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Southampton 1 v 2 Burnley
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 15th February 2020 Kick-off 12:30
Saints V Burnley The Verdict
Monday, 17th Feb 2020 09:52

With a great chance to pull away of the pack on 31 points up for offer, Saints put in a poor disjointed performance that saw all of the bad things in our play return.

I said in the preview that we should not kid ourselves that all was rosy again that there would be some games we would get away with mistakes and others we wouldn't, it was clear this one would be one we wouldn't after a bizarre first minute goal.

The in swinging corner looked pretty innocuous and Danny Ings really should have dealt with it, for some reason he either thought that it was going out or someone had called for it as he let it run past him and the ball sailed straight into the net.

In fairness Saints rallied and Ings made amends by becoming only the 5th Saints player in the Premier League era to score 15 goals in a season with a great strike from the edge of the box.

For a while it looked like we would go on and win the game, but despite plenty of the ball in both halves we failed to really make domination count and create attacks into attempts on target.

Sofiane Boufal looked lively in the first half before having to go off before the break, his replacement Djenepo was not the answer in the second, he continually dropped deep to pick up the ball instead of running into space and creating room for Ryan Bertrand to attack behind him.

We were disjointed in every department and it was no surprise when we conceded yet another soft goal, a long ball forward finding Vydra completely unmarked in between Vestergaard and Stehens, highlighting yet another lapse in concentration at the back.

So this was a game that showed how much we relied on Nathan Redmond going forward at the moment and how we really should have got a central defender in, it was almost as simple as that.

On reflection this was always going to be a game that didn't suit us, we can't play against teams that sit on their own area at St Mary's, we keep getting caught on set pieces and on the break because we lose concentration and cannot mark as was evident with both goals, away from home we do well because we have pace going forward, but at home we cannot open up sides like Burnley and it is no coincidence that since we lost Fonte & Van Dyke we have lost 3 and drawn 3 of the 6 games played, and each of those games has followed the same pattern, they catch us on the break or set pieces after we have had more of the possession.

Add to that the weather was almost identical to the opening day up at Turf Moor with the swirling wind and rain helping their robust style aligned with hoofing the ball forward and this was never going to end well for us.

But this is not a cause for mass hysteria on social media, we can't change anything now till the summer transfer window, all we can do it make do with what we had, we will hopefully win enough games to ensure that we don't flirt with relegation again, but we should not gloss over our weaknesses, we have the 2nd worst defence in the league for good reason and that is because of games like this where we have 64% of the ball, but the opposition has 6 of their 9 attempts on target, breaking with numbers and also scoring from dead ball situations.

The only real bright note of the day was that loanee debutant Kyle Walker Peters looked tidy and played well, ironically though the only real bright spot of the weekend happened on Sunday afternoon when Arsenal's late late 4th goal against Newcastle meant we moved up a place on goal's scored.

But it could have and should have been a weekend that gave us momentum, but we should not be too shocked after all we have seen it all before !

Photo: Action Images

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NewburySaint added 10:03 - Feb 17
If that's how they play, if that's the sort of effort they can muster, after having a mid season holiday then they shouldn't be allowed to go away ever again until the seasons are over with!

halftimeorange added 10:42 - Feb 17
I found it incredible that Saints collectively ran out of steam after the break. I don't think the reshuffling after Walker-Peters was removed as JWP was largely occupied with defensive duties and that negated our creativity, such as it was. As far as Djenepo was concerned, I thought that Bertrand was often at fault for not passing the ball in front of him to run onto and, also, Bertrand's reluctance to use his right foot caused him to move the ball backwards. If he had a poor game that is nothing to compare with the lack of central marking for Burnley's second goal. Although Ralph seems to have go Vestergaard to jump, he hasn't got his brain into gear as yet and he is a liability. He doesn't have Stephens ability to drive forward which makes me think that Stephens might be better employed in midfield next season. Boufal was having one of his best games for Saints and Walker-Peters not only showed a trick or two when he settled down after the calamitous start but, he also conversed with JWP in the first period so that there was a promising early understanding of which of them were going where. These were plus points but, we'll need more against Villa who showed a lot of spirit going down to Spurs. Overall, Saints did not show enough fight. Putting Adams on for a few minutes is a waste of time. He must be low on confidence so expecting him to get up to the pace of the game and be lucky in a cameo appearance smacks of desperation on Ralph's part. I went home soggy and disappointed that we were patently out thought and outplayed after 45 minutes.

