Southampton Rumours Member Posts

 

elfigo's Profile

Current Avatar:
No Avatar image uploaded

No Profile Picture uploaded

Team:


Where from:


Favourite player:


Best team moment:


Interests:


Timezone:




elfigo's Posts and Other Poster's Replies To elfigo's Posts

 

 

To elfigo's last 5 rumours posts

 

To elfigo's last 5 banter posts

 

To elfigo's last 5 rumour replies

 

To elfigo's last 5 banter replies

 

elfigo's rumours posts with other poster's replies to elfigo's rumours posts

 

18 Oct 2021 11:23:13
EDs, do you know whether our loan deal with Chelsea for Broja has an option to buy?

I note that in recent seasons, players have been loaned between clubs with an option, but the option itself hasn't been widely reported, so it appears to be a straight loan. The KWP loan from Tottenham, if memory serves, was reported as a loan with no mention of an option until much later in the season/ start of the summer.

elfigo

{Ed002's Note - There is no otion to buy Broja.}


 

 

 

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

 

18 Oct 2021 11:20:52
A good win and good performance on Saturday. It was against a depleted Leeds side who struggled to get going and were sloppy on the ball, but we kept the energy levels and desire high for the 90 mins and it paid off.

I watched a talk given by Ralf Rangnick on Friday, discussing his views on team building and formations. He emphasised that you should adapting the formation to play your best players in their best positions. Having the right players on the pitch to play at their highest level was the target and the formation would be dictated by that.

Its perhaps a simplistic generalisation, but is a sound starting point, before factoring in all the little nuances that determine not only who your best 11 are but the positions they are suited to play. For example, Ralf was not saying that if you have 5 top strikers, you should play a 3-2-5 to accommodate them all. There has to be balance in the side. But it certainly got me thinking again about our formation and the starters each week. I was hoping, in JWP's absence and with this being a run of winnable games, it would be time to take some risks.

The starting line-up was a very positive one. Still a 4-2-2-2 on paper, but Perraud returning, Broja and Redmond as forwards, Moi back on the right and Djnepo reviving his partnership with Perraud on the left. The key change was Diallo in the middle. RH knows Diallo is a more progressive midfielder than JWP so knew this change would likely tilt the team towards attack. He could have hidden behind a more defensive move of playing one of our centre backs as a holding midfielder.

That we were playing on the front foot was not such a surprise then. But the manner and attitude of some of the players was a marked change that did make me sit up and take note. Romeu for one was no longer the reserved midfielder who just sat. He was back to his buccaneering box to box best, with Diallo doing likewise. Often you would see either midfielder linking up with our forward players within 25-30 yards from the Leeds goal, before helping to snuff out any counter.

I think to say this was because JWP was absent is perhaps harsh on him. I think both the tactics and personnel were both more progressive then in recent weeks. JWP can certainly play the role that Romeu and Diallo did on Saturday, as he has in previous seasons. I just think that in light of the problems with conceding that we had last season, RH has worked with the team to play a little more conservatively and try to control the game more. This has seen Romeu and JWP sitting a little deeper to protect the back 2 when our fullbacks attack, but leaves our midfield link up play disjointed. Romeu appeared to really enjoy having the shackles off and relished his role as Captain.

Mo Salisu is looking really impressive and assured, which helps Bednarek no end. Perraud needs a run of games to sharpen and firm up his relationship with our forwards. Tino continues to do well. Diallo was very impressive at both ends, Moi looks confident again after his international goals and Djnepo too was more controlled in his play than I have seen in a while. Redders also played very well both as a willing runner and a link up man. Broja was, undoubtedly, another player who made a huge difference. He has all the attributes of a top forward. He's fast and strong, hard working, tall and with aerial presence but also has good feet. Its hard to see him losing his place if he can continue to play at that level consistently.

The cherry on the cake was the belated return of Stuart Armstrong. He looked rusty but he certainly strengthens our options when he's fit.

The performance wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to renew hope that over the coming games, we can continue to pick up points against the teams who are likely to be in the lower half of the table. However, to do so we must continue to play on the front foot as you must when you play an aggressive high press, with the best players playing in their best positions.

elfigo

1.) 22 Oct 2021 00:20:21
Hi Elfigo
I did read your post while on holiday in Turkey, but I admit relaxing with a cold Efes and beautiful weather won the day. sorry!
So now I’m back I thought I’d reply.
I didn’t see the game but have read various reports about it. I am intrigued and excited at the way the team played, especially how certain individuals, usually heavily criticised by me, seemed to up their games.
A friend at the game said the same as you, Romeu was like a tiger unleashed?
Redmond was a bit shoot first still, BUT was much more productive with the ball.
So why?
The first PL game in what seems an eternity without JWP and we are much more free flowing!
Having watched JWP for England, he was a different player? Only looking to play positive!

So i don’t get it? With JWP we are slow, predictable and without, a fast flowing, positive team!

I also loved to see the CB’s looking to play more positive balls; so often ‘choked’ by JWP sat on their shoulders, and calling for the ball …

And Redmond? Where did his new found passion come
From? He has been awful and greedy?

But I will ‘spoil the party’ . in Ralph’s interview post Leeds game, he admitted ‘I was not sure what to do or what team to pick … I tried to pick guys with the self confidence that scored during the international break’ …

A strange and worrying statement .

Anyway, never posted with so many.


 

 

04 Oct 2021 13:09:47
I can't help but feel that you're all setting yourselves up to this way of thinking. Every week its just a cycle of - Redmond again? Walcott? 2 deep lying midfielders? KWP at left back? There must be a conspiracy, a catch, a behind the scene machination or now, in absence of those ideas going far enough, now you've decided to question RH's sanity. Because clearly, he must be clinically insane. If we lose, you hold it up as proof that your theory is right without any context or objectivity.

