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Southampton V Burnley The Verdict
Monday, 25th Oct 2021 09:47

Saints fell prey to those lapses in concentration again to only draw in a game that they really should have won if they had finished off a number of chances that they really should have buried.

This was always going to be a game that would be tough for Saints, they seem to struggle against sides that sit back and go on the break and that is what happened again on Saturday.

In games such as this one and the game against Wolves a few weeks ago, you need to be able to take your chances when they come and keep concentrating for the whole game.

This plan had gone out of the window when after only 13 minutes Tino Livramento was caught ball watching and allowed Cornet to run off him and have a free header, the left back can be excused in that he has made few mistakes this year, but this was only his 9th Premier league appearance and sometimes at his age you just have to learn the hard way.

For the next 25 minutes of so Saints has a plethora of chances in which they really should have scored, a header from Moi Elyounoissi went just wide, Theo Walcott had a good chance but pulled it wide, Nathan Redmond had perhaps the miss of the season and Tino Livramento had a glorious run that saw his curling shot come off the inside of the post.

With the break looming though the left back redeemed himself for his early error and headed home a Nathan Redmond corner to put Saints level.

After the break Saints came out quickly and when on 50 minutes Armando Broja carried the ball and fired home with a cross shot into the far post you felt there would be only one winner.

All Saints had to do now was stay strong and keep concentration as they did against Leeds and surely the three points were in the bag, Burnley for their part were keeping to their game plan, get men behind the ball, spoil the game with petty fouls and time wasting at every opportunity and bang the ball quickly up front to try and catch us on the break.

This they managed only 7 minutes later, a long ball up to field was chested down and the subsequent ball through to Cornet found Jan Bednarek a yard off his man who turned and hit a ball that bouncing a couple of yards in front of goal in the corner gave Alex McCarthy no chance.

Now Burnley really did what Burnley do, a few years ago Saints fans moaned about not getting entertainment, but watching Burnley is as entertaining as watching paint dry, they are a nasty grubby little team who time waste from virtually the opening whistle of the game.

The referee failed to get hold of this and they got away with it much to the chagrin of the crowd.

But with 33 minutes to get a winner Saints had plenty of time and if I have a fault it is with Ralph Hasenhuttl's failure to make a substitution until the 74th minute, Theo Walcott was not having a good game and replacing him with Stuart Armstrong was the obvious choice.

We needed a player who could drive at the heart of the visitors defence and offer something different than crosses into the box, Stuart Armstrong was the man who could do this, yet it was the 74th minute before he came on.

The departure of the injured Broja was a blow and Che Adams the obvious substitution, but why did we not throw on Adam Armstrong to the 89th minute ?

But a point is a point and after the weekend's fixtures were completed we still have the same gap between us and the bottom three and that is a good thing.

But the old issues were still there on Saturday, we have to keep concentration and we have to start putting away chances.

We had 16 attempts only 3 less than Liverpool had against Manchester United yesterday but only 4 on target, one less than Burnley had despite only having 9 shots throughout the game.

There were many plus points about Saturday, but ultimately all the plus points can be undone by far less minus ones, if we had defended like Burnley we would not have conceded either goal.

We still lack leadership and unless we get it the same old problems will keep happening.

It was an enjoyable afternoon for all that though, we saw an entertaining game despite Burnley's attempts to reduce it to their level, I just thank God I am a Saints supporter and not a follower of Burnley, it must be awful to watch it week in week out.

Photo: Action Images

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davidargyll added 10:09 - Oct 25
As predicted Burnley were a bigger challenge than Leeds. And even if Cornet did take his chances well, there’s no doubt that we were still the better team going forward. And we could/should have been 3-1 up at half time if Nathan and Theo hadn’t been so hopeless in front of goal and the post hadn’t denied Tino. So, despite all the welcome attempts we had, luck wasn’t with us (which arguably it was vs Leeds last week) although it was some compensation that both our goals were class. So maybe a solid four points from the last two games is a fair outcome.
Individually, although we did look a bit overconfident for the first 20 minutes or so and duly paid the price, everyone thereafter put in a shift and it was a great game to watch.
I do wonder about Theo Walcott though. After watching him closely on Saturday and for the last few home games, having always been of the opinion that he was overrated in his Arsenal and Everton days, he has done nothing to change my view: fast yes, but never skilful enough to be a class player.
Now it seems that Ralph is trying to get Theo to concentrate solely on running fast and drawing players, leaving others eg Tino, Armando etc, to put the ball in the net. But the question remains can we afford to have one of ours in this role who offers little else? Clearly skill and speed is the perfect combination but if you had to choose one over the other, give me skill every time; and I get the impression most on here agree.
So am I any happier about how we are doing?
Well, sort of, but our season continues to be two steps forward one step back which is sooooo frustrating; but then frankly are we any different from a lot of the mid/lower end teams? and I reckon most of us in the nether regions of the PL are a helluva lot happier than that bunch of ludicrous prima donnas down Old Trafford way (snort…)
And re Stuart Armstrong, he definitely looked ring-rusty which is presumably why he didn’t start and was only brought on late. The rumour though now is that he’ll start on Tuesday but it wouldn’t surprise me if was still on the bench but start next Saturday.

