Southampton At Cardiff City The Pre Season Verdict
Wednesday, 28th Jul 2021 09:35
Saints pre season stepped up a notch as they travelled to South Wales for a training camp and the first of two friendly fixtures in the Principality, again the team was split as Ralph Hasenhuttl looked to get his team back in the groove.
The tactics were a little different for the game against Cardiff City on Tuesday evening and it seems that Ralph's tactics were still to give most of his squad a game, but with a difference from Saturday when he put out a different team in each half.
For this game his starting line up stayed on for 62 minutes before he made an change and it seems that this will be repeated on Saturday when we play Swansea City but with some of those on the bench starting.
Missing though were both James Ward Prowse & Stuart Armstrong who had minor knocks.
One area that he did keep for 90 minutes throughout the game was his goalkeeper and Fraser Forster had to make several good saves in the first half to thwart a lively home side.
Saints took the lead in the 38th minute when good work from Michael Obafemi saw him find Theo Walcott in the box who put the visitors ahead with a cool finish.
Forster had to be alert as the Bluebirds pushed forward in response to the opener but it was 1-0 at the break.
The second half started well for Saints with 5 minutes gone when Salisu headed home, but the linesman's flag ruled it out.
Forster again had to be on his toes a few minutes later when he dived to his right to push out a good effort from the home side, the good thing was he got the ball out of the danger area rather than parried it into the path of onrushing Cardiff players.
Just after the hour mark came 7 changes and the pattern of the game stepped up a little ,with Cardiff looking to give their side a little more game time, suddenly Saints had a lot of fresh legs and within minutes Moussa Djenepo had struck, getting the ball running at the defence and hitting a curling shot into the keepers top left corner, some would say very similar to his goal at Brighton two years ago.
Cardiff made their changes with 20 minutes to go, but they seemed to make them lose their pattern and it was soon 3-0 to Saints, this time from Che Adams who played through by Nathan Tella dinked the ball over the keeper and into the net, the goal looking even better with the addition of a desperate defender trying to stop the ball crossing the line and ending up tangled in the back of the net.
It was the Tella/Ings combination again for the fourth, Saints cleared a cardiff attack and Adams held the ball up deep in his own half and laid it to Tella, both players then ran at the Cardiff defences before Tella laid it sweetly to Adams who rounded the Cardiff keeper and slotted the ball home.
It could have been 5 with the final kick of the game, Tella was through but put his shot an inch wide with the final whistle going before the goal kick could be taken.
A good performance from Saints but nobody should get too carried away, pre season fixtures are not good barometers for the Premier League season, but there were some heartening performances.
Fraser Forster looked big strong and confident, Moussa Djenepo looked lively and showed that he knows how to take on a player and score goals, if he can recapture his early performances for the club on a consistent level he could be a threat this season.
Nathan Tella looks to have pace that can frighten defenders and he seems to be maturing in using the ball.
Che Adams took his chances well and it should be noted that as vital as Danny Ings goals were last season, Che Adams only had 3 less in the Premier League , his Scotland caps seem to have added a swagger that all strikers need to truly reach their potential.
So we need to be cautious after this victory, but we can take some positive points from it, there are some who would say that the squad is not good enough, I am not denying that we do need a new face or two, but as it stands at the moment it is stronger than a year ago and we genuinely have a player or two who could step their game up a notch.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
When Saturday Comes #6 by wessex_exile
After over a month of absence, the U’s finally make a welcome return to the JobServe for a home league fixture. Sutton seem to have quickly got over their Covid-19/ injury crisis/ international call-up woes, fielding a team the following Tuesday that was strong enough to push Cardiff City hard in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Championship side. But enough of that, I haven’t seen the outcome of the EFL investigation, but I don’t doubt the decision has either already been or will be rubber-stamped. Gamesmanship – maybe, but I hope at least the EFL are now a bit more alert to the fact that some might think they can treat them like chumps when it suits their purpose? Still – it’s great to be back home isn’t it!
When Saturday Comes #5 by wessex_exile
“Well, I can tell u my son was stood nearer the back of the Holker Street end and although he couldn't see who was responsible, he was disgusted and was very clear in telling me that the 'N' word was used by someone stood directly behind the goal nearer the front. I'm sick of hearing this, no one but the player being abused heard anything so maybe he was mistaken crap. This shite still exists despite everything that the authorities try to do because unfortunately there are still racists in every, city, town, village and hamlet in this country. [SwearFilter] scum of the earth.”
When Saturday Comes #4 by wessex_exile
I start with an apology for the no-show last weekend, but for all the right reasons. My nephew and his fiancé finally managed to tie the knot on Friday, at the fifth time of asking (previous four attempts falling foul of covid restrictions unfortunately). It was a fantastic afternoon and evening over in Essex, but meant it just wasn’t possible to get a blog produced. A significant proportion of the wedding party were U’s supporters, including the groom, but any thought of live-streaming the Rochdale game at the evening celebration might have resulted in the fastest divorce on record, so we contented ourselves with surreptitious glances at the BBC Sports updates – and what an own goal it was! Different circumstances, but I was (painfully) reminded of Aidan and Kevin’s howler at Blackburn – golden rule, never, ever pass the ball directly towards your own goal.
When Saturday Comes #3 by wessex_exile
The goalless U’s have eventually got that monkey off their backs, with the Frank and Freddie show combining to win a somewhat dubious penalty, in the 5th minute of injury time, allowing Freddie to get his new goal account at the U’s off and running (all in all he now has 37 goals, five of them penalties). It was tight though, and on another day the goalkeeper would have got a hand to it, but they all count, whether it’s a 25 yard peach or one off the arse. Everyone has rightly said that without doubt Mansfield were the best side we’ve faced so far – I’ll go so far as to say they’ll probably be one of the best sides we face all season. Though it wasn’t comfortable viewing at the time, some of their passing and movement, particularly on the break, was breath-taking at times. But enough of the love-in, however good they were, the U’s stood up to them, kept them out for the most part, and eventually got the point we deserved.
When Saturday Comes #2 by wessex_exile
Two games into the season, and although still goalless, it has been a reasonably promising start for the U’s. A tough opening day fixture away at Carlisle, and in front of a bumper crowd which delayed kick-off by 15 minutes, the U’s were largely resolute in defence, whilst still creating enough chances to have won the game if our finishing had been sharper. To be fair though, were it not for prodigal son Shamal George making his return to Brunton Park, we could just have easily lost – a performance which rightly earned him the Man of the Match award. Midweek at Championship club Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup was an even more spirited performance, and one which really should have seen the U’s victorious, but if you don’t take your chances you will get punished, and we did in the 75th minute. Much has been said about the opposition being a second (third?) string side, and with players taking the field with squad numbers in the 50s, that can’t be disputed. But, when you’re facing a team that actually has squad numbers in the 50s, you realise just how big a club our opposition was.
[ Vote here ]