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Southampton 1 v 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 14th February 2021 Kick-off 12:00
Southampton V Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
Monday, 15th Feb 2021 10:24

A tale of two halves as Saints dominated the first and struggled in the second, the game hinged on several key moments, lets take a look at them and see how and why it all went wrong.

I have taken my time putting this review up, I didn't want to write it in the cold heart of day only minutes after the game had finished.

Likewise I didn't want it to be read whilst emotions were running high, I wanted people to look at what I see as the key points and consider them rather than just blindly ranting, as is the norm for some people after a defeat.

It is our worst run of League defeats in our history, there is no getting away with that, but this is not a normal season and there is no getting away with that either, so where did it go wrong, what could we have done differently.

I thought the first mistake was retaining Alex McCarthy in goal, I think at the moment he has a fragile confidence, it was time to give him a rest, initially in the first half he looked Ok, although his kicking was still out, but in the first half everything looked good, we dominated the game and had a deserved lead through a superb goal from Danny Ings.

Saints looked strong in defence and good going forward, Nathan Redmond retained his place up front and was at the heart of most of our moves, a good run saw him play a lovely ball play Minamino through who got away a shot which the keeper could only parry and was scrambled away for a corner, strangely the linesman flagged Minamino offside when replays showed he was two yards on.

Then Redmond himself did everything right but saw his curling shot tipped around the post.

Stuart Armstrong made a surging run to the byeline pulled the ball back and Redmond shielded the cross to block Conor Coady attacking the ball and allowing Danny Ings to hit an unstoppable volley into the net.

At half time it looked like we had our mojo back, but sides who have come through what we just have in terms of injuries etc and results don't just click back into being good sides straight away and it was a different Wolves who came out in the second half.

Initially it looked like we could handle it, but then came the moment that changed the game, Wolves had a shot and Ryan Bertrand turned his back, but had a trailing arm and it hit it.

There was some debate as to whether this should be a penalty, but my take on it is this, if your arm is outstretched as Bertrand's was then if the ball has hit it then you have gained an advantage, to me the law should be simple, if the penalty was up the other end and hadn't been given to us I would be livid, this was a penalty, just as the one against Aston Villa should have been, when the Vila' man's arm was stuck out.

Now it was game on and Wolves were on the front foot, but again they weren't getting any real chances, McCarthy hadn't had to make a save of note in the entire game and that wasn't changing.

But then came the winning goal on 66 minutes, Neto did well to turn Vestergaard, but he was at a tight angle, but he put the ball across McCarthy and all the keeper did was drop to his knee and throw up an arm, this was the third goal in virtually exactly the same situation in the last month where the keeper has done the same thing.

He had his angles all wrong and really should have done better, Neto had only inches either side of McCarthy to put the ball, yet it still went in, it happens once in a while, but to happen three times in the last 5 games is a flaw being exposed.

McCarthy needs a rest it should have been this game, but we played him a game too far.

This would be virtually his last piece of action, Wolves had a lot of the ball and run at us, but what chances there were fell to Saints, James Ward Prowse had a good shot well saved, but try as we might Wolves were digging in and we couldn't muster up a real chance of note.

So this game was a disappointment, it is not good that we have now lost 6 in a row in the Premier League, it is a disappointment that we have dropped down the League, but we are in a slightly better position than this time last year after 23 games when we had 28 points and things will change and we are capable of another run as we did earlier this season and at the end of last.

At the start of this season, I would have taken this position and a place in the FA Cup quarter finals and been happy.

What I am not happy about is the errors and bad luck that have led to these defeats, we just can't catch a break at the moment, I don't think we have anything to argue about in this defeat, but what was applied on Sunday wasn't applied against Aston Villa and we need to something to go for us to break this run.

What I am not happy about is some of the stuff I read on Social Media, a Premier League manager over the weekend described social media as the new toilet wall, back in the 90's people used to write abuse on toilet walls, now they do it on twitter.