saintmark1976 added 10:10 - Oct 25
Sleep walking toward the Championship with a manger who is either too stubborn or stupid to learn from his many previous mistakes. It’s simply become wash, rinse and repeat with Ralph. He can’t pick the best players available, read a game whilst in progress or use his substitutions properly as was once again evident on Saturday. I can only assume that the club just doesn’t have the money to sack him.There can’t be any other logical reason given our results in 2021, two 9-0 hammerings, the worst run of defeats in the club’s history and most points lost from winning positions in Premiership history.

IanRC added 10:12 - Oct 25
Walcott never seems to have a good game, dropping Djenepo for him was mad.

Suspect we will miss Salisu badly during the African Nations Cup so need to get some points on the board before then. Presumably AArmstrong and Che will get a run out against Chelsea, would be nice to get a result against them, not least because KWP will presumably get a start and it may make RH rethink his stubborn playing of Tino at right back.

halftimeorange added 10:19 - Oct 25
The big question is why Ralph couldn't see what everyone in the stands recognised well before halftime - Theo Walcott was offering nothing at all? It's not as though there were no replacements on the bench raring to go. Any one of Tella, Armstrong A, KWP or Adams would likely have added something before Theo was eventually subbed. I agree that Armstrong S looked not quite match fit and we do need a decent captain. Maybe Salisu will be that man. He certainly gave Burnley notice that he was on the pitch with some crashing tackles early on.

wessexman added 10:19 - Oct 25
To stay up, we need to beat the teams around us in the table. Especially at home. Ralph is rapidly losing support among the faithful. Many of us questioned the wisdom of buying Walcott. What exactly has he contributed in the nearly year he has spent with us?
Bottom line is simple.....after a quarter of the season gone, we are on 8 points. Can we get to 36 come May? I suggest not. And injuries and suspensions are yet to take it's toll.

WoolstonSaint2 added 10:23 - Oct 25
Get this useless manager out. Worse than Branfoot. What will it take, Gao? £5m? A hammering at Watford? Why do we put up with this for 3 years? There is no hope- terrible tactics, team selection, game management. It will not get any better. One PL win v Leeds reserves, staring at bottom 6 or even relegation if there are not 3 teams worse than us. Disgraceful! Why are we content putting up with such persistently terrible football. Should be protesting. We deserve better, Gao, Semmens and Ralph are taking us for a ride.

TimSaint added 10:38 - Oct 25
Livramento is clearly a right sided player, yet he gets called a left back twice in this piece.
Lets face it, it was a fair result in the end. We could and should have been 3-1 up at the break and it would have been a different game, but again we failed to take our chances. We then switched off at the back to allow Burnley to draw level - Bed and AMcC both caught napping.
After that it was Burnley who had the best chances to win it. We huffed and puffed and passed it predictably round the edge of their area and the half way line but only had a poor, wayward Adams header to show for it.

What RH should have learnt, but probably hasn't, is that Walcott is only worth a place on the bench at best. He offers little, fails to make runs or give options and should have been off at half time. Djenepo is the same - It was like playing most of the game with 10 men against Leeds. We need S Armstrong to start and perhaps play Ely on the left, or perhaps Tella.

We need to work on our distribution from the back. This includes the whole defence, keeper and holding mids. The number of times we gave the ball away from what should have been a simple pass, was quite remarkable. Not only does it rile the crowd, but creates unnecessary pressure on the whole team.

