Southampton At Newcastle The Verdict
Sunday, 7th Feb 2021 09:58
Ralph Hasenhuttl was right in his after match interviews, the performances wasn't good enough and it was littered with individual errors which eventually cost us the game, but there were some lights at the end of the tunnel.
It was back to the bad old days as individual errors and a bit of bad luck cost Saints dearly up at St James Park, in the first half Saints seemed to be rebuilding the confidence and it has to be said they were still missing key players, not only in the starting line up but off the bench.
But just as it looked like Saints were getting to grips came two goals in 10 minutes that meant we were 2-0 down after only 26 minutes, a great goal from debutant Takumi Minamino pulled a goal back and going into the break at 2-1 looked like having something to build on.
Then came perhaps the biggest individual error of the game, with 40 seconds left of 5 minutes of injury time, Alex McCarthy only had to smash a simple back pass up the field and the final whistle would blow, there was no time to build anything up, but he took too long almost got caught out and played a suicide ball to Ryan Bertrand who had no time to react and suddenly from being back in the game Saints were down and out at 2-1.
After the break there was drama, firstly James Ward Prowse smashed home a now trademark free kick to bring us back to a goal behind and then the home side had a player sent off.
But did this help Saints ? possibly not, on a pitch with surface water we struggled to keep the ball moving and our game is based on getting behind the opposition defence, with Newcastle sat back on their own penalty box this was always going to be difficult.
We did get the ball in the net but VAR did it's job , rightly on this day and Danny Ings saw a curling shot hit the inside of the post and rebound into the stricken goalkeepers arms.
If Saints scored you sensed the game would change, but until we did, Newcastle would remain resolute.
When the home side went down to 9 men with 10 minutes or so due to injury and having used their subs, it was of no advantage for Saints, they merely packed their box and there was even less room than before.
It was defence v attack and they were fighting for their lives to hold what they had.
There were some things to take from the game both good and bad, the first that we need a goalkeeper who is comfortable on the ball to play the way we do, that is not Alex McCarthy and I doubt that long term at least it is Fraser Forster.
The second is that too many players are off form, they no longer have the spring in their step they had two months ago.
But the good news is that as players come back from injury and find their form this will return, Jannik Vestergaard looked very rusty when passing the ball, but that is not unusual after a long lay off and he was pressed into service a bit quicker that Ralph hasenhuttl would have liked.
Another plus point was Minamino, he scored a superb goal and seemed to fit into Saints way of playing well, he tired a little at the end, but that was perhaps expected given his lack of starts for Liverpool this season.
The performance gave promise, sometimes you just can't click your fingers and things are suddenly alright again, it was a disappointment that we didn't get anything out of it, no excuses we should have, but we do have something to build on now after the debacle at Old Trafford.
This is a big week now with the visit of Wolves twice, we need to get back to winning ways, make no bones about it our season hinges on this week, so we need to put this performance behind us and look to the two games, one in the FA Cup and then the League.
It is easy to support a team when it is winning and I subscribe to the old adage that good teams don't become bad ones overnight, all teams have bad runs and we are in one at the moment, but that has been mainly due to injury, with players back we can start winning again.
The late Bill Shankly loved the Liverpool supporters, but he was aware of how fickle fans can be sometimes and his quote about the fans resonates today.
“If you can't support us when we lose or draw, don't support us when we win”
The fans aren't in the stadiums at the moment, but positivity is needed in this time of trouble.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
|HythePeer added 10:20 - Feb 7|
I just wasn't Newcastle's day, but they still won. Why's that?
|felly1 added 10:25 - Feb 7|
Spot on report. Its hard going watching Saints at the moment. Poor individual performances, a lack of confidence and rustiness due to injury layoffs have conspired to wreck our once promising season.
It's hard to see where the next win is going to come from. Defensively we look all over the place, in the first half Newcastle just looked like they'd score every time they came forward, they seemed to have so much space and bodies. On the contrary our slow paced offensive play meant we faced a massed defence and no way through.