A minority our supporters have unrealistic expectations and when the slightest thing goes wrong they bleat like sheep, I even see some people suggesting that Ralph Hasenhuttl should be replaced by Eddie Howe, how strange !

They complain about a lack of investment as though money is the answer, it might be if you are Liverpool or Manchester United and can generate massive income from across the World or if you are Manchester City and have owners who will spend £40 million for a reserve central defender and can afford a£20 million slap on the wrist for breaching financial fair play, but for the rest it is not the answer.

Everton are a club we can measure ourselves against, they stole Ronald Koeman 5 years ago and their owner boasted of being bigger than Liverpool, they have spent the multi millions that our fans crave that we find an owner who will match that spending.

They have fared no better than us in that period since Koeman left St Mary's , in fact some would say worse as they have not played in a major cup final in that time.

Anyway I digress, my point is we need to see Southampton Football Club for what it is, it cannot take on the BIg Six on their financial terms, we have to do what we do and do it better.

We are still a work in progress, Ralph is building something here and he is only a little over two years into that project, I cannot think of a manager I would like here in place of him.

This is the time as the saying goes to keep calm and carry on, Ralph will get it right and it could be this season.

Things are not handed to us on a plate, they never have been, but at this stage I am entirely happy with the position we are in, still in with a shout of a top 10 place and in the FA Cup quarter finals.

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ElijahK added 10:31 - Feb 15
Ok fans really need to start doing something about VAR as it’s not only ruining the game by causing us lot to have to wait to celebrate a goal, but is also causing more controversy than it is solving as in the end it’s just a lottery for which way a decision goes! With certain teams (aka Man U and such) always having more tickets that the other clubs!

But we also just don’t have a big enough squad and depending on how long Walker-Peters is out for will only show that point even more as unless we win the FA cup Ings is almost certainly going to leave us during the summer transfer market and this is mainly down to our rubbish owner!

But at the same time I do have to ask the question of when you loose 6 back to back games for the first time in your clubs history and loose 9-0 again with practically a year, there does need to be questions asked of the manager as we’ve got Chelsea next which we’re not going to get anything out of and then Leeds which if we loose will just be ridiculous! I mean as much as I love Ralph as a manager and wouldn’t mind having one for longer than a year or so, in the end you do need to start looking at the facts! I mean I said before the game that we practically had our best 11 out with or without our injuries and yet we still loose.

Sorry but honestly I’m getting to a point where I’m just fed up of football and don’t feel like watching even saints anymore seeing that we’ve got a rubbish owner, we can never seem to keep the form and can never keep our best players! But now the FA are contributing to that too by keeping VAR and ruining any match day experience for us fans! I just can’t take it any more and really just don’t even want to watch football anymore...

HythePeer added 10:47 - Feb 15
This record breaking manager strikes again!

WestSussexSaint added 11:08 - Feb 15
After another thoroughly frustrating match, these are my thoughts after sleeping on it.

1) it was another display of poor and inconsistent refereeing. Nick, you say that as Bertrand had his arm out he was inviting the penalty decision. Possibly. But it was certainly not more or less handball than the Wolves defender at the other end.

2) Some may shout that there is a conspiracy against Saints by officials at the moment or that VAR should be scrapped. I don’t subscribe to that but I do think that the PGMOL has to get its house in order to be clear on how VAR should be used and used consistently. Referees have a difficult job and VAR is there to help but it is not at the moment and needs to be addressed.

3) The poor officiating is not the reason Saints have lost 6 league games on the spin. Yes they have not had the rub of the green in some matches but yesterday’s poor decision made it 1-1 with nearly half the match left. Saints should be professional enough to put that out of their minds and get back to what was working. They just fell apart and the second goal was almost inevitable.

4) confidence or lack of it is playing a part in this run but I also think the lack of a natural leader on the pitch is telling. Someone that will shout at the rest of the team to stop feeling sorry for themselves and just get on with getting back in the game.