Being winless thus far is disappointing and a little concerning, but in our 7 games, we have played both Manchester clubs, Chelsea (who will likely challenge for the title this season and are the reigning European Champions), Everton and West Ham, both away and both of whom will likely finish in the top 10 this season.

RH does of course choose who he wants to play and what formation, as does every other manager. I have no idea why that would be suggested as a reason to doubt his sanity. No doubt on the back of training and performances, he has specific tasks for each player to fulfil and on the whole, he has been happy with our defensive efforts. Our weakness this season has been in attack and he is tweaking the personnel up top to try and find the solution.

On Saturday, a reminder we were playing away to the reigning European Champions who have started the season well, the formation and personnel were recognisable and this was a game where defensive resilience was likely to be the focus. Chelsea were likely to dominate possession and we would look to use the speed of Tella, Armstrong, Redmond and Walcott for swift counters.

We were outplayed in the first half and Chelsea deserved their lead. At half time, rather than putting his underpants on his head, inserting two pencils up his nostrils and uttering no other word than 'wibble', RH identified the weakness in the formation and changed us to a 3-4-3/ 5-3-2 formation that was a closer match to Chelsea's. Diallo was brought on to make our midfield more progressive. This worked well and the game was more balanced in the second half. As we have seen earlier in the season, RH is capable of identifying issues and making substitutions and tweaks to the formation that help to tilt games in our favour, even against the top opposition the league has to offer.

What would have happened to the result if JWP hadn't been sent off, no-one knows. It was a valid red card. Moan about Mike Dean all you want, but it was. When you take off and slide in with the force of your full body weight, studs showing and you catch someone, its reckless and endangers the safety of the other player. There doesn't need to be malice or intent. Just recklessness.

Without doubt, the sending off turned the game back in Chelsea's favour. They play in a wide formation and the two goals we did concede late on will be remembered for the excellent Chelsea play that led to them, rather than a glaring defensive error by a Saints player.

So I simply do not understand the crowing posts of 'I told you so' as Saints lost to Chelsea. A draw wouldn't have been good enough as a draw apparently wasn't good enough against Man Utd or Man City. Do you really expect Saints to win these games? Is that the only result that will disprove your view of the players/ manager? Or would even a win mean that the result was achieved despite the obvious flaws in the team and manager that you point out every week. Thus, your view is cast. Set in stone. Irrevocable.

In which case, why bother posting it every week? To have the same handful of posters agree with your thoughts? Does that make it right?

I posted last week that I too have concerns about the formation, the players, but these are small tweaks that need to be made. Last season, we were so focused on attack, we forgot how to defend and we lost badly most weeks in the second half of the season. RH seems to have rectified this balance, as we are conceding fewer goals. Brilliant. The down side is that we still aren't scoring freely. Is that a personnel issue, a formation issue or both? That's for RH to solve and he deserves time and patience in which to do it.

I hold hope along with other posters that JWP's dismissal and suspension will encourage experimentation with the formation and personnel. We could play a 3-4-3/ 5-3-2 formation which could get the best out of the squad we have. It might only work against certain teams. It might not work at all. We'll have to wait and see.

Maybe Perraud isn't playing because he's new to the league and the country and needs time to settle. Maybe RH has seen Man City succeed along with other teams in Europe, playing an inside full back (a right-footed left back) and doesn't see being right footed alone as a reason to keep one of our best players of last season out of the team, nor replace an exciting new player from this season in Tino. Its unquestionable that Tion's performances have been more striking than Perraud's.

The 4-2-2-2 formation precludes moving Tino or KWP forward on the right as the wide positions in this formation are very attacking and are unfamiliar to both defenders. Just because both can attack doesn't mean its their main strength.

Its a shame that Perraud misses out at the moment, not least because question marks remain over KWP's ability to perform the new role, but KWP is an important and influential player and Tino has made a great start. Perraud will get opportunities. As will Tella. Diallo will hopefully get a good spell in the side now and JWP can actually have a bit of time to recover from the injuries he is carrying, that I knew nothing about until the end of last week.

The point is that whilst there are concerns, we are seven games in and have played 3 of the best teams in the league and 2 who will finish higher than us. We have done ok, but need to start winning to feel more comfortable. Most of last season there were calls for RH's head and I said then as I do now, its premature. We weren't relegated last season, despite the predictions on here that we would be. I still believe we will stay up this season, again despite predictions on here we were doomed before a ball had been kicked. Surely that in itself should underline the folly in writing the team off early and criticising every week before the game has been played, only to use whatever the result as evidence of your argument. The season will be another long one but that is not a surprise given we have no real marquee signings to improve us from last year. So let's just take a breath and see where we are at midseason.

elfigo

1.) 04 Oct 2021 17:56:28
I wasn’t going to reply to your post as it was filled with rather a lot of rhetoric and some slight misrepresentations of posts on here. So my answer is from my point of view and no ones else’s.

RH team selection : MY continual criticism here is simple. Of course Ralph is allowed to pick the players he wants! But Ralph is picking favourites. He is picking players regardless of contribution to team or form.
And yes Redmond is mentioned repeatedly by me. Why? Because he does not contribute enough to the team in any way. His shooting is poor, his desire to shoot and not pass is awful, his holding up of play is poor. He breaks up more of our own attacks than he adds to them.

He is excellent at pointing to where our player should mark someone while not marking anyone. All facts and no emotion in that reply. He is simply a passenger in the game.

Djenepo : I’m sure you’ve read his stats; attacking contribution non existent, end product non existent.

JWP and Romeu : can we really afford to have these two on the pitch. Both slow and yes Romeu is excellent at breaking up play IF he hasn’t been caught out of position and IF he times his tackle well. JWP playing deep too.
But these two players contribution to attack have been virtually zero, no through balls, no over the top balls.

Yes we have stopped leaking goals, but we are playing a back four with two guarding them.