Some fans will single out individual players but I see a whole team playing poor at the moment.
|saintmark1976 added 10:27 - Feb 7|
Have you mixed up your copy from another match Nick? Because just like your report of Tuesday’s humiliation it most certainly bears no resemblance to reality.
There’s no polite way of saying it other than to state what was obvious to the vast majority of us. We were shambolic from start to finish. And yes, I include Ralph who’s use of substitutions whilst playing a team reduced to ten and then nine men was frankly once again beyond comprehension.
Credit to Newcastle however who displayed guts, determination and a desire to win.Exactly the opposite of most of our players who appear now to simply be going through the motions. Ings and Bertrand in particular.
|Consigliere added 10:29 - Feb 7|
Nothing to disagree with in this article, on the whole I thought we played well apart from the disastrous lapses of concentration but I do wonder why we insist on playing out from the back every single time. Agreed that on the whole it is better because it means keeping possession but there are times when booting the ball down the field or even into the stand is just the best option!
The new bloke Minimino looks the real deal, we might struggle to keep him but we are going to need to because Ings is clearly off form and looking a bit disinterested right now. JWP proved his value once again and we are very dependent on him just now so he’s another player it is important to hold on to.
|Farlow added 10:29 - Feb 7|
Bednarek was at fault with two of the goals and although it was a poor ball from Mcarthy
Bertrand should still have won it,he doesnt win or compete for many 50/50 balls.
|SanMarco added 10:37 - Feb 7|
Excellent report. There were some plusses, two great goals and players back but several questions come to my mind.
Firstly, why play JS ahead of Ramsay at RB? Newcastle quite rightly identified that as a weakness and played to it. JS is too slow and, at times, downright dozey to play at RB. Secondly - playing out from the back: Viewers of a nervous disposition like me hate it but where is the common sense in doing it with just seconds left? Freeze frame the ball at McCarthy's feet and ask the question - "what is the only way this will not be 2-1 at half-time?" Thirdly, substitutions: Minamino was clearly out on his feet and Redmond was doing absolutely nothing. Surely Djnepo for one of them was worth a punt? Or even one of the youngsters. Finally, we need Ings to start scoring again (with hopefully Minamino to chip in) because Adams has lost it again.
The defending in the first half was indefensible but there is some mitigation for failing to break them down in the second. If the game had kicked off an hour later I think it would have been abandoned, the pitch was saturated and the fast football we needed became very difficult (not to say we wouldn't have found it difficult anyway but I think it is a fair point). Also a word on JWP: Given the cossetted lifestyles and obscene amounts of money they get I do not usually buy the 'players were tired' excuse but JWP has played every minute and has kept going. He is not everyone's cup of tea but he is putting in the hours!
|underweststand added 10:49 - Feb 7|
I think you made all the relevant points Nick.
JV looked off pace and Redmond looked like he was a refugee from another game.
Stephens and Bednarek (not the best pairing) are looking a little the worse for wear with 10 tough games in the last 5 weeks without Vestergaard.
Of course we gifted Newcastle the game in the first half, and the weather did the rest.
I know we are all used to playing in this sort of weather, but many ground passes didn't travel 10 yards and sideways passing and slow build-ups gave everyone breathing space.
Usual bad luck day with Adams' goal ruled offside and Ings hitting the woodwork, and on another day ...well maybe. Minamino's well-taken goal, and Prowsey's free-kick special were the only real bright points for Saints, but we must get back winning soon, so as to avoid the psychological impact of continual League defeats.
Can we hope for a change of fortune with a Cup win on Thursday?
|halftimeorange added 10:54 - Feb 7|
Lack of management on and, sadly, off the pitch were key to this loss. Saints performance was summed up in two phases of play. McCarthy's suicide ball to Bertrand on the stroke of halftime would not have happened at a park game, never mind in one of the world's to p leagues. How is it that Ralph's team did not realise his confidence was shot after the 9-0 drubbing in midweek. With around fifteen minutes to go Stephens had the ball halfway between our penalty area and the centre line. Did he show any urgency, no he walked the ball forwards (I mean walked!) and then passed it straight to the only Newcastle player immediately in front of him. There were, of course, other elements that might have changed the outcome - Ings shot onto the post, failure to sub Minimino and Redmond who had palpably shot their bolts and not playing Ramsay, who didn't do that badly against Man U. I don't blame Bednarek. He's had to cover just about everyone in the past few games and must be knackered, rather like our tactics.