5) while the losing run maybe another unwanted record for Ralph, let’s not forget this team were top of the league just 3 months ago. I have seen plenty of poor Saints teams over the years and this is certainly not one of them. What it does lack as mentioned above is a leader in the Jason Dodd/Frannie Benali role. Recruiting talented youngsters is all well and good but they need a stabilising influence and I don’t see one in the squad right now.

6) Finally while Ralph is getting a lot of things right the absence of a plan B is naive and poor management. Once plan A gets the lead in the match, switch to plan B to close the game down. We don’t do this and that is costing us points in the later stages of games.

I was annoyed yesterday with the ref but while I still think he made mistakes that cost us I think Saints have to look at themselves and stop using it as an excuse.


ExiledSupporter added 11:24 - Feb 15
Generally I agree with your perspective on this latest calamity, Nick. But there two aspects of that game that have recurred all too frequently.

The first is that , apart from Ings (and to a lesser extent Armstrong) we do not have any players who are reliable goalscorers. Adams, Redmond, Walcott and Djenepo are too unreliable, their first touches are often terrible. JWP is rarely close to the opposition's penalty area in open play and Romeu is a one goal per season. Both Bertrand and KWP threaten to score more convincingly than our forwards.

As a consequence even when we dominate in the first half as much as yesterday's game we consistently fail to build on our advantage. It seemed to me to be madness to play Redmond as a striker, when he is capable of creating opportunities for others, but by no means a reliable scorer. Adams is such a disappointment, he works incredibly hard all over the pitch, but doesn't spend enough time in the penalty area and his first touch is often heavy and awkward, but he should have been RH's choice there before Redmond.

The second issue that Nick ignores is that we habitually lose games in the second half where we always seem to fade and then collapse. We allow teams a chance to get back in the game and then present them with the sort of opportunity that we would probably miss, but we almost help them score with a bit of bad judgement along the way.

I do think that Foster should have played, though I think he looks as uncomfortable with playing out from the back as does McCarthy, but he looks more confident in dominating his penalty area and resisting the opposition's attacks

Yesterday I though RH's subs were not that well considered, unless he was injured I would have kept Armstrong on the pitch and I wouldn't have put Djenepo on instead of Minamino either!

SaintNick added 11:25 - Feb 15
Elijahk, tell me why you think he is a rubbish owner, he is no different to a lot of the owners in football outside of the big 6 , this isn't a normal season, but if you look at previous league tables, then if a club finishes 10th then there is the usual talk about "investment" & the "Next step" but the next step is 7th and getting above that with any regularity is difficult.

So an owner spends £60 million of his own money and gets the club to 7th, meaning he picks up an extra 6-7 million in prize money and if he is lucky then a club in the top six win both the league cup and FA cup and he gets into the Europa league.

Repeat that for a couple of years is not good business, spend £180 million to get £20 million in return, that doesn't make a good owner it makes someone with more money than sense.

Take a look at how much Everton have spent, how many managers they have had and sacked in the last 4 seasons since Moshiri bought Everton and told all the fans that they were going to challenge Liverpool etc etc

Is he a good owner, he says all the right things, spends lots of money, but his 4 full seasons have seen 7th 8th, 8th & 12th, for all the investment they have gone backwards.

Last summer he spent £86 million and he has done that in every season aside from his first when he spent £140 million

Saints have had a more success than Everton in that time, we both have had a Europa League campaign, but we have had an FA Cup semi and a League Cup final.

So yes some Saints supporters are crying out for Moshiri , but for £400 million spent in the last four years they have not go above 7th, the position they stand in today.

So is he a good owner, he has bankrolled them, but it is never a gift, it is always a loan, Burnley have new owners who bought the club and promptly then remortgaged the ground so they could get their oney back straight away, Burnley have gone from being a well run club with no debt, to one with massive debt.