But we are not going to survive with draws, we need to win games and not just the odd one. Ralph may be tweaking the front line, but does Redmond warrant a place ahead of Adams and Broja up front? Absolutely not and that is where my point comes in repeatedly, Ralph is playing his favourites. So yes he played Tella out wide against Chelsea, so Redmond goes up front ahead of Adams?
He can tweak the front line as much as he wants, but service to front men is awful. He needs to sort out distribution to the front men or it matters not who is up front!

As it stands our service to the front is relying on two wing backs because it’s not coming from our midfield/ wingers.

As for playing KWP out of position, firstly kwp does not like playing there. But it also slows us down as he has no left foot so has to come inside every time he wants to cross. Perraud has settled in nicely and is an excellent crosser of the ball, especially from deeper where he pings balls in perfectly.

Bottom line is, we are not winning and I see nothing in our pattern of play that is creating those openings. If we stick to the two deep midfield players, Walcott, Djenepo and Redmond our wing players, we may hold on for draws, but we won’t win as service is atrocious to our front men.

Ralph needs to start changing our formation/ team based on opponents.! Keep the strength in midfield when playing the City’s, Chelsea etc but you didn’t mention the wolves game? We played the same formation. ? Playing a team that should have been a good chance of our first win, we set up like we were playing Chelsea!

So yes I categorically feel Ralph has players he chooses regardless of opponents, players he seems reluctant to drop, even if that is due to tactical reasons.

We are predictable, slow and boring!


2.) 04 Oct 2021 19:18:43
Spot on SHR…
To be honest I was slightly irritated by what felt like an admonishment from Elfigo to posters who are fed up with what is going on. Elfigo, you write with an air of superiority which is probably unintentional but so far as I am concerned you are defending the indefensible. I generally enjoy your posts, as they are measured and reflective.
However, your fingers should be pointed at the incompetence we are seeing on a regular basis.
It’s not just about being only 7 games in (by the way, that did for the Watford manager) but a pattern of ludicrous decision making over time.
Let’s not forget the two 9-0 hammering sun successive seasons either or the woeful cup semi-final.
I stand by my criticism - I deserve the right to my opinions after 40 years of being a season ticket holder, which I grant are sometimes emotive in the immediacy of inept performances
But come on, how can you possibly defend Redmond?
And how can you be so accepting of mediocracy and the predictability of it all. Football is about winning matches or die trying. We don’t do either.


3.) 05 Oct 2021 00:45:55
Thank you Millertime!
I was there in 76 . I was there in 66, taken to the games by my dad, stood on a stool that dad was allowed to bring into the ground . so yes I have Saints running through my veins!
Yes there was a sense of superiority from elfigo? Almost like it was written from within the club .

Ralph was given total control of the teams within the club, writing ‘the book’ . but what is clearly lacks is flexibility, the ability to adjust the formation, the tactics, the players, based on opponents. He played the same formation against wolves as he did against Chelsea?

His decision to play kwp at left back, i believe, has nothing to do with the fact that other top clubs play a right sided player at left back, and all to do with Ralph’s belief in himself!
Rather than play a superb left back he’d rather keep a right back happy! Even though I know kwp is not happy!

As for accepting mediocrity and revisiting Ralph’ and the teams performance many games later. why? What will change? Ralph will still play Romeu and JWP every game, will still play Redmond and Djenepo.

Because like some old school teacher, he has favourites!
Our attacking is awful! Full stop!


4.) 05 Oct 2021 03:09:31
I find the different viewpoints quite fascinating. As one who has both praised and criticised RH over the past couple of seasons I will agree with other posters that history shows that favourites were continually selected regardless of form ( Long Bertrand Hoedt Redmond Walcott) and even Ward-Prowse& Romeu when their form has dipped. Various substitutions we’re also very questionable. I also believe that a speedy attacking midfield who can open up defences and release forwards is very critical. Diallo (speed of thought) was an example. on Saturday. I believe that the suggestion of playing a right footed fullback in preference to PERRAUD would alarm the Directors considering that just weeks prior had authorised millions to be spent on a left footed fullback to replace Bertrand! . However steady improvements have occurred because of a combination of Ralph finally changing his thinking and player injuries have partially dictated the outcome. However at the end of the day SUCCESS is what we all wish for!


5.) 05 Oct 2021 12:52:30
Whilst I partly agree with what you've written here Figo. In that we've had a tough start to the season (in terms of our fixture schedule) . And the results against both Manchester clubs were GOOD and unexpected results from my perspective. It goes deeper than what has just been happening this season.

Our form in 2021 has been absolutely woeful and we've been a very dull team to watch. We don't create enough chances, the same players, play week in week out, yet don't justify their selection on the pitch. I mentioned on a previous post with the catch-22 that is Redmond and Djenepo.

Even when you watch Ralph on the sidelines, something doesn't quite look right. He's lost his enthusiasm that he brought with him when he first joined. He looks exhausted and frustrated now. And as fans, we're now frustrated.


6.) 05 Oct 2021 16:35:52
Just to clarify as its not the first time its been suggested, I am not a voice from within Southampton FC, just a fan as you all are. I don't mean to say you're not entitled to your views or that your thoughts or feelings are invalid. I'm simply concerned that when the team sheet comes out pre-game, the forecast is bleak and sometimes it seems that no matter the result, the review of the game is equally so.

I share your frustrations at the style of play at the moment, our form and performance levels at times. But I also see good moments of play not quite rewarded with the goal they deserve, good performances like those against City and United that we could have nicked all 3 points from. The fragile and panicked defending of last season when we were as soft as butter has gone. I totally agree that the compromise is to our attack at the moment, but that is not entirely the reason for our lack of goals.