|LordDZLucan added 10:54 - Feb 7|
I think Ralph summed it up perfectly at the end of the match – we’re not a good team yet. All of our fault lines were laid bare yesterday. We have no real pace in the back four which means we’re always vulnerable against a pacy forward like Saint Maximin; we have only one player he can cross a ball accurately, namely JWP; we make too many mistakes at the back; and our forwards inexplicably stray offside when it would be so easy to stay on. Hopefully Salisu will be the answer at the back (we should know soon as he was on the bench yesterday). The crossing will have to be addressed in the summer transfer window. But the mistakes and the offsides should have been sorted out by now and I think Ralph is as frustrated as I am that they haven’t. I don’t like to single out an individual player as football is a team game. And I am not going to single out Jan Bednarek because I think he was adversely affected by what went on at Old Trafford in the week. But like Farlow I am going to call out Ryan Bertrand. I have been noticing for a few weeks now that he is bottling 50/50 challenges. Is he carrying an injury? Is that why he didn’t deal properly with what admittedly wasn’t a great pass from Alex McCarthy for the 3rd Newcastle goal? Or would the fact that he is out of contract in the summer and reluctant to risk injury have something to do with it? I wonder.
|ElijahK added 11:04 - Feb 7|
We simply lost that game down to some poor mistakes off of Bednerak and MacCarthy! I mean also what the hell is up with Ings and Adams!? Neither of them have scored an open play since we played SHEFFIELD UNITED! Which has now been 10 games! I mean what’s happened to this team as other than Walker-Peters we probably had our best starting lineup today and couldn’t even score a single goal against a Newcastle team that had 10 players for like 25 minutes and then 9 for another 25 minutes!
We’ve got the FA cup game on Thursday and I’d like to see Forster in gaols as if he performs well, I think he should start against Wolves! And maybe the same for Salisu and Bednerak has had a few poor games recently and if Salesian does play on Thursday and shows a good performance then yeah why not start then for the league game against wolves!?
Such a poor a disappointing result! There’s just no excuses this time!
|davidargyll added 11:49 - Feb 7|
My immediate thought after the game was, “Five losses on the trot; Christ, we’re in a mess...”.
But on reflection I think it was more like a turning point, or at least I hope it was. On another day and with more luck - which let’s be honest we’ve not been having our fair share of in the last few games - we could have won or at least got away with a point; and though I hate it when managers start talking about “taking the positives” after they’ve just been whopped - when you lose, you lose, accept it and move on - but I think there were some good things which hopefully will help our revival/recovery:
1. We scored, twice, both of which were real quality.
2. Bednarek’s deflection was bad luck and on another day would have been deflected away and I really don’t think he can be blamed.
3. Yes, the third goal was started by a poor pass out by AM but I put that down to the conditions.
4. What Minamino showed when he scored was brilliant acceleration.
When I look at all our forwards, they just haven’t shown that explosion of speed to leave the opposition standing in a matter of a couple of yards which Timo did. And I wonder whether that is where we are really going wrong up front and our lack of goals. Danny used to have it but now just seems to be half a yard off the pace, Che can do it but doesn’t seem to know where the goal is, and Theo of course has pace but is always falling over his feet. The honourable exception is Stuart Armstrong but he’s not in the front line. And Moussa seems to have it but again falls over his feet to much.
What Ralph seems to have coached into the team is when you break, break fast, and they do that well. I’m sure we are all very supportive of this approach but consider how many times attacks break down, or at least don’t end up with a shot on target, or anywhere for that matter, because the man with the ball just doesn’t have the skill to go fast and keep control of it at the same time. Ok conditions were shit yesterday, but It was the same for both sides, we’ve seen it countless times over the last few weeks and we saw it again yesterday.
What’s the answer? Goodness knows but maybe TM can show them how to do it...?!
|Whatsforpud added 12:02 - Feb 7|
ElijahK, do you want to see Forster in gaol or in goal!
