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08 Aug 2018 14:47:18
Eds, today we're being linked with Lobotka and are said to be leading the chase for Ings alongside Palace. Any truth in the former and have you heard any updates on the Ings situation since your last posts on it?


{Ed002's Note - I am not aware of Southampton interest in Stanislav Lobotka but Spurs have looked to him as an option after losing out on their preferred choice to replace Dembele, but may not see value in the €35M asking price. Napoli are still looking to add another midfield player after Ruiz and have a declared interest. Interest from Southampton remains with Ings as Alcacer is looking out of the question. The interest of Leicester has gone. After getting nowhere with Babacar and Aleksandar Mitrovic, Crystal Palace have turned to Ings.}

1.) 08 Aug 2018 21:31:31
Many thanks Ed002.

Whilst Ings presents a bit of a fitness gamble, I'd rather him over Welbeck if there is any truth in that rumour.

2.) 08 Aug 2018 23:07:31
Please let us sign a striker. Please.



17 May 2018 14:30:49
If you haven't read Ralph Kreuger's interview in the Echo, here's a brief summary.

He offers himself as the sole person responsible for the events of this season, whilst simultaneously saying it was not the fault of just one person. He believes some tough lessons have been learned so all involved should stay on to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated. Changing personnel is counter intuitive as the new people coming in will not have shared the tough experience of this season and learned the same lessons. It's a different way to look at things and perhaps correct, but the fans will want to be reassured with affirmative action to prevent another slump.

Well, happily RK acknowledges the club left the Southampton Way behind and so we'll be looking to return to that strategy. Great news right!? Well, yes and no. RK's primary focus as chairman is to represent the new owner by balancing football and finances. So, when he envisages a return to the Southampton Way, he means the financial element as well as the football.

Lets rewind to the not so distant past. What were your expectations for the club during the summer transfer windows over the last 4 or 5 years? Remember? Great! That's what we'll have to enjoy/ endure once more. You see, returning to the Southampton Way on the pitch for RK also means to apply the previous approach to transfer dealings. We'll sell our best players for as much as possible and recruit younger players to develop and sell on in the future at profit. RK says we should then take pride in watching our old players achieve wonderful things like reaching the Champions League final with their new side. Err. no. That's a bit like telling you that although your girlfriend left you for someone better, you should be happy for her when they win the lottery.

Remember too that its not just the fans that take issue with this policy. Our two best manages of recent times have left stating their frustration at being unable to build a team and plan ahead as they had no idea what their team would look like from season to season. Will MH be any different? RK is confident he's the right man to unite the team but how can he when the faces in the changing room will change so often?

RK advises that Mr Gao won't be investing any money in the club. Therefore, our transfer funds will come mainly or solely from player sales. Perhaps not this summer as we still have the majority of the VVD money to spend, unless that money is being used to improve the training facilities and entertainment for fans on match days as RK outlines. If the money is available, we start from a good place and can still strengthen this summer with a view to moving up the league. But then we'll have to see some of our favourite players leave and be replaced by others we may have no affinity with. Its like a football version of speed dating. Just when we get to know and like them, RING, there goes the bell and they're moving on. It might be great for the financial side but the fans are being asked to support the club rather than the individual players. I don't buy it. Surely that's grounds for a divorce between fans and club rather then a foundation for unity.

At least it's a World Cup year.


1.) 17 May 2018 16:22:15
Hi figo

Excellent post and I agree totally with your sentiments. I think it will be interesting as the club has yet to announce the appointment of MH as permanent manager, how long does this process take with only one candidate? . The transfer window opens tomorrow and season ticket holders are being asked to renew admittedly with prices held at last year's level, but as you state it's same old saints not showing any ambition but happy to keep turning over players for a profit. Its a bit rich that the club show no real loyalty to the players or fans, can you blame the players feeling the same way? 're RK's comment on spending money on the training facility why it is only 4-5 years since construction finished and it was hailed as leading edge, years ahead of its time so where is the need for big expenditure? It will be interesting to see how much of the VVD money is available for players plus moving on some other fringe players e. g. Clasie who haven't featured. Its interesting that nobody is really taking responsibility for MP2's appointment and how disastrous that was on a 3 year contract which cost money to settle early! The premiership as RK says is unique but it is not just about football, it is entertainment, theatre, drama and the connection between fans and players. As you say figo this has been eroded and I hope that this is not the Board and owners view of the 'Southampton way'
going forward.