I think when Ings left, rather than piling all the pressure on a new striker to replace him, the expectation is that the attackers will work as a unit to share the goals amongst them this season. A. Armstrong has been brought in as a goalscorer and will be looking to reach double figures. As will Adams. But Redmond, Djneppo, S. Armstrong and Tella will all need to contribute too, along with JWP from set pieces and pens. I hope Broja will get a few too, but he remains a Chelsea player and I think its key to get our own players firing, rather than relying on external help at this stage. previous seasons show that there are goals in this team. Its now on them and RH to find the solution to the problem.

I do think RH changes the team to challenge the opponent each week. I think Redmond was selected as a forward on Saturday, not only due to his speed with the ball, but also to link up play in transition from defence to attack when we were likely to be stuck with numbers behind the ball. His holding up of play can often be frustrating as it allows opponents back, but it also boosts our numbers in the opposition half too, creating more options and more teammates close to the ball to react and press should we suffer a turnover.

It wasn't working as well as hoped so RH changed it and we were better for it. But Chelsea's formation is used by only a couple of other clubs in the league. The majority utilising a 4-3-3. Some stick with a 4-4-2. So while the adapted formation worked against Chelsea, it might not against Leeds or Watford. RH does favour a 4-2-2-2 and he does have favourites, as pretty much every manager does. But he has also demonstrated the capacity to change the system and the personnel before the game or mid-game to try and address any negative imbalance. I don't believe RH is as poor a manager or as deranged as he's made out to be. I do think he is overly committed to a system which, as time goes on, continues to demonstrate its flaws, but he deserves time to address this.

Firing a manager is always seen as a quick fix to a struggling team but quite often, the impact is limited. It may have been tongue in cheek to compare us to Watford, but I would much rather be a club with a focus on sustainable stability and growth than one with an itchy trigger finger always one bad run away from rolling the dice on the next fresh face to try and turn the tide.

There are so many players listed as being inadequate or ill-suited at times, but our squad is small and our alternatives are usually a step down. For example, if we do play a 4-2-2-2 in our next game, it may be with Jack Stephens deputising for JWP (if he's fit) or Diallo. Neither are particularly suited to the role and will likely struggle. I therefore hope that RH will rather use the opportunity to experiment with formations and personnel so we'll have to wait and see.

But look at our teamsheet and consider honestly how many of our attacking players would get into a top 10 side. S Armstrong when in full flourish, perhaps. But no-one else in my view. Tella and A Armstrong may come good, but that's hope rather than expectation. Hell, consider the same for any other position for that matter. We have no real stars. We have good players in several positions, but certainly not wall to wall across the pitch. That's the reality. For this team to achieve what it has in playing those bigger clubs is good. Its not an acceptance of mediocrity, its an acknowledgement of where we are as a club. We have a manager and a squad capable of competing at this level and with a target of mid-table. Do I want more? Yes. Can we achieve that this season? No.

Firing RH isn't going to make Redmond, Djneppo, Walcott, Adams, Romeu, JWP, McCarthy, Stephens any better. At least not in the short term. Even beyond that its unlikely that all of them would improve. These are our players. This is our squad.

My view of Saints is therefore hopeful, but accepting of the fact that we are closer to the likes of Burnley at the moment than a top 10 club. Maybe we are stuck in a rut with a manager who has taken us as far as we can like Sean Dyche. I think this season will tell us that. But I don't believe the board are anywhere close to considering his position. So calling for his head so soon will only lead to more frustration as its not going to happen. You're right that draws alone will not be enough so if we carry on as we are, RH will deserve to lose his job as he has failed to address the poor results. In the very least though, let's see how we get on against Watford and Burnley etc in the coming weeks and see how the club responds.


7.) 05 Oct 2021 16:51:13
Saintjay . I won’t ramble on but come back to you on one point only you raised. Ralph ‘doesn’t look quite right’ ‘exhausted’ ‘frustrated’ .

I think he just doesn’t understand why his way is not working, I think he believed in himself so much (and I did too), that he is lost…

He was so adamant that he be given the reins to all things football, to change the way all levels played to the ‘Ralph Way’ that now all levels are performing badly, rather than take a step back and think ‘maybe I’m wrong’, he chooses to keep doing the same things.

Let’s use Djenepo as an example. One poster commented that he did track back and help out in defence, well that’s not what his role is, that is a secondary role. These stats show that his contribution to the attacking phase is poor. One goal in two years; one successful cross per 9 games, one assist per 25 games…
It’s there for all to see, these stats don’t lie. His performances absolutely mirror these stats. But Ralph continues to pick him regularly, he brings him in a sub?
Absolutely no sensible reason. He is simply not good enough.

His stats :

Premiership games : 51
Assists : 2
Goals. : 3
Crosses to team. : 6
Failed crosses : 28.


8.) 05 Oct 2021 17:23:50
As a premier league manager you should always pick your strongest side regardless of opposition. Unfortunately Ralph doesn't do that. He picks players like Walcott, Djenepo and Redmond week in week out when everyone else can see that they barely deserve a seat on the bench. It's no good saying " you should see how well they trained this week " if they're not showing up on match day. I can understand the likes of Tella and Perraud getting a little disillusioned seeing others playing in front of them when in my opinion they should be 2 of the first names on the team sheet along with Livramento. I think that our next 6 games will determine Ralph's future as manager of Southampton FC. 3 or 4 victories and he'll probably keep his job but anything less than that he'll be looking over his shoulder.


9.) 05 Oct 2021 22:05:03
Teejaysaint absolutely spot on!
Perraud didn’t go from being the best left back in the french league, multiple quality teams chasing him, us signing him, to being benched with a right back taking his place. The knock on effect is severe; other potential signings will look at how we have treated Perraud and think, I’m not signing .
Tella regarded as the hottest academy prospect for a very long time . and what does Ralph do, bench him .
Something about not getting far enough forward?

The last two games I didn’t watch live; the first time in seasons I thought, what’s the point it will be same ol same
Ol …
It was .


