Southampton V Chelsea The Verdict
Monday, 11th Apr 2022 09:29
Chelsea came out of the blocks like a runaway train and Saints capitulated like a team of 10 year olds, although to be blunt that is an insult to 10 year old football teams. So what went wrong ? Lets try and put perspective on this.
When the Saints team was announced an hour before kick off, there was not a Saints fan out there who disagreed too much with the line up. especially with the back four.
But from the very start of the game we were a shambles, how we held out for 8 minutes was a miracle, I asked what Chelsea team would turn up in the preview and I had my answer, a Chelsea team who were a wounded animal with a point to prove.
They tore us apart in the first 8 minutes and God knows how we weren't 3 down in that opening spell, that should have been the signal for Saints to regroup and get their composure back, but we didn't and there was the first problem of the season exposed.
I have been saying this for year, but we lack an experienced leader at the back and we didn't have one, no one held the back line, no one tried to slow the game down and take the sting out of it, we were all over the place and chasing shadows.
We soon paid for that and Chelsea were 4-0 up by the half hour mark, at this stage there cannot have been a Saints supporter in the stadium that didn't have 9-0 on their mind.
We got to half time on that score which was a relief, it could have been 6, but it got worse after the break when the visitors hit us again quickly and went 6-0 up with only 54 minutes gone.
I cannot give an answer why they stopped at 6, certainly we were there for the taking of a record premier league defeat.
So what went wrong ?
In my opinion it wasn't one thing, it was a combination of several things.
Firstly as I said we lack leadership on the pitch, Jan Bednarek is not a leader and if you consider that after him the next experienced player is Kyle Walker Peters with 68 starts in the Premier League, after that you have Salisu on 41 appearances and Livramento on 26.
There is not enough experience in the back line and no obvious leader, as i have said before whether we win a game or not often depends on if the opposition score or waste chances that we hand them on a plate due to a lack of organisation.
So we need to finally address this in the summer after four years.
Secondly the fact was that everyone of our outfield players has a stinker, there was not one man who can come off that pitch knowing they had earned their money on Saturday, perhaps Fraser Forster will disagree with me on this one and I would concede that he was constantly exposed by his back four.
Even those who are usually consistent were off form, you don't often see James Ward Prowse make a mistake, but his attempt to head the ball back that resulted in a goal was not great to watch.
Some might blame the manager for this and yes there has to be some blame attached, but when a side plays as collectively bad as Saints there has to be some individual pointing of fingers, JWP is the captain, but he leads by example and not by aura, we lack a respected leader on the pitch in all areas.
They say a good team has 11 Captains out on the pitch, we struggle to have even one in most games.
So to Ralph Hasenhuttl, of course the knives are out for him again and I am going to tackle this in a separate article, but firstly he was let down by his players who laid down and died.
As I said there wasn't one Saints fan who disagreed with the line up pre game, or at least most of the line up, he can't be blamed for his selections, but how that team played and how they lined up seemed strange.
Both at Leeds and on Saturday we played with four midfield players, but we didn't seem to play any of them on the right hand side of the pitch !
JWP & Romeu were in the centre, but on too many occasions Elyounoussi and Stuart Armstrong seemed to be on the left hand side.
This is very strange, so whose idea was this, Ralph Hasenhuttl's or the players, given that both stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, you have to surmise they were playing to orders.
The substitutions were strange as well, yes we needed to change something when we went four down, but taking off Oriol Romeu did not make sense, at that point he had been just about the only player who had made a tackle, he is the nearest we have to a midfield enforcer, so with the side crying out for leaders, we take him off and bring on Yan Valery in a change in formation.
Valery is a player with potential, but so far in the Premier League as he trotted on he had made just two appearances totalling 135 minutes.
I don't disagree with the change in plan, but taking off Romeu was strange, Elyounoussi for instance was invisible in this game and not the type who rolls up his sleeves and grafts.
I still have faith in Ralph, but I would say in moments like this he lacks someone with experience to lean on, our coaching staff would not get a job at virtually any other Premier League club, in fact I would doubt that they would even be employed at Championship level.
So we have to take this one on the chin and lick our wounds, but more importantly look at what the solutions are, rather than whinge about a result that as terrible as it is, has gone now and can't be changed.