saintmark1976 added 10:57 - Feb 17
If we continue with our abysmal home form until the end of the season and our away form dips then despite what the bookies suggest we are going to struggle to avoid relegation.

When the team got together for their pre kick off "huddle" I genuinely thought that one of the mascots had blagged his way in, because Kyle Walker Peters is that small. Only we could replace a top class Premiership full back (Cedric) with an untested player even more lacking in height. From where I was sitting I thought that he was at fault for their second goal rather than the centre backs.

We had better put out a side that wants to win at all costs on Saturday because another defeat will see us right back in the relegation mix. Put simply, it's time for the players to "walk the walk" and give something back to the home fans who have been remarkable supportive given the number of defeats we've had to witness this season.


stmichael added 11:35 - Feb 17
KWP looks a downgrade on Cedric although I will reserve judgement until he has played a few games.
No ambition in his play and the ONLY cross he delivered sailed into the chapel.
Like I said will reserve judgement but nothing on Saturday to enthuse over..

underweststand added 12:06 - Feb 17
Another bout of the wind and weather type game that cost us points.
YES- Danny Ings should have put the incoming corner and put the ball into Row Z but left it to the wind to finish the job. YES he got "his goal "! again, but the thing thta worries me most is that he is the only "regular scorer " we have ,aside from Prowsie's tally of 4 -no-one else has more than 2 , and with Redmond out for a longer spell -even he won't be a threat.

For a first game (after injury) in a new set-up and little prev. Prem. game time, I'd say Walker-Peters gave a decent showing but has a way to go to nail down the RB spot.
Vestergaard still has the same problems - even though his new haircut makes him look even taller. He won lots of headers, but is still painfully slow on the turn. Those of us who recall Peter Crouch in Saints colours will recognise those "robotic " movements that look so slow and cumbersome, but it's fatal for someone in a defensive role.
Jack Stephens looks more impressive with every game -especially with a number 5 on his shirt, and as a supporter of VAR, I'm wondering how we didn't get a penalty when it was Mee's late arm movement that caused the " handball " incident?.

Nick mentioned the fouls that weren't carded, but for me the worst was the arm in the throat that Djenepo got in the second half... should hav ebeen a red card for certain.
The referee. was below any rating I could give him.

We are still creating many chances without converting (Ings exception) only 4 goals from the last 52 attempts (!) .. isn't good enough at this level, and if Che Adams is ever going to get going, he needs much more than 10 minutes at the end of every game.

IRONY - As Nick mentioned -can't recall last time we lost - and still moved up the table.

davidargyll added 12:07 - Feb 17
Christ I find some people so black and white on here! Either we play like Gods or like rubbish; there seems to be no in between. For goodness sake guys GET REAL! The conditions were awful so it was never going to be very pretty, it probably should have been a draw, their first goal was like the Keystone Cops but without anybody moving, our first was sublime, their second was good, and we should have had a penalty but for once luck wasn't with us.
Yes I agree we really missed Redmond, but on the other hand Stuart Armstrong was almost back to his old self, Vestergaard had a couple of good tackles (OK the rest of the time he looked awful but at least he's lost a bit of weight), Walker Peters looked decent (and no comparison with the rubbish that is Danso) and Boufal looked pretty dangerous; on the downside, McCarthy needs a kick up the arse to get a move on with his distribution and Moussa doesn't seem to have learned how to cross the ball at all.
But all this shouting for us to buy some defence, again people please get real. I am sure we have been and indeed are looking, but there simply aren't that many/any decent defenders out there, or at least that want to move, except for extortionate amounts. Even Chris Smalling would cost us €20m, and he's 30!
I don't want to be depressing but the reason why there are so many goals conceded in the PL now is that forwards are so much better that they used to be and defences throughout the league are not, we are all part of that and we have to get used to it.


schatfield added 12:20 - Feb 17
As usual our home fans made st Mary's so quiet you could hear a pin drop for most of the game. We must be up there with arsenal and a couple of others for worst home support in the wonder we only win away!