 

 

31 Aug 2021 17:30:07
I know a number of you have discussed Saturday's game separately but thought I'd offer a few thoughts.

The first half was impressive and we dominated. It was unfortunate that our two best chances fell to the wrong person. That said, every attacking player is going to have to do more this season to contribute goals to make up for the loss of a proven striker, plus our playing style and the type of chances we create. If we are to be fluid in attack, we need several players to be relatively reliable in putting the ball in when it matters.

Both Armstrong and Adams were quiet in terms of efforts on goal on Saturday but Newcastle played compact and made playing through the middle hard. In order to free up space for Adams and Armstrong in these sorts of matches, we have to offer more of a threat when attacking from a wide position to capitalise when we have space there, or to draw defenders out of such a compact shape. I felt the wide players did well but I never really believe when we're out wide and facing a narrow defence that a cross into the box is going to result in anything more than a clearance or turnover. That was until Broja came on later.

That said, we could and should have gone in at half time with a lead. At least a couple of goals given the nature of the game to that point. We were impressive across the pitch.

Newcastle changed little at half time other than to seemingly be reminded that they were the home team and the fans booing them off should be met with a more proactive second half. They were better, but we were no worse and so the contest was more even in the opening minutes of the second half.

Newcastle's first goal was frustrating because as is often the case with the goals we concede, it came as a result of several players all dropping their attention/ energy level at the wrong moment.

With the ball stuck on the right side of our box, Tino and Moi did enough to make Newcastle check back, but there was an opportunity for Moi to press harder/ more aggressively as Saint Maximin cut the ball back to Ritchie. Moi did then work well with Adams to push the ball back once more, but then Adams dropped off, allowing Schar (I think) enough time to get his head up and pick out Murphy. A little more pressure may have discouraged the pass or made it less accurate.

But the big issue here is Djnepo who failed to spot Murphy jogging into the space behind him. He was ball-watching and anticipating a square ball that he could press high. He therefore drifted out of a useful defensive position. KWP is stuck narrow with Salisu as both Willock and Wilson were around the one centre back so he needed support. KWP saw Murphy but only a moment before the ball was played and too late for Djnepo to be of any help. The ball was great, leaving a 3v3 but KWP couldn't get to Murphy quick enough to stop the ball coming across goal and you could argue that Wilson, diving low, simply wanted the ball more than Salisu or Stephens.

I think several players could have done better defending the situation, but the hole in the defence was made by Djnepo's inattention to the danger around him. He's not a defender but has shown in recent weeks a willingness to work hard to track back and double up on wide players which he has done effectively. Its a shame he was focusing on the wrong thing but hopefully he will learn from this. Would someone else off the bench have behaved differently? No idea. It would require strong defensive awareness and positional sense. Perhaps KWP and Perraud could try playing together?

RH acknowledged Djnepo's fault because 3 mins later, he was off replaced by Redmond. The manager was proactive in his substitutions this week and Redmond's arrival did steady the ship. But it became evident as the minutes ticked by that we were lacking goal threat up front so Broja was brought on for Adams. Its certainly the case that he presents more as a striker than a forward, where as Adams is the latter, unselfishly working for the team but not always threatening the goal.

When Redmond crossed from the left, it was Broja's driving run to the near post that left a hole for Moi to run into. With the ball just missing Broja, Moi was able to slide it in on the rebound. Both of the manager's substitutions had a key role in the goal and let's not forget that RH chose to put Moi in from the start. Its very easy in hindsight to second guess the starting line-up and the substitutions made during the game, but on Saturday, for the most part RH got them right. We dominated the first half and in the second, each time a player was showing signs of not quite delivering, they were replaced by someone who came on and made a difference.

At 1-1, momentum came back to us and I was pleased that RH made the gamble to try and win us the game. Swapping Romeu for Diallo is an attacking move as he is much better at keeping the ball moving positively compared to Romeu whose strength is breaking up play. In the build up to Newcastle's second goal, we were winning the midfield battle and attacking well. Newcastle were back to relying on counter attacks that often fizzled out. The game was there.

But. Diallo is only 22 and was naive in bursting forward to support Tino on the right wing. JWP had also tucked over to the right-hand side, albeit much deeper to keep half an eye on Joelinton, so there was a gaping hole in the middle of pitch if we lost the ball. Diallo rushed a cross, which was never really on, mirubbishting it and Newcastle had time and acres to play the ball forward into. With JWP not really having the pace to make an effective challenge (and also already being on a yellow card) it was effectively 2v2. Salisu had a great game for the most part but he made an error here as he was stuck in two minds whether to press Saint Maximin or drop towards the overlapping run of Joelinton. Stephens saw Joelinton's run and initially followed him, but then, despite being the deepest defender, decided to confront Saint Maximin as no-one else was. His error was that he didn't press. He stood still and waited for the ball to get to him which meant he was playing Joelinton onside. This was exactly what the Newcastle player needed. with 3 defenders focusing on him, Joelinton was free and the counter was on.

Sprinting back towards your own goal always makes life so much more difficult because the speed of play means you have a fraction of a second to make key decisions. To compound the earlier errors, Salisu slides in to block a cross from Joelinton that didn't come and Stephens was then sucked over but was equally ineffectual in stopping Joelinton passing the ball to Ryan Fraser. McCarthy saved well from his strike but the ball fell to Saint Maximin. JWP had decided to run to the back post to guard the goal rather than stay with Saint Maximin which was another rushed decision which he might now make differently. But because these quick decisions and panicked defending are so much harder to control, the idea is to avoid putting yourself in that situation. If Salisu had stuck tight to Saint Maximin, he could have slowed him down, fouled him on half way to take one for the team or forced him to pass to Joelinton much, much sooner. The better teams in the league would likely have gone for option number 2. Stop the game. Get your team back to defend. Prevent a counter attack. Salisu, again, is young. He played very well on Saturday and its a lesson he and many others in our team need to learn. Counter attacks against teams like Man City are hard because they use 'tactical fouls' where they need to. We play a cavalier 2-4-4 when we're in possession but that makes us vulnerable to direct counters. So rather than getting cheap yellows for niggly fouls, our defenders will need to learn to save them up for when they're most needed to stop counters in their tracks.

