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Watford 0 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 30th October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Watford The Verdict
Sunday, 31st Oct 2021 09:25

At 2pm some Saints fans were not happy with Ralph Hasenhuttl's team selection, by 5pm they were celebrating a solid win that has capped a nice little unbeaten run in the Premier League that has seen 7 points from the last 3 games.

After a battling performance at Stamford Bridge in midweek that saw exceptional performances from several fringe members of the squad some Saints fans hoped for a reshuffle in the side for the trip to Watford, but what they found when the team was announced was that Ralph Hassenhuttl stuck with those he felt were tried and trusted.

That meant the return of James Ward Prowse and dropping back to the bench for Ibrahima Diallo who has put in some solid displays in the Captain's absence through suspension.

Watford were of course buoyant after their 5 goal blitz of Everton and were fancying their chances of making it two wins in a row.

But they found a Saints side who although much changed from the draw at Chelsea had retained the fighting spirit of that night, they worked as a team and kept things tight at the back.

The only goal of the game came on 20 minutes when almost out of nowhere Che Adams with little backlift almost chipped a curling shot into the far corner from 18 yards out.

Adams has a knack of scoring the difficult ones but shortly after he continued a Saints tradition this season of missing easy chances from close range, his diving header went into the ground and bounced over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

There was one scare in the first half when Alex McCarthy allowed a shot to squirm past him at the near post, but Kyle Walker Peters blocked it on the line and it was cleared.

The only other time Watford looked like scoring was in the final minutes when McCarthy had to make a very good save to keep a clean sheet.

This was a very pleasing win for several reasons, firstly as mentioned there was a spirit and discipline in the side that will auger well for the rest of the season, secondly we made the right substitutions at the right time, something we have failed to do on several occasions this season.

On 70 minutes on came Stuart Armstrong for Elyounoussi to add some fresh legs, 10 minutes later Ibrahima Diallo came on for James Ward Prowse to hassle and close down to ensure that the Hornets couldn't get on top in the closing stages and finally Lyanco came on for the 4 minutes of injury time to add some steel.

But although there were many plus points to take from this game, there were also some areas were we need to improve.

We dominated this game but we failed to take our chances, the only other shot on target other than the goal that Foster needed to make was a botched clearance in the opening minutes from his own defender.

We really need to start putting away chances, Adams as mentioned should have netted and so should have Adam Armstrong, who headed over from close range in the first half when he really should have got it on target and who also had a plethora of other chances, not easy ones, but where he should have perhaps come a little closer to hitting the target, the good news is that he is getting into the positions and creating the chances for himself, he is not afraid to take the shot on, he just needs one to go in.

We really should have had the game put to bed in the first half and not left ourselves having to keep it tight in the second half, but hopefully the strikers will start to hit the target with a bit more regularity soon.

So a pleasing afternoon in Watford for 2,500 Saints supporters who were noisy and behind their team and played their part in keeping them going.

Picking a man of the match was not easy, Che Adams & Adam Armstrong could have truly grabbed that mantle had they taken their chances, Kyle Walker Peters was very good at left back and Mohammed Salisu again improves with every game and is now an important cog in the defence.

But perhaps the best player on the day was Tino Livramento who once again surged forward and caused havoc on the Watford left side and also defended well when we were on the back foot.

But it was not just about who were on the pitch, if we are to get through a tough winter those who didn't start the game are going to be just as vital.

The three subs who did get on the pitch Stuart Armstrong, Ibrahima Diallo & Lyanco could all easily be first choices and indeed Armstrong is but for his injury, but we were also missing the injured Armando Broja, and then those on the bench or indeed could not get on the bench, Theo Walcott, Romain Perraud, Djenepo, Nathan Tella, Jan Valery even Shane Long.

Long aside who is at the tail end of his career and although some would not be as generous to give him that recognition he has been a great servant to the club, all of those mentioned either have been or have the potential to be first choice in the team.

The key for Ralph now is to use the squad to its potential, it's not just about individuals, its about their collective use to the team, perhaps Theo Walcott, Djenepo and Nathan Tella are not going to play 30 odd games each and hit 7 goals, a good return for a wide midfielder, but between them they are capable of getting more than 7 goals and that will be the trick, using 3 players for one position as such, juggling them to get the best out of them.

