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Southampton V Crystal Palace The Verdict
Sunday, 1st May 2022 10:59

Saints had this game under control and then gave it away for not the first time this season, once again certain players failed to perform and it was down to the substitutions, Palace's changed the game, ours failed to perform.

Some will rant at Ralph Hasenhuttl, but truthfully he was let down by players who have previously this season performed to a far higher standard.

The game started well for Saints and they took the lead from a headed goal from Oriol Romeu and for the first half looked comfortable although the warning signs were there for all to see, but things all changed after the break .

The problem for Saints stemmed from leadership on the pitch, as Palace stepped up a gear after the break and looked for an equaliser, we had no one on the pitch calming things down and steadying the ship, we still played as if we were a goal down with 2 minutes left on the clock, no one put their foot on the ball and this was the issue when Palace equalised.

Yet another Saints move broke down due to us trying too many intricate passes instead of concentrating on keeping the ball and keeping it simple, we were still going at it like a bull at a gate.

Palace won the ball and played it quickly to ex Saint Nathaniel Clyne whose cross was met perfectly by the totally unmarked Eze, yes Fraser Forster should have stopped it, but this was now going to be one of those days.

Now came the substitutions, on came Wilfrid Zaha for Palace and we made a double change with Armando Broja and Stuart Armstrong, with both strikers going off Che Adams & Shane Long, both have had decent games, you could understand taking off Long due to his age, but not Che Adams.

We lost shape and enabled Palace to get the upper hand, that is not to say we didn't have chances, Armstrong himself had two good chances and blazed them both, one high and one wide.

Broja looked a shadow of his former self and although he had one good run, he did little else, the issue now was with Long & Adams we had strikers making runs and space, now we struggled for that up front.

But as the game entered injury time we looked to have taken a point out of the game, but then came another lack of concentration with 2 minutes of injury time played out of 4, Wilfrid Zaha received the ball with his back to the goal, with plenty of Saints men around him he really should not have been allowed to turn and fire a shot into the bottom corner.

So Saints now limp to the finishing line where really they should have been surging to a top 10 finish.

So where have we gone wrong, in simple terms it is down to two areas, first we need a leader on the pitch, someone who dictates the pace and nature of play, who can put his foot on the ball when needed and who can keep his teammates focused when things are either on top or in the final minutes of a game when discipline is needed.

Secondly we need to pick players who are in form, Broja and Stuart Armstrong are badly out of form, as was Mohammed Elyounoussi the third substitution made, bringing on one should not be an issue, but bringing on three players for the last part of a game who are all out of form was a recipe for disaster.

I am not arguing that Shane Long should have gone off, but we should have brought on Adam Armstrong a striker who will be a the club next season, not one who wont, take off Tella who like Long had run himself into the ground and bring on Djenepo if you want to attack or even Will Smallbone a tidy player who has never let us down.

Too many players out there did not put in a display , we went into the final 10 minutes with not only the three substitutes, but the likes of Salisu also going through a rocky spell, the team was too imbalanced.

I think that within the club there is a feeling that there will be changes in the summer and although this should manifest itself in some playing for their places, for some it hasn't and that is worrying.

Ralph Hasenhuttl needs help on the coaching side of things, would any of our three general coaches, Kelvin Davis, Dave Watson or Craig Forrrest, get a job at another Premier League club ? I think we all know the answer, there is not a lot of help and experience for Ralph to call on when he needs advice.

Personally I didn't get mad about Saturday's result, we have achieved what we set out to do and for the most part up until the last half dozen games it has been a good season, but we have let ourselves down badly in the last couple of months, if we had won this game we would sit 11th in the League, we are not that far away from being a decent mid table side, but we aren't because of error strewn games.

Things will hopefully change in the summer, so I look towards the future and not the past, we need to get this season over and then prepare for the next one.