Talking of goalkeepers, can we PLEASE abandon the short goal kicks to marked defenders. At best, the ball usually ends up back with the keeper who in the end, has to hoof it.
|wibbersda added 12:17 - Feb 7|
Same as arsenal game, unable to break teams down. We seem to get to a position of dominating in games but do not have the skill to make it count. Like Arsenal, this was a chance to finally get the first win on their turf, only to blow it.
|SaintPaulVW added 12:49 - Feb 7|
In truth I didn't expect us to turn it around straight away. Romeu and Vestegard looked rusty. The pitch caused all sorts of problems in getting the right weight on passes. Some poor defending in the first half left us with a lot to do in the second half to get back in it.
However it seemed a bit unambitious to just keep playing in the same formation once Newcastle went down in numbers. Similarly we were never going to break through them by passing from side to side 30 yards from goal. I would have thought this would be the ideal game for Djenepo to just get the ball and run at them with no real need to track back to defend.
However I agree there are some positives, no injuries, Minamino looks good, Some great work from Che but no goals, JWP still a threat and Ings finds a way not to score again.
One small point, I don't understand the pile on to Redmond on social media. Redmond, who is himself just back from injury, started really well but just like Minamino faded badly in the second half. No one played particularly well in attack in the second half, seeking to single out Redmond seems unfair.
I just hope we can get through the FA cup game this week. Ings or Adams just must be due a goal soon.
|1962saint added 13:14 - Feb 7|
Saints have had a poor run of results and as often happens at these times fans start to look to blame individual players and / or tactics. In my opinion the only tactic definitely at fault yesterday was passing out from the back in such dreadful conditions. There were a few near misses before McCarthy’s error.
As regards many of the players, consideration should be given to lack of fitness after injury and some lost confidence after recent defeats.
Let’s face it – Saints have had an appalling run of luck with injuries, luck in the games, VAR decisions, and appalling refereeing. I see that the Mike Dean, Lee Mason double act were at it again yesterday. Hopefully the red card given to Soucek will also be overturned. It has been suggested that the two officials should be banned from refereeing any future Saints games. This would be unfair to other clubs – they shouldn’t be allowed to officiate in any Premier League matches.
As regards the ‘blip’ in Saints form we shouldn’t get too down just as we didn’t get too carried away when we were briefly at the top of the league earlier this season.
Ralph is still a top manager and one benefit of the current situation is that, in the short term, he will not be poached by other clubs.
|Nomaesaints added 13:42 - Feb 7|
I have just discovered how one can get to sleep quicker:
Close your eyes when Saints have the ball at the back and again it gets to the front line you will be fast asleep.
For God's sake there is more than one way to get the ball up to the forwards. In one of Newcastles attacks in the second half we got the ball back but still went with this tippy tappy football which allowed the two Newcastle players to get back. Why do we do the same thing over and over?
|theralpholution added 13:51 - Feb 7|
I hate to say it but I think Ralph has to shoulder some of the blame for this defeat. He has done some tremendous things for our side but there were obvious deficiencies that cost us this game. The most significant one was pitting Stephens against Saint Maximum. Why ship Valery out on loan if we are going to play a centre back at right back? This is not a criticism of Stephens but it was an obvious mismatch and Redmond who was no replacement for Armstrong, gave him no support so he was exposed time and again. Similarly Stephens was not able to go forward in the same way as KWP or Valery. The conditions were obviously atrocious and as the report points out surface water made quick passing impossible but had we not given away the first half it was a game we should have won comfortably.
|FrankSaint added 14:09 - Feb 7|
Let's set aside the water logged pitch. We had a two man advantage but you wouldn't have known it from watching the game. We did not set up to overload them on the flanks even though Newcastle left us the space. On the right redmond was one on one on a defender echo refused to dive in. But no one supported him to do a one two or make a triangle. And on the left minamino stayed deep instead of creating down the wing. He was like a third sweeper alongside WP and Romeo. N'Dululu got lost in the melee in the middle.
|NewburySaint added 15:07 - Feb 7|
A ridiculous, unintelligent performance by Saints-this result-result, not scoreline, was every bit as bad as Tuesday.