2.) 17 May 2018 16:41:15
I was thinking exactly the same thing re: the MH appointment. He said at the end of the season he would love to take the job on and he expected Saints to move quickly. Saints have said publicly now they see him as the right man for the job and they're in discussions. and that's it. Nothing for some time now. There's a sticking point somewhere and it may well be financial or length of contract, but if I was MH I would like some reassurance that the core of the squad I want to keep and build around will still be here for next season. If the club can't give him that assurance, or he doesn't like the idea of the high player turnover, it could be a deal breaker.

3.) 17 May 2018 21:47:18
I would ‘echo’ the comments - it is a fine post.

The summary is spot on and covered everything. About Hughes though, he is in a fairly good position, as on paper we were going down and he saved us. Whilst I am grateful and have no issues with him getting the long term job if a suitable strategy is in place, no one knows for sure if we would have stayed up anyway. Although it’s speculative, we could have potentially stayed regardless of who was at the help, a point that should be considered is that it got worse before it got better. However again, stoke may have stayed up under Hughes, I seem to recall his points average would have been enough.

That said and again on paper, he saved us and reputation would naturally be restored to an extent.

4.) 17 May 2018 22:16:10
Totally agree with both above posts but there is just something that is bugging me. They allowed Mr GAO to take majority control of the club with to put it mildly very little confidence in his financial ability to finance the club if required in the future. I feel this is a major stumbling block for any progression for the club to ensure a stable future . Just maybe the SOUTHAMPTON WAY doesn’t suit other potential investors who really want to be more involved with the club and not happy with the board as it is. The delay in appointing MH smacks of the last two seasons with obviously something holding it up, probably as you say money and confirmation of the squad availability for next season. Don’t know about anybody else but the communication from the club to the supporters is virtually nothing apart from a rather sheepish interview with Adam Blackmore. However they were amazingly quick to post the new season ticket great deals and wanting our money now before we have any idea of what the set up will be next season. I personally find the recent business far from the Southampton Way and if they want to know what that is, hold a fans forum they might learn something, but I doubt it.

5.) 17 May 2018 22:33:36
So basically we are expecting nothing to change then lol.

6.) 18 May 2018 11:08:37
They’ll be holding a fans’ forum in August I believe so perhaps an opportunity to get some points across and find out more. I can’t find any trace of an official fan club/ union which would be a better way for the fans to approach a forum. Anyone know of one?

What will be pointless is if 100 fans turn up all shouting and disorganised. Then, at the next forum there’s an entirely different group of fans all asking the same questions as last time or wasting time with questions that are unhelpful. Given that the fans are many, availability of tickets will likely be luck of the draw on application and views broad, it would be better if there was an official supporters’ club, independent but recognised by it as representing the fans, where member fans are invited to air their views to representatives who then put select questions to RK and whoever else turns up. This official supporters’ club can then circulate the minutes of the forum to all its members so everyone can read what was discussed without it being edited by the Echo or the FC. Otherwise, fans will feel as if they don’t have a voice if they don’t get to attend a forum, making them pointless.

For the club’s part, if they feel the forum is just an opportunity for people to come and shout or abuse them when things aren’t going well, or they are disorganised and messy there’s a risk they’ll just draw a line under it.

7.) 18 May 2018 15:07:42
Figo I would be the first to second you as the level headed representative to put an organised sensible discussion with the board and the management putting forward supporters views and recommendations for the club to take on board. Why not try to organise something I believe you would get very firm backing from the majority of the supporters.

8.) 18 May 2018 20:55:48
Thanks Chris. I wasn't really thinking about me. Right now, I feel far from level headed about what is happening.

I may consider it. I've still not found anyone official. I'll drop a line to the SFC supporter relations contact and the Football Supporters Federation to see if there is anyone official. I'd rather just join than set something up as it will require a fair amount of time to be committed. But, if there is no-one out there it seems to me the only sensible way to have our views aired with the club constructively.