Great spirit thereafter by the team to go for it in what little time was left. Redmond dropped into a number 10 position where he can be at his most effective. A wonderful through ball to Armstrong, foul, penalty. Redmond is another player who is often frustrating in wide positions but playing as an inside forward, he rarely looks to beat players on the outside and cross so holds up play or drifts centrally where there is more traffic which can slow a quick counter attack. But credit where its due - what a positive 20 minutes he had. He covered the areas Djnepo fell in both defence and attack, accruing essentially 2 assists on the day.

At the start of play I would have liked a win and after the first half, felt we deserved one. By the end, I was relieved and pleased to get the draw. Like last week, another draw which is a positive for a team that 4 months ago would likely have lost to such a late goal. As previously posted, if we keep earning draws in those games that we would have lost last season, plus we retain at least the same number of wins, our points tally will be more comfortable. For a tema of our stature, winning around half your games is quite a good return in the wins column. It was doing the same in the losses column that was of most concern. If we can tip the balance in favour of draws rather than losses, all will be well.

elfigo

1.) 02 Sep 2021 10:36:10
Good Morning Elfigo
Your very detailed analysis are always good to read. but you have to be honest, in effect you are describing very basic mistakes that the same players have been doing, not just week in week out, but season after season.

Romeu has not tracked his man, has been caught in position, has had to foul people for a long while.
Jack Stephens can be having a very good game but will then suddenly ball watch, not track his man, poor marking at dead balls etc etc

I was disappointed he took Perraud off and put KWP on at left back. He wasn’t voted the best left back in the French League for nothing! Ralph needs to stop this dabbling with players out of position. Yes KWP did well, but push KWP forward to play ahead of Tino; that makes not only a very strong, fast and dynamic partnership, but also great defensive cover.

Mo can play both wings, pair him with Perraud.

Most certainly shouldn’t be playing Djenepo. Effort 9/ 10, productivity 1/ 10 . can't ‘carry’ anyone in this league .

As for Romeu and JWP . what do we do with them? Both too slow .,
Redmond . did have. Good period with a great cross, but phew how many of our fast attacks end up going nowhere …

Shouldn’t Tella be starting every game?

Armstrong and Broja up front?


 

 

23 Aug 2021 15:39:28
I haven't posted on here for a couple of seasons but checked in from time to time. Can't say I agree with most of the things being posted about the team, the players and the coaching so thought I would add a voice as a counterpoint.

I think the club has carried out some very positive transfer business over the summer, investing in young players with noted talent that will help to strengthen the U23s as well as challenge for first team places. If the club's model is to buy young and sell for a profit, then this is the first summer in a very long time I remember it being carried out so strongly.

As far as this season goes, we may be a player or two light to allow us to kick on, but I find it hard to believe some posters can't think of 3 teams who are likely to be worse off than us this season. Surely that's something to consider 15 games into the season rather than before a ball has been kicked.

On that note, a realist is someone who accepts a situation as it is and is prepared to deal with is accordingly. A pessimist is someone who tends to see the worst aspect of something or believe the worst will happen. Posting that Saints are the worst team in the Premier League before a ball has been kicked is not the action of a realist.

The second half performance against Everton was disappointing, but that was on the back of a solid first half where we had taken the lead. We had posed one of football's great tactical minds a problem and he found a (admittedly simple) solution. RH should have made substitutions earlier and given Everton's dominance of the second half, could have switched the formation a little sooner. But with the first game of the season, I think its fair that the manager and the players are afforded some time to find their footing.

Yesterday's performance was a good response not only to concerns raised by last week, but also to the lingering doubts around the club following a poor campaign last time around.

The players were hard working and energetic throughout. RH did not hesitate to change things at half time to address the possibility of the second half malaise that we saw last week and so often last season. We were growing in the game at the end of the first half so to make the change then was bold.

That formation change also proved vital in the progress we made in the second half. United had lengthy spells of dominance in the first half as their 4-2-3-1 formation was well suited in creating attacking midfield overloads vs our 4-2-2-2 and so they picked their way through us a little to easily at times. With a 3-5-2 we matched their midfield numbers and attacked Utd at their weakest spot. This allowed us to wrestle back some control and with the best chance of the second half falling to Armstrong, we were unlucky not to win.

The one slight niggle for me was moving Djneppo into the middle as an attacking midfielder. He's not consistent enough with the ball to have that role around a snapping defensive midfield duo like Utd's and so we struggled until Diallo replaced him. The formation change was wobbly at the start of the second half and this of course is when Utd equalised.

After that, with an orthodox central midfielder on, Diallo and Ward-Prowse were able to push on and leave Romeu to sit at times, forcing our play further up the pitch and engaging with their slower, weaker players much quicker. We caused them more problems because the overloads were no longer available in midfield and they had to work harder to retain possession and pass through our lines. Had Armstong scored, it would have been the perfect turnaround. As it is, we should all be as quick to celebrate RH's tactical calls and subs when he gets them right, as when we disagree with them.

A word on Djneppo too. I'm not his biggest fan as he seems to be a player not always in complete control of the ball or his legs and he also lacks any idea of the end product he is looking to deliver before he does it. Its a more instinctive thing with him, whereby he gets the ball and then tries to beat the defender ahead of him and then kick the ball in the general direction of the area without having looked up to see who is in there and where they are. But, he has a lot of energy and he is a determined player. His relationship with Perraud has been a highlight for me and whilst he hasn't always got things right in the first 2 games, his defensive support yesterday was crucial and noteworthy. Whenever Greenwood or Wan-Bissaka attacked down our left flank, Djneppo always came charging back to help out.

