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Chelsea 3 v 3 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 17th October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Chelsea The Verdict
Sunday, 18th Oct 2020 10:00

In a game of poor defending from both sides, Saints came back from the dead twice, to steal a point at the death, the spirit was unquestionable, the way we conceded three goals was not !

Ralph Hasenhuttl didn't try to change much in his starting line up, it was like for like with Nathan Redmond and Theo Walcott coming in to replace the two injured wide men from the win against West Brom.

Saints started strongly and looked good going forward but after the opening exchanges Chelsea poured forward in droves and found the Saints defence all at sea, Werner's opening goal saw him run far to far and fail to be closed down and it was noted that as he drilled home there were four Saints defenders in front of him, not one had closed him down and neither had any of them picked up the other two Chelsea men in the box.

On 28 minutes it looked like it would be a long day, again poor defending was in attendance, Bednarek lost Werner and his attempted header back to his own keeper fell short, McCarthy hesitated and that ment that Werner could lift the ball over him and pop up on the other side to head home.

At this point it was worrying, McCarthy made several smart saves to keep the score level and Saints weathered the storm and then with half time looming came the lifeline, a lovely ball from Adams played in Danny Ings who rounded the keeper and reduced the deficit.

In the second half Saints rolled up their sleeves and dug in, they kept the Blues at bay and created chances of their own, as the hour mark was about to tick over Che Adams chased a ball down, in truth the keeper should have eaten it up, but as Adams slid in he bottled it and missed the ball, the Saints man still had a lot to do as he kept the ball in play and with Ings buzzing around creating chaos with the Chelsea defenders, Adams cooly brought the ball back and fired high into the net from six yards.

Suddenly Saints were back in the game, but not for long, almost from the kick off Chelsea were back infront with our defence being caught napping and Werner running through unmarked to slide the ball across for Havertz who had a simple tap in.

This must have been frustrating for Ralph, seeing his side drag themselves back into the game, only to see them hand it back to the home side again.

But Saints didn't give up, they kept going and looked like they could get yet another goal, but deep into injury time it looked like all was in vain, but then the ball came out to Theo Walcott who fired at goal, could this be his first Saints goal in nearly 15 years ? at first it looked like that was the case, but Jannik Vestergaard got a slight touch with his head so was credited with the goal.

The only thing to do now was see out the last minutes of injury time and Chelsea were clearly a spent force.

Foe me the key player in the game was Che Adams, he played in Danny Ings for the first goal and did sterling work to make the second for himself, he is blossoming into a great player and like Ings he contributes to the game even if he isn't scoring, the two of them have formed a great partnership up front and compliment each other.

So this game had the good and the bad of Saints, going forward we are a threat to anyone, defensively we are poor, we cannot mark, we cannot read the game, we are a top 10 side in attacking and a Championship side defending, the addition of Mohammed Salisu can only add some improvement, but we need a leader and I am not sure he can add that, I hope I am proved wrong.

This can be a decent season, but still only five games in we have thrown points away, we should have won at Palace, we led against Spurs and now this against Chelsea, the old saying is we have nothing to fear but fear itself, I would amend that to we have nothing to fear but ourselves, a solid experienced central defence would have not let Chelsea run as ragged in the first half, it would not have switched off after the first equaliser.

But overall this felt like a win, it was still a good point against a team who had they held on in injury time would be second this morning, but truth is had we won this game we would be sixth and that would be a good start.

At the start of the season we would have taken a start of 7 points from 5 games, but at the moment that seems disappointing, it should also be noted that this was exactly the same position we found ourselves last year, three years ago in a season we went to the wire in, we started with 8 points from the opening 5 games.

I know I say the same things each week, but I do so because I am seeing the same things, we have not sorted out the glaring problem and I fear that we will continue in the same vein throughout the season and like last year it will be one of frustration and what could have been and indeed should have been.

