03 Apr 2018 16:53:34
Once again I have sat back and had a think/ read/ watch before writing.
It is quite obvious that very few, if any, of the players have ever been involved in a regulation scrap.

A lot of criticism has been aimed at Tadic for the whole season . and rightly so. He proved without doubt that he absolutely no idea how to 'up his game'. He played the same as he has all season, like a prima donna. This was the game to fight for everything, to chase everything, to play positive. He did none of that! Redmond stuttered, spluttered, the odd decent ball . but quite clear he also was unable to drive himself to a greater level of fight.
Some of the defending was almost amateur in tackling, distribution, positional play and reading of the game.
So now as others have said on various forums, this is time to play a team with fight, passion. a fire in their belly . and an absolute desire to NOT GET RELEGATED.
Yoshida has to come back in! Long has to play! Simms has to play! and after watching so many wasted dead ball situations against WHU, JWP has to play! both for his skills and his passion for this club!
Davis has to play!
CA up front . aggressive and passionate and can score. MG in behind CA .
Betrand and Cedric are just not themselves. Their lack of cover is blunting any attacking option they used to provide. Get Simms and Long on the wings and you know they will get much more support.
As for the midfield . JWP Davis Romeu . three work horses without the skill of Lemina . but it is not skill we need there, it's composure, distribution, defence and fight!

1.) 03 Apr 2018
03 Apr 2018 18:14:32
Hi rich
You are absolutely right there is no leeway we have 8 games and we have to compete in all of them. I think that too many of these players want out in the summer and are not in the least interested in whether Sfc stay up or not. I am totally amazed at their attitude because most of the usual suspects who want away will be regarded as luxuries and the modern premiership game is based on competing and no team can afford to carry players who may or may not turn up for that game! None of us care if we play ugly we need performances and results, let's hope all the players finally realise this. I am just disappointed that it is taken this long for the penny to drop. I totally agree that should we survive we need to have a real cull of the deadwood and if we are relegated this will be forced on Sfc. I hope that we survive and move forward.
Regards vs.

2.) 03 Apr 2018
03 Apr 2018 19:14:29
McCarthy Soares Yoshida Stephens Bertrand with a 3 man midfield of Romeu Davis protecting and jwp in a more advanced role, Sims and long playing off Charlie Austin. Use Boufal/ Hojbjerg/ Lemina/ Gabbiadini/ McQueen from the bench and we’ve got a chance to reach 34/ 35 points. Persist with Tadic Redmond and especially Carrillo and we will get 31 points! Time for men not over paid premadonnas.

3.) 03 Apr 2018
03 Apr 2018 23:12:38
Absolutely spot on .
Every player you mention will fight for every ball, chase every ball .
We no longer have time for dancing prima donnas . one trick ponies .
and any messing around on the ball!

4.) 04 Apr 2018
04 Apr 2018 18:49:17
Makes you wonder why we knew the answers and the management team who were being paid megabucks didn't, I am not saying that about MH just the previous brigade. I remember the relegation battles of many seasons ago, not pretty but the players gave everything. Those days have sadly gone forever. Bournemouth being the top team on the South Coast just about sums it up who would ever have thought that.

5.) 05 Apr 2018
05 Apr 2018 09:30:13
Bournemouth fight for everything and they have a manager who reacts to going behind by making significant changes to the shape of the team. They must have clawed at least 12 points this season from losing positions, commendable spirit and management.

6.) 05 Apr 2018
05 Apr 2018 16:16:25
I am pretty sure we could have got Eddie Howe a while ago if we had really tried. Might have brought a couple of their excellent players with him. There you go, that’s history.

7.) 05 Apr 2018
05 Apr 2018 19:51:12
I have two thoughts on this. Firstly, on the passion point, I’m not sure ‘passion’ alone wins you football matches and I’m also not entirely convinced that our last two league performances are a result of our side lacking passion. Its more to do with confidence and mental strength. As fans we’re very quick to blame underperformance on players being paid too much and not really caring about the club. Whilst in some cases that may be true, I do not believe it’s the case with the majority, if any, of our squad. Before we start pointing the finger at the players for not caring enough, we should perhaps allow for mitigating factors like pressure, youth, form, coaching and very low confidence given the season they’ve had so far. There are also a number of players still learning to play with one another with different roles in different formations. All whilst staring relegation in the face and entering each game knowing we must try to win/ not lose and any mistake in this league could be punished.

Further, given our league position, competence or hard work is not enough; an end result is required. So whilst the knee-jerk reaction is to look at someone like Shane Long to come on and run around tirelessly and kick the opposition a lot, his scoring record is abysmal and he has missed some clutch chances this season. We don’t need someone else who will choke in front of goal when a chance comes his way. Nor is he a winger. Shane Long is not a creator of chances. He is not going to beat his man often and pick out our striker in the box with a pinpoint cross.

This leads me on to my second thought about the comments on this thread. We will of course debate formations and starting personnel as is usual when the team is struggling, but the single biggest determining factor on our season now will be luck. As things stand, our fate is not in our hands. We are in the relegation zone and reliant on two other teams performing worse than us over the remainder of the season. That will require luck. At the same time, we will need to accrue as many points as we possibly can over the final 7 games which will require luck in players finding form and confidence, MH finding the right formation and personnel, no more injuries to our key players, ref’s making calls in our favour when we need them to, and even certain teams perhaps underperforming and missing opportunities to beat us if we offer them.