So, a great point against a side that will likely challenge for the title this season (though I suspect it will end up elsewhere) . Plus, a draw has been all too rare a thing in RH's tenure. The team's risky play has quite an all or nothing result output, so its nice to see the team finding a way not too lose a game when they weren't, in the end, able to win. If we can convert a good number of our loss column figures into the draw column this season, we should end up comfortably mid-table. Fingers crossed.

elfigo

1.) 23 Aug 2021 22:12:25
Well said elfigo.

A well written and eloquent post.

Thank you.


2.) 23 Aug 2021 23:00:52
Saints supporters (and probably fans from all teams) seem to get upset, annoyed, irritated at anyone daring to criticise their beloved team. Why? It doesn’t make us any less of a supporter! I was there at the 76 cup final, I was there watching the McMenemy era, I flew back from working in Germany to see them play Forest at Wembley.
Enough of that .
Bottom line is they have plates some awful football over the last few years. We’ve had some awful managers too!
We’ve bought some very average players, we’ve bought players like Osvaldo, Boufal, Lemina.

When Ralph came to us, we were all excited, he had a good reputation, some in the game were surprised we managed to attract him.

But reality is his learning curve has been downwards rather than upwards. Bizarre team selection, bizarre substitutions, playing players out of position, players on form being dropped, sticking to 4 2 2 2, very rarely changing tactics to counteract changes by the opponents, not picking the best players, playing Redmond regardless of form, playing Walcott and Djenepo regardless of what they bring to the team… playing stephens ahead of Bednerek.
You can say all you like about only being two games in, but the Everton game typified everything wrong with Ralph. It showed he had learnt nothing. his team selection against Everton was bizarre. From the 46th minute we were outplayed and holding on. Everton winning was a predictable formality . and they duly won.

The unbelievable statistic that since December 2018 is Ralph joins us, we have lost 60 points . SIXTY points from winning positions! That’s not just an odd game here and there, that’s absolutely terrible and Everton showed his learning curve was pointing straight down.

So along comes Man Utd. Unbelievably he picks the same team as were overrun by Everton!
Was Ralph writing his epitaph?

Well, well . almost like he knew his days were up, his stubbornness washed away, he made substitutions that mattered, he changed formation, he tweeted the team …
So yes we have had every right to criticise Saints, especially Ralph who has gone near on three years and dozens of points thrown away, to finally make changes that were good!
Fingers crossed it’s a new Ralph!


3.) 23 Aug 2021 23:03:21
I will add a comment about Djenepo. Yes he works hard, chases around . but his contribution to the attacking phase of the game is absolutely abysmal.
Saints are lacking that midfield contribution that will enable us to score more goals. This is not going to come from Djenepo, Redmond and Walcott ….


4.) 24 Aug 2021 11:48:59
I'm not saying you don't have a right to be frustrated with the team performances, the manager and his line-ups/ tactics/ substitutions, the performances of ex-players, former managers and our transfer policy in recent or distant seasons. The owner and his inability or unwillingness to invest more in the playing side. Nor am I saying that if you hold any such frustration you are a lesser fan or no fan of the team at all.

My point is that if all anyone does is come onto this site to post their frustrations, without any balance, then what benefit does it offer? If everyone agrees or amplifies the negative view of the club then you come on here, get angry and stay angry. Then you can't even really enjoy a positive result like the one at weekend because its always tainted with a view of RH's tactics like 'Well, well. Almost like he knew his days were up'. There's no foundation in truth or reality in that comment. Its simply made to justify to yourself that what you've said before isn't wrong. The club have backed RH and continue to support him whole-heartedly. They are not about to sack him any time soon.

RH has been in charge for 2 full seasons having saved us from the relegation zone in the 2018/ 19 season. Both seasons have been hampered by C.V. in some way shape or form. In the 2019/ 20 season we finished 11th with WDL numbers of 15, 7 and 6 respectively and 52 points. In the 20/ 21 season we finished 15th with WDL of 12, 7, and 19. That first season felt great because we were close to the top 10 and finished so strongly. Last season felt sour because for 2/ 3s of the season we were poor. But when you stop and look at the two season's results, it was a 3 game swing. The difference between that positive feeling and such a negative one from one season end to the other was 3 games, or 9 points. How many close games did we have last season where we were unlucky not to nick a draw or even a win? We could all probably think of two or three. And there it is. That's the difference.

I think the biggest hurdle RH has to get over is to find a way to make the team harder to beat. As I said before, if we can take more of those losses and turn them just into draws, we add points and confidence. Sunday was a great example to show that we can do it because RH saw a problem, despite us leading at half time and took steps to correct it. As a result, we wrestled back enough control in the game to create more chances in the second half including the game's best which should have been scored.

Our 4-2-2-2 system is useful against 4-3-3 sides because we can create overloads in the midfield that allow us to press and win the ball higher up the pitch and then we have the numbers to fill the box. But its high risk and the flip side is that teams playing direct or with fluidity in their lines find a way through and if our defensive set up is faced with a quick counter, we're in trouble. That's why we are a team that generally wins or loses, draws being a rarity. In our recent past we've had managers that have made us tough to beat at times and who earned a lot of draws and pinched wins here or there, but the football was slow and tepid and frankly dull. We've also had managers who failed to make us both tough to beat and also couldn't win enough games. At least we have one now that has us playing, for the most part, positive and entertaining football.