09 May 2018 11:40:24
Eds, there are reports today we've turned down the chance to sign Max Meyer from Schalke for just under £9m. Is there any truth in this? I know Meyer has fallen out with Schalke but he's a genuine prospect isn't he? Do you think it was his attitude that saw us turn him down if we did so?


{Ed001's Note - it is not as simple as that. He was offered around by his agent, his club were still trying to get him to sign a new deal. There was no price set or anything, just clubs not wanting to get involved in January.}

1.) 09 May 2018 13:13:54
OK, so just the papers highlighting a link to us to add a bit if spice to the story when in fact he was being shopped around to a number of clubs. I like what I've seen/ heard about him playing wise though. Any thoughts on his ability to kick on in the premier league?

2.) 11 May 2018 16:07:31
Interesting striker worth looking at from St Pauli - Marvin Ducksch, currently on loan to Holstein Kiel, has scored 18 goals this season plus 11 assists.



20 Mar 2018 12:07:12
As we have a boring two week break with no football, I thought I'd take the opportunity to quickly review my predictions for the end of season positions. I can't find my old article of a couple of weeks back on the site so can't remember all I said but I think my predictions have altered a little.

Swansea I expect to finish highest of the current bottom nine teams with around 41 points. BHA still have a tough run in but they've accrued more points at this stage than I expected so I see them being safe now, finishing on about 38 points. I predict Newcastle and Palace will finish with the same or thereabouts points total.

At the bottom, I don't expect WBA to move and Stoke have Arsenal, Spurs, Burnley and Liverpool still to play along with West Ham, Palace and Swansea so I can't see them picking up more than 5 points from their run in, leaving them on 32 points and in the relegation zone.

The real scrap is over that final relegation spot and it will be us duking it out with West Ham and Huddersfield for the right to play Premier League Football next season.

As expected, Huddersfield have really started to struggle lately, even more than I expected. They're left with only 7 games, including the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal. They also face Newcastle, Brighton, Watford and Everton. Three weeks ago, I could see them winning one of those games or nicking two or three draws, but now. I think they'll really struggle to finish on anything higher than 34 points.

West Ham have 8 games left and face Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Man City and Leicester in their run in. If points from those games seems unlikely, West Ham will be focused on getting as much as they can from their game with us, Stoke and Everton. I can see West Ham performing well enough in one of those three games to get a win provided the natives in East London don't continue to stage protests and undermine their own side's chances of getting wins. Anyone playing West Ham at the London stadium will know the importance of scoring first and turning the home fans against their team. West Ham are in the stronger points position than us, but their form is the most unpredictable. They really could finish anywhere between 30 and 36 points. Anything less than 34 is asking for real trouble.

We too have the luxury of 8 league games left, but due to our progression in the FA Cup, two of those will be midweek fixtures and there is of course the Semi-Final against Chelsea, in what will be a rather heavy-going conclusion to the season. MH will have to be careful to get the balance right in training between improving fitness and stamina of players, whilst not over-working them and leaving them fatigued. We still lack a goal scoring striker at the moment, so the imminent return of Charlie Austin could be the difference. We have Arsenal, Chelsea and City to play, mixed in with West Ham, Swansea, Bournemouth, Everton and Leicester. Our midweek catch-up games will be the Leicester and Swansea games, making what already looked like tricky fixtures that little bit harder unless we're playing with confidence and momentum from performances in the matches around them. Like West Ham, we remain somewhat of an unknown quantity, with a new manager. As a rival to escape that final relegation spot, the West Ham game couldn't be more important in determining where we'll be playing our football next season. A win will place us above West Ham (and possibly Huddersfield too) and the pressure will then be on them for at least a week (or in Huddersfield's case, I would expect them to be in trouble for the rest of the season) . Anything less than a win and West Ham and Huddersfield stay above us for the time being and the pressure is on us to get the points required to go above one of them. With those fixtures, we'll be relying on Huddersfield and West Ham to continue to wobble whilst finding something like 6 or 7 points from our final 7 games. This unpredictability means we could also finish with a points haul of anything between 30 and 36 points. Our goal difference gives us the edge over our rivals if we can match their points tally. I still think we'll need as little as 34 points to stay up, but at this stage, its hard to tell whether that target will be reached with comfort or hover tantalisingly out of reach.