Photo: Action Images

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LordDZLucan added 11:17 - May 1
Quite simply Palace wanted it more than us. They worked hard all game, closed us down all over the pitch and ran themselves into the ground. Villa showed that this was the way to play against us back at the beginning of March and since then every team we've played has copied their blueprint with a lot of success. We looked like we were already on the beach yesterday and that is arrogant because we're not yet safe from relegation. And that arrogance comes from the top as all the communications I'm receiving at the moment from the club are talking about 'securing my seat for all Premier League games at St. Mary's for 2022/23'. That arrogance may yet come home to bite us. We were 750/1 to go down before the start of yesterday's game and 150/1 to go down at the end of it. What will the odds be if Everton get something against Chelsea this afternoon? I got £10 on at 750/1 because I've seen enough this season to know we may not get another point. I sincerely hope it doesn't pay out!

JoeEgg added 11:29 - May 1
Sorry Nick I have to disagree. I have been very consistent in my criticism of Ralph this season and the comments I read on this thread about the players playing for the manager are total nonsense. Every time an important managerial decision is made during a game - the opposition gets it right and Ralph gets it wrong. Our players must be totally confused as to what Ralph is trying to do and we are in real danger of seeing our best players want to depart during the summer. And agreeing with Lord Lucan it's still not impossible, if unlikely, that we could be relegated! That is inexcusable.
Ralph has had long enough to get things right as his post match comment of 'hard to take' has simply been repeated game after game. If Forest are not promoted Steve Cooper is the man for the job and we will need to move fast. Ralph's time is up with yet another frustratingly poor run of results and performances.

LordDZLucan added 11:34 - May 1
Fully agree with JoeEgg. Steve Cooper is the standout up and coming manager who's been schooled at the top table. Let's get him before anothe club does

A1079 added 11:42 - May 1
I can't even be bothered to comment on the game itself as I am tired of saying the same thing and seeing the same thing.

Change is coming this summer? We will see because for several seasons and close seasons I have heard we are progressing and we are better than last year, the squad is stronger and all that stuff.......blah, blah, blah!

My feeling is that there is an underlying malaise in the club that permeates from the top right down to the the persons working on the concourse. That feeling that safety and getting by is enough and the fans will keep coming. I know with some on here that it won't be a popular comment to make and I know he had his faults and I did not like all he did, but we need someone like Cortese again who has a vision, desire, drive to see the club progressing and not accepting that just getting by is good enough and woe betide anyone who thinks it is! I have no idea what the plans are of the new owners are but I hope they give the club the kick up the backside it needs (that is not to say I expect us to be spending millions and competing with the likes of Man C etc - I don't in any way - neither do I expect us to get to the top 6). It is about attitude at all levels on and off the pitch. That desire to win and do well at all levels, even if you don't win - but you strive to. Even if you are mid table, fighting relegation, at the bottom or on the fringe of the top 10, you go out with the will to be better than the opposition so if you do lose it isn't because you didn't give your best - too many players are not giving their best, whatever the reasons are for not doing so.

Too many players are coasting, possibly don't care, whether that is because they want to leave or want the manager to leave I have no idea. They know their jobs and alot of them just simply are not doing it.

I would not be surprised if JWP moves on (despite claims that he will not) and who could blame him. If he chooses the right club (not like Ings) he can play in Europe and get the rewards that his career deserves because unless there are the fundamental changes on and off the pitch he isn't going to get it at Saints and his years are ticking by.

Sadoldgit added 11:44 - May 1
Fair summary I’d say. The trouble is that when we used to play the ball around sideways and backwards we get frustrated and want to play forward. I agree that is hasn’t been a bad season overall but we have just dropped off since the West Ham game. Fair play to Ralph for trying to find a winning formula, but little seems to be working at the moment.

Centurion added 11:48 - May 1
40 points should see us safe...right?

SaintPaulVW added 12:10 - May 1
JWP and OR are great midfielders but neither strike me as on field leaders. If one leaves this summer I think there is an obvious vacancy.