We all knew how Burnley would play - little niggling fouls, time wasting, frustrating the opposition, but why don't the officials do anything about this. Pope got told hurry his goal kicks at least 4 times, so should have been booked on the 2nd or 3rd time. Every time they went for a header there was a little nudge on the player first - Wood and Tarkowski are experts at this, yet when Salisu does it, it is a foul.

We are our own worst enemies. Not clinical enough up top and present the opposition with too many chances at the back - usually because of errors.

I'm hoping a few fringe players will make a name for themselves tomorrow night and start pushing for a first team start, but then we all know how RH has his favourites, so I doubt it will make any difference come Watford away on Saturday.

SaintPaulVW added 10:42 - Oct 25
I enjoyed watching the game bit it should really have been all over at half time.

Diallo is looking really good at the minute. Seems to have got up to the speed of thought needed, become tougher to get the ball of and provides some absolutely superb forward passes into space.

I thought Perraud had an off game. Perhaps chalk it down to first game against this sort of team. Does the 'FPL' have a Burnley equivalent?

Be interesting to see how we do against Chelsea. If they decide to rest a few, given the way we have played so far with a bit more luck/focus we may be in with a good shout.


beynali73 added 11:12 - Oct 25
We struggle against teams which sit back but we cannot beat teams in the top half of the table either. In which case where are the points gong to come from?

The tinkerman pulled another rabbit out of the hat at the weekend by playing Walcott from the start based on.........answers on a postcard please. If Theo is the answer to the need for creative players who can 'get in behind defences' we are in bigger trouble than originally feared.

I don't think betting on their being 3 worse teams that us in the division is sustainable but that is once again where we find ourselves. I know that criticism of Ralph attracts the opprobrium on a sizable minority but judging him soley on his points tally since he joined the club he is fortunate to still have this well paid job.

WestSussexSaint added 11:21 - Oct 25
- this was more a must not lose game than must win. So objective achieved in that respect.
- we looked more potent going forwards. Part of that was down to Broja, Livramento and Diallo but it was noticeable that we were getting more bodies in the box on attacks.
- Tino Livramento is already an outstanding right back and despite the defensive lapse for Burley’s first goal he was at the heart of everything good for Saints. Righty lauded on MOTD. I don’t expect it will be long before clubs start making offers for him.

- Defensively poor/naive. We didn’t deal with the long ball which Burnley used to good effect. It was noticeable that Romeu dropped back almost as a third CB in the second half to deal with the flick ins with Salisu challenging Wood directly. The Burnley second goal was due to him being caught up in midfield and Bednarek getting the wrong side of Cornet.
- substitutions were late and ineffective in changing the game.
- the last 10 mins looked clueless. Sometimes you just need to get the ball in the box to see how it drops rather than trying to pick out the perfect pass!
- Redmond reverted back to type after last weeks good performance. Peraud was also not as effective.
- Walcott I agree with the above posts. What has Tella got to do to get a game?

ElijahK added 11:32 - Oct 25
This was simply one of those games where we didn’t take our chances, and made a simple mistake or two which cost us the game! As Livermento wasn’t on his man for Burnley’s first goal, and that cost us (but he certainly made up for it with his performance and goal) and we missed many opportunities like when Redmomd somehow missed an open goal!
Still personally I see only Walcott as having a dreadful game, whilst only Livermento and Broja having great games, as everyone else had poor and decent periods throughout that 90 minutes.
Ralph though I honestly couldn’t see what else he could do, as his starting 11 was what most people expected as Armstrong wasn’t fit enough to play the whole game yet, so was never gonna start, and that’s the same for Tella as he’s just a bit young, although then again he has started before (so maybe that’s up for debate, but it’s certainly not as black and white as people make out). And subs wise, well he brought on Armstrong exactly when we expected and Broja only came off as he had a knock (which was pretty clear to see if you were at the game). But anyone calling for Ralph to get sacked is just being ridiculous and pathetic, as for what he’s gotten us, from having the lowest net spend in the league, is enough in itself for him to stay for quite a while longer.