1.) 20 Mar 2018 13:23:21
Perfectly put as ever Figo! The only other thing in our favour is the bounce we get which Huddersfield won’t have and which the hammers had and don’t have now.
That puts us psychologically at an advantage.
Also those two teams are not going to change formation now. We have had to which should work for us particularly with Chaz coming back.

2.) 20 Mar 2018 18:14:42
I was thinking about what Mark H might say to the players before the West Ham United game . and in all honesty I think he will simply say 'GO WIN IT' .
he will totally instill the WE MUST WIN THIS GAME mentality . and I think the players will respond accordingly.

I also think there isn't a better time to play Chelsea in the PL and cup . and likewise Arsenal . both teams very hit n'miss . and if the passion showed by the whole team against Wigan is repeated . I am positive we could get something out of both these games.


3.) 20 Mar 2018 20:25:46
Figo, as always a great post, I remember your article well and actually I was thinking of some kind of follow up.

I agree with most except 2 of your points.

Huddersfield - if my memory serves me correctly they had a good February, collecting 6 points from 3 games. They have since lost to palace, whilst this put us in the bottom 3 it also dragged them back in it. Not great form but they have a points to game ratio to suggest they ‘may’ have enough.

34 points - I believe to get safe, it will be more like 36, I think we will achieve this under MH.

From there I / we will be happy and probably wondering what the future holds. I don’t think it is right to have dogs at the new owners though, they have not been here long. But assuming it is right about LR being the ‘brains’ behind the whole club playing that stupid formation at every level, I worry he may dictate to the permanent manager.

4.) 20 Mar 2018 21:54:15

5.) 21 Mar 2018 06:26:29
We have some tough games ahead as do the other relegation scrapers around us but we’re in a position where Hughes has already changed and brought something to the table as in our formation and belief
Potentially we could beat Chelsea twice in a week which would be pretty amazing
I honestly think we’re in the best hands now to get out of this with the following results

West Ham win
Swansea draw
Arsenal draw
Chelsea win
Chelsea win
Bournemouth win
Leicester loss
Everton win
City loss
And then my alarm clocks just goes off and I’ve woken up from my dream
Plus we’ve also lifted the FA cup and Mourinho admits on live television we were the better team without any excuses.

6.) 21 Mar 2018 12:28:54
Whilst we all feel a little more positive with the change of manager, we’ve yet to really see whether MH will provide a bounce or not. The players did play well second half v Wigan but as I say, we need to see them carry the second 45 minutes into the next match v West Ham and then on for the remainder of the season. Playing the odd good game/ half is nothing more than we were achieving under Pellegrino.

I’d worry if MH simply tells this team to ‘go and win’ the West Ham game. This remains a young, inexperienced side at its heart – McCarthy, Hoedt, Stephens, Lemina, Hojberg, Boufal, Sims, Carrillo all lack experience for various reasons and MH has highlighted that in his view, the players could do with more individual instruction and preparation than they were previously receiving. First and foremost, MH needs to ensure each player is well prepared tactically, understands their individual role and is capable of executing it on match day under pressure. These players do all need motivating but if they’re simply told to go and win a huge stakes game without the foundation of confidence and momentum, they may simply crumble under the pressure. It’s clear the team is fragile so I think the message needs to be ‘you CAN win this game’ and MH must convince them. If this squad can find self-belief, trust their team mates and trust the tactics, it will free them up to express themselves. That’s the key to winning.

On the Huddersfield point Gregg, they’ve lost two and drawn one of their last three games but its not the results but the manner that is of note. This month, they’ve failed to score in their three games and against Palace at home, they were totally dominated by a fellow struggler. Palace are better with Zaha back but Huddersfield’s strength has been their defence this season. They’re not going to score a lot of goals so if their defence starts to wobble, they could be in big trouble. Right now, I can’t see them getting too many more points. They may surprise me, yet again, with a big result against Newcastle, Brighton or Everton. I think their best chance of a win is against Watford but even that’s not easy. If teams have sussed them out or their performance levels drop now, they could have it tough.