Likewise up front, last season we had only two Danny Ings and Che Adams got 21 Premier League goals between them, now we have three strikers and we need them to beat that total, if each of them can hit 8 goals each then we have replaced Danny Ings and hopefully should prosper.

This performance has capped a very solid start to the season with a quarter of the games gone, we have endured a tough start and come through it well, now we are starting to play teams we can beat and we have done that, the last three games have yielded 7 points, that is a good total, now we have more points than games played we have to build on that and keep moving forward.

Friday sees the return of Danny Ings, hopefully a packed and loud St Mary's will show him their appreciation, but also show him that he could truly have been a legend at his home town club, but he preferred to move for money and perhaps on Friday night he will regret that.


Photo: Action Images



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ItchenNorth added 09:48 - Oct 31
In Ralph we trust. COYR !
6

A1079 added 09:50 - Oct 31
A very enjoyable and satisfying away trip and by and large I would echo your comments Nick. If only we had taken our chances then the outcome would have alot more comfortable much earlier in the game and against better teams we will not get the same number of chances so we do need a much better conversion rate because how annoying will it be that we end up fighting on the final days of the season at the bottom end because we failed to convert more of our opportunities.

Onto the day itself. I have not been to Watford for many years. If I thought St Marys were disorganised at the start of this season it is nothing to Vicarage Road. To see the queues as we walked past with just 25 minutes to go and home fans bemoaning the disorganisation of the club since the season started. There is one common theme. Whatever clubs have done to get into the stadiums they have not improved it. Once in the ground I am not sure I have come across such a pokey concourse area, toilets and food/drinks bar access. Heaven knows how they manage when faced with support from some bigger clubs.

I was not particularly unhappy with the line up except to say I did expect Diallo to keep his place with JWP on the bench, but in hindsight I can see why Ralph did it and it did work.

A good all round team performance. All the players worked their socks off and there are a number of players that really shone and even the quieter ones played an instrumental part in making sure we did not relent. The only thing wrong with our game was the scorned number of chances. I worry about Adam Armstrong a bit. He did at least get in some good positions and he worked hard but I fear he could be the new Shane Long. He had a couple of gilt edged chances which he should have done better. Che Adams in some respects is similar but as a few have said - he makes the difficult look easy and the easy look hard!

Livramento was superb again, though there were 2 occasions when I think he over elaborated and lost the ball when he could and perhaps should have passed. But for such a young man, what a wonder he has been. He is going to get alot of attention by opposition players and that is going to get harder as the season progresses.

Our defence and goalkeeping was solid. Salisu is growing by the weeks. I wonder how long it will be before others start eyeing him up for a big money move?

Ralph got the team right yesterday in my view and he used the substitutions well and I have not always been able to say that.

Finally a mention to the fans. What fantastic support again and very vocal. I am not sure what has happened this season but I really do sense the fans are getting behind the club and whatever reservations we all may have at times with the manager or certain players those reservations are put to bed on match day and the support is excellent to see. As fans we know we have to work harder than some to stay where we are and there is a great sense of pride of supporting the city that you come from or within the catchment area.

An enjoyable day all round.
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wrathoftazz added 10:46 - Oct 31
Why is everyone jumping on the Ralph bandwagon? It's his SECOND AWAY WIN SINCE MARCH...lol.

As I've said before, what has he achieved in his 3 years? Sure he has toughened up the def, but at the expense of the attack. He let Ings go and the plan was a championship player... (that's working well lol)

Every season people say "oh well, this has improved" and then it laughably collapses within weeks. Last season because we didn't have enough players, well Raplh wanted a "streamlined" squad. This season, we needed to reduce wages, so sure... lets give Theo a £75k week deal. (I like Wallcott but there comes a time when you should become a commentator and his time was 2 yrs ago). Redmond, a great Championship player (maybe).