At some stage owners decide to leave and that is when you find out whether they are good or bad ones, Pompey found that they had a bad one 10 years ago and nearly went out of existence, so far all Gao had done is run the club as a business, that doesn't make him a bad owner, it just doesn't make him the type that the fans all want and that is someone like Moshiri

theralpholution added 11:28 - Feb 15
The report manages to pick out everything Redmond did right but again ignores his failings. He did play better in the more central role which meant he drove forward and some of his passing was very good but it meant Adams was left out and yet again when the crucial chance came Redmond scuffed his shot and the chance to go two up was missed. For all his good work the problem that doesn't go away is end product.

ElijahK added 11:54 - Feb 15
A simple answer for you SaintsNick is that for starters when we’re in desperate need of getting certain positions sorted out and need the funds for it, like the winter transfer market just gone by, we got practically nothing for the positions we actually needed! I mean a winger was the last thing we needed and yet that’s all we got (not to say that Minanmino isn’t a good player, it’s just I’d rather of had someone of his quality in a striker/fullback position). You’ve also got the fact that our club is one of the only (bar Newcastle) to be in a negative net spend for the last 5 seasons (4 of which he was our owner for). I mean you say the Everton aren’t doing as well as the investment suggests, but you have to remember that in the end to make a top quality squad it’ll take time and progress as your going to have to work your way up to attract those top players, but then when they do they buy them, like Rodriguez and such, and now look at them! They’re up there with Liverpool going for a champions league spot and are still in the FA cup! I mean that’s the major difference as we’ve been able to attract these players but we’ve just never bought them as we don’t have enough funding for it and that’s down to the owner! I mean we all know now that Ings is almost certainly going to leave us unless we won like the FA cup, but the fact is whether we sell him for 70mill or not the fact is we’ll get like 20% of that money and unless someone stands up and replaces him/we hit a gem signing we’re going to struggle up front without him! As exiledsupporter said we just don’t have anyone else and our owner didn’t give us any funding during Christmas when we were in a proper injury crisis, and when Ings goes won’t be giving us any/much of that money ether!

IanRC added 12:02 - Feb 15
I agree Foster should have started McCarthy really should not have conceded from such a narrow angle. Thought Romeu’s unnecessary early booking was a big factor as he was consequently less combative than we would have liked in the second half when there was more of a need to break up the Wolves play.

I find it astonishing that you fail to mention the handball at the other end of the pitch in your report Nick. Whilst opinions may differ on whether Bertrand’s was a penalty offence (corner of the penalty area ball travelling quickly in the general direction of the goal) there was no excuse for VAR not giving a penalty against Wolves (ball hit arm right in the centre of the penalty area with numerous players close by) and even less so with the Cash Villa penalty where the defender moved his arm to stop a ball that was travelling goalwards. It is the inconsistency and the favouring of certain teams in decisions that is driving me mad.

All that said we have issues. We appear to fail to understand that one goal ahead is not enough and often in the second half of games we retreat into our shell and let teams come at us. Whilst Redmond’s link up play was better I still think Adams is far better, do you recall the superb balls he was putting through to Ings when things were going well earlier in the season. To my mind jury is very much out on Walcott poor after initial impact and Minamino, virtually non existent yesterday. Armstrong as usual was great but we need someone else too who has that creative spark. For a long time I thought that was Djenepo but his reluctance to take on his man yesterday was a great disappointment. I do wish when we are chasing the game that we pushed the ball forward faster kick and rush is not pretty but it can be effective when there are only 10 minutes left and defenders are tiring.

