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Ralph Has To Try Something Different
Saturday, 27th Jun 2020 10:21

The defeat against Arsenal was a sense of deja vu as the same usual suspects made the same mistakes they have been making over the last couple of seasons, Ralph Hasenhuttl has nothing to lose by trying something different.

I said after the Norwich game that a better side than the Canaries would have been 2-0 up in the first 20 minutes, yet we learned nothing and Arsenal played to our weaknesses, being blunt a Premier League side should not be getting caught out by the keeper punting a long ball hopefully to a loan man up front, but that is what happened and was only the tiip of the iceberg.

Ralph Hassenhuttl has some breathing space so he should perhaps consider giving a chance to some who have been out in the cold of late.

In goal it is time to restore Angus Gunn in goal, Alex McCarthy was at fault for both goals against the Gunners and although the first was a freak occurrence, the second showed a total lack of doing the basics.

This is not an isolated incident and during his spell as first choice he has made several other errors that have cost us points, in the penultimate game before lockdown he failed to deal with a simple cross that gave West Ham the lead and after a hard fought battle at Manchester City that looked like ending in a draw, a flap at a cross gifted a last minute winner for City.

When McCarthy arrived at the club he was here as the understudy to Fraser Forster, he was not brought in as first choice and now as he approaches 31 he has only started 209 games, 64 of these have been with Saints and another 44 on loan at League one at Yeovil his only season as an undisputed first choice keeper.

Alex McCarthy is a competent keeper, a capable deputy but although he can come in and do a job, he does not have the consistency for a full season.

This being the case then we have to recall Angus Gunn and see if he can show he has what it takes for next season Gunn has had a tough time at St Mary's but he does have some excuse in that as a youngster he was playing behind a defence that offers him no help and exposes him time after time.

Gunn did a decent enough job in the FA Cup games, I think now is the time to recall him and give him a run and find out whether he is the choice going forward or we need to consider other options.

Jack Stephens will be suspended against Watford so there will have to be a change there, Jannik Vestergaard is the obvious choice, but he has not impressed when he has played, so why not try Kevin Danso he seems to be the forgotten man under Ralph Hasenhuttl who has never played him in his natural position which is central defence.

I can't see this happening in that Danso has only played in two FA Cup games since his last Premier League appearance in the aforementioned game at Manchester City back in October, but his appearances have not been that bad when picked and I find it strange we have not given him a chance, perhaps the trip to Watford will see him come in, but I would be surprised.

Up front we have not got a regular partner for Danny Ings, Michael Obafemi has started the last two games but in both he has looked lost, he does not seem to have the footballing brain about him, if he finds the ball at his feet he has pace and will run at players and he has scored a couple of goals, but other than that he has not really contributed as much as he should have, he does not create space or chances for others by running off the ball and he seems unsure what to do when the opposition are in possession. Obafemi flatters with pace, perhaps he will learn his trade and become a great player, but he isn't there yet.

Che Adams has been maligned by some for the fact he hasn't scored, but other parts of his game have been fine, he unlike Obafemi can make runs that create space he can pick a pass as he did against Aston Villa to leave Stuart Armstrong with a simple chance and he works hard.

We paid a lot of money for Adams and he has been linked with Leeds, throw him in for the final games of this season, he will be no worse than Obafemi and if he gets a goal then perhaps more will follow.

The Arsenal game showed that it is time we dealt with a defensive problem that has festered for too long, if you look at the back four and keeper we played ask yourself this question, how many of the starting five would get into another Premier League team ? Ryan Bertrand certainly, Bednarek perhaps, but sadly McCarthy, Valery and Stephens would not and that should tell us something.

WE have to find out if any of the solutions are already at the club, the same individuals keep making the same mistakes and costing us games, they have had their chance, we now have to try something different.

I have nothing against any of them, I base them purely on their performances and the League table of the past few seasons tells us something, the Arsenal game confirmed what we already new, we are the architects of our own downfall too often.

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 10:48 - Jun 27
I have a horrible feeling about Watford as I think they will really pounce on our obvious weaknesses from the off and play the game dirty to get the result they need (I don't mean dirty in the malicious sense). I am not sure we have the nouse or the players to be able to deal with that and as much as I like RH and pleased he is staying sometimes I am not convinced by his tactical awareness. But we need the result too, because lose to Watford and suddenly that return looks less rosy and puts us back on the periphery of the pack behind. All that talk about a top 10 finish on the back of a win against a woeful Norwich (who as you say, could have taken the lead themselves in the first 10 minutes) did not suddenly make us a good side. We can play good football but we are not a good side otherwise we would not keep this perennial struggle.

No idea who we should play in goal or at the back anymore as I have no faith in any of the combinations and even up front we rely too heavily on Ings.

I am not aware of Che Adams being maligned Nick. I get the impression Saints fans have been behind him throughout, want to see him have some real game time and not just a few minutes at the tail end of a game and want him to stay. We all want him to succeed and no, I don't want him to leave. Obafemi has not been great in the last 2 games but equally I think he has it in him to be good but just needs more maturity, control and to be better aware of the options around him - that comes down to good coaching.