SaintPaulVW added 13:51 - Feb 17
Nothing has really changed in my mind from my thoughts on the players' ratings page.

I'm hoping just a bad day at the office. Nothing I saw convinces me that we can't get 9 points out of the next 4 games.

Burnley in the rain with half a new defence was always going to be tricky.

I'm keeping the faith. COYS.

ItchenNorth added 14:00 - Feb 17
I thought the game changed when Boufal got injured. He had the measure of their full back and was our dangerman throughout the opening 30 minutes. The second half was frustrating. We lowered ourselves to limping balls forward. Burnley kicked their way though our team from start to finish, but we didn't give any back in return.
KWP had a good debut.

arthurfane added 14:10 - Feb 17
Very disappointing result of course - Djenepo has lost that spark from earlier in the season, and we looked lethargic going forward in the second half, having just seemed to have run out of ideas.

Agree we were hard done by with the penalty call. Arms made Mee bigger I think and he was jumping - that's what blocked the cross, so it's a penalty. After our early season luck, we've been very hard done by of late, with Son's 'dive' and the trip on Ings vs Liverpool too...

Decent debut from KWP - got forward and looked good with the ball at his feet. Will only get better, and start putting in some crosses, give him time.

Last point - completely agree with the point on the crowd. I'm unsurprised our home form is so shambolic. Why can't the crowd just support the players for 90 minutes straight, then get on the backs of the players from behind a keyboard if they really want to? The away fans sing their hearts out every week - it's no coincidence that our away form is excellent. Genuinely think we don't realise how much of an impact we can have at times (positively and negatively).

Winnable series of games coming up - come on Saints, let's secure safety then start looking up the table!

DorsetIan added 15:47 - Feb 17
Thought KWP was playing it safe in his first game. Didn't do much wrong and looked like he knew what he was doing.

Hopefully Boufal isn't too badly injured and will now get a run with Redmond sidelined for a month or so.

To me, Djenepo looks completely out of his depth. If he doesn't even understand how he is meant to link up with Bertrand down the left hand side, what is the point in having him on the pitch, because he certainly doesn't offer anything else.

I am pleased that Vestergaard has had some game time, because he may be needed if we lose Stephens and Bednarek later in the season. That aside, he is a distant third to the other two, so it's a complete mystery why he played - back to those early season games where Ralph was doing wild things at the back. (Suspect there is a story there as to why Vestergaard played. If everyone at St Marys knows that Bednarek is better, Ralph must know that too...surely?...)

I don't blame the defenders for their second goal (just like I don't blame Burnley's defenders for Ings' goal). The damage was done in midfield with Djenepo missing too chances to close down the ball, leaving Jeff Hendrick all the time in the world to pick out his cross to Vydra.

Boris1977 added 15:58 - Feb 17
Didn't go due to not being able to travel down. Not a surprising defeat but disappointing that it actually happened. Weird that Bednarek was on the bench, maybe Ralph wanted to rest him in what was considered a winnable game. We are still in a relegation battle and need to pick up 3 more wins - at least before talk of safety is mentioned again.

saintmark1976 added 16:48 - Feb 17
To those suggesting that home fans get behind the team more. May I respectfully remind them that we have lost eight games at home already this season with the lowest number of points obtained, yes lower even than Norwich. That sort of form is not dependent on how the crowd perform.Its down to the players, coaching staff,the manager and ultimately the (under investing) club's owners. As far as I'm concerned I think that the fans have been remarkably patient. This coming Saturdays game against Villa is an opportunity for all those mentioned above to start to correct the situation and to give something back to the fans.No if buts whys or wherefores.

