12 Aug 2018 19:37:30
Saints v Burnley

Before the game started, and on the way to the ground, felt full of optimism at starting the new season.
When the teams were announced, I was flat! My football buddy, Rob was fairly pleased.

The Goalkeeper - Great

5 at the back. umm, okay but we were at home, and so I wanted us to get back to pressing football, ala Pochettino days.
Three CBs - two Wing Backs?

Midfield - Romue and Lamina, was okay with that, as long as Lamina pushed forward a bit, last year he was too deep.

Stuart Armstrong - Great!

Then the Forwards - Redmond and Charlie Austin. my view to Rob was well at that rate we will go in 0-0 at half time and hope that Mark Hughes then realised the error of his ways and changed the format.

Why when you have Danny Ings and Mo Elyounoussi available, are you going to start with Charlie and Redmond.?

The first 20 minutes we were all over the place, okay first game and all that but still!

Burnley were way more organised and were unlucky not to go in halftime one or two goals up.

Second half starts and Stuart Armstrong gets taken out by Charlie Austin! MH has to make a substitution and indeed brings on Ings for Armstrong and Elyounoussi for Cedric Soares on about 56 minutes!

It was like the lightbulb went on. Danny Ings was sublime, total quality, Mo too started to make moves and to be fair Nathan Redmond started playing way better.

Charlie Austin is too static, heart as big as an Ox, but too slow and need gift rapped opportunities, i know that he can find the net, but doesn't create and carve out opportunities.

The same can't be said for Danny Ings, he was unlucky not to score, but he will, as will Mo. quality!

Lamina had a very good game as did Jack Stephens who should be a starter against Everton next week.

Jannik Vestergaard solid rather than spectacular, but he should be starting next week too.

Cedric Soares, looked like he was fresh back after a stomach problem, but he will be back to his best very soon.

Ryan Bertrand (Captain) still think we need a proper Captain. Solid enough but only a 6/ 10, also concerned that Matt Targett, having been kept back needs some game time, he is our future!

Manola Gabbiadini porr bloke needs to start a game not just be given 18 minutes.

Ward Prowse - he must be so fed up, i know its difficult but he adds something, certainly he must be wondering how he gets a game.

Mark Hughes - Its difficult. personally think we should have started as per the 2nd half team, give Charlie a break, start Danny Ings and Mo.

At least i said to my mate Rob what i thought would happen, and not too far wrong. Redmond is out big arguing point, Rob likes him, i don't, same with Austin but hey. what do i know?

Still a good afternoon out with very good company!

We will finish 10th - 12th this year, as long as the Wine Gums improve. :-) )


1.) 12 Aug 2018
12 Aug 2018 22:20:56
Agree with quite a lot of this, although I think it's reasonable that Ings didn't start this one given that he's been here 2 days lol.

Couldn't agree more that we need to get back to playing a faster tempo and pressing in a way which causes other teams issues, even if we're left exposed every now and again. My team for next game:

Cedric, Vestergaard, Stephens, Bertrand
Lemina, Ward-Prowse
Redmond, Ings, Elyounoussi.

2.) 13 Aug 2018
13 Aug 2018 07:32:00
Knowing how solid defensively Burnley were last season and the fact that they've played a couple of competitive matches before us, plus this being our first competitive match and all that, I'll take a draw. The signs have been a bit more promising but I do hope the goals will come soon.

Would love to see a classic 4-4-2






Course up against any stronger side this would be straight up murder lol. Probably take gabs out and put an extra midfielder on. Not knowing how serious Armstrong's injury is, I'd have a proper headache once he's fit. And I haven't even thought about Hojbjerg.

3.) 13 Aug 2018
13 Aug 2018 11:41:09
I said in my pre-match article that three centre-backs could cause us issues in the game and so it proved. Bertrand and Cedric were kept pinned back by Burnley’s wide men and that meant we defended with 5 and our attacks were forced through a very narrow corridor which played entirely into Burnley’s hands. I was very pleased with Vestergaard’s performance though. Chris Woods is quite good at bullying centre backs but Vestergaard gave as good as he got if not better. I expected Woods to get the better of him physically but none of it. Loved seeming him pushing Woods around at times. He past his first real test well.

I was also pleased with Redmond’s performance. His ability to beat players and some direct running worked well in both halves to keep the Burnley defence on their toes but there were flashes in the second half especially where they couldn’t touch him. That’s the sort of performance we want to see from him every week.

We all agree that Saints improved with the formation change half way through the second half. With more time, we could have scored the all important winning goal and its frustrating that this formation wasn’t used from the off. Ings’ link-up play was very good when he came on, should have been awarded a penalty and he helped to revive a flagging attack. Mo had some good flashes too.

Before the game I said I would take a draw and so I’m not to disappointed with the draw. I was happy there were more positives in the performance that I was expecting both defensively and offensively and I feel more confident we have the right players here for us to have a good season. We just need the man in charge to put the player’s in their best positions to realise their full potential.

4.) 13 Aug 2018
13 Aug 2018 17:07:42
I'm still (I've been saying this for over a year) struggling to find anything positive about Gabby. Would love to see Austin and Ings get regular game time to form a partnership. Personally think this season looks to be a usual roller coaster ride but with much more positives then last year. Happy to finish in the top half. That would be a good season.

5.) 13 Aug 2018
13 Aug 2018 18:45:09
agree with cyprussaint, gabbiadini had the perfect chance to score, free header at the back post and he chose to head it back across goal - that wouldn't be so bad had it not been for the fact there was no one there. A) why didn't he just go for goal and B) shows he has a lack of awareness, could've looked up, didn't. There's a reason 3 different managers haven't started him regularly

Goals for Ings will come. Looked full of pace (which was the biggest worry signing him imo) once he gets his eye in, he'll be great. Redmond and Elyounoussi look a great partnership, always knew where each other was and what each other were going to do. Imagine that when they've had a few more games.

Could be a decent season, goals will come, just down to the defence doing their job imo.

6.) 14 Aug 2018
14 Aug 2018 10:38:53
I can understand the frustration with Gabbi but he came on as a sort of right winger and that is not a role he is either familiar with or comfortable playing. He did manage to get on the end of a cross but he was well behind the back post leaving such an acute angle, scoring was highly unlikely and there was also a defender and goalkeeper between him and the goal. The percentage play was to head it back across goal as he did but there was no-one there to benefit. Sometimes, the speed of play dictates that you have to make an educated guess as to the best thing to do without having the luxury of a glance across the field to see where your teammates are. I think its extremely harsh to criticise him for not scoring a near impossible header and for heading it back across goal to no-one in red and white, when we were pushing for a goal and he had a reasonable expectation that with two strikers on the pitch and another attacking midfielder who can play as a striker, someone would gamble and make a late run towards goal.

Gabbi hasn't always done himself any favours when he has played but he has largely been played in a system that doesn't suit him. He is not a lone striker who enjoys holding up play and when playing on the right, he likes to drift into central spaces to link up with a striker. That was not possible and not necessary on Sunday as Redmond, Ings and Elyounoussi all occupied the spaces he likes to play in. He therefore stayed wider and could have little impact on the game.