We need to look at what can be changed.
The big question I ask myself is whether anyone can do any better than Ralph ? and I mean someone realistic.
I find it hard to name someone who would have given the commitment to the club Ralph has, changing managers every 18 months or so is not a strategy that has served us well over the last 30 years, we are starting to get stability.
Given the constraints that we have had to work under in the transfer windows for the last three years, Ralph Hasenhuttl has done a superb job in keeping us in mid table whilst spending only around £20 million a year in transfer fees.
The issue for me is not the manager, but the tools that he has to hand, a lack of funds and a lack of experienced coaches to call upon.
In the summer hopefully some things will change, probably not the transfer budget to any great degree, but certainly we need to revamp the coaching set up.
Sadly the Premier League is becoming more polarised, the big clubs are getting bigger and the rest of us poorer in comparison, days like Saturday will become more frequent for a lot of clubs going forward.
So this game should not be brushed under the carpet, there are things that need to be changed, but we need to do this with clear heads and not with knee jerk reactions, we will find out how serious Sport Republic are in the next few months.
Photo: Action Images
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|HythePeer added 09:56 - Apr 11|
Most of what, and who, you blame cannot be the reasons for the result because they have worked against other teams. The reason it seems to me is that the manager played defenders too far forward and used two goal scoring challenged forwards against a top team with speedy strikers. If he had omitted the forwards, that would have allowed two more defenders to be employed and the likes of Armstrong and Ely could have been relied upon to score any goals.
|JoeEgg added 09:59 - Apr 11|
Well I called 6-0 Chelsea before the game. They wanted this and neve was it truer to say a team in trouble just needs to play Southampton every week!
So thats two 9-0's and now a 6-0. After three years the manager says he may have to change his high press system! what a joke this guy is.
Didn't Brentford just play the same Chelsea side that we just played? But other teams have managers who understand the Premier League and understand their own players capabilities.
Once again Ralph's comments after the match are even more bewildering than his tactics and substitutions.
There have been guys on this site claiming that the players have, to coin the old cliché, been playing for the manager. We did manage to fluke a few victories recently so there was no point me attacking the 'In Ralph we trust' brigade .It has been my view all season that this manager is out of his depth and very soon his mistakes will see the likes of JWP, KWP , Livramento and others wanting to leave our Club. On days like the Chelsea fiasco we are an embazrassment. The players are all over the place and were very lucky not too lose 10-0 against Chelsea.- it was total shambles!
Ralph is now telling us what is wrong with the players; What we should be hearing are the fans telling Ralph that enough is eough and we want a change, and quickly, because if this losing run continues we could still find ourselves relegated at worse, and losng our best olayers at best .
In Ralph we trust - please tell me you are only kidding!
|onetowatch added 10:06 - Apr 11|
Nick, your defense of RH is at best admirable, but in reality foolhardy. You state that not a single fan would question the line up - well sorry, no. I still; maintain, and will repeat, as good a job as KWP does at LB, he's far more effective at RB - not having to continually check back when going forward. Perraud, has never let us down at LB, and that's how we should have started. You are correct about the outrageous decision to take OR off, when he is the CM who does have a presence and makes a tackle - again RH's obsession with JWP even when he's having an obvious bad day, both playing and as a supposed captain, who I've seen go missing far too often when things on the pitch are not going well...Saturday was not a blip - Villa, Newcastle, Watford.....Sorry, it's time to be honest and realistic about his record, which after 3 years is not improving...it can't just be the tools he's working with!!