If after 3 years we are where we are, then we will not get any better. Improvement hampered by a manager who is a one trick pony.
-20

Colburn added 10:59 - Oct 31
This win makes our start OK, I would not call it solid. We have scraped two one nil wins against two very poor teams and as mentioned, we won't get this many chances to score in every game. It is progress though and we need to pick up wins against Villa and Norwich because after that we have a very tough run of games. We must be more clinical in front of goal or we will again put too much pressure on the defence. I do think Adam Armstrong will come good, everything looks right, just needs a bit of luck. Mccarthy also deserves credit for a superb save at the end, not just a good save. The players are also now fighting for their places, except for one or two, and this bodes well for the season with greater strength in depth available, no excuses then..!
9

SaintNick added 11:04 - Oct 31
Everyone has reasons why we are not in the top 10 , but no one has any solutions other than sack the manager and blame Nathan Redmond for everything from the queues outside St Mary's to global warming.

Hasenhuttl is good to steer the ship whilst investment isn't being put in the club, but even if it was it would not drastically improve things.

"Let Ings Go" do you think Hasenhuttl pushed Ings out of the club , he would have wanted to keep him, but some people can't seem to accept that the players that leave actually do so because they want to because of more money, nothing to do with the clubs ambition just purely and simply he wanted more money, he will be 30 next year, if we had matched Villa and paid him £130k a week then Im sure that in two years time there would be people moaning about why we had a 32 year old on that money when its time they became commentators
23

Boris1977 added 11:11 - Oct 31
I genuinely thought we'd drop points in this one but thankfully managed to just do enough to get 3 PTS against another average team.

I still feel too much is left to chance and that at the moment we are weaker up front as the conversion rate reflects. This may change but it's going to have to be Armstrong who needs to step up as the no9/striker in the team but at the moment he's some way short. Adams is a hard worker and an asset to the team but he's not going to be are main goal scoring threat. I know we have Broja this season but he's unlikely to feature as a long term option.

We are where we deserve to be in the table and have worked hard to achieve what we have so far. It's going to be another tough season and under the current set up every point we get is going to be sweated over regardless of the opposition and it's this continued flaw in the squad which concerns me.

Great support as ever - incredible.
7

JoeEgg added 11:53 - Oct 31
Once again we have some tremendous performances . Why ha
0

JoeEgg added 12:09 - Oct 31
Once again we have seen some tremendous performances. But why has it taken Ralph ten games to realise that Walker-Peters is one of our best players and should always start? Why does he keep playing Elyounoussi when the guy contributes no assists and certainly no goals? Adams should never have been left out and could prove the perfect partner for Broja - although its no good us getting to reliant on Broja if he's not a permanent asset. Again I ask why not push Livromento forward as he loves to have an attacking role? Leaving room for W-Peters at right full back?
Sorry to have one more negative point. I do not agree that this has been a SOLID start. Why must Nick insist that we cant beat clubs in the Top Ten? What did Crystal Palace do to Man City yesterday - sit back and say lets wait for some easier fixtures before we look for our next win?
We have picked up points from the last three games because we have some excellent players who could easily take us into the top ten places - and would have done by now but for poor team selections and tactics.
Believe it or not I AM optimistic! Great support from our fans and great team spirit from the players. We have a major problem CONVERTING chances and a managers who's record over the past three seasons speaks for itself.
5

halftimeorange added 12:35 - Oct 31
Simply on the subject of Adams and Armstrong A, I consider the former to have been unlucky not to score more goals than he has but, he does create chances for both himself and others. Armstrong has still to prove himself at our level. Newcastle fans said that he will only score goals if they are put on a plate for him . We've already got Walcott whose main asset is speed with little or no end product. There's not room for another in a similar mould. Our defence appears to be gelling but, our attack continues to misfire. One goal in most upcoming games after Norwich will not be enough.
8

felly1 added 13:31 - Oct 31
Great win yesterday, agree with Nick and fellow posters regarding are misfiring forwards and an improved defence with a clear emphasis on getting more men behind the ball when we lose possession .
It's so Important that we get these points on the board as I still feel we will struggle at times this season.
Palace and Brighton look to have improved and you can't help but feel Newcastle will buy their way out of trouble after the Jan transfer window.
Leeds are struggling and Brentford are now getting a taste of the fine margins between victory and defeat as they came undone against a Burnley side who I feel will have enough to stay up.
Although Nick feels we may have to hope for a spread of goals from our three forwards, I'm hoping one of them comes good and gets into double figures as this could be crucial in staying away from trouble.
5

