much chance as winning a game as the Labour party has at winning an election.

LordDZLucan added 15:09 - Dec 15
Nick, you watched a different game to the one I watched yesterday. That match was lost in the first half in midfield. The problem was not the defence. The main culprit was Mr. Hojbjerg. He can't control the ball, can't head, can't pass a ball accurately unless it's stationary and provides no protection to the back four. Haller scored his goal from just inside box in the center, exactly where Hojbjerg should have been given that the cross was from the byline - the centre backs have to protect the 6 yard box in that situation. The fact of the matter is that Steven Davis used to play that role and we haven't replaced him. Hojbjerg isn't fit to tie his shoelaces.

graveworm added 15:16 - Dec 15
I don’t normally pass any comments on any forums, however generally can’t disagree with most of the views passed on by contributors here
I have read many times Nick saying he believes we are not far of being a good team
For the last few seasons I have been desperately searching the reasoning to accommodate that thought
Now admittedly I only have the television to base my viewpoint on and that in itself can be misleading
So in my very basic knowledge of proceedings, here’s my 1 cents worth of conclusions

1st thing we do not play as a team
With exception how many teams are so vulnerable as soon as they loose the ball
How can a team be so terrorised by a big front man
On the goalkeeping front, far too slow to distribute the ball. Obviously the midfield or attack are not showing any movement or alternatively they are brain dead

Defenders. No communication/// no shape/// basically complete shite. Cedric on planet Uranus //Bednarek probably the pick of a poor bunch // Stephens unfortunately thinks himself to be a Beckenbaur more like a Cart horse without a cart // Bertrand way passed his sell by by date

Midfield. PEH can’t pass to a team mate JWP completely overrated free kick specialist although has scored a few decent placed balls. Redmond completely off the pace, boil, life useless
Djenepo flatters to deceive, however could be really good


Ings. Thank god, only for him we have about 6 points

Long. Fellow Irishman, however couldn’t score a goal if he standing on the
goal line

All in all I think we are unbeilable shite and unless there is a miracle, we going to the championship

The enthusiasm for RH has dissipated quite a while go.
Perhaps it over simplifies matter, but I cannot understand why the central defence has not be dealt with as soon as VVD left the club
Stop conceding goals and get a decent striker with a competent midfield

Maybe I know nothing, but too me it’s as simple as that

There is only so long you can polish a turd

Perhaps what I think is bullshit. Still it’s mine and here’s my thoughts

Nomaesaints added 15:23 - Dec 15
Why do the players constantly pass the ball across the back line and some times backwards with no apparent danger? The more times you get the ball into the penalty area the more chance you have of scoring. So lets get the ball up to the attackers quicker. Our build up play is painfully slow which allows the other team to get numbers back, this has been going on far too long.
The corner kicks yesterday , just booting the ball into the area and hope for the best were what you would expect of schoolboy footballers.
PEH needs to loose the captaincy as its harming his game, he was particularly bad yesterday.
RH needs help as he is making some foolish selections and his substitutions don't make sense.

landerwal added 16:33 - Dec 15
A good article, most of which I agree with except the defence being solely blamed for the goal. The goal came about when PEH miss passed to a WHU player and then for good measure fouled the player getting a deserved booking. From the resulting free kick they scored,. This episode just about summed up the whole match.

oldeastterrace added 16:42 - Dec 15
Some brilliant points above and many are bang on the money. Yes we are poor defensively but there are major issues right through this side. MAKE NO MISTAKE we ARE
EASILY one of the three worst sides in this Division and relegation is an absolute certainty. I will go further. If Watford and Norwich can win three or 4 games between now and the end of the season even they will finish above us too. Yes what I am saying is that WE ARE THAT BAD. There was a couple of wins recently but many of us were not fooled. We played Ok up at Newcastle but lost. We have a squad full of mediocrity, a squad that consists of players who can have good games here and there but generally they do not play well anywhere near enough. I think Hassenhuttl wants out maybe he is doing his best to force the boards hand??? We can change the manager but he will need to be a miracle worker to keep this side up! It's obvious there is nowhere near enough money available to put this right, so who in their right mind will take the job? I think our problems are that big that we will probably drop back into league one in the not too distant future and next time a Markus Leibherr might not come along to help us come back again. I maintain that 'The Southampton way' is doomed to failure. It only works if you buy well. When you start buying badly you run out of salable assets, and when you run out of salable assets you run out of funds and when you run out of funds you drop and until the cycle is broken with some investment and Mr GAO is not going to bail us out. That is where we are folks and we are going to drop but how far will that drop be?

stmichael added 17:21 - Dec 15
Not sure how you can do a match report without mentioning Hoijberg.
Absolutely disgusting performance and fare worse than any defender.
Responsible for the goal.
Touch of an elephant , no vision just awful...
Should have been hooked and incredulous that he wasn’t....

saintjf added 17:29 - Dec 15
Yes West Ham are a poor side but they were a lot better than Saints and should have won by more. An extremely worrying result. We are in deep trouble. It is not just about our defence. It is about the whole club.

AmericanSaint added 17:58 - Dec 15
I understand everyone's frustration as this game was there for the taking if we actually were up for it. It seemed that everyone on the team except Ings were timid from the start. I also agree this was PEH worst game by far. Except for Djenepo, all our plays play the ball backwards first. I counted over 6 times in the first half alone, that had a midfielder just turned forward they had space to run at the defense. I understand why RH made the switch and added Romeo, so that we could win the midfield, but he should have taken JWP off as we did not win one header from a corner or freekick. Also, Cedric was beat multiple times and accept for a few very good crosses, he was not great on defense. So everyone has expressed their frustration and dismay at the defense, but I think it was a whole team issue as the midfield couldnt hold the ball and when they turned it over, there were gaps all over the field as people were pushing up and we lost the ball. Classic problem to allow the counter attack. Not sure how we can fix this, but as I said last year, Goa was not the answer and many of you though he would be better than Leibharr. He does not care about the club and is using it only to move money around. I will keep cheeting but I know this season will be a bigger struggle than last year and it will go down to the wire. On to the next.....

JoeEgg added 18:23 - Dec 15
I am reminded of Ronald Koeman's last season with us - I took a look back at the results of that year and the teams that we beat comfortably and how scared teams were to face Southampton. Comparing the team we had then with the shambles that now parades as SaintsFC is is heartbreaking experience for all us fans. Most of our recent signings including management and coaching staff have been misguided at best. Vast quantities of money have been thrown at players and coaches with so little to offer. The quality is gone; the spirit is gone and we are left with a side that paling as they did in the first half on Saturday wouldn't have troubled a poor non league side.
The team has all week to prepare and yet time and time again they come out like headless chickens with no leadership and no organisation. What do they do all week in preparation for the next game? West Ham are almost as poor as Southampton but they came out like a team inspired and provided something for their fans to be proud of and get behind - at least for one game. Ultimately you have to reach the inevitable conclusion. The owners of the Club have ruined it and thrown away what we so recentlu were so proud of - and the squad we have now is an embarrassment to one and all.

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