|halftimeorange added 10:19 - Apr 11|
It's unlikely but, not inconceivable that Saints might not add to their current 36 points before the season's end if they play as they did on Saturday which, in truth, was an embarrassment for all connected with the club including us supporters. It is not unreasonable to suppose that, on current form, Newcastle and Leeds will finish above Saints. Assuming Watford and Norwich are doomed, that leaves Everton and Burnley , both of whom could get to 36. We really need a win. I have postulated on here after the Watford loss that our players are either on the beach or confused or exhausted by Ralph's tactics. I think that training methods could be added to that list. I heard Ralph on Saturday morning's Radio Solent say that the whole week to prepare against such an opponent had been welcome but, the players would still have to be at their best. If Romeu wasn't fit why did he start? If Perraud was fit, where was he? Walker-Peters further upfield would have sharpened our threat. He was often marooned beyond the halfway line when Chelsea attacked. Salisu showed his inexperience and couldn't cope but, as the verdict states - they were all inadequate. We also missed Broja's height so, in his absence, where was Shane Long, who can still jump? Coming on the week when Saints launch their season tickets sale is ironic and won't attract much new business. The real question, though is why Saints have surrendered again in such a fashion. In this age of football haves and have-nots, one expects to see a few one-sided results but, it seems we have no fight at times and, dare I say it, no leadership on or off the pitch in the face of an incessant onslaught. Saturday was a sad, sad day.
|Centurion added 10:31 - Apr 11|
Norwich beating Burnley yesterday may well save our bacon. But, what a position to be in. 4 games ago I was expecting a nice comfortable end to the season. Now, we are back to hoping the bottom three lose or that we pick up the odd point here and there.
What is it with Saints? Can nothing be straight forward?
|highfield49 added 10:43 - Apr 11|
In the circumstances a reasonable match summary and verdict Nick. Clearly there isn't enough quality or ability in the squad the manager or the coaching staff to go into next season without significant changes. Sadly I think the time has come for Ralph to admit that the team needs a change of direction that he can't provide. I'm hoping that the players will show a significant positive reaction against Arsenal and Burnley without any prompting whatsoever because, if they can't, they shouldn't be on the pitch short changing the supporters.
|darthvader added 11:04 - Apr 11|
Play Perraud at LB ffs . Kwp is brilliant but play him in the right at the expense of tino who needs time on the bench been saying this for a while . I feared a hammering before teams sheet came out but i was hoping for us to play better basically playing with two at the back whos confidence is shot . I was praying for us not to concede anymore or for us to get reckless and add a red card to the shame .
We played well for about the first 3 minutes .
The rest was an embaresment
|IanRC added 11:05 - Apr 11|
This will be unpopular but here you go. Thought Romeu was badly off the pace yesterday and was caught on the ball several times. I also think ElYounousi is frequently guilty of what so many on here accuse Redmond of and as I said before the game I would prefer to have seen him, or even Djenepo, on the pitch.
Thought the referee was abysmal but no change there for Friend, was the handball appeal in the first few minutes even var’d ? and far to soft on tier tackling. That said this was a dreadful performance from all except FF, really needed a few crunching tackles from our side to make them think but nothing. Can’t compare it with the Brentford game where Chelsea were thinking ahead to their European game and evidently had a kick up the backside after that. Hope we get one before Arsenal.
Think I may turn my main focus to the ladies team for the rest of the season as on the performances this weekend they are far more worthy of our support.
|LordDZLucan added 11:18 - Apr 11|
We can implement the high press but we don't seem to be able to defend against it. Bizarre. It's clearly a coaching and tactics issue and for that Ralph has to take the blame. He's now had 4 years of treading water. There has been little progress since Mark Hughes left.
Therefore, unfortunately it is now time to change the manager.
|131153 added 11:44 - Apr 11|
I feel we need a bit of perspective on this. The reality is Chelsea are a much better side than us who had just a had a kick up the backside after two poor performances. The subs they bought on I believe reinforces the point. I doubt any of our starting 11 on Saturday would make their side three or four might make the bench.
I felt we deserved our point against Man City, however had they played like they did yesterday against us the score would have been similar or worse. It's patently obvious the result of a match is determined by how both teams play on the day. We played extremely poorly on Saturday and they played extremely well.
There is no point in making a change before the end of the season and I am not sure there is anyone available who could a great deal better.
It is becoming clearer by the year the bottom 12-14 of the PL and the top 4-5 yo-yo clubs in the Championship are essentially at the same "level" with 1 or 2 clubs each year having a slightly better season.
|kingolaf added 12:48 - Apr 11|
Tactically we weren’t at the races. Ralph continues to baffle me.
End of the season would be a good time for a parting of the ways.
|felly1 added 13:07 - Apr 11|
Not much to add to the comments above regarding our abysmal performance.
If we were to change manager I would my last penny it would make little difference to our league position.