JoeEgg added 14:05 - Oct 25
Well at least I am consistent. We have a squad that should be comfortably in the top half of the League by now - and a manager who just isn't right for the English Premier League. Everyone knew how Burnley would play but Ralph's team selection and tactics continue to baffle me, so much so that I feel angry at this utter waste of so many talented young players.
Saint Mark, my friend, you have taken the words from my mouth so I feel some need to be repeated: "Sleep walking toward the Championship with a manager who is either too stubborn or stupid to learn from his many previous mistakes. It’s simply become wash, rinse and repeat with Ralph. He can’t pick the best players available, read a game whilst in progress or use his substitutions properly as was once again evident on Saturday." You put it exactly as it is Saint Mark and I only hope that the Board are starting to feel the same way and take on board your comments.
We were playing a team with just four points and no wins. At last a chance for Adams or Armstrong to get some goals - if they cant score against Burnley then they are finished with the Premier League. But they are not even on the pitch! Once again it is obvious that Livramento loves to get forward so why not play Walker-Peters at full back and movre Livramento forward? Ralph seems to have his favouriets- Elyoumouissi and Walcott for starters - he persists playing out of form, out of position, out of touch players! Surely Walker-Peters will join Ings and Vestergard soon -fed up and totally confused by his treatment!
The susbstitions were far, far , far too late and a game we should have won comfortably saw us gaining one point from a team fortunately still likely to remain below even us. My comments last week - I guess we did get the three points on that occasion - were not appreciated by all Saints fans and I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. BUt surely its time to call a stop to Ralph's tenureship of the manager role and replace him with someone who understands the Premier League, can adapt and make the best use of our talented players. You know its just the fact that the players are individually so talented and occasionally effective - Broya and Livramento last Saturday for example, that is keeping Ralph in his job. Sorry Ralph, but after THREE years, TIME TO GO;

ItchenNorth added 14:32 - Oct 25
A really entertaining game that we should have won. How Redmond missed the open goal ill never know and Livramento is a real star in the making. I feared dull and boring vs Burnley, but, it turned out to be a good game.

My main take away is why are we not seeing Tella currently. Walcott has the experience (if that's what Ralph wants with JWP and S Armstrong out of the side) but if its not working, bring on youth raw talent to see if this sparks anything. Ok, so Ralph opted for experience in S Armstrong off the bench and most of us would have been saying; that's a good substitution (at the time), but Stewie looked as bad as Walcott. You could see why Ralph has not started him since his injury yet (but he'll hopefully this is a blip for S Armstrong and he'll be back up to speed soon).

Broja looks like the real deal though. I'd like to see Broja with Adam Armstrong though, especially if Ralph see's that Broja needs a foil in behind him, and Redmond is just too hit and miss in the floating number 10 position.

underweststand added 15:30 - Oct 25
Whilst you quoted the shot stats. (Nick)... it's even worse if you analyse the last 3 home games together--over 50 shots and just 3 goals to show for it. Poor shooting all round but that "purple patch" before HT should have seen us going in 3..or 4 goals to the good.

Everyone (above) has noted the typical Burnley-type gameplan, but without JWP and Stuart Armstrong there is no guts in the midfield, and we lack creativity. YES Diallo did a good job, he tackles well but is not a creative player in the same mould as JWP and SA.

The comments / criticism of Theo Walcott are becoming repetitive, but whereas KWP used to feed his winger, Tino often gets the ball and runs to the penalty area ignoring the man (Walcott ) alongside him. No criticism of Tino's runs which are exciting to watch.
Presumably Theo is playing the role Ralph wants but every 10 minutes I suddenly noticed that...Oh yes ..Theo is on the field. Don't know where he should play, but we need to get it sorted PDQ, or else even a free transfer he is money wasted in our squad.

At least we didn't lose, but with the chances we missed it was 2 points gone forever and all down to poor finishing ...and goal posts that were just too narrow.

Farlow added 15:34 - Oct 25
I just hope Lyanco lives up to his nickname of Gorilla as we need someone strong at
centre half to partner Salisu.Once again Bednarek was to weak against a robust striker
as he was against Wolves.

131153 added 15:58 - Oct 25
What to make of Saturday's game. Firstly I'm pretty sure Redmond was offside when he missed the sitter, however he still should score and force them to make a VAR check. I'm pretty sure if Tino hadn't made such a hard shot it would have gone in off the post. Pretty impressive for it come off the post at that angle. From my seat I was convinced it was in as soon as he hit the shot, I was directly behind him in a straight line.

The goals we conceded were as Nick said poor and Tino clearly at fault for the first but he will soon start to not make similar mistakes with his talent in My Opinion. Jan B could have made a better marking job for the second But in seeing the goal again I feel Forster would have made a better attempt. I felt McCarthy should never play for us again after the first goal he dithered over against Leeds at the end of last season. Having said that he does seem to have improved but we still need a better keeper.