Win against Watford and yes we will stay up but lose and others below us pick up points and the gap looks less attractive. Whatever the outcome of this season, boy, do we have alot to do with the team in the close season and the question is - will we

highfield49 added 11:10 - Jun 27
I've been trying to think of any, even half good, reason why Adams shouldn't start the game at Watford and can't come up with anything. The pace of Obafemi is not enough to merit another start, the persistence of Long isn't enough either so please RH make use of a talented asset and give the guy a break.

sandywelsh added 12:15 - Jun 27
Well said Nick I completely agree with you. Gunn and Adams must start with Danso or Romeu in central defence. I would like to see Boufal or Djenepo in midfield to replace Hojbjerg and Walker-Peters to replace Valery.

saintmark1976 added 12:38 - Jun 27
I would like to see the manager spring a tactical surprise as he did at Chelsea. Rest Ings and Long from the starting eleven.Go for pace straight from the K O by playing Obafemi, Adams and Redmond up front. Drop Hojbjerg and replace him with Romeu.Don’t replace Stephens, simply play a back three. As for the keeper leave McCarthy in goal because he can’t possibly be as bad as he was against Arsenal can he?

Billeewithers added 15:18 - Jun 27
The centre of defence is weak. To many mistakes compounded by an inexperienced though promising player at right back who also makes alarming rushes of blood to the head. This was the problem in the Norwich game .... it has not changed.
Surely enough coaching has been put into these players to eradicate predictable shortfalls.
Change must surely come.
I am not seeing enough of Hojbjerg in midfield helping out in the rearguard for my liking. Maybe it is a good deal to cash in and look elsewhere.

HythePeer added 15:19 - Jun 27
The players have to play the style of the manager, replacing them will make no difference. He likes the keeper to play out from the back even if it means passing to someone closely marked: he likes enthusiasm at the back aka headless chickens running out of position and wandering upfront leaving gaps: patience in Mid Field; aka keeping useless possession passing it sideways until their defence is organized. Luckily, Armstrong and Redmond seem to want to attack and no one is stupid enough to drop Ings. If Watford fail to take the chances that will be handed to them on a plate then Saints might win 2 -0.

AmericanSaint added 15:35 - Jun 27
While I dont agree with some of your reasoning Nick, I do agree we need to do something different. I agree that Danso should start at CB. I think KWP should be at right back, OR in for PEH and Adams up front. I think Redmond and Armstrong are doing the job in midfield. Last is the goalie and this one I am torn with as I want to know if the players have any confidence in Gunn. If they do, then I think he should be given a try. The real issue here I think is what are these players showing or not showing RH in practice? He sees things everyday that we dont, so is there good reason why he doesnt give them a shot? Maybe he will and tomorrow we will find out if it si something new or the same old same old. COYR

schatfield added 18:04 - Jun 27
All I can say is, I am glad you are not the manager Nick

d_ember added 18:48 - Jun 27
All excellent points, a lumbersome Watford defence will scared to death if Long, and as you say 30 minutes of Adams, with a view to starting the game after.

KWP is better than Valery, he needs to return to some basic defending before trying so hard going forward, and Stephens has at times looked good enough but maybe because Bednerak has covered his shortfall, sometimes at his own expense.

We should guard against too many changes as destabilising the team will only make everyone look worse.

saintlee added 21:06 - Jun 27
Woah - steady on. What's the matter with me. Agreeing with Nick twice in a week.
However I'm leaning towards giving Fraser one last hurrah in goal to make sure we're not making the wrong decision by selling him in the summer window. I still think theres a keeper in there somewhere and that he's better than the two in front of him.
I've been banging on about Romero at Man United for a while now. I think he's a cracking keeper and way too good to be third choice at United which he will be if Henderson doesn't go out on loan again next season. Maybe worth a punt.
Che Adams I think needs a few games before the seasons out. I really dont want him sold in the summer either. He's gonna be a player, just needs some game time and a goal. Then he'll be away. Up the Saints !!!

TimSaint added 23:09 - Jun 27
As per my thread on the forum entitled Changes For Watford Away, my team would be as follows:


Give Gunn another go. He has been waiting for a chance and 2 mistakes in 1 game should mean he's in.
KWP for Valery is a no brainer.
Vest for Stephens - enforced. No way to Danso - anyone see him as sub away to Wolves ? Awful - and can't risk him at CB v Deeney.
PEH - prob injured but heart isn't in it and doesn't pass forward and was mostly to blame for JS red. Rom best at holding role v a bullying Watford.
Long for Oba - He always does well v Watford and knows what he is doing. Oba seems clueless and has lost his touch. Bench him for a game or 2 and maybe bring Adams on for 20 odd mins instead of 5 mins.
Hopefully Boufal will be on the bench for a cameo or to open them up if needed.
Now we have VAR, we might be able to get a positive result away to those cheating fvckers !! COYS

wessexman added 08:23 - Jun 28
RH has just signed a long term contract. He must have been given some assurances and promises concerning the transfer budget. RH knows what has to be done...
If we fail to address our defensive long standing problems, we can only assume the club are only interested in contouring their suicidal policy of finishing 4th or higher from bottom.

lemmsy added 18:36 - Jun 28
We’re now safe
So I’m looking for all the experts who last season & this season predicted us to be relegated, & a poor championship side to come out and say how negative & wrong they were !

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