We could get a manager who's more defensively minded and reduce the obligatory once a season thrashing we have to suffer but ultimately the points total won't be alot different. I originally thought we'd survive this season but struggle. I then began to really think we could get into the top 10. Now I realise my first assessment of our squad is probably more accurate.
As long as we don't look highly likely to get relegated and as long as the club continue to spend small amounts on players, I would stick with Ralph.
|I_would added 13:17 - Apr 11|
Yes, of course JWP should have been subbed Saturday.
As regards a replacement for Ralphy, Tom, Dick or Harry please!
|NewburySaint added 13:19 - Apr 11|
Nick, you ask "The big question I ask myself is whether anyone can do any better than Ralph ?"
To start with i have to say that i am still a Ralph fan, just, and believe he should still remain in the job but, to play Devil's Advocate, it shouldn't matter if there is anybody out there better, if he needs to go, he needs to go, then you worry about getting in somewhere better afterwards, or while in the process of replacing him.
|landsdownsaint added 13:29 - Apr 11|
I just put it down too we caught Chelsea in an extremely bad mood , I’m a way these heavy loses can get us focused again . We really don’t want Ralph going ,he is flawed & results like this are embarrassing but we’re mid table & no one can say he ain’t committed , Ralph has done his job at saints in we ain’t going down
|131153 added 13:47 - Apr 11|
In answer to "I would" definitely not Harry.
|131153 added 13:52 - Apr 11|
With regard to the JWP mistake can anyone remember when he last made a mistake which cost a goal. He was trying to keep the ball but headed it too far. The mistake I found unforgivable was Salisu when you are under the cosh and 3-0 down get rid of the ball
|wrathoftazz added 15:00 - Apr 11|
I was there and not proud to admit that after 22mins went back down the pub.
The team were tactically put played and out started. Ralph the one trick pony was found out YET AGAIN! How people can still.say he is the man for the job is beyond me. When you look at letting in 24goals within 3 matches (albeit ove different seasons) who exactly is to blame for that?
The formation was WRONG and PREDICTABLE, the want to win has gone and the seemingly stars of the future 'Salisu'let us down AGAIN. The only managers who don't know what Ralph will do are the ones who haven't got a clue themselves.
No manager in any club would have a job after the sh1t shows Ralph put on for the PAYING fans. We can even predict the losses better than Raplh.
Ralph should have gone, as with the dead weight last season but the board didn't have the balls for it, maybe the new owner will see through the Ralph hype, do what needs to be done and send him to the job center.
For the so called fans who question my loyalty to the club, I say grow up... if wanting my team to succeed, if wanting my team to compete and if wanting my team to progress makes me non loyal and not a fan, then so be it. Why should a fan of over 30yrs settle for mediocre and thats what Ralph is at best... mediocre.
As for who to take over... honestly I couldn't care less. The damn tea lady could do just as good a job as Ralph, so take your pick. We are no better than 3 seasons ago (stats say WORSE)
|ItchenNorth added 18:35 - Apr 11|
Not a pretty sight watching 6 go in but the reality is they are a Champions League side that are loaded with talent, far and above anything we can put out.. Who from Saints strongest 11 would make their starting line up? Maybe JWP, but he'd likely warm the bench. The likes of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea are in a different league. Sometimes you get something off them but mostly you'll be schooled.
I won't except lack of effort from anyone wearing the shirt but it's plain to see that their is a massive gulf in quality between the top Champons League teams in the Premier League and the rest of us.
We'll get something from Arsenal this week.
In Ralph we trust.
|I_would added 18:41 - Apr 11|
Don't worry Wrath this forum has a high percentage of cowering droolers with a penchant for masochism. They think Prowsey's class. Says it all.
|deanosfc8 added 19:49 - Apr 11|
At the start of the season what did any of us say? Premier League survival and maybe a decent cup run.. Well you bed wetters will all be renewing yer Premier League season tickets wont ya! Apart from the armchair moaners of course! If we take a tonking from the World and European champions then so be it.. Be careful what you wish for!
In Ralph We Trust..
|davidargyll added 20:53 - Apr 11|
How to sum it all up?
Chelsea are European Champions, er we aren’t!
Our squad might be worth £100m-odd, Chelsea is worth at least 10 times that.
