22 Apr 2018 17:52:41
Guess we get rid of the whole squad but keep anyone under 23.

Build again with home grown players and a manager capable of managing.

But that means the whole board being replaced. Will it happen?

1.) 22 Apr 2018
22 Apr 2018 18:50:51
Swans good annihilated as predicted.
V difficult for players to have fully focused today when got a cup final v Bournemouth on Sat. Robbed of a goal again lol.

2.) 22 Apr 2018
22 Apr 2018 20:18:41
Why would that mean the whole board being replaced? Who says there aren't very sensible people on that board being shouted down by a few leaders who have got it wrong?

I don't agree with people saying we need to completely annihilate our board. We need to accept that that change is needed, and take an honest look at what worked to get us to where we were, and what stopped working to get us where we are. Personally I doubt a sensible and honest assessment like that would lead us to just sacking them all and starting again. We need to be brutal about finding the problem, but I have no doubt there are people there capable of being a part of the solution.

3.) 22 Apr 2018
22 Apr 2018 20:35:17
I was excited to see the team MH picked for the semi final .
What I never expected was to see was that none of the midfielders attempted to make any telling passes? no incisive passes, forward passes, over the top passes . well to be honest, absolutely no passes
that serviced the attack. It was bizarre to watch . even Lemina looked side wards and backwards .

Well Swansea got stuffed so at least something bright comes out of today.

4.) 23 Apr 2018
22 Apr 2018 21:57:55
I’m not sure anything quite so drastic as getting rid of the whole squad is required. If we stay up, some of the team are getting too old to contribute effectively, some are not quite up to scratch and its evident strengthening will be required and a new head coach with commitment to a long-term project, more and better coaches for the first and youth teams. If we do end up being relegated, those older players, or those not quite Premier league quality will likely be up to scratch in the Championship.

I’m not sure today’s match was tough to prep for or commit to. Most people starting were the regulars bar Austin and Lemina which led to a change in formation. I think its fair to say that the 3-5-2 didn’t work. As expected, with two forwards staying central, the wingbacks struggled to get forward as they couldn’t benefit from the neat interchanges on either flank with Tadic and JWP that have been so effective in recent weeks. The midfield three were all defensively minded with PEH and Romeu doing as they have in recent weeks but with Lemina doing the same. No-one took the initiative to drive forward and link midfield and forwards so the forwards were isolated and we ended up playing hopeless long balls or sideways and backwards. It reminded me of the good old days under MP2.

The second half was much better once MH changed our formation back to what has been the norm of late. Tadic and Redmond provided the support required to the Austin as the lone forward to give us some real attacking impetus and suddenly Bertrand and Cedric were released. We were very unlucky not to score in this period as we had our best spell. If only Wesley Hoedt had defended rather than bending over and spreading his arms like he was impersonating an Ostrich with its head in the sand.

I think MH needs to take several notes from this match moving forward. Firstly, we need to keep the 3-4-2-1 formation. Secondly, Austin is much more of a goal threat than Shane Long and if we are to score consistently in our run in as we need to, Austin needs to play as the lone striker. He did admirably up top for the last 30 minutes of the game and played the full 90 today so he has it in him. Redmond is definitely an option with Tadic behind the striker. Provides more going forwards than JWP with pace, technical ability and he can drift out wide and put crosses in from the goaline. Lemina is not a reliable option in midfield going into these key games. He played much, much better in the second half when we going forwards but the first half was littered with the usual slips, slow thinking and backward passing, even when he had time to turn and move forwards. If we are doing well going forwards, I’m sure he will be an able deputy for one of our midfielders if required but let's keep him on the bench at the start.

5.) 23 Apr 2018
22 Apr 2018 22:03:01
Team was more like what I want to see, although still can't really understand no JWP.

6.) 24 Apr 2018
24 Apr 2018 11:10:07
In the position we are in and given he is a dead ball specialist, I am not sure why JWP does not play the full 90. With him on the pitch, with Austin’s finishing, we are in with a shout.

I seem to recall rumours of Boufal falling out with MP2 and now Hughes. Pattern?

7.) 24 Apr 2018
24 Apr 2018 17:01:52
This is the on-going JWP debate and honestly, it makes me wish that you were allowed to make rolling substitutions like in hockey when the men’s team used to bring on their penalty corner specialist, just for that set piece and when it was done, send him back to the bench.

JWP is an excellent technician from set pieces but we may have only a handful from attacking positions in any one game and despite his excellent delivery, the number of goals scored from set pieces remains relatively low. He has scored 3 goals and has 3 assists to his name this season from 28 appearances. Any method of seeking to score is valid and if we have an expert on the pitch to make it more likely, it’s a sensible way to go, but given these stats, that player must contribute something else.

In patches during the season, JWP has seemed to offer more with increased work rate being the most notable factor. But otherwise, he seems to offer very little. Defensively, he makes less than one tackle per game, and is dribbled past almost once per game. Offensively, he has scored 3 goals from 28 appearances, has 3 assists, averages 1 shot per game, roughly 1 key pass a game and almost no dribbles. In respect of his passing, he averages one cross a game, less than one long ball and he attempts on average 27 passes per game with an accuracy of 79%.

In summary, he offers little defensively other than an obstacle and going forwards, he rarely shoots, rarely scores, he doesn’t run at players in a direct way, he doesn’t have pace, he doesn’t try to beat people on the outside, he doesn’t cross. So the stats back up the view held by most that JWP tends to sit in an advanced position and play neat little passes to people nearby, but taking no responsibility himself to create or score.