Hopefully defensively we will be better now with Vestergaard and Salisu fit, hope KWP isn’t out for too long.


davidargyll added 12:03 - Feb 15
When you look at the sob stories in the PL down the years, the teams that do badly - and struggle to survive - always seem to suffer with what seems like more than their fair share of bad luck. And my Christ we are having some now, aren’t we? As if the ongoing injuries weren’t bad enough, plus the load of near misses. That said, whether or not that penalty should have been overturned by VAR I have my doubts (on the basis that it was not a clear and obvious error on the part of the referee). What I do find bizarre is that it was ever given in the first place! Where on earth did he think that RB was going to put his arm when he was blasted at from almost point-blank range? Up his b*m?! I won’t even go into the ridiculous contradiction in not giving us one later on.

And that really was the story of why we lost. We played our usual passy-passy game which was quite satisfactory so far as it went. But then suddenly amazing acceleration and cross from SA resulted in Danny’s A1 goal; truly sublime.
But I do think McCarthy should have got a hand to the second - as I feel sure FF would have done and in any event would probably have been better positioned. More bad luck.
And as for Redmond, oh dear oh dear, he really is the new Shane Long isn’t he? Rushes around like a blue-arsed fly but is increasingly a complete waste of space; I counted four times at least that he gave the ball away in the first quarter of an hour. And yes he did conjure up a good save but then so did Long occasionally.
Meanwhile KWP seems to have gone backwards. Why does he always try and be too clever and play himself into trouble when he could so easily boot the ball into touch as the safe option? He is so much chalk and cheese but clearly it’s unfortunate that he’ll be off games for a while.

Please understand I am trying hard not to do a downer on the (record-breaking for all the wrong reasons) team; but increasingly I am finding myself thinking that actually we have only a small handful of decent, consistent and moreover skilled ball players; but the rest of them IMHO are not (if you doubt this how come so many keep falling over their own feet and/or get into trouble too close to our goal?); and in the PL that is simply not good enough, not without huge slices of luck. Yes the team is fit and most have pace but that cannot make up for their shortcomings in ball skills, and guess what, we are now reaping the whirlwind of having them in a very slim squad. And never mind that this shortened season is causing injuries and blunts any small amount of skill they may have.

Poor old Ralph ... when he looks as if he’s turned the corner, he gets his feet taken from underneath him. How is he going to pick this lot up? To do well you need skill and luck. We don’t have enough of the former and we do not seem to be having any the latter. So God knows how he’s going to do it but his luck is going to have to change if we aren’t to continue in this awful vein of form.

Don’t get me wrong I will support RH and his team through and through and yes we are a bit better placed than last season but hands up who isn’t starting to get a teeny bit worried ...

stmichael added 12:09 - Feb 15
Not sure how you think that was a penalty. Nobody else either ex players or pundits did and nor do I. So that was the major turning point. Then at 1-1 our penalty incident which you have not mentioned. Much easier and clearer decision to make but we don't get that either and that potentially puts us 2-1 up. Get either of those decisions and we probably win , get them both and we definitely win. We were absolutely clueless after the first penalty as we were 2nd half at Newcastle and v Villa. We cannot hide that but get the right decisions and we are not losing this game.

DorsetIan added 12:15 - Feb 15
Why do we give away so many points from winning positions? How can we have lost 9-0 again? How can we lose 6 on the bounce for the first time ever, having been top of the league?

In short, why are we so inconsistent?

It's really not difficult. Beyond the first 11, we are extremely weak. This is down to underinvestment.

Every business needs to grow and that requires sensible investment.

Gao hasn't run the club as a business, he's running it into the ground.

Fordy added 12:16 - Feb 15
Bertrand's arm wasn't out, it was tucked in but the ball struck it and forced it away from his body.

Ultimately we don't have the quality up front. Redmond has good movement but that is about it. How many times does he over hit a simple pass or play it just behind the player? And he can't finish anything.

Adams is just as bad. Probably the most one footed player I've ever seen. For his chance yesterday he had to adjust his run so he could hit it with the outside of his right foot rather than take it with his left and score.

We just aren't good enough. Other than Ings, Armstrong and JWP none of our front 6 would get into any other prem team.