I find it very frustrating that we never seem able to hold the ball in the second half we just seem to pass the ball back to the opposition and keep the pressure on ourselves.

Once again when it seemed like we had made good strides forward, the season peters out with no real progress. Hopefully with some sensible over the summer, we can make some progress next season.


davidargyll added 12:12 - May 1
It is funny, as others have noted, that everyone reads the game differently. Personally I thought that Che had an appalling game, loose passes, never in the right position, all over the place. And my bete noir Salisu, I thought actually had quite a good game. Tella also was good, but JWP looks to me like he’s had his head turned, whilst OR is starting to show his age. But ultimately it was head in hands time: same old, same old: cannot defend for toffee and we run out of steam. As a Saints fan, your loyalty certainly gets tested, doesn’t it?

Because it was quite apparent that Palace, as has happened so often in recent matches, got in our faces, pressed us hard, kept going, never gave up and we had no answer. Or rather we did which was long boots up the field with no particular aim, easily dealt with. And after they equalised, we just looked increasingly like a defeated side. A horrible thing to have to admit but that’s how it looked to me..

So the question is why? Everyone has banged on ad nauseam about bad tactics, wrong team selection, mega lapses in concentration etc, and I too find our fall off in form so depressing, for whatever reason. But to me what was more apparent than anything else was how increasingly exhausted we looked as the game went on, emphasised by how many passes went astray.

There is clearly something very wrong here. Why is it that we couldn’t last out 90 minutes unlike Palace and virtually all the teams we’ve been up against in the last couple of months who seemed to increase their tempo as the final whistle beckoned?

And this to me is the most worrying aspect of recent performances. Logically, I think it must have something to do with our training regime, because we just don’t seem to have the stamina to play any sort of game, high pressing or otherwise, for the whole 90+ minutes.

There was a lot of comment a couple of months ago about us being the team with a player most often going down after 60-70 minutes, giving everyone else a chance to get some fluids on board. Well if that was supposed to be the cure, it seems to have had the opposite effect, hasn’t it? And if you look at the way Palace just kept coming at us, and Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle, Villa et al, it’s clear they’ve got something that we haven’t. And it isn’t Lucozade Sport. No, there is something very wrong in the way our lads are seemingly unable to last out and for that I think management really has to hold their hands up. And change something pdq or 40 points is going to look just a bit too borderline for comfort.

PS. I mentioned in a previous post that, IF WE HAD LET IN JUST ONE FEWER GOAL IN EACH OF ONLY OUR HOME GAMES, WE’D BE … 5th (a correction from my previous calculation of 6th). Which really goes to show that we do have the makings of a really good side here. But we sure as hell are not going to see it unless RH and his staff can do something about our appalling defence and the whole team’s fitness (which would also do wonders in keeping the goals out).

SonicBoom added 12:17 - May 1
Hmm you accept mediocrity too easily Nick. It's not 'one of those days' just because they score. The outcome was still within our control.
Palace were the better side even in the first half.
The players have been crap for the last few months that is true. But it happens every week and Ralph seems unable to do anything to change the script. If he's saying the right things they aren't listening.
There are 5 teams that have been talked about all season as relegation candidates. We are now one place above them. Depressing.

felly1 added 12:39 - May 1
Well I was certainly upset when I left the ground yesterday. A hopeless and inept performance in a growing list of other hopeless performances to round off a season off stability but no real progress. I actually though Shane Long played well in the first half.. Winning ariel duals and making a nuisance of himself. Obviously no goal threat though. As for Che Adams and Redmond well they were frankly awful. At least Che has shown he can score a few goals at this level and deserves to be here next season. Tell a is young and needs more game time but I do wonder if he's going to end up being too powder puff and lightweight to really make an impact at this level. As for Redmond.. We'll many have been banging on here for years about him and to be blunt he's just not good enough. I'm sure he's a nice guy and a good clubman but he's effectively a championship standard performer who's stats over the 150 odd games prove this. Yes Forster should have saved the first goal but again he's been OK for us this season and we can't expect perfection from a keeper. As for Ralph, hopefully some decent players to come in for next season but he's running out of time to show he can improve us.