Hands up who knew the game was over in us scoring again once Newcastle went down to 10 & then 9 because it is ever thus when we’re talking about Saints.....I don’t expect to see many hands dropped by the way! What sort of team cannot score against 10, and then even worse against 9, particularly when we’ve just had a lesson in it?!
The team deserve all the criticism they may/will get from all angles after this stupid performance.
|teamster1 added 15:45 - Feb 7|
The 3rd goal just before half time all started from a corner of our own. It was over hit to the far post where Vestergard retrieved passed it to Redmond who instead of hitting it first time into the box as it would of been last attack of the half decides to hit the ball 50 yards back to Bednarek.
We have no leaders and are all matey matey with each other when things go wrong. We need a leader to look up to and dish out a few rollickings on the pitch.
It’s always the same mistakes over and over season after season we never learn and Ralph has to address it properly
|schatfield added 17:04 - Feb 7|
Let's look at the positives you moany bunch. How good was that ward-prowse free kick?! He is by far the best dead ball specialist in the league and a joy to watch. Now 1 free kick goal away from equaling Beckhams league record.
|erick added 17:30 - Feb 7|
After digest; the team isn't good enough! More than half the players are not premier league level or they are very poor. No creativity at all. The movement to the final ball is very slow. Our forward players should have more movement. We need better players with good technique because Redmond, Bertrand, Che and Stephens should not be close to that team. How did we let Boufal leave for nothing while redmond stayed. We need a striker and two wingers(or 10's).
|sandywelsh added 18:00 - Feb 7|
That was bad we needed to get 3 points out of that game. Now we have Crystal Palace, Wolves, Brighton and Newcastle just below us. Need to 40 points asp.
Why was Ramsay not brought on at halftime to replace Stephens who was having a nightmare. He was at fault for the first 2 goals and McCarthy for the third. Stephens is to slow to play Right Back.
Why were so slow building up when they had only 9 men on the pitch? United tore us to threads when we went down to 10 men on Tuesday. None of our players create anything going forward and no speed.
|AmericanSaint added 21:43 - Feb 7|
Yes like many of you, I was dismayed by our performance yesterday. Sandywelch is spot on as JS was directly "non-involved" in the 1st two goals. I watched them in replay several times and even the announcers made a point on how JS was out of position on both, especially the 1st goal. He was playing RB not RM. He pressed the ball and didnt get it and stood watching as the pass went over his head and MSM was in the box to lay it off for the first goal. I think everyone would agree that JS at RB was not a good idea by RH. The 3rd goal was the dagger and that falls all on AM. As a keeper you need to know what is going on at all times and he just screwed up - period. I also agree with LordDZLucan about Ryan Bertrand. I think he hasnt shown up in the last 3 games and still fancies himself a left back at one of the big clubs and so he doesnt want to injure himself for a move this summer. I know the pitch was bad, but I could hear RH screaming to move the ball faster from side to side in the second half and we didnt do it. I hope he threw the kitchen sink at them after the game. Also, do our players know what the "Channel" is along the penalty box. I counted 10 times that a forward or midfield ran it and the guy on the wing (redmond or bertrand) didnt slot it to the line for a cross. It is automatic on the big 6 teams and yet we dont do it. If RH had any sense he would scream this at them nd the next guy who doesnt to it gets yanked and sits on the bench for a game. FFS. After all this said, I finally come to my wits end with Redmond. I was a supporter of his until this season. Yesterday he was lost at sea and useless. He had 1 good cross out of a dozen, flopped on two shots that he should have put on target and worse off he didnt track back to support the defense half the time. Well there is nothing we can do now about it and moaning doesnt help,. so I hope the lads have a good week of training and can put themselves back in to a proper mindset to win the next game.
|stmichael added 22:37 - Feb 7|
The performance was actually embarrassing.
Nothing positive at all.
An injury ravaged opponent down to 9 men who usually lose when at full strength!!
Worse than Tuesday.
One can only hope we have reached rock bottom but my guess is we haven’t..
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.