My 34 points guesstimate is based on Huddersfield only picking up a couple of draws in their remaining fixtures a I suspect they may take that last relegation spot if that happens. Maybe its just wishful thinking as 33/ 34 points gives Saints a more makeable target.

I think, moving forward, the club needs invest in a better coaching team across all levels. They need to hire not only better coaches, but more of them if they want to ensure that the teams remain attractive to young players, they develop to their full potential and that they are able to integrate seamlessly into the first team as intended. As for senior players, the head coach needs to have a true understanding of each player and their best position, decide the formation that best suits and then recruit a few players to ensure there aren’t any square pegs in round holes. In today’s game, young players are coached to perform specific roles by the top sides. Central midfield is not really a defined position anymore. Instead, you’re an anchor man, defensive or deep-lying playmaker, a box to box midfielder, advanced playmaker, roaming playmaker and on and on. Left and right backs can be attacking, defensive, wing-backs or full backs. Now more than ever, its crucial for the club to ensure that each season it knows the best formation for the players and any players brought in fit naturally into that system. That’s the art of team building. Not just buying the best young players, but the best players that fit into your system. If not, that new signing will not be able to play to their potential.

7.) 21 Mar 2018 19:16:52
So the two big games for me where I think we can get maximum points is against West Ham and Swansea, simply because I think we have the better squad than both teams. Swansea has come under great form, but the change of management should favour us. The worrying thing for me is that we've got Arsenal and Chelsea back-to-back. However, both teams are underperforming and again, we'll see what effect Mark Hudges has.

These next two weeks are crucial and I would say that the break has come at a perfect time, because of our form only a few players have been called up to their national squads, which should give Hughes some time to know what he's working with and prepare for the West Ham game. Facing Man City on the last day is a massive burden for us, they will have probably won the title by then and if they're still in the Champions League, they should be focussed on that. However, if they're breaking records I expect it to be a bad game.

8.) 22 Mar 2018 14:06:04
Agree on last game. Let’s hope it’s not a thumping 8/ 9 -0 and screw our GD!



14 Feb 2018 20:29:19
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Finishing positions for the bottom half of the Premier League


1.) 19 Feb 2018 11:10:56
Nice article Figo! I've posted my predictions for Saints remaining fixtures below.
Burnley Away - Draw
Stoke Home - Draw
Newcastle Away - Loss
West Ham Away - Loss
Arsenal Away - Loss
Chelsea Home - Loss
Leicester Away - Loss
Bournemouth Home - Win
Everton Away - Win
Man City Home - Draw

Very pessimistic view here and I would like us to get results against other struggling teams, I just don't think it'll happen. Maybe we can go to Burnley and host Stoke and win both of these games. That'll put us in a better position to stay up. But with only 5 wins from 27 games, we don't seem to have a winning mentality about us and based on everything that has happened so far I can't see us turning around and going on a 5 game winning streak.

2.) 19 Feb 2018 17:05:16
I wouldn’t go to the bookies with them predictions 😂.

3.) 19 Feb 2018 19:43:51
You'd get some amazing odds.

4.) 20 Feb 2018 11:28:44
I might have to stick a couple of quid down on that then haha. What results would you say would be different, obviously looking back at what I've said 5 losses on the bounce is probably unlikely.

5.) 20 Feb 2018 12:21:35
My predictions would be
Burnley away - Draw
Stoke home - win
Newcastle away - draw
West Ham away - draw
Arsenal away - loss
Chelsea home - loss
Leicester away - loss
Bournemouth home - win
Everton away - loss
Man City home - loss
That will put us on 35 points, just hope I’m wrong and we get some more wins. Our season is going to be decided in the next 4 games.

6.) 20 Feb 2018 18:26:33
I think you're right that the next 4 games are going to be very decisive on the points front. We must also remain as tight as we can against Arsenal and Chelsea, frustrate and perhaps nick a point off one of them. If we are to lose several, it will be important to keep goal difference under control. There's every chance that one or more places could be decided by good in the end. Everton remain pretty pants with few goal scoring chances created. I'd like to think we have a chance up there of at least a point.