We are knackered, they clearly are not and seemed very very fit.
They controlled the midfield, we didn’t.
We played a high defensive line with disastrous consequences, they did not. And FF notably apart, our defence varied from lucky - the woodwork and FF stopped it from being double figures - to complete sh*te, their forwards were far, far too good for us.
Only players with any credit, FF and Will Smallbone, Chelsea, where do I start…?
Chelsea always had two players immediately onto us whenever we had the ball, whereas on several occasions three of ours couldn’t contain one of theirs…
We are on the beach, they haven’t even left the pitch let alone made it to the changing room.
Positives? We didn’t have anybody sent off…(OR could easily have been but was subbed thank goodness before he completely boiled over).
In a nutshell, if you’re not in the top half dozen or so in the PL, everyone else is cannon fodder: at best you have loads of luck and sneak a draw or go down fighting. Or it can be men vs boys as per yesterday. I’m just thankful we’ve (probably) already got enough points on the board…
|Boris1977 added 21:42 - Apr 11|
It's hard following the shifting sands of argument on the forum. With each humiliating defeat the conclusion within the reports here is 'that game is gone learn from the mistakes and move on.' The issue is Ralph does not learn.
Playing the so called big teams does not guarantee a tonking - this is Chelsea's biggest away league win of the season and second biggest behind the 7 they put past 10 man Norwich. Off the back of a hiding from Brentford. The Chelsea manager said he knew how saints would set up and he tailored his formation to that. This isn't the first time we've heard an opposition manager say this.
Villa beat us 4-0 recently - they are not a so called big team and haven't humiliated any other team as they did us.
Norwich and Watford, struggle to get points but didn't have to do anything spectacular to get 6 points off us. Putting aside their new found riches an average Newcastle team hit the target twice and beat us.
My point is, that apart from the odd purple patch we struggle against all levels of opposition. At various points this season pundits have praised livremento, jwp, s Armstrong, salisu, oriel, kwp, perraud and even Che Adams and yet Ralph cannot get this talent playing consistently well.
Ok, let's accept our limitations, maybe even prepare for championship football sooner rather than later, and we are in the mix still while we remain on 36 pts, but Ralph's immunity from criticism isn't somehow righteous, measured and dignified it's deluded and ignores the facts, which are too many lost winnable games and too many humiliating capitulations.
I find it hard to believe there isn't a coach/manager in world football who can realise the talent named above by playing to their strengths, coaching them to become better players and tailoring the team and formation to the opposition. Ralph has shown that he's unable to do so for any sustained period.
|SanMarco added 22:50 - Apr 11|
This happens too often under Ralph. Shambles from start to finish, game over as a contest well before half time and that horrible feeling you get watching it - 'this could be another 9', 'this could be double-figures' etc. . Villa and Liverpool away were nearly as bad, and, like Saturday could have seen many more conceded. Of course we will get the odd hammering, just as other sides do - even Liverpool let in 7 a while back but these embarrassments seem to be a feature of life under Ralph. No other teams have such regular catastrophes as we do under Ralph.
If it really is all the players' fault i.e. Ralph has sent them out fresh, raring to go and with excellent tactics and the players have all been rubbish despite this then we clearly need new players. One one season soon Ralph's roller-coaster will not accrue enough points during the good runs and we will go down. I don't know on the should he stay or should he go issue but something needs to change.
|Jesus_02 added 23:54 - Apr 11|
So quite a lot to unpack here but basically look at the experience of the players. I don't think Ralph is a poor manager, but it might be the end of him. With the set of players we have I doubt Conte would do much better. The problem is with inexperience is that its inconsistent that coupled with our aggressive style means that occasionally we hit a perfect storm. We are like a armature golfer, sometimes we hit a brilliant drive sometime we hit the trees. We could be more conservative and stick to our irons but that would be pretty boring. Its a roller-coaster yes but we have seen some great football this season.
Should Ralf go though? Well maybe. We need to at least pretend that we expect more. We have new owners now, they need to either invest in players or change the approach. Either way I expect JWP, KWP and Maybe Elyounoussi to move on. We will also be without Forster and Long so will get about 130k per week of the wage bill. So either way there will be change
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