23 Oct 2017 10:24:09
I'm finding it hard to understand/ conclude what is going on with our team and what we are missing. Since the start of last season we've managed to score 49 goals, Burnley the only team on less (47).
Looking at the goal that Boufal and Gabs scored, they're the type of the goals where they've taken it upon themselves to score.
But where will the goals come from, I think it showed how woeful we are in attack on Saturday as West Brom just sat back and allowed us to attack and keep the ball. And our end product was awful everytime, the crossing the final pass was poor from every player. You had Bertrand and Cedric really attacking really well and their quality in the final third was shocking. Had Boufal not had produced that moment of magic it would have been another 0-0 draw.
So what needs to be done to our team, to start scoring goals? What is our best current starting 11? Is the coaching structure/ managers decisions not set up to get the best out of our team?

1.) 23 Oct 2017
23 Oct 2017 11:37:39
Hi Jay, I do agree partly with you certainly Bertrand going forward was more effective and I thought we looked to create more chances. In our defence WBA came here for a point at least and at times were playing 6 at the back. What I fail to understand when you are playing a big, tall back four why keep lobbing in crosses which they will happily deal with all day? We need to be smarter and try and play around or through which we did try more on Saturday. Saints are not the only team guilty of this watching football you can see how few teams actually create decent chances and you see supposedly talented players failing to deliver a decent ball in. Let's face it the players can't complain about pitches when they play on these immaculate surfaces that us amateurs could only dream of. I agree with you the game had 0-0 written all over it and players need to keep the ball better and our movement without the ball needs to be much better. I was heartened though we were taking players on and trying to make things happen. I was encouraged by the performance and hopefully MP is gaining the players confidence and he knows the players strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately we are not Man City, United or Tottenham with their goal scoring talent but also we are not Everton or Liverpool! lol. If the players can play with more confidence and fluidity, pace and control, I believe we can play in a more stylish successful way.
Regards vs.

2.) 23 Oct 2017
23 Oct 2017 12:31:57
I agree with you Vintagesaint. It just seems to me like the smallest thing seems to annoy me at the moment. Just a few of these I picked up on, on Saturday.
Crossing the ball with no Ariel threat
Not moving the ball quick enough - players in midfield holding the ball more often than not a few seconds longer than usual
Not using the width - spent a lot of time holding the ball in the center of midfield
No support out wide for Bertrand and Cedric - Bertrand's quality comes when he works with a winger that stays on the wing, but the 4-3-2-1 formation didn't allow him to do this
We don't look great when we are put under pressure. West Brom just sat back and allowed us to keep the ball. Any team that can keep up a high tempo and will pressure our back 4, will create errors
I might be completely wrong posting this but I think this wasn't the case a few seasons ago. I'd like to see us play with 2 fast wingers. Lemina is probably the best signing we've made, and what he is brilliant at doing is breaking up the play and moving the ball forward. I think if we had 2 wide wingers that he could play the ball out wide too, we would be lethal on the counter-attack.

Although I am being negative, here are some positives from the game.
It's good to see our midfield looking so comfortable with the ball at their feet
Lemina is quality. I've mentioned it above, but that signing was a steal
Yoshida had another very, very good game. However, I don't like him on right side of the CB's as his right foot is very weak.

3.) 23 Oct 2017
23 Oct 2017 15:22:48
Hi Jay
I believe you are absolutely right we need to be prepared to take more risks, it won't succeed every time and the players have to be brave and take responsibility. Too much football now is played going backwards and sideways and players just doing enough with no penetration. I have no problems with players losing the ball trying to take a player on in the opponents half and when we lose the ball, work hard to win it back. Yesterday Kane and Alli for Spurs both scoring goals but dropping back into defence when needed . Again I agree we dwell too long on the ball, we need players running forward with the ball and other players busting a gut to support them and if the move breaks down running just as hard to get the ball back or support the defence. I see Spurs high tempo, high pressing game as the way forward and back to where we were under Pochettino. Coyr.

4.) 23 Oct 2017
23 Oct 2017 16:16:33
Good posts guys I think you more or less have said it all but I would just like to add just two things. 1. When you have a goalkeeper that can't do the basics as in catching the ball or distributing the ball it must make the defence nervous. They need confidence that the guy between the sticks can be relied upon which he can't. 2. Looking at Lemina he is so comfortable on the ball that he should be playing in a more attacking midfield position. He can drift past players and possibly open the opposition up and make them second guess what he is going to do, we have not played the high line since the days of Pochettino which worked very well. We will never score goals with slow approach play and negative passing sideways and backwards. I may be unpopular here but I would have given Claude Puel another season, you just can't keep changing managers it causes confusion for the players changing from one style to another. The way things are going we may change again before the end of the season if the goal tally remains abysmal. We got away with one at the weekend with a worldly but against the top teams we are going to have to score goals because they will score against us, that is almost a cast iron certainty.

5.) 23 Oct 2017
23 Oct 2017 16:56:57
Hi Duke,
I absolutely agree with you Forster should be commanding his area and varying his distribution too often his kicks out are headed back by opposition defenders, he also needs to work on his mobility, too often he looks like a big, cumbersome lump. Let's hope the management and players are working on all these points and more.
Regards vs.

6.) 24 Oct 2017
24 Oct 2017 09:32:07
Hi all. I was starting to think people only post on here when we lose and they have something to moan about. Looks like I was only half right. Ha Ha.