Photo: Action Images

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goalie66 added 10:42 - Oct 18
It seems that no team can defend these days.Just look at the scorelines elsewhere. While Saints may have their problems at the back Chelsea's are a lot worse given the disparity of wealth that can be used in the transfer market. Werner was outstanding but I thought we showed a lot of character and second half dominated midfield which eased the pressure off our defense. Any leader needs to be in midfield as that is where most games are won and lost. Great entertainment yesterday though

Flamingbankers added 10:54 - Oct 18
Didn't see the whole game but it looked as through Chelsea were potentially a fantastic attacking team, while Werner reminded me of George Best. Nevertheless we seemed to match them as a team - which is promising for this season. I agree with Nick the defence looked all at sea and couldn't organise itself effectively against the Chelsea raids although I'm not sure any team in the Premier could have done. Actually a lot of teams are going to struggle to contain an attacking force of Ings, Adams, Redmond and Walcott (who seemed terrific on his second debut). Gotta be proud of the boys with that performance and result.

SaintPaulVW added 10:54 - Oct 18
I think it was a great game of football to watch. The attacking options that Chelsea have was terrifying, but for the most part we handled them well. The first two goals were great pieces of skill from Werner. The third was a bit of disaster. Still we came back well and looked the better side at the end.

For the first half hour, Walcott kept drifting inside and allowing Chillcott a free run at our defense. However apart from this Theo was great and really contributed well on his second 'debut'.

Che Adams is as you say a great team player. I just think he is still trying to blast his shots in. Even the goal was full power from about 2 yards out. If you contrast that with Ings and his placed shots you can see the difference. I'm sure Che will get there and score a lot more this season.

I thought Tella played well when he came on.

Romeu and JWP were solid in midfield. Ings and KWP had great games again.

Overall we look good COYS!


sidsaint added 11:06 - Oct 18
Agree that Ings and Adams work very well up front, Adams shows great potential. Defences slowness against an attacking Chelsea was there for all to see. Good to see Walcott back, looks like Redmond may have to make way when Armstrong is fit again. Plenty to work on and be optimistic about.

kevleykeegle added 11:06 - Oct 18
The second goal we let in was a mess, but players like Werner, who was great, will score goals like his first one against better teams than us. The way he drifted past our defenders was exactly what Ings has done so many times - and against top sides. Nick you seem to think that if we let any goals in at all, we are a disaster. Our defence tightened up in the second half - even Lampard said his team didn’t have the same space. We went to Chelsea who have a bench that costs more than our entire squad, and we came from behind twice. I’d say that was a very good result.

WestSussexSaint added 11:15 - Oct 18
Nick I think your verdict is a fair assessment of the match. Both teams looked dangerous going forwards but suspect to quick attacks at the back. I think Bednarek was the main Saints culprit yesterday but for the first 30mins the midfield wasn’t really at the races and gave insufficient cover. Werners second was hand ball which considering they could spot the arm hair on Mane was offside in the Liverpool game was surprising it wasn’t picked up. Why are we still talking about referring consistency when we now have VAR?!?

Theo looked good especially in the second half with some dangerous crosses. I agree with the assessment of Adams. He is holding the ball up so well now that it brings others into the game and he will hopefully go from strength to strength.

All in all an entertaining game and I would have been happy with a point at the start and when 2-0 down.

erick added 11:17 - Oct 18
I thought the first half was poor, we improved greatly the second half. The need needs to create more fouls to create time for the team to get into positions defensively(especially for the 3rd goal). There was improvement on creating chances but we still need to create more chances. We are very narrow sometimes we need width, sometimes one of the forwards should drop abit deep to allow wingers to come in and the fullbacks providing width. Our two centerbacks need to be more aggressive to harass the opponents forwards. Otherwise a great performance

davidargyll added 11:35 - Oct 18
Why is it that every time we concede The Ugly Inside insists it’s a case of chaotic defending. But when we score it’s brilliant attacking play.
Nick you write some good stuff but FFS Timo Werner is a player of the highest quality and you should humbly admit that his goals were the stuff of class, not crap defending. Meanwhile Danny’s goal was a case of pouncing on rubbish defending on Chelsea’s part. And Che’s was a matter of great determination following a disastrous defensive error.
PS. I am convinced that a lack of fans is benefitting all away teams this season, us included. The problem every defence has is the natural build-up and excitement of a swelling and excited crowd to bolster confidence in the minutes before kick off simply isn’t there. And the faux celebrations goal scorers make are starting to look like the cast of Crossroads, in other words no crowds have become a great leveller.