wrathoftazz added 14:50 - Oct 31
Nick must be mates with Ralph because the desire to replace him has been here since NOT 1 but 2 9nil defeats. That's an impressive award for any manager but he won it back to back lol. Ralph's subs are useless, his formation I not based on the team we are playing against but what he practices during the week - making tatics a non existence - He comes out and says "we need a streamlined squad" then complains he needs more depth.

ING going to Villa... well Nick, would you want to be the ONLY player in a team doing anything week in, week out? Carrying the team, carrying Ralph? I sure as hell wouldn't. He JUMPED at the chance to leave, so much so he took a step sidewards (if not backwards) just to get away from the sinking Ralph express

2 away wins since March, the laughing stock of the PL last season... we have won against a crap team but only just and that's the story of the season so far. Yes we have won but its how we won. We got LUCKY.
-6

underweststand added 15:44 - Oct 31
Heart attacks all round as once again Saints made hard work of a game they should have comfortably had in the bag by HT. However, (similar to the Burnley game) all the moves looked good in the build-up and some of those shots will surely win MISS of the Season. Still the points look very good in the table and the next time we get 12 shots (of more) we will surely score half a dozen - with better luck.
KWP looks comfortable at LB , and Livramento continued his ravaging attacks on the right whilst Prowsey regularly dropped back to cover the RB spot. ( Problem over ?)
Great goal from Ché Adams, and hopefully Adam Armstrong used up all his bad luck after getting in so many good shots - without actually scoring. Salisu DAJFU once again, but he and Bednarek need to get a better understanding if they are to play together.

With Villa and Norwich to play (before the visit to Anfield,) two more wins would ease the anxiety before a crowded December fixture list.
2

Kenm added 15:55 - Oct 31
Saying in Ralph we trust not yet we've still a long way from SAFETY ?, Bednarek runs more cold than hot ?, he's not a premier player ?, we need to stop scrapping out 1.0 wins and start scoring more goals to make it a comfortable WIN and to ease pressure on the team, we need the team to as least get more shots on target ?
-4

Kenm added 15:55 - Oct 31
Saying in Ralph we trust not yet we've still a long way from SAFETY ?, Bednarek runs more cold than hot ?, he's not a premier player ?, we need to stop scrapping out 1.0 wins and start scoring more goals to make it a comfortable WIN and to ease pressure on the team, we need the team to as least get more shots on target ?
-4

ItchenNorth added 17:47 - Oct 31
kenm. Every team is a long way from safety in October lol!

And to say 'we need to stop scrapping out 1.0 wins and start scoring more goals', if only these things were that easy to fix, if only management and the Premier League was that easy! I'd take a 1 nil win all day long and so would most.To get more of anything in this game, you need to pay more for players and we just don't have this ownership.
5

davidargyll added 18:26 - Oct 31
Not much to add but increasingly we are looking like a team with guts who fights for every ball. I reckon this “run like crazy and fight for the ball all the time” attitude was started by Tino early on this season and it’s clearly catching because the likes of KWP, Salisu, Nathan and Che and Adam A in particular all seem to be exercising a similar attitude yesterday.
What it looks to me is that Ralph has told them “if you fight and fight and never give up and you’ll be in the team, but, if you don’t, there is at least one other player who is ready to take your place and I won’t hesitate to drop you.”
So I predict Lyanco is going to start pretty soon over Jan Bednarek who is starting to look pedestrian, in fact he nearly cost us a goal after 20 minutes yesterday. And Diallo will keep JWP on his toes too. And similarly McCarthy who kept goal very well but woe betide if he slips as FF looks like he’s back to his best too.
Stuart Armstrong again seems still to be half a yard off the pace but he showed signs of what’s he’s good at - that diagonal acceleration that can cut open defences - so it shouldn’t be long.
Lack of goals of course is a problem, and I’m bound to say not too many shots on target is also a worry. But a win is a win and luck at the moment is going our way.
So am I being a hopeless optimist if I predict that all this hard work our forwards are clearly putting in will pay off before November is out and we are going to start scoring for fun? (I know, and COP26 is going to solve the climate crisis, but we live in hope…)
5