That's your predicitons for our run in but looking at the other teams, how many points do you think they'll pick up? If you work through say the bottom 6 teams and have a guess at their season end points total, it may be 35 points could keep us safe. I know it sounds like a low total but it could.

7.) 20 Feb 2018 20:32:59
I'm never right and my predictions are always awful so I reckon

Burnley - win
Stoke -draw
Newcastle -loss
West ham -loss
Arsenal - loss
Chelsea- loss
Leicester - loss
Bournemouth - win
Everton - loss
City - draw

34 points and hoping 3 teams do worse.

So if you are a betting man go opposite everything I've put and you might stand a chance! 😬.

8.) 21 Feb 2018 02:26:11
I believe we can win most of the remaining games. Here is my prediction:

Burnley - draw/ win
Stoke - win
Newcastle - win
West ham - win
Arsenal - draw
Chelsea- loss
Leicester - draw
Bournemouth - draw
Everton - loss
City - loss.

{Ed0333's Note - You’ll against Newcastle and Evertonians lose against Arsenal. The rest I agree with.

9.) 10 Mar 2018 22:17:40
Saint jay is 3 from 3.maybe we should of put a couple of quid on it.




figodasilva's banter posts with other poster's replies to figodasilva's banter posts


Southampton v Bournemouth Preview 20 October 2018

19 Oct 2018 15:28:44
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Southampton v Bournemouth Preview 20 October 2018




Southampton vs Chelsea 7 October 2018

04 Oct 2018 10:39:17
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Southampton vs Chelsea 7 October 2018




Review of Southampton v Brighton Match 17 September 2018

18 Sep 2018 00:24:59
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Review of Southampton v Brighton Match 17 September 2018




Southampton v Brighton 17 September 2018

13 Sep 2018 12:39:25
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Southampton v Brighton 17 September 2018


1.) 13 Sep 2018 17:06:33
Good article figo. Agree with pretty much everything you say. A few seasons ago I would have backed us to beat Brighton every time at home but feel that at present a draw is the most likely result however if we can come out and play like we were before the international break we could sneak a win. We certainly can't afford to lose home matches to the likes of Brighton who will probably finish the season around the same league position as ourselves.

2.) 14 Sep 2018 11:50:20
Thanks teejay.

Its still early in the season and so MH has a tough call to make - whether to stick with a difficult 4-4-2 or play with attacking courage and take the game to Brighton. They're definitely weaker on the road and it may pay to gamble on games against this level of opposition. 4-4-2 is too restrictive on the players we have.

Interestingly, we are 4th in the league for number of shots per game but way down in tenth for number on target and lower for chance conversion rates. Accuracy and finishing remain a thorn in the side so it would be nice to see us find a way of creating chances inside the box that are more likely to be finished than shooting from range. Interplay and through balls, whipped crosses could be the answer but I'm not sure 4-4-2 allows the players the space and field position to allow this. Have to wait and see I suppose.



Southampton vs Crystal Palace - 1 September 2018

31 Aug 2018 13:37:26
{Ed's Note - figodasilva has posted a new article entitled, Southampton vs Crystal Palace - 1 September 2018





figodasilva's rumour replies


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18 Sep 2018 19:53:39
Ha Ha - we want to defend and counter but can't do either. Too true!

If the players at your disposal aren't suited to play a certain way, you play to their strengths.

We do need some sound leadership on the pitch, I can't disagree, but I feel that the players will be less flappable if they had a clear plan to follow. I just don't see one.

I'm now going to watch Liverpool take on PSG. I wonder how they'll cope against us after a dry run warm up against those guys.




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18 Sep 2018 11:24:58
The go to argument every time we get a bad result should not be to blame the players for not taking responsibility, not caring enough or not showing enough passion whilst adding they are highly paid. So are all Premier League players. I remain confident in the abilities of the players. Instead, when there is collective shortcoming, coaching must be an issue. I’m not talking simply about the formation here. Yes, I think a 4-4-2 in the modern game and with the players that we have is outmoded, impractical and ineffective, but I see no identity, style, plan, individual or team improvement. No tactics specific to our players strengths, nor to beat the opposition. Just the same players running around each week and playing out the same directionless 90 minutes over and over.