I_would added 12:50 - May 1
Do you mean we need a new captain Nick? If so I agree wholeheartedly. However if you propose drawing a line under the season already, does this mean the manager and players get away with the continual match day mistakes with no deserved criticism, especially Ralph? And do you mean there's no point in watching the last three games? Funny thing to say for a genuine top fan like yourself.

HythePeer added 13:05 - May 1
Isn't JWP meant to be the leader on the pitch?

saintmark1976 added 13:47 - May 1
I haven’t posted on here for months having been worn down by supporters of the “ cult of Saint Ralph” who simply can’t see the wood for the trees, and yes that includes you Nick.

After yesterday’s abominable managerial performance together with our recent pathetic run of form and results I think it only fare to break my silence.

Ralph has had control for three seasons now and still hasn’t the faintest idea of his best team or how to manage and time his substitutions. Put simply, he lacks any ability whatsoever to consistently choose a winning formation pre game or to read a game when it’s in progress. Take yesterday as an example, who in their right mind chooses to play Redmond who is a serial under performer ahead of Stuart Armstrong? Every man and his dog could see that the game was going away from us immediately after half time but yer again no substitutions were made until Palace scored.

Three seasons is long enough and our new owners need to accept that Ralph’s time is over. I fully expect that the players know this as well hence their lack of effort for the past few games.

Nothing in this world lasts forever and this adage applies to football managers as to every other form of employment. As a holder of a season ticket I want Ralph gone before the start of the 2022/3 season and sincerely hope that our new owners are of the same opinion.

kingolaf added 13:49 - May 1
Best change we could make in the Summer is to get rid of an inept manager who has lost the players and is a tactical dunce.

sidsaint added 13:56 - May 1
I agree with the above especially Lord Lucan, how I long to see a report stating we won because we wanted it more than the opposition instead of they wanted it more than us.

TeamCortese added 14:06 - May 1
Thank you A1079,

I've kept quiet on this forum for the past few years precisely because of that type of mindset. I think the club has a lot of potential and quite frankly should be regarded as a household name across Europe if not the rest of the world.

Not for one second would I want Southampton to turn into a Man City or Chelsea. Heavens if that was the case I'd likely stop supporting. Chelsea and Man City might have an embarrassment of riches but the hard truth is no true football fan cares if they win anything. They are both soulless football clubs used as pet projects for billionaire owners. Money shouldn't be the primary differentiator for success. It should be hard work, innovation, creativity, a genuine love for the sport, enjoyment of the game, and most importantly, the unifying components of the sport that brings people together in a positive way.

When you look at English football, for decades, with the exception of Nottingham and to a lesser extent Birmingham and Leeds, it has been dominated by the cities of Manchester region, Liverpool, and London.

The north is likely to change now with the emergence of Newcastle. This will take time like Man City did in the 2010s but will likely be accelerated as they have a blueprint.

Within the South, London will always dominate but could be counted as a region in itself. Which leaves the spoils of London's success to the rest of the South.

Those spoils should go to us! With the exception of the club that shall not be named and Brighton, we are the biggest city in the South East.

Back in the 2013/2014 season, we were at the beginning of making our mark on English football with Cortese, Paul Mitchell, and Poch at the helm. Unfortunately, this was curtailed by Kat Liebherr putting her money ahead of making history.

Since then Paul Mitchell has gone on to establish himself as a highly sort after recruiter. His record has brought about the likes of Wanyama, Son, Trippier, Toby, and the list goes on. We all know what's going on with Poch. Cortese has left football altogether but at one point was courted to become AC Milan CEO.