I can't subscribe to the RH out brigade. I feel it is entirely possible we will get a good run of results in the near future. I might be wrong but do not get the feeling we are "sleepwalking to relegation" I do find the posts from people who are critical of every move he makes amusing. I assume they all applied for the managers job every time it has been vacant over the last few years.


theralpholution added 16:15 - Oct 25
Deeply depressing, not because the team didn't play well but because two young players showed the our established players, how to execute basics. Redmond's end product was once again on display, missing a chance that book end would put away and Walcott similarly showing a failure to shoot straight. Livramento hit accurate crosses again and again while our experienced wingers barely created a chance. It's the same culprits whose repeated failure to do the basics cost us points. Both of these players flatter to deceive, don't release the ball early enough, don't make the right decision and don't tackle back. Walcott is past his best and Redmond never lived up to his potential, time to move on.

saintpete01 added 19:40 - Oct 25

saintpete01 added 21:51 - Oct 25
You can minus all you like

It’s time for Ralph to go


deanosfc8 added 22:36 - Oct 25
Saintpete. Tell us who can come in right now and do a better job?
What exactly are you expecting from Saints right now with no money to buy players, using loan deals, plucking players from the academy. The fact is as a club were up for sale with an owner that cant get any money out of China! like it or not 17th would be success. What sort of manager would be attracted to Saints right now? Get real people!

saintpete01 added 06:44 - Oct 26
Yes you are correct to point out lack of money gao etc
However we have a squad of players that are far better than 17th
Position unfortunately Ralph hasn’t a clue how to best manage and
Rotate his players selection mayhems substitutions made far to late
Playing Theo Walcott what is that all about
It sounds like you are making excuses for Ralph’s poor management
I love his passion and he always gives 100% however his record from the end of
Last season to now falls well short
A refreshed Eddie Howe would be a great fit

davidargyll added 09:50 - Oct 26
There are always “interesting” views on here, mostly surrounding so-called fans’ view on Ralph and his tactics, selections, substitutes etc.
And then there is this hard core, “sack him” brigade.
I understand all the frustrations of being a fan and the urge to blame somebody if we don’t play well, never mind that luck plays a huge part in winning and losing.
But bring in Eddie Howe instead of Ralph? That really takes the biscuit.
Have anybody bothered to look at Eddie Howe’s managerial stats for the last three years he was at Bournemouth, when arguably he/they should have been kicking on?
If so you would have seen that, for his last three years at the club, his win percentages in the PL were as follows: 28.9%, 34.2% and 23.7% (the last being 2019/20 when they went down), ie an average of 28.9%.
Since Ralph has been at Saints, his overall win percentage has been >33%. And that includes 1 out 9 this season. (For his nearly three seasons before this one, he averages >35% (34.7%, 39.4% and 31.5% respectively).
So PUR-LEASE, if you are going to come up with suggestions for who should be manager - which by the way I think would be a huge mistake and cause absolute mayhem in the squad - at least come up with quality ones and not some overrated never-has-been…

saintmark1976 added 10:29 - Oct 26
davidargyll, you are entitled to your opinion and whilst I respect your point of view I would suggest that you are not comparing apples with apples. Howe took Bournemouth from near oblivion to the Premiership, finishing above us in one of the seasons whilst he was in charge. Until being relegated he got the best out of a poor set of players compared to those that we currently have on our books. In other words he made the best out of what he had and that’s the crux of Ralph’s problem. He has better players but simply can’t hack it with the important part of management, being team selection, in play tactics and use of substitutions.

If our results quickly improve under Ralph I will admit that I got it wrong. However, until there is evidence to the contrary I remain firmly of the view that under his stewardship we are sleep walking toward the Championship.


stmichael added 12:00 - Oct 26
3 errors for the second goal..
Salisu did not win the first ball..
Bednarek as against Wolves was weak and turned too easily
McCarthy slow to react and taken by surprise by quick shot..
If any of them do their job we win the game..

Braveheart added 12:51 - Oct 26
Ralph has to identify his strikers, show them a picture of a goal and explain what their task should be. Team selections are baffling. Ralph out, Eddie Howe , Neil Lennon or Derek McGuinness in.

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