Last night’s result wasn’t bad luck, nor a lack of responsibility by the players. Brighton’s pen was a result of the defensive tactics used for corners. We mark zonally hence the mismatch between JWP and Duffy. If the marking was wrong, it was because the preparation and tactics were wrong rather than anyone hiding or not doing their job. Brighton specifically switched their tactics and formation to a 4-3-3 to overrun our midfield and, ignoring the limpness of the first half, for the time it was used properly in the second half, it was very effective. MH made no changes to counteract Brighton’s supremacy, a huge momentum swing in their favour, despite only an average first half from us and seeing us come under increasing pressure in the second.

But crucially, there doesn’t seem to be any plan when we attack. Its totally reliant on the individuals on the pitch working it out for themselves. I recently watched the Man City doc on Amazon and the little glimpses into Pep’s coaching were fascinating. Everyone delights in the attacking freedom of Barcelona, Bayern and Man City under Pep, but its not the freedom he gives the players that allows this; its precisely the opposite. He drills his players with and without the ball. In certain situations, the players need to be in specific positions and they repeat the action over and over so everyone knows where on the pitch they should be and the player on the ball learns instinctively where his options are. Pep shows his players where the defenders will be, whether they will press or stand off and what they should look to do in any given situation. Obviously a match doesn’t play out exactly as one predicts, but most actions will remain effective. If things aren’t working as expected, the coaching still pays off as the players have plans B and C conditioned into them from prep for other games which will still feel natural and play fluently. Incredible.

So when I see us attack and the players looking uncertain, hesitant, it just makes me think the coaching falls short. When I see us defend and look so flustered, its because the coaching is lacking. The players aren’t sure what to do and if something isn’t working, they’re not told how to fix it. MH doesn’t make changes from the touchline quickly. Even when subs came on, they didn’t improve us and invited Brighton on. Pep’s clearly a bit of a control freak, but so are most of the best managers in the world. They understand at this level, every detail, every action is crucial and can make or break the game. That’s why they want more control, not less. You can’t just hand the game to the players and say its over to you. That’s not to absolve the players for their shortcomings but I think these are exaggerated by a lack of good preparation and coaching. Are our players better than those at Bournemouth? In the main, yes. Are Bournemouth a better team? Yes. Why? Coaching. Simples.




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07 Sep 2018 12:49:42
Its still very early days but I think we'll eventually finish somewhere between 10 and 15. We'll see the trend of the top 7 or 8 being streets ahead of the second tier teams who duke it out with each other in what will be a tight finish.

I don't think Mark Hughes will go unless we are playing terribly and back in the relegation zone with no hope of turning things around. He will likely get more time than the previous two managers as the board seem to rate his experience.

By the winter break we'll see the league taking shape in its two tier structure, but spots between 9 and 18 will probably be separated by no more than about 10 points. We'll be in that mix somewhere but I only see us picking up around 15 points between now and then.




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08 Aug 2018 21:31:31
Many thanks Ed002.

Whilst Ings presents a bit of a fitness gamble, I'd rather him over Welbeck if there is any truth in that rumour.




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07 Aug 2018 20:26:25
Jay Rodriguez has done little to justify an increase in transfer fee so that's more down to the market rather than us missing a trick.

JWP remains an enigma to me. I really want him to be good as his set places are so impressive, but he just doesn't seem to have to the speed of thought required to succeed in the premier league as a midfielder at this stage. That may be solved by getting more game time but also, it may never come for him. As it is, he has been given a decent number of opportunities to show something and I just don't think he has it in his locker. For England's sake rather than Saints, I hope I'm wrong.

For me, a sale works well for both parties but £10m is a poultry sum given they have recently sold Richarlison for £50m. They can have Davis for £10m if they want. As you say, £15m would be more tempting if it gives us time to bring in someone with experience to strengthen the team.





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06 Oct 2018 21:16:33
Carrick still feels a little green around the gills to me. Its one thing being an intelligent footballer playing under good managers and with some of the best players in the world, but we're talking now about the right personality to not only have a good football brain but be a motivator and an excellent coach, someone with an eye for current talent and potential and how best to utilise it.