That may sound a little pessimistic but it isn’t meant to be. Its one of the reasons why we love football so much and we should keep that in mind as we follow the team on this run in. If we are to stay up, we’ll need to have the rub of the green or in the very least hope our luck is better than someone else’s (x2). There are so many little things that decide a football match, we can either choose to examine these and debate each one, or cross our fingers and roar on the team every game with the hope that in the end, the luck ways more heavily in our favour.

8.) 06 Apr 2018
06 Apr 2018 09:15:58
Not sure who disagreed Figo but I think that is the best piece you have ever written which more or less is a true reflection of just about everything that has happened or not happened this season. It is very easy to blame the players but let’s face it, it goes much deeper than that. These players are talented and can do so much better but unfortunately their confidence IN THEMSELVES is rock bottom. When you start doubting your own ability it can have a devastating effect not just in football but more or less anything in life.

The running of SFC is flawed from the top downwards which is scary. If we do and hopefully we will, get the luck you describe and survive do you think it will change anything at the club. I doubt it considering that the main culprits for the demise of the club more or less employ themselves with nobody above them to sack them. The only weapon we have to change things as supporters is to protest but I’m afraid they won’t listen. So Saints get lucky starting this weekend, it’s overdue for sure.

9.) 06 Apr 2018
06 Apr 2018 09:19:54
it's not often I disagree with you Figo but this time I do :-) I / we were not implying that we field a team of passionate players that are devoid of skill. More that we field players that have plenty of skill AND passion. Tadic plays the same regardless of the opposition! the only time he shows any emotion is when he feels he has been fouled and does that pathetic hand posturing to the ref! rarely tackles, rarely chases back. So he negates any positive effect Bertrand or Soares has in that they are reluctant to go forward. Redmond and Boufal are the same. the days when our wing backs and left midfield/ wing worked beautifully together are long gone. We have three players that just don't work well with the wingbacks.

As for needing luck, needing refs decisions going our way, opposition under performing . yes they all might help. But our fate is in our hands if we perform as we know we can. And players on the pitch that have a desire to fight for every ball.
No long is not a winger or great scorer but he opens up games and the opposition become much more cautious in their open play, knowing that he is prowling around, chasing them down.

Let's hope he makes the changes he said he would make. I would bring back Yoshida, he was playing his best football since at Saints, scoring goals too . and has played lots with JS.

10.) 06 Apr 2018
06 Apr 2018 14:34:33
I understand that South Hants Rich, but my point is that its not passion this side lacks. Or arguably, skill. They haven’t shown much of late but as I say, that’s a result of low confidence rather than passion. If Tadic is not playing well (which he isn’t), its not because he’s not passionate enough. Its because he’s out of nick and his confidence is shot. Much like with Fraser Forster, Bertrand, Hoedt, Cedric, Lemina, Romeu, Redmond, Boufal, Gabbi, Carrill and even Long. It’s a lengthy list and I’m not sure anyone can claim all of them lack passion, but its clear they’re all low on confidence and self-belief. I’m not sure however that there is a second string of players who will come in and turn the season round.

Getting the team to play as well as it can is a big job for MH in light of his failure to achieve that very thing at Stoke where he knew the players much better. In order to play as well as we can, the players need to regain confidence and form, which will be part coaching judgment by MH and part luck in finding the solution quickly enough to turn the ship around.

Whether its an uncomfortable admission or not, the team that plays the best or with the most passion is not always the team that wins. Sport is not so black and white. If the opposition we face is at their best as well, every match will be difficult to win. Tightly contested matches can be decided by the finest margins and that may be a choice made by a player or referee. Large errors can go unpunished if luck is on your side, or small ones can lead to a goal against that seems harsh.

Mathematically, we have enough points available to finish higher than Palace and Huddersfield (Goal Difference permitting), but its unrealistic to think our fate is in our own hands when football matches and final league position is determined by so many factors above and beyond passion and skill.

11.) 08 Apr 2018
08 Apr 2018 11:51:31
Bit late to this, but just reading through and I can't ignore Chris. "makes me wonder why we knew the answers and they didn't" (or something to that effect) .

Chris, please give some justification for this. Are you honestly so deluded as to think that we, as fans, knew all the answers? What possible evidence can you give for that, because from where I'm standing we know none of them. We've bickered amongst ourselves and booed the team at every opportunity; engineered the sacking of Puel; made self-righteous claims a year later about how he should never have been fired; turned on his replacement extremely quickly. I really could go on.

Even if you want to ignore all of these negative things we fans have contributed to, how can you say we knew the answers? Just because we sit on here and say what we think should be done doesn't mean we're right. Just because the board do something different and it doesn't work doesn't mean that what we wanted would have worked.

I don't know if I've misunderstood what you're saying but if I haven't then that statement is arrogant to the point of delusion and stupidity. If we fans were in charge we would be in West Brom's position right now. God that has made me angry. Right, rant over. Let's beat those damn Gunners.

12.) 08 Apr 2018
08 Apr 2018 16:57:56
If I understand the original point correctly, I must say I agree. Losing is one thing but in the past two league matches there has been a complete lack of fight. You don’t need skill or confidence to work hard. That said, and to agree with Figo, hard work alone or passion does not win you matches, however it is a bare minimum us paying fans can expect. Don’t get me wrong, I have never booed myself at a match, but I can appreciate why some do.

Regarding long, Even had he not scored today, he gave it his absolute all and at times looked like he was forcing mistakes through being a nusience. We have to give him credit for that, don’t we? Perhaps Carrillo and Gabbi could get more goals, however they are hardly on fire themselves. I guess this is the reason we all love the game, because so many arguments and point of view.

I have to say, although we lost, I feel so much better than at the end of the last few games.

For some reason, I still look at the table and think we can do this.