Farlow added 12:21 - Feb 15
I agree with West Sussex Saint the lack of a plan b is a concern.Although we were badly
treated by the officials in the match,in the second half when Traore moved inside we had no answer.When Claud Puel first came to Saints he said he would make Nathan Redmond the new Thierry Henri,im afraid he will never be a regular goal scorer,you cant make someone
a goal scorer it has to be in their DNA and its not in Redmonds.We must snap out of this or we will be dragged into a rlegation fight.

underweststand added 12:25 - Feb 15
I stand by my original comments posted on "the Preview " of this game.
I'm not blaming McCarthy for all of the 20 goals that he's picked out of the net in his last 6 starts, but clearly his confidence must be shot by now. Whereas Forster has kept 4 clean sheets in a row, and showed himself back in the form, he was several years ago.
Manager's rule no.1....If they are fit, you play the best player who is in form.

Redmond has taken a lot of stick (not without cause), but Ralph's attempt to play him as a No.10 just doesn't work. Looking back to the post-Koeman time, Puel did get some success in playing NR as a left winger, and some of his runs were terrifying for opposing full backs, AND he scored goals as well. His shot rate is on a par with Adams', but whilst neither has scored of late, but the roving attack-role does suit Redmond much better.

Shame about KWP but sh*t happens , and too often in Saints' case. I'm not convinced that Valery is the answer, and so we must give Ramsay his chance for a game or two. He was " unfortunate " enough to be in MU game, but wasn't the worst player in the side.
Danny Ings needs a strike partner, and for the time being the experiment with Adams has run its course, and we don't have too many other options.

I don't want to label Armstrong as " injury-prone " but these " little niggles" he picks up in games take the edge off what has become some of his best play since arriving. It's going to be a choice between Djenepo, Minamino and Tella for the time being -but it's just to " carry on regardless" until the next win - whenever it comes.

Oh ..my verdict on the game... same procedure as every game. 45 mins.of good football.
A v.g first half with a great Ings goal, and another dose of VAR misreading in the second.

saintmark1976 added 12:34 - Feb 15
Sorry to swim against the tide so to speak,but this cult adoration of everything Ralph does is not a healthy place to be if we want to get out of our current terrible run of form anytime soon. You don’t preside over two 9-0 defeats in fifteen months and the worse run of defeats in the club’s top flight history if your getting everything correct because clearly the facts dictate otherwise.

At the moment Ralph needs to be reminded of his responsibilities which are to maintain our Premiership position. If this requires a change in the way we play from his so called “ high press” to a less open and consequently less brittle style then so be it. If he proves unable to adapt to our current circumstances with a change, then I really do wonder if he truly is the manager many contributors to this site appear to think he is.


TimSaint added 12:37 - Feb 15
Let's just say point out that 1 or 2 aside, we were at virtually full strength from a starting XI perspective yesterday. Obviously the bench was still a little light without Walcott, Diallo and a couple of others.

The defeatist attitude of the team in the face of adversity was deplorable. It was obvious we were going to lose the game as soon as Wolves were given and then scored that penalty. It should have been the catalyst for us to up our game, not use it as an excuse.

For all our dominance in the first half, we really should have been 2 or 3 up, but we always seem content (Villa away aside) with a slender lead and never seem to kill games off.

Wolves did the same to us last season. Changed it at HT and came from behind to win. We didn't learn. We did nothing to thwart their changes in both of those games and only put on subs or changed tactics as a reaction to going behind.

We were riled for the whole of the 2nd half and it really showed. Wolves upped their game and we couldn't cope. We avoidably gifted them possession for both goals and at the other end, all we created was a 20 yard JWP shot and follow up, plus a wayward diving header from Adams.

Frustratingly (and every time we are behind) we still fannied round with the ball in our own half in injury time, showed no urgency, took ages to take throw ons and didn't try anything different. The same old predictable, pedestrian approach was so easy to read and defend against, it was no wonder we created little.

