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Saints V Manchester City The Verdict
Sunday, 5th Jul 2020 22:29

If football matches are a battle then this was not Waterloo but Dunkirk, we fought a great rear guard action in what looked like being a defeat almost to the final whistle, but make no bones this was one of those performances that showed we have team spirit.

Anyone shown the match stats and then asked to predict the score would have said only one thing,, Manchester City had 74% possession, they had 26 shots compared to our 8, they had 14 corners compared to our 2, just about the only stat that might have lead anyone to think this was anything other than another rout for Pep Guardiola's side was the fact that with their 6 shots on target that was only 2 more than our 4.

Indeed most I spoke to pre game just hoped that we would not be well beaten after all only days earlier City had pasted Liverpool 4-0.

In my pre match preview I called Ralph Hasenhuttl's line up correctly, including Che Adams selection up front, I like many hoped that he might break his duck and Ralph's faith in him paid off when after a high press won the ball, Che swept the ball in from 40 yards over the keepers head stranded outside his area.

This was no simple chance, it had to be hit hard and well and Adam's shot had both that, but the rest of the game was one way traffic.

Yes we could have and should have perhaps scored again ourselves, but City could have had 7, but that was not because of poor finishing it was because of a team performance where every player fought for every inch of ground and through everything they had in the way.

We had our luck, but then again we made our luck, this was like a 1970's FA Cup tie, only neither team had anything to play for.

Time and time again they kept coming forward and time and time again we refused to give an inch and if we couldn't block then there was Alex McCarthy to save.

There was no man of the match, every man deserved 10/10 just for his battling spirit, at times we gave the ball away or failed to mark as has been the case too often, but this time we refused to be made to pay, there was always someone throwing themselves in to the tackle to redeem the situation.

Oriol Romeu showed that he is the man to replace Pieere Eimile Hojbjerg, why do we need to spend the money we get when that player is already at the club.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has built a spirit in this team from adversity and he deserved this display from his team.

There were many of the old issues still there to see in this performance, but they were overshadowed by a team spirit, with a couple of additions we can truly be a top 10 side again, the players out there showed they are willing to fight for the shirt an that is a good sign.

So we are now officially safe from relegation, the rest of the season is about trying to just get as many points and finish as high as we can as well as give some experience to some of the younger members of the squad.

This was not a great performance in terms of quality, but it was perhaps the best in several years in terms of team spirit, we can now march on with confidence, after two difficult years we can move forward again.

No one expected this result and it is one that closes the gap between us and the top 8, we might just spring a surprise or two yet !

Photo: Action Images

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dirk_doone added 22:39 - Jul 5
Nick, you still can't bring yourself to praise any Saints central defender other than Wesley Hoedt. Jack Stephens' performance today was remarkable and the BBC pundits said so. He was a thoroughly deserved Man of the Match. Has any defender ever blocked more shots than Jack Stephens did today? Why can't you admit it?

All of the team were superb but if you're going to praise Romeu why can't you bring yourself to praise Stephens too? Is he going to get the same treatment from you in your reports that Fonte always got i.e. you think he should be replaced by somebody like Hoedt?

Anyway, one thing we can agree on: was a magnificent performance. We have a great manager and a wonderful team spirit.

davidargyll added 22:47 - Jul 5
Wow what a game!
And yes we played great but we did have the rub of the green, particularly as Alex McC was as brilliant today as he was woeful last week!
My only concern was that we only made one meaningful substitution - Will Smallbone was only on for about 30 seconds - so that tired legs may come to haunt us next week
But let’s bask in the warm glow of Having done a really good job on Citay Well done the lads.
And especially congrats to Che WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CURLING DREAM OF A GOAL...

AmericanSaint added 22:55 - Jul 5
Yeah, I am not sure you watched the same game Nick. The pundits kept praising our defensive 4 throughout the game. We have a clear sheet. What more do you want. City were always going to come at us and everyone did their part. I think Walker- Peters had a very good game minus one poor clearance. He needs to start the rest of the season to show consistency. I think Armstrong played very well and tracked-back every time.