I think you’ve all touched on several of the reasons why we struggle in attack but you also have to put each game in context. As you highlighted VS, West Brom showed no attacking intent in the first 45 mins against us and there will be plenty of teams who come to St. Marys and play the same way. It’s what most mid to lower league teams will do away from home. That doesn’t suit our current style of play because we play possession football building from the back which only draws out teams with real attacking intent. That’s why in the last season or two we fare better against the bigger teams who press and harry all over the pitch. We have the talent to keep the ball for the most part and create space that way, but this is impossible when the opposition sit in their defensive positions and simply try to clear and intercept when you get close to them.

I can understand the frustration with crossing the ball into the box when we lack height up top but Arsenal and Man City still do it without a real target main to aim at. Its more about when you cross and the accuracy. A well hit cross can still evade defenders and land sweetly on the head or foot of a striker so its worth carrying on. Also, again in the game against West Brom, they played defensively and narrow which was a double blow to us on Saturday as we played a narrow formation. The width had to come from our full backs and the crossing was not the best. Its amazing to think it, but if you watch any premier league game, you’ll only see a couple of crosses come in that are, or deserve to be, converted. It’s a fine art and even the best in the game have a low conversion rate on crosses, but that doesn’t make it a pointless exercise. Especially when your play is forced wide by a defensive team playing narrow.

Jay, I don’t believe we are more susceptible to a pressing team than anyone else. The whole point of the tactic is to apply pressure and force mistakes and it does work a lot, but I think all of our players (FF excluded) have enough confidence and ability with ball at feet to use the ball effectively or read the danger and get rid if nothing else is on. A high press as a tactic can be very effective for teams but it requires a very high level of fitness, which places players’ bodies and health under duress so carries its own risks in that regard, but also means that you are, as a team, playing a high line. If you are not perfect in your intent to press and win back the ball, then you run the risk of being caught with a swift counter. Even the best exponents, like Barcelona, left themselves susceptible to several clean breakaways against good teams, and at least one one-on-one with the keeper each game, or so it seemed. I’m not sure we are good enough to succeed with that system at the moment. Certainly we can’t rely on FF to shut out such a high percentage of shots.

MP switched the formation on Saturday to try and make us less open defensively. The balance appeared better but it’s hard to see against a team that only attacks you in the second half. They changed formation and that opened the game a little, allowing us more joy going forwards. I’m not a fan of the diamond formation as it’s narrow and relies on the full backs delivering good crosses. If they have an off day, it becomes a struggle to create. But, as I’ve said before, MP is mixing up the team, finding out who can play where under pressure. Who his reliable players are and that’s all positive. The team have shown they are flexible and have several formations in their locker. Though I think we’re yet to find our best formation/ starting 11, we sit in the top half and are doing enough. This is a transitional season for us and it’ll take a little while to get things right.

7.) 24 Oct 2017
24 Oct 2017 10:40:16
Good post Figo agree with most of it however you can't quote Man City successfully playing wide with no height in the middle. It is the pace they play the ball which catches defences out and when you have two of the world's best attacking midfielders as in De Bruyne and David Silva you have a distinct advantage to most. The difference mainly is they both score goals and provide multiple assists, we don't have anybody that can do that. That is why I suggested playing Lemina in a more attacking position, might not work but worth a try?

8.) 25 Oct 2017
25 Oct 2017 09:12:43
So I didn't want to touch on FF with this post as he has been awful so far this season and we all know that and I think I've posted this before, but I'm finding it hard to understand what has happened to him. When we first purchased he was solid at commanding his box, I know he hasn't always been the most athletic GK, but it's difficult to find that balance as a GK, someone who can command in the air and pull off amazing saves. But on Saturday, he came out to make basic catches and dropped them. Yet he'll then go and make an incredible point-blank save, but this is only due to his size as he can cover off more of the goal.
Do you guys think he's too comfortable and not being challenged, if I was the manager I would make it known that he can get dropped. Is McCarthy actually better than him?

9.) 26 Oct 2017
25 Oct 2017 22:10:05
It’s a shame but looking at his career as a whole, he’s been very much a back-up option until we tried him in the first team. He’s had one standout season for us, albeit helped by a good team in front to protect him. It seems now, that good season was the anomaly and though he does appear very low in confidence at the moment, his average level is only good enough as back-up for a top 10 side.

His distribution is poor, his height and size should make him a commanding presence but he rarely leaves his line to claim crosses and when he does, he’s a spiller. He struggles to get down for low shots, and sometimes makes strange decisions about how best to tighten the angle and male himself bigger. I see little anticipation or football intelligence so I struggle to see a solid attribute at the moment.

I don’t believe either Alex McCarthy or Stuart Taylor present real competition for places but then I don’t see that as FF’s problem. His confidence is low and putting him under even greater pressure is likely to back fire. That said, the lack of competition is a major issue and the club must be aware but failed to act last summer, as with our attacking shortages. I hope the aim is to invest either in January or the coming summer. If there’s no-one in the youth teams, maybe we’ll find another loanee.

10.) 26 Oct 2017
25 Oct 2017 22:24:13
Jay there's only one way to find out and that's play him, he can't be any worse or am I being too critical.

11.) 26 Oct 2017
26 Oct 2017 07:18:29
The GK position for England is there for the taking so if the possibility to be England number one is not enough to push FF then I don't think a stronger 2nd choice at Southampton will change much. I don't think he should be dropped to try and push him I think he should be dropped to save us points, if he comes back stronger then that's great.