theralpholution added 11:38 - Oct 18
Progress again with an away draw against a top side who mullered defensive experts Crystal Palace 4-0 last time out. The first half was poor and with Armstrong missing Walcott let Chillwell have a field day on the left. Redmond was similarly ineffective defensively which meant we were overrun in the midfield and again left the defenders exposed. Bednarek could not cope with Werner’s pace but he won’t be the only one that will struggle to contain him and a fast moving Chelsea front line. In the second-half we kept it much tighter and won the ball back quicker, higher up the pitch, restricting Chelsea’s opportunities and creating more ourselves. With Salisu and Diallo soon to be added and who have been bought by Ralph with this style in mind, I think there’s even better to come. Credit to JWP and Romeu who kept working in the first half. Good to see competition for places with even the undroppable Redmond substituted. Thanks Ralph. Loving the football and the changes you have made.

highfield49 added 11:44 - Oct 18
You are so obsessed by our central defenders Nick that you are often oblivious to the quality of attacking players they are up against. Until the last few weeks I would have said that Vestergaard should have been made available for transfer and I'm now seeing, admittedly not the finished article, a decent quality player. Bednarek was at times made to look like a Sunday morning player by Werner but he isn't the first and certainly won't be the last to suffer that fate this season. In my view your mythical experienced defender who never makes a mistake and leads the defence like a super hero isn't going to be available for less than £100 million and, quite frankly, he would also have struggled against Chelsea's attack. Can you please take the positives and accept that the player budget is limited, constantly saying that decent, improving, players are Championship quality takes the edge off a team performance that deserves credit even though not entirely beyond criticism in some aspects. Ings and Adams are becoming a very good partnership, but they don't take every goal scoring opportunity, equally our central defenders aren't perfect but also not the disaster you keep trotting out.

IanRC added 11:51 - Oct 18
Agree Bednarek had an off day but as others have said above Werner is a great striker. Don’t understand the so called fans on Twitter who have called Bednarek a disaster, otherwise he has been very good this season. Walcott looked to be out of it in the first half but really made up for it in the second half. Good to see Adams getting reward for all his hard work. Overall great entertainment though.

schatfield added 12:02 - Oct 18
Why dont you acknowledge the fact we just played a team with WORLD class strikers, a club who just spent over 200M in the summer and we still came away with a draw. Your old, slow experienced defender would have made no difference whatsoever. Are you going to bang on about championship defense in every review until end of season now?

halftimeorange added 12:05 - Oct 18
I'd like to have seen a mention of Vestergaard who was the best of our defenders. I didn't think he'd make it in the EPL but, now I believe he has a chance. I'd like to see tidier passing and we do lack creativity without Armstrong. What can't be denied is that we were playing a team of highest quality players and never gave up. Maybe Ralph should give his halftime talk before the match as we definitely improved after the break.

I_would added 12:06 - Oct 18
I thought we did well with 10 men. Ingsy, Peters , Adams and Walcott looked lively all day and if Ralph had put Diallo on at the start instead of our out of his depth, hapless Capitaine, we might have shaded it.

SaintStu7 added 12:26 - Oct 18
Have to agree with the posters today and not Nick which is rare as most on here are very negative (unless we win). The defence was pulled all over the place at times but we were always looking to to go forward, so against a team of the quality of Chelsea this should be expected. You can’t have positive attacking play and a defence that never concedes a goal. I would be much more concerned about the £150 million pound Chelsea defence where basic errors cost them goals. All round a really entertaining game where I’m sure the Chelsea fans have much more to be concerned about than us and 3 goals away from home against one of the best teams in the league.

mattthelegend added 12:50 - Oct 18
Great team spirit and performance, Chelsea second goal was handball, football is all about attacking now a days. No team can defend effectively from what I’ve seen look at Man U, Man City and Chelsea and these teams have so much money at their disposal and still struggle. If we had amazing defenders they wouldn’t be with us ie VVD. Sometimes Nick I think you expect too much. Be thankful we have a team who are entertaining and great to watch, which over the last few seasons has not happened. UTS 😇

