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Southampton 3 v 1 Sheffield United
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 26th July 2020 Kick-off 16:00
Saints V Swansea City The Verdict
Sunday, 30th Aug 2020 09:39

Saints took on Swansea City at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon in a game split into four 30 minute quarters so that the whole squad could have a good run out.

The first quarter kicked off with Saints fielding a side that could be said to most resemble their strongest XI from the latter part of last season and they started the game with the same level of intensity.

Team: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Redmond; Adams, Ings.

Che Adams scored after just six minutes and he had another great chance to double the lead before Nathan Redmond made it two on 13 minutes.

Swamsea were very much on the back foot and it was three on 20 minutes when Stuart Armstrong was brought down and Danny Ings scored from the spot, it was looking like it would be a long afternoon for the Welsh side but they managed to hang on until the first 30 minute break without any further scoring.

There was no change for Saints at the restart and 4 minutes in there was another penalty, Redmond had been brought down, but it was not Danny Ings who took the second spot kick but James Ward Prowse who made it four.

Virtually from the restart it was five with Ryan Bertrand slamming home what has been described on the official site an "Eye Catching" goal.

On 42 minutes is was six and Danny Ings got his second of the afternoon, but it go worse for the Swans and on 45 minutes it was seven, Danny Ings running behind the visitors defence and crossing for James Ward Prowse to get his second.

With 15 minutes until the second break Swansea had to hang on for grim life to keep the score from esculating further and Alex McCarthy in the Saints goal had not had any form of action other than the occasional back pass.

At the half way mark both sides compeletely changed their line ups and Saints put out what was definitely their second XI although the only player who had not had any previous competitive first team action was central defender Christoph Klarer and aside from him only Callum Slattery & Jake Vokins hadn't played at least 10 games for Saints with most having played significantly more.

Team: Forster; Valery, Vestergaard, Klarer, Vokins; Slattery, Smallbone, Djenepo, Boufal; Long, Obafemi.

For obvious reasons the intensity that Saints had showed in the first half lessened and it became a much more equal affair and both defences were now seeing action and having to do work, Swansea had a lot more of the ball but the third quarter remained goal less.

For the final 30 minutes Saints made one change Jankewitz coming on for Slattery,, Saints started to get more of the ball again and Moussa Djenepo looking lively, but it was Swansea who got the only goal of the second 60 minute period when Jay Fulton slammed home after the ball had come back off the post.

The game thus ended 7-1 to Saints.

So what can we take from the game, firstly that it was Fraser Forster that took the field for the second half, suggesting that it will be he and Alex McCarthy who will contest the keepers spot next season, although in fairness Angus Gunn will probably get his chance in another friendly, so this is not the final decision.

Secondly it showed that we have an explosive first XI and that we have some good strength in reserve, but also that the squad is a little bit top heavy and we still need to trim it a little to reduce wages and to enable to replace perhaps the 4 or 5 potential sales when we add those still on the books but not involved in this game and replace them with 1 or 2 key signings.

Thirdly that we should not get too carried away, although this is a decent result, our history is littered with some great pre season's that have been followed by abysmal starts to the season proper, but there are some very encouraging signs and we do look a very focused squad.

So this summer is looking good so far but we should remember that we do need to still bring in a player or two in key areas and we need to sort out the replacement of Hojbjerg, whether that is Oriol Romeu who if that is the case we need to tie him down to a new deal or by selling and buying.

With two weeks to go till the opening game in the Premier League it is looking good for Saints but we should not get too complacent, there are still issues to address, but with Ralph Hasenhuttl in charge we can have confidence that we will.

Photo: Action Images

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FrankSaint added 10:17 - Aug 30
Thanks for the match report. Re match tactics I have an observation. With the first team it looks like the wide players have been instructed to hare up the wings as an extra striker at every opportunity and if whoever is on the ball does not meet that run with a pass inside the opposing full back, they risk being fined a week's wages. For example, our goalie started a move that ended with a goal with a long pass to Bertrand overlapping on the wing. This is the complete opposite of the how we played under Pellegrino where runs off the ball were repeatedy ignored, notably the runs by Gabbiadini. Do you remember?

dirk_doone added 10:24 - Aug 30
As well as our attack, our first choice defence shows once again how good it is, continuing on from the seven match unbeaten run at the end of last season. In the current form table, we are the 3rd best team in the country. But, there is still a big gap in class between our 1st XI and the rest of the squad. Hopefully, our activity in this transfer window will help to narrow that gap.

If that 1st XI can stay fit for most of the season and we have good cover in key positions, this could be one of our best seasons ever. This looks like it could be the season when several of our players, like Ward-Prowse, Stephens, Armstrong and Adams, hit their career peaks.

erick added 10:26 - Aug 30
It showed the first team is really good but we don't have subs that can compete with them. Especially central mid. If ward-prowse gets injured we will suffer alot,

SalisburySaint added 11:15 - Aug 30
Bertrand’s goal was a cracker


underweststand added 11:29 - Aug 30
To put this in perspective (as Nick noted) this was a friendly game against a less than convincing Championship side, but the result was very satisfying, especially when you see other Prem. sides (like Spurs) who struggled against lower league opposition.

However, in playing our strongest side from the start, we looked very slick and with more luck might have made double figures by HT. Goals spread around the side, and even two convincing penalties past the unfortunate Swans keeper Woodman (who is on loan from Newcastle) - he 'll hope he gets better defensive cover in future League games).

The remainder of the game was - effectively - our " B side " (as its going to be called) Swansea could hardly have been worse in the second half, but clearly there is a big gap between the level of our bench players and those who are currently Prem. first choice. This is not to say there isn't quality there, and even with one of two of them in the first team, it would hardly have affected the quality that we showed in the first 45 mins.

Maybe a chance for another practice game on the cards during the week, but certainly with a lot of changes with various players away on international duty.

halftimeorange added 13:51 - Aug 30
I pay no attention to friendly performances having seen a dreadful Saints showing against FC Utrecht in 2002. A certain Chris Marsden played as though he'd never seen a football. Several months later he was leading Saints out at Wembley having had an outstanding season. Thrashing Swansea might be satisfying but is not a pointer to the rest of the season.

SaintBrock added 16:43 - Aug 30
Too many of you people reading too much into this work-out. The first XI play together competitively every week, the others do not, hence the relative lack of cohesion and understanding in the 3rd and 4th quarter's. Nothing to do with individual qualities.

Compare apples with apples not pomegranates

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