I am not sure Ralph has the personnel capable of playing to his methods. Either he ups the training regime and gets them fit enough to play his way for 90 mins, or he has a clear out in the summer and is allowed to purchase the players he needs to play his way.

If we are not careful, 6 league defeats in a row will soon become 7/8/9 (Chelsea, Leeds and Everton) and all of a sudden it could be a quarter of the season's fixtures !! As it is, all the hard work at the start of the season has gone to waste, but at least we have a buffer from the bottom 3 and a platform from which to rebuild our season.

Oh for the days Nick, when you used to talk about taking games 3 at a time and aiming to get 5 points out of them and potentially qualifying for Europe !!

Due to covid travel restrictions, we can't even say the players have been on the beach since the New Year !! :-)

Colburn added 12:40 - Feb 15
I think you watch a different game to me sometimes.. You knock one man who has little blame attached yet praise the person who loses the ball more than anyone. Wrong with the Redmond pass to Minamino... It was not a good pass, it was behind miniamino, as was the pass to Ings a few minutes later, he then missed a good chance to kill the game off and missed his kick completely.. Yes his shot was a decent effort tipped round the post and there were another couple of moments but in the main, his end product was, as usual, seriously lacking.. This is why we can't win games, a lack of composure when we're on top.. I can't send plenty of video evidence to you Nick to back this up.. I agree with you that Mccarthy could make way for Forster but you can't keep attaching all the blame to him when the likes of Redmond waste so many opportunities to make a hood final pass or shot. I am amazed at your blind love for a player who's stats and video prove his shortfalls. Anyone else who lost the ball this many times would not keep their place in the team, so why does he? Not enough desire either, so you can't give that as a reason to keep starting games. He played to the detriment of Adams and Minamino. Adams has created far more and gives far more than Redmond.. It's pathetic.. Tell me a team who has come in for Redmond to try to buy him in the last few years.. Armstrong on the other hand... Fantastic player with consistent end results, what a top player he is.

halftimeorange added 14:05 - Feb 15
In an earlier comment Fordy said "We just aren't good enough. Other than Ings, Armstrong and JWP none of our front 6 would get into any other prem team." I agree and, if I was one of those three I would be thinking "What am I doing here playing in a side which isn't good enough for me to waste my talent in." The present squad cannot maintain Ralph's high press demands. Ings, and probably JWP, must be thinking their futures lie elsewhere and who could blame them. Our current run has relegation written all over it. Fulham's next three games are against Burnley, Sheff U and Palace. That is a warning if they win and we don't as success as much as losing is a habit. I can't finish without mentioning Minamino. I truly forgot he was on the pitch after the first few minutes.

Consigliere added 14:13 - Feb 15
A very good report in my view and a mature perspective. At the end of the day if the gods of football had offered us a win and a loss in the two back to back games against Wolves and the choice of which was which then I have no doubt that we would all have said "We'll have our win in the FA Cup game please!".

DellBoyWally added 14:33 - Feb 15
After the "that" Friday night game the keeper gets dropped and shipped out. After the "second" result the keeper continues in goal and continues shopping.
Totally agree with Colburn about Redmond; offers nothing. Oh, and Nick, the offside was not against Minamino, it was given against Redmond when the ball ran through after the foul on Armstrong!
As much as we rave against VAR costing us we still have the problem of football matches having a 2nd half. Ralf has to take some blame here. It is too much of a recurrence to be blithely ignored as seems the case. Often we need subs on earlier but Ralf's choices when the do happen often seem strange. Our best player (SA) was taken off Sunday but that was probably down to protection and Minamino was poor (tired?) and KWP was enforced. Otherwise it would likely have been 80 mins before a change which is the usual Plan B by which time the game is gone. We need players to raise their game early 2nd half before capable replacements arrive for an all out push over the final 30 mins to victory.
Dream on!!