131153 added 13:55 - Oct 18
I’m tempted to say Nick give it a rest so I have. The dummy Werner sold Bednarek would probably have also done VVD. His second was handball and should have been picked up by VAR. I also thought in the build up to our second goal Danny was fouled by Kepa he stumbled on and Che eventually scored. I think if Danny had gone down it would have been a pen and Kepa sent off. Can’t say for certain as not seen a replay from the other side. Anyway we got what we deserved at the very least.

sandywelsh added 14:10 - Oct 18
Vestergaard is a big improvement on Stephens and we have looked better since he has been in the side. Hopefully when Armstrong is fit he will replace Redmond. It was a good game to watch and we got a deserved point.

underweststand added 14:39 - Oct 18
Good things : Coming back from 0-2 (away) to get a point. A goal and assist from Ché Adams who has become a better player than his stats. may indicate, and an impressive 94 minutes from Theo Walcott suggesting he'll be more than a bit player coming off the bench in future.

Things to improve...Yes Nick , our defence does have bad days, but the advantage of having two very tall men at the back is obvious from the aerial duels they win, but slow on the turn and lacking pace against top-class speedy strikers like Son and Werner.
If we continue to play wingbacks high up the pitch we won't have defenders to combat this type of attack, but Vestergaard has improved greatly this season and we must look to find a solution, as you are fast becoming the sole remaining member of Hoedt's fan club.

Without Armstrong we lack creativity in midfield and we continue playing Romeu - until he gets his usual yellow card and needs replacing for safety sake. Hopefully Diallo and Salisu will be able to fit into Ralph's system, and we may get better all-round stability.

VERDICT: A good display when you consider that the money Chelsea spent in the summer was enough to buy out Mr.Gao ...and have some change over.. it was a good result that might have been even better had VAR seen Werner's arm controlling the ball before his second goal.

saintmark1976 added 15:27 - Oct 18
Leave Nick alone everyone. He’s entitled to his opinion even if most people think that it is the wrong one. Don’t give him the oxygen of publicity by commenting on his problem and hopefully his reports will become more balanced in the future.

ItchenNorth added 16:31 - Oct 18
Decent second half and we showed we had some fight in us. Adams and Ings have a good partnership going on. Walcott looked lively. Vestergaard has more about him than many gave him credit for, and Stephens will find it hard to get his place back (and Salisu is still to come). Promising signs from Saints.

ItchenNorth added 16:44 - Oct 18
Oh, and that kit with the red sash is just class. So wish we could make the permanent change to a sash, not just this season but for all seasons.

ItchenNorth added 16:49 - Oct 18
Oh, and finally. What is the point of VAR when they don't spot Werner's clear hand ball for their 3rd goal ! Or look at Pickford VVD as another big miss by VAR. Its a joke. Bin in.

wessexman added 17:13 - Oct 18
Bournemouth spent 5 years in the Premiership until they finally got caught. They conceded 65 -75 goals every season but this was offset by a frontline which scored freely. They went down because the frontline stopped scoring. They failed to address their defensive problems.
We also concede far too many goals and have also not been able to address our below par defense. For me the issue is simple, keep scoring and we should be ok.....but, we are far too reliant on Ings.....
I think Nick is spot on.......

AmericanSaint added 19:54 - Oct 18
Nick - I would disagree with you on one major point, the 2nd goal. The announcers even said that Jorginho practices the curl-over-the-top ball every week. When you have Werner who has speed to burn and a perfect pass by Jorginho, there is little JB. You may not like it, but that is the simple truth. Top class strikers with speed are going to beat any defense that does not have CBs with speed. Let me know when you find a CB with speed and size, because I sure havent seen one yet. You either get speed or size but not both. I am disappointed in their 3rd goal, as it was a errant pass/interception that sent Chelsea flying down the wing to score. The old rule of "you are most vulnerable in the first 5 minutes after you score" proved true again. My big concern is that we seem to only get "up" for the big teams and go flat when we play teams around us. I hope this has changed this year. Everton are good this year, so we need to bu up for them. Finally, I think many of us would have taken a point before the game without blinking. A good point, so now on to the next. COYR.

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