Peterx added 17:18 - Feb 17
We don't play well in the Wind and Rain. Boufal was standout before he went off. Will take a point against Villa right now just to get some momentum with the injury to Redmond and Boufal (hopefully not long term) being a big blow. We will need to find a way to get Adams/Obafemi, Armstrong, Ings, Long working as a front 4 against Villa, because to me we need to use Djenepo as an impact player only. Unless of course Boufal recovers then we play him instead of Adams/Obafemi. Obviously Bednarek to return. KWP was OK.

IanRC added 18:22 - Feb 17
Really odd performance, thought JWP and Armstrong looked a bit lethargic after injuries. Still not sure if Boufal can cut it though the injury was unfortunate. Referee And VAR were awful, seems deliberate bias is creeping in, Spurs always get the decisions in their favour, not us though. For example Cork’s two fitted tackle from the rear on JWP should have been a red card. Dropping Bednarek for Vestergaard was bizarre. Also don’t know what was said to Djenepo but he didn’t try to go down the wing once. Disagree with most about KWP it seems, thought he was pretty average at best although early days yet. Hopefully much better next week.

Block8 added 19:36 - Feb 17
All I will say about the defence is that Stephens was outstanding yet again!
The problem with the fans is that our most vocal fans are either side of the away fans.
This leads to chants & singing being disjointed and sporadic, it's pretty noisy at away games when we are all together.
Think we must be the only team in the Prem with half our END full of away fans??
I thought the club were looking at this positively but it seems to have died a death.
Nick is anything happening on this issue?

Saintaxidriver added 20:56 - Feb 17
Selling Soares was a mistake. The defence was looking settled. KWP looked nervous at first but grew in confidence as the game progressed, but he offered nothing going forward. Yet another bizarre selection in Vestergaard over Bednarek. There is not one game I have seen him play where his hight has enabled him to dominate in the air and the second goal was down to him not keeping a close enough eye on Vydra and not having the pace to deal with a ball hoofed over the top! The freak first goal was down to Ings being half asleep as well as MaCarthy not being alert to a ball he should have had covered even if Ings should have cleared it. Dnepro was either told to not take anyone on further down the field or just lost his confidence to do so. The other player I thought was very poor although I have seen some praise him was Armstrong. His passing was awefull and a couple of times we would have had a possible clear chance if he had been on better form.
Boufal was looking good and losing Redmond is a problem but I would rather have JWP at right back and play Romeou in the middle and tell Dnepro to play right on their last man and take them on! Just hope this doesn't herald another period of unfathomable team choices and instability which would ruin the confidence that has been built up.

AmericanSaint added 02:40 - Feb 18
I will add my two pence. For all of you who didnt listen to pre-match, Vestagaard was chosen to combat Burnley's Wood's height. RH stated that he was concerned of set pieces as Burnley was scoring from them lately. What I didn't understand was why RH didnt sub Vest with Benderak at halftime since (1) Wood left with an injury; (2) Vest had a yellow; (3) Burnley were trying to loop over the defense and turn the defenders in the first half all the time. Next as I said in the match rating page, Burley's second goal was good, just that simple. Our midfield lost it and they had time to pick a perfect pass out and the rest was done. next what baffles me about VAR is this - when a offensive player touches the ball with his hand at anytime during a build up of a goal, it is ruled out, yet when a defender jumps with his arms out and it impedes a cross, that is not considered a penalty - both are in the build up of a potential goal. We better bring our top game for Villa, as they are hungry and will be pissed-off after losing to Spurs the way they did. Also - all you bashing KWP need to take a sedative. He played well for his first game and he started to show a god link up with JWP. That is all for this sermon. COYR

Whatsforpud added 16:40 - Feb 18
Have to agree with davidargyll about McCarthy. There is too much emphasis on short goal kicks. One of his goal kicks was a 5-yard pass to a defender, when there were forwards hovering on the edge of his area. If the defender has nowhere to go, just kick it long. Too much unnecessary passing between defenders anyway. Think forward!

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