Davidargyll - do you mean 2 weeks ago for McCarthy, cause last we he was good?

Anyways - I do agree with you Nick that this nows allows us to play with freedom and provide some of the youngsters a chance to show their abilities. Great game, very entertaining and onward and upward. COYR

Saintsforeverj added 23:04 - Jul 5
That again was thoroughly enjoyable to watch. My team gave absolutely everything. We have a great manager and really optimistic. I just hope we can get back to games next year to enjoy in what I feel will be a very good year, with the manager signed up and the team looking good.

erick added 23:07 - Jul 5
I was here just to see if nick will praise Stephens, he did not, so the last time me reading his articles. Can not read biased assessments all the time.
It is time you recognize stephens is our best central defender

SanMarco added 23:07 - Jul 5
We defended well today. You need a bit of luck to win games like this but we earnt it with our hard work and team spirit. Well done to all the players and to Ralph. Top ten? It is still possible and if we play the next five like we did tonight then very possible.

Boris1977 added 23:18 - Jul 5
Where did that performance come from? Is it 1998? A reminder of why we bother giving a toss. Brilliant. Coyr

schatfield added 23:55 - Jul 5
Wow what a team performance from Saints, they were all excellent and I am so pleased for Che Adams, great goal!

What a shame your match report doesnt praise Stephen's again who was IMMENSE! I hope you stop calling him a championship defender from now on at least. Your dislike of Yoshi, love of the man-donkey Hoedt and general dislike for Stephen's has really put me off your match reviews which is a shame cos this is otherwise a great site.

HythePeer added 00:03 - Jul 6
Organization and no ball watching or wandering upfront, they could have lost but they would still have played well. Ings deserves Motm, for his defensive performance.

TimSaint added 00:18 - Jul 6
Reminds me of the performance in the Man Utd game at the Dell in 97-98 when Kevin Davis scored early on and it was backs to the wall for the rest of the game. Paul Jones, Super Kenny Monkou and Claus all performed miracles - like our team today.

It seems we found out why Adams wasn't scoring - he needs to get out of the box and start shooting from 39 yards !!

NYC_Saint added 00:35 - Jul 6
The defense played very well and McCarthy made some great (and one lucky) saves. I would also add Danny Ings was our best defender - the commentators here pointed out he was everywhere on the pitch and made some desperate sliding blocks and just looked so happy throughout. Someone on here pointed out that Leicester players in their title season all take about 90 seconds after the final whistle to get up and do handshakes. I feel like post lockdown there isn’t a player on our team that has left a single bit of effort on the table.

FaroSaint added 06:34 - Jul 6
Absolutely brilliant display best team effort for years.
Mcarthy Ings Stephens Walker Peters Bednarek all exceptional . I must say Walker Peters needs to start all the remaining games to see if he can keep up that level of performance.
So pleased for Che Adams off the mark . Saints are safe for another season and the manager has signed a new contract much to look forward to going forward

SaintPaulVW added 06:35 - Jul 6
There was a man of the match and that man was Jack Stephens.

Please can this be remembered the next time we read about Wesley Hoedt having 'man of the match' performances.

Great performance from the lads. All the defenders got stuck in. Just wish we could get the pressure of us by getting the ball to feet sometimes at the end. But needs must.


davidargyll added 07:02 - Jul 6
AmericanSaint - yes in fact 10 days ago vs Arsenal when AMcC gave away that ridiculous goal.
Yesterday I swear to God he was a completely different keeper, even if there were a couple of occasions when a City forward got very close to him as he was clearing his lines....

underweststand added 07:11 - Jul 6
A clean sheet which was a credit to Alex McCarthy and the back four.
I was trying to decide if Stephens or Walker-Peters were the best , but I think that Danny Ings (despite not scoring ) also put in great display in defence.
The one year delay for Che Adams' first goal was worth the wait, and may end up being a candidate for Goal of the Season.