Hopefully, the new ownership is genuinely different from what we have we have been accustomed to. They need to give the club the necessary kick up the backside to get to where we deserve to be. What is that exactly?

We should be a blend of Ajax, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, and Atletico Madrid. We're never going to be title contenders and spend crazy amounts of money.

No, we're always going to the club that buys the future stars and cultivates them into megastars. We're going to be the club that is constantly challenging for Europa League and from time to time has stints within the Champions League.

We should be the kind of club where players between ages 18 and 25 are devastated to not be playing for us. We should be the club that embarrasses the likes of City, Chelsea, and Man United by poaching players who are not getting enough game time and subsequently improving them.

That's the sort of club we should be. We're not at the Dell anymore. Le Tiss (dare I say) retired nearly 20 years ago.

We need to shake off that brand as 'relegation strugglers' and give no room for idiots like Shearer and Linekar on MoTD and wider press to give this great football club the respect it deserves!

halftimeorange added 14:06 - May 1
The changes might not have worked but, anyone watching the first half knew they should've been made at halftime. There were no truly good performances yesterday from our lot. Tella showed that he hasn't had enough game time, Redmond showed that he's still a bottler when it comes to the hard tackle and his main contribution to any game is running after balls he can't possibly reach (and thereby avoiding any physical contact) and Che received no service (as usual). I am amazed, and not a little gratified, that we took points from Arsenal and Brighton, otherwise my earlier prediction that Saints might be hard pressed to collect any more points posted after the Leeds game could well have been right. If we are relegated it won't come as that much of a surprise after recent showings.

TeamCortese added 14:10 - May 1
Forgot to mention I really appreciate what Ralph has done for this football club but I genuinely believe he's taken us as far as he can.

Steve Cooper would be a brilliant replacement!

Farlow added 14:15 - May 1
I get rather fed up with the constant talk that Ralph needs better assistant coaches.
He is the main man and should make better decisions.What other team in the Prem
would Shane Long get into.Lyanco proved a leader against Arsenal and would have
been fresh after a rest and should have played.It is totally mad not to give Adam
Armstrong game time.What must it do for his fragile confidence to see S Long
picked before him.

Saintandy66 added 14:18 - May 1
How many other people now think we are looking over are shoulder we are not safe the way Burnley are winning games and if Everton get a couple of results we could be in real danger of going down if we don't get another 3 points and I just can't see them coming.

DPeps added 14:29 - May 1
Depressing few days to be a saints fan, between yesterday's result and Matt le Tissier's embarrassing public breakdown

AndyD added 14:32 - May 1
We don't really seemed to have improved over the last 3 years. Yes we have had some great results but also more than our fair share of poor games. It was only a matter of time before Palace scored, I can't really remember us having a shot on target in the second half. We were abysmal in too many games recently, The Arsenal victory was very lucky, & performances against Burnley & first half against Brigton were shocking. Something is wrong in the way Ralph is picking the team & the way they are playing. You can argue he hasn't had the greatest support in the transfer market although he has said he was happy with his squad. Perhaps his back up team are falling short, certainly some of the players are out of form. Will the new owners continue to be happy with present form?

saintpete01 added 16:09 - May 1
Ralph huggers look into his Eyes
He is spent/gone
Sorry Ralph Time to pack your Bags

bryanK added 17:42 - May 1
It is really sad that the general feeling is that the Ralf feel good factor is now over. I know football has changed since my first visit to the Dell in 1953 but the real lack of creativity in Our current side is worrying. I have renewed for next year but let’s have some flair not 11 workhorses.
Football is about entertainment and I like many harden supporters can not endure many games like Saturdays game against Palace. Awful.Please go Ralf with our blessing

highfield49 added 17:57 - May 1
I have absolutely no comment to make on the game but agree with several other posters that Steve Cooper could be one of the best possible signings in the coming weeks. I've backed Ralph through all of the ups and downs but now is the right time for him to move on.

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