Saidou added 18:50 - Oct 31
Paper over cracks on our forwards imo. The unclinical nature of these players will relegate us.
-7

SaintPaulVW added 19:33 - Oct 31
We should have been 3-0 up at Burnley as well. Got a feeling in my waters that Adams and Armstrong are going to get on track soon and someone is in for a thumping. Ings missing today, I wonder if it could be Villa on Friday?

We seem to have sorted out our defence, KWP looked more settled at left back than earlier in the season but still remain vulnerable to the odd mistake. Bednarak is probably most likely to give game time to Lyanco atm. Redmond looks great in his free ranging role, a real threat. JWP looked better following his rest, hit lots of forward balls.

McCarthy was excellent yesterday, as said above there seems to be a lot of fight in all our players. Good range of subs on the bench. Good choices made yesterday.

7 from 9 in the 5 must wins. Not out of the question to now be 14 out of 15 points. Hopefully a slow build which we maintain this season rather than boom and bust last year.

B team is also on a roll now.

COYR



5

IanRC added 20:36 - Oct 31
Not sure Bednarak has been that poor, one of the best shot blockers in the league. That said I agree Lyanco was great at Chelsea and deserves game time. Remember too Salisu will be off to the African Nations Cup in due course.

One day soon we will score a hatful, hopefully sooner rather than later. Would love it to be against Villa. Not sure I will be welcoming Ings back if he is fit, we rescued him when his career was going nowhere and the gratitude he showed us was jumping ship for a team that may well not even finish above us at the earliest opportunity.
2

TimSaint added 11:14 - Nov 1
You can tell we won at the weekend, due to all the posts on here !!

As others have already said, it was a great performance and with a clinical striker, we could and should have been 4 up at the break. Adam Arm should have had a hat trick, Che - that header !! But great that we carved them apart at will and created so much. You can see why Liverpool scored 5 against them 2 weeks back.

Some excellent performances all over. Just a shame that we couldn't have put the game to bed early and enjoyed the last 10-15 mins.

The fans were immense. I have had a few good trips to Watford in the past, but at this one, we were louder and sang more. Obviously the performance and goal helped lift us, as it did in the 2nd half v Chelsea. So let's hope this continues at SMS on Friday night.
3

KriSaint added 18:50 - Nov 1
Three important points :) , and I'm so happy that Ralph has hopefully realized that KWP MUST play from the start EVERYTIME, because he is so f*cking good.
No disrespect to Perraud but KWP is 10 times better. Period. The way he understands the game, protects the ball, gets out of difficult situations, twists and turns, creates freekicks and DEFENDS and takes great part in our attacking play is TOP CLASS. He's one of our best players!
Yes, it's difficult for him to make crosses with his left foot but all the other things in his locker (did I mention speed?) compensate for that.

May I just comment a little on JWP being the midfielder in PL history with most PL games IN A ROW , and without being substituted, 134 games...! A really fantastic achievement and record, that stopped on 134 - but - can, I'm sure, easily last for a few decades.
Though I was sad to see him red card' ed when it happened, I think the 3-games-break was a relief for him and ultimately very good for him and the team! Now he can reset and quit wondering how many games in a row etc.
He got his 134 games in a row. As a holding midfielder. And that's fantastic. Now , if he is running out of power, or plays badly, or is on a yellow, or we need to change tactics, he gets substituted on the same terms as everybody else! The record bla bla bla thing is finally over! Which means: less pressure on him. He is not 'holy' anymore. Good :)
And Diallo must have felt kind of proud (or at least highly thought of) when JWP got substituted for him. It was great to see Ralph make that substitution - as was the Lyanco- for-Romeu substitution. Same thing. And the team hierarchy gets "tighter" and the team more united, I imagine.
And I'm sure Lyanco smells opportunities for regular Premier League football. Good! I wish him luck!
3


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