Just the sort of result that lifts the spirits and despite the overpowering % stats in City's favour showed their dependence on De Bruyn, who thankfully didn't appear until late on.

Would be nice to see a win v.Everton who have always been a bogey team for Saints (often with the help of ineffective referees).

saintmark1976 added 07:43 - Jul 6
“Well done Jack Stephens”. There you are Nick I’ve said it for you, wasn’t too painful for you was it? And whilst I’m at at it, “thank you Yoshida”. erick and schatfield are now set free to continue to view and contribute to your site.

FrankSaint added 08:00 - Jul 6
The Ugly Inside - home of altruism in football. Class!

TeamCortese added 09:06 - Jul 6
A brilliant defensive display from the lads and showcase of team spirit.

I agree with most on this forum, Jack Stephens and KWP, in particular, were immense! This display really tells you that the team is completely bought into Hassenhuttl's style and tactics--especially considering their morale after the Leicester defeat.

However, playing against quality like Man City really exposed the technical deficiencies within our squad and only reinforces the type of quality of players needed for us to reach a higher level.

What frustrates me most is the fact that players like Boufal, Lemina, Redmond and Djenepo have enough quality on the ball to challenge the City players. The problem is their attitude (apart from Redmond and possibly Djenepo) to focus and maintain a minimum level of consistency along with their willingness to trackback for the team.

I just don't get why a player wouldn't want to do that in order to better themselves? It must be fitness and laziness.

Flamingbankers added 09:11 - Jul 6
What a defensive performance. Bednarek was brilliant in the first half, Stephens in the second, McCarthy in both - thankfully. KWP played well again and Ingsy never gave up. All round fighting performance. We deserved it after coming close in the last few years. And, if you'd been watching Saints throughout this season, you would have known this was on the cards for Adams. He's needs special credit for his determination and perseverance this season. We're safe but no flip-flops please - Everton on Thursday.

AirFlorida added 09:19 - Jul 6
Great team performance and I think you do us an injustice. We were passing well at the back, pressing high and creating openings until the we got the goal and that obviously changed the dynamics of our play as we then had something to hold on to. REDMOND has to learn when to dribble and when to hoof. Too many times he was caught in possession on the edge of our box putting us back under pressure.

davidargyll added 10:09 - Jul 6
Sorry to post again but I think yesterday was Most definitely Waterloo and certainly not Dunkirk, given that David Silva or Raheem Stirling are individually probably worth more than out entire squad put together
So we fought a great battle and WE JUSTIFIABLY TOOK THEM TO THE CLEANERS!!!!

davepid added 10:11 - Jul 6
Great day to be a Saints fan. Several neutral fans have been in touch to congratulate me!

Nick I rarely criticise your judgment as putting your judgements out to the public on an almost daily basis takes courage. But would you revise your opinion of McCarthy of two weeks ago in light of his performance yesterday?


mattlegod added 10:31 - Jul 6
Ings - war horse
Ward-Prowse - Warrior
McCarthy - answered his critics
Adams - goal of the season
Walker peters - give him the job
Romeu - solid
Armstrong - sublime
Bednerek - dependable
Richards - fair play, much improved
Ralph - really getting this squad fit and playing for each other and with pride and determination.. well impressed.

Number_58 added 10:54 - Jul 6
Not sure we can strictly class Dunkirk as a victory Nick.

TimSaint added 11:03 - Jul 6
David Argyll - we subbed Adams for Long, as well as making sure Smallbone got his win bonus !!
TeamCortese - with Lemina, he earns far too much and does just enough to ensure he gets paid. He clearly puts more effort into social media and lifestyle that he does on the pitch.
Mattlegod - Richards hasn't played for us for years and is unfortunately no longer with us RIP Deano

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