Does he want to be the heartbeat of the team? Most teams that have a player that keeps things ticking over will place that player in a deeper role. Think of players like Kante, Matic, Fernandinho, or Dembele to a degree. They average between 65 and 87 passes per game with an accuracy of around 90%. Its perhaps unfair to compare JWP to players from the biggest teams but it’s a marked difference. The player in our team who performs that kind of role is Romeu and his stats are more comparable with 57 passes pg and 83% accuracy. I’m not sure JWP has the defensive skill set.

I’m not sure even JWP knows his best position and those coaching him at the moment seem to be doing little to allocate him a role and help him develop the required skillset to impact a game. He’s still only 23 so time is just about on his side, but he remains in my view and old fashioned centre midfielder and the modern style of play has left him behind.

As for Boufal, he was clearly a bit miffed with MP2 given his goal celebration against West Brom, but if he wants to play, he needs to be more consistent. He's contributed so little in the time he has been afforded. I suspect he'll be going to a new club if we stay up. Maybe he'll find his feet in the Championship otherwise.

8.) 24 Apr 2018
24 Apr 2018 18:25:02
Hi Figo, thanks so much for that info, some really what hehile points with stats to back it up. When you look at it that way I guess I can understand the reasoning for not giving him the 90. However I seem to recall games ‘changing’ recently when he goes off, or we suddenly seem to have a free kick in a promising area, or of course I am clutching at straws!
I also recall not loads but numerous decent deliveries that have not been finished, with Austin back, perhaps his assists will increase - I guess my point is that with clinical forwards, a midfielders stats can be impressive, but in a team struggling to finish with confidence, it doesn’t matter how good the delivery is. For a prompt lad he seems to care, perhaps Boufal and co do too of course, but somehow I don’t see that in the body language.

9.) 25 Apr 2018
25 Apr 2018 11:39:55


10.) 25 Apr 2018
25 Apr 2018 14:14:37
Hi Figo, just the point out JWP has actually contributed with 5 assists this season and played 1659 minutes. Meaning he's contributing to goals every couple of games. He's a difficult player to discuss, I think for Saints fans he's been around for years and still not managed to cement his self in the first team. I still think we could've sent him out a loan a few seasons ago to get some first-team football.

His set-pieces are too good to leave out, but we can't rely on putting someone in the starting 11 that may have an impact IF we get a set-piece in a dangerous position.

And I agree with Figo, he doesn't know his best position and neither do we. I don't think he as what it takes to be a modern-day CDM, a lot of these players have the ability to win the ball and drift the ball upfield and turn the attack into defences. JWP's lack of ability to take on players shows that he couldn't take on this role. Could we play him out wide and have in crossing in balls from deep? Like a Beckham? Or have him play just behind the attackers and try and get into goalscoring positions. Like a Lampard. The Championship could be a good thing for his development if he doesn't get fished away.

As for Boufal I would imagine he's been messing around with his usual tricks in training being entertaining and I'm assuming MH doesn't have the patience for this. Boufal is technically the most gifted player in the team and watching him can be very entertaining. However, if everytime he gets the ball in training he's looking at using some unbelievable skills, I can imagine any manager would get short with this, especially considering the position we're in.

11.) 25 Apr 2018
25 Apr 2018 14:17:28
I certainly take your point on the poor scoring return from our strikers reducing the number of assists, but I do not recall any games where JWP has caused havoc in the opposition box with his passing, leaving us tearing our hair out because he is doing all he can and its our strikers who are missing golden chacnes. If you look at Trent Alexander-Arnold whipping balls in from deep positions and turning the opposition back four, JWP doesn’t do this. David Beckham as an old style right midfielder too would make space for himself to cross and create chances regularly and was therefore seen as an attacking threat. JWP doesn’t do this. So even his lack of pace, mobility isn’t really an excuse for failing to deliver crosses, or even through balls when in a more central position.

I also agree that when he goes off, especially when we’re chasing a game as we have been of late, we miss him when we are awarded set pieces in attacking positions as no-one in our team can deliver a killer ball like he can. But that doesn’t answer what contribution he would have made prior to and after that set piece. Perhaps the only reason we are attacking more fluently and winning free kicks and corners is a result of him being off and a better attacker being on. I think its fair to say, certainly in my experience anyway, that I only miss him when we waste an attacking set play due to poor delivery. Otherwise, I’m not sure I can tell in most games whether he is actually on or off the field.

Also, to be clear, this isn’t intended as JWP bashing. I would love to see him step up and start making an impact but I feel he no longer has such a strong argument of lack of experience or youth on his side. He needs to develop stronger attacking or defensive attributes if he is to justify his place in the starting 11 of any Premier League side. He’s another player who may benefit from a spell in the Championship if we are to drop down. If he can hone his game there, it could be the making of him.

12.) 25 Apr 2018
25 Apr 2018 16:10:39
I don't think you come across as bashing him, all relevant. That said, whoever seems to replace JWP when he does go off / left out has hardly set the world on fire. Here is hoping for the next few games.

13.) 26 Apr 2018
26 Apr 2018 12:08:22
Thanks Saintjay. On the stats point looking at whoscored.com I can only find 4 assists attributed to him this season. I hadn't included his one assist in the FA Cup v West Brom. He's only had 3 in the Premier League as confirmed by whoscored and the Premier League website. Have I missed another?

If we're including the FA Cup and League Cup, he's actually played 1936 minutes this season to date and with a return of 4 assists and 4 goals that's an assist or goal every 484 minutes or 5 or 6 games. Whether or not that is a good return is pretty dependant upon where he is playing. As a modern attacking midfielder or winger he should be aiming for double figures for goals and assists in a season. As a holding midfielder, if he can support the team with 6 or 7 goals and the same or more assist per season from set pieces, then he would be doing very well.