Sadoldgit added 14:35 - Feb 15
A good read but I disagree about the penalty. The force of the shot made his arm move away from his body. Neither of them was a penalty. He had turned his back on the ball. Hand ball should be for deliberate actions like the Villa situation when the hand was clearly used to block a goal bound shot. It is a nonsense to give handball when the ball is fired at you from a few yards and you have no chance to react.

Butty101 added 16:11 - Feb 15
@ Nick

i guess this is aimed at me.

"A minority our supporters have unrealistic expectations and when the slightest thing goes wrong they bleat like sheep, I even see some people suggesting that Ralph Hasenhuttl should be replaced by Eddie Howe, how strange !"

If it is, your are talking out of your arse. I never said the club should replace Ralph with Howe. What i said was that IF Ralph was to be sacked who would you want to replace him.? Its a message board and its an interesting topic. ffs

As for unrealistic expectations, show me where ive been demanding the club spend millions or they should be getting into the champs league. Ive questioned why the owner is so un interested in his multi million pound business, Why we are getting smashed 9-0 and lost 6 on the trot. Any supporter would.

AmericanSaint added 17:06 - Feb 15
Well I can see the frustration here on the comments. I am not going to even discuss the game as it is what it is. What I do want to say is that there needs to be consistency by the refs. I think that if there is a question about a penalty or goal, that the ref on the field must go to the monitor and look for himself at all the angles. I know this will slow the game down, but the VAR referee has no stack in the game and sits around waiting. A poor/incorrect decision by the ref changes the momentum of the game and can cost teams points. We are on a combination run of bad luck, weak bench, injuries, poor play, lack of confidence and RH not willing to park the bus if needed. Not sure I can add anything else, but I will still support the club. It's just hard to watch feeling that something bad/unlucky will happen to our team. On to the next.

SanMarco added 18:51 - Feb 15
'VAR what is it good for - absolutely nothing - say it again' as Edwin Starr very nearly sang.

I think Nick is right in most things in the report but gets it wrong on the penalty (+ I didn't leave my sofa thinking that Redmond had been that good). The trouble with VAR is that it seems to mess up games in a way that good old-fashioned bad ref decisions never did. In the old days we would break into "The Referee's a W**ker" and move on - after all, the three handball decisions (Villa and the 2 yesterday + Fulham too to make 4 possibly) were all essentially refereeing errors. The difference now is that there is supposed to be a system that helps to correct those errors

It is partly the handball rule itself. It seems impossible to come up with a fair, consistent rule - and this has been exposed by VAR. Until this can be sorted I would suggest VAR be binned for handball decisions other than 'did it hit the hand?' which it should be capable of.

As for the game - I felt, to a certain extent, sorry for the players but I agree with the various comments about us not having enough goalscorers + McCarthy, + the fact that we always seem to fade in the second half, especially at home. Even in the games we won the opposition usually had a dangerous 5 or 10 mins at start of the second half.. And finally - it was still 11 v 11 after the penalty but somehow a Wolves win seemed by far the most likely result. The players didn't respond well. Chelsea will be tough and we will get some bad luck in that game I expect. Shrug your shoulders and get on with it lads - you are paid enough.

PS To my fellow oldies amongst the TUI faithful - did we even have handballs much in the 60s? I just don't remember it being an issue. I remember an Everton player called Sandy Brown catching the ball but that was a very rare handball penalty wasn't it?? Perhaps my memory is going...

NewburySaint added 19:58 - Feb 15
WestSussexSaint alludes to it in point 3 towards the top of these comments, as do other posters, I think we very much are lacking in backbone when the tide turns against us, whether that is through perceived injustice or the pressure being put on by the opposition/the opposition teams getting back into games.

In my opinion that can’t be coached and that is an individual’s, re the players, issue-unfortunately we appear to have more than our fair share that tend to lack in backbone when the going gets tough so to speak.

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