I'm all for gambling but the risk of failure is much higher with someone with such limited experience. I think managers need to show they have the required skillset and its not as simple as hiring someone who was a good footballer, an intelligent footballer or even a good coach. Managers aren't always the best coaches, nor ex-top pros. I appreciate you understand this more than some.

Its just a bit of a catch 22 because how do you find out if a coach or someone with limited experience is capable without giving them a try? I'm just not sure our pool of options should be so broad as to consider everyone, nor should it be so narrow as to focus just on current managers with or without Premier League experience. I'm happy for the club to take a gamble on someone and stand by them and give them time to make a change. But not such a gamble that the chances of success are intangible guess work.




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05 Oct 2018 20:01:49
Interesting shout. He has played quite an important role coaching at City and I understand he was very close to being selected by Arsenal last summer before they bottled it and went for experience. Not sure he showed much though when he was stand-in head coach for their first Champions league game. Would be quite the gamble. But rather someone like him than any of Moyes, Allardyce, Pulis, Bruce etc. At least if we take a gamble it looks the club are trying to shake us out of this slumber.




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01 Oct 2018 10:49:52
As you know, I feel exactly the same as you. I don’t rate MH and after 15 games in charge, his points and good record is worse than MP2. Has he made a difference? I don’t think so. Looking at teams like Chelsea and West Ham, with new managers coming in over the summer, new styles of play and looking to get that message across to the players, they were inconsistent at the start of the season (albeit successful as far as Chelsea goes), but the last week has seen them starting to bring things together, be more cohesive and play the new style with more consistency and direction. So surely, if MH was changing things we would see it by now.

Since Koeman, our defence has eroded at a frightening pace. The half court press under his watch was balanced by a stronger attack. Under Puel, that similar approach looked lopsided as our attack faltered. MP2 again took a similar approach but teams had cottoned onto our lack of firepower and could be more adventurous against us. Now, under MH, we commit more bodies forward but that’s leaving us wide open at the back. It was exactly the same problem he had at Stoke. He wants to outscore the opposition every game but fails to see the flaws in the set up of the team. He blames losses on our failure to convert chances, rather than acknowledging too our failure to stop the opposition scoring.

I’m not an advocate for sacking managers after 7 or 8 games if things aren’t going well because I think the club needs stability now. The problem is, they keep on hiring the wrong person as they’ve completely lost touch with the vision and unity that got us back to the Premier League in the first place.

Football has evolved massively in the last decade and I am adamant that some of the old timers have been left behind. Their coaching methods, tactics and approach to the game is no longer good enough to keep up with the new coaching methods brought in by the new generation both home and abroad. Pep is no secret, Julian Nagglesmann, Sarri, Tuchel, Klopp, MP etc. They’re not all young by the way. They are just the new breed of coach/ manager who are looking to innovate and progress and have all found ways of making their teams better and changing the football landscape.

If we want to avoid following the likes of West Brom, Stoke, Sunderland, Newcastle, Swansea, we must look to bring in a new head coach with the ability to revolutionise the way we play football. To create a system and style that will be our blueprint for years to come. Us aside, that’s also what brought Swansea such success but their fate was sealed when they left it behind and went through a string of managers simply hoping for Prem survival each season. We are now in a cycle where we are doing exactly the same. So as far as timing goes, the sooner we correct this error in judgment, the better.

So in my view, our next appointment must be a head coach or manager with an innovative approach who likes the team to play in a way that’s easy on the eye and can make a team better than the sum of its parts. They don’t need to have Prem experience. We then need to give them the time to make the changes they need and give them off the field support to do it. Or endure more torrid football and relegation if not this season then in the near future.




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26 Sep 2018 21:54:35
Maybe a bit left field but what would people think about Steve Holland? Not sure if he's looking for a management role at all but he continued his work as assistant manager at Chelsea whilst working as England U21 Assistant Manager although that role is a little different to management and he may want to focus fully on this England project for as long as it lasts before committing his full time and attention to the possibility of management. If he was interested though, he ticks a lot of boxes.




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26 Sep 2018 18:00:28
Can't say that was entirely down to the fans and nor would this be.