Today, we've signed another incredibly talented and exciting prospect in Thierry Small. We are getting some of the countries hottest talents to finally choose to come to us as they see the strength of our pathway into the first team. Before, there was much talk of the pathway but the focus was on the youth players we were developing. Over the last few years, its been apparent that we don't have any gems at the moment, knocking on the door. So to see us focus on rebuilding the B team and youth sides with such exciting talent can only bode well for the future of the club and the first team. We have to be prepared for the fact that these guys are likely to come in and, if they make an instant impact like Livramento looks like he's going to, they're not likely to be with us very long so we'll enjoy them while they're here, look forward to where they could help lift our team and look forward to seeing how the club invest the profits from selling them on when they leave. That's how a club of our size find longevity in the Premier League.

So there is much to be positive about looking forward to this season and beyond. Yes there are issues and if this season is anything like the last two, we will lose as many games as we win (hopefully not too more) . But, there is also the prospect of exciting new talent coming in and making an impact, a manager showing signs of flexibility in order to wrestle back control of games slipping away and all this while some of our best players from last season are still to return following injury and fitness setbacks. That's why I feel pre-season expectations of relegation in 20th position in the league are premature.

I look forward to debating the club's performance as the season continues.


5.) 24 Aug 2021 12:44:11
On a positive note the new signings and loans are all exceptional. Tino is superb and I mistakenly thought he was on loan, hadn’t realised we bought him!

I think the problem for myself and many, many fans, is that Ralph appears not have learnt much in two seasons.
Surely the second half against Everton you must have been thinking, we need to make a change, any change.
They made some subtle changes and that was it, the inevitable loss was on the cards. The problem is that when you have been watching Ralph’s team, every game, you know he won’t make changes, his substitutions are late and often add nothing to the pattern of play.

It was a great change to see the changes he made against Utd. Tella changed the midfield dynamics completely, moving the ball around

Reality is, unless Ralph utilises the players he has tactically and correctly, it doesn’t matter who we sign.
The board, C.V. can be blamed for many things, but not the very poor learning curve of Ralph.

I am guessing you may have some connection to the club?
Because someone I spoke to from
The club on Friday felt No one seems to want to stand up to Ralph …….
I do believe Ralph is walking a fine tightrope .
Throwing away 60 points in under 3 seasons is not the odd game here and there where he’s got things wrong, it’s disastrous!

Redmond, Walcott and Djenepo break up more of our attacks than the opponents. Counter pressing game works great if when you get the ball you keep it.
We can’t keep it then get hit on the break …

That has to change.


6.) 24 Aug 2021 16:55:27
Correction Diallo.


7.) 24 Aug 2021 20:34:26
The problem with the so called Southampton way is that it lacks ambition - if you aim for mid table you will most likely achieve mediocrity, or worse.
The model of buying in youth cheap, developing them and selling at a profit creates a glass ceiling and means the best you can hope for is survival in PL terms.
Elfigo, your comments and views are well made and based on reason and realism but fall short on aspiration and promise. But equally, so are mine and others who are prepared to speak out. If football management was about popularly, Ralph would be top 4, but it isn’t and he’s not. He’s found wanting tactically and without recycling previous posts, a point at home to Man U, whilst laudable, changes nothing.
However, it is a pleasure to hear different views as we all hope for the same end product - it’s just that some of us have a different take on realism!


8.) 25 Aug 2021 09:23:09
All posters on this site are both valuable and important. Following several weeks of relentless criticism concerning player positions/ lack of plan B and substitution debacles it appears an ‘about turn’ was evident to correct these shortcomings last week-end v Man Utd. Whilst most believe in Ralph’s capabilities and aspirations for the long term success it must be acknowledged that he is still serving his Premiership Apprenticeship as the man who knows it all hasn’t been born yet!


9.) 25 Aug 2021 16:33:16
Johnnyst
Please replace ‘several weeks of relentless criticism’ with two seasons of relentless criticism.
And may I add very justified criticism!
Ralph has shown a very naive and almost shambolic approach to team selection, player positions and making changes to match tweeks by the opponent.

From living him as a manager to wanting him sacked, yes wanting him sacked. Why? Because he HAD learnt nothing from his 2+ seasons . fact

Yes he changed it against Utd and it worked …

It’s not about knowing everything, it’s about the fundamentals of football. he does not appear to be able to adjust his thinking to a level required in the PL.

So yes he has deserved every piece of criticism he has received. Yes, yes the board have not been great, but the manager has been amateurish.

As the poster above said, lovely bloke . tactically awful .


10.) 26 Aug 2021 12:53:14
I'm not sure I agree that the transfer policy of buy young, develop and sell for a profit lacks ambition as that final 'sell' element carries an implicit 'when we must'.

While its unrealistic for a side in the lower half of the table to hold on to young, talented players with aspirations of winning League titles, European cups etc, the intention has always been to get more of those talented young players coming in to our squads, strengthening the first team and helping us kick on. Investment in talented youth provides a platform to build on each season with stability of first team performance as any players sold can be replaced by someone coming up from the B team or youth squads. With player sales (or injuries) no longer weakening the first team so gravely, we can realistically look to top 10 in the next couple of seasons if the plan continues as successfully as it has this summer. From there, we can once again challenge for domestic cups and entry in to the European competitions.

The teams that struggle in the premier league are those that have no long term transfer strategy. Spending millions of pounds on a player for today who may help in the short term but moves on to a bigger club or sustains an injury that leads to a weakening in the first team the following season as a star player is no longer there. Each summer, those clubs scrabble around looking for someone to come in and hit the ground running but good premier league players are priced at a premium. So these clubs over extend themselves to buy players another team doesn't want, or gamble on a mid-level talent from abroad hoping they can reverse the most common trend of new players needing time to adapt to the demands and nature of this league, their new club, new teammates, new coaches and manager all whilst living in a new country. Usually, the loss of the star player (s) is felt despite the new signing, the team perform worse and flirt with relegation. If they stay up, the same summer transfer fiasco begins again, only this time they have fewer players to sell or can't command the same fee for their players as they could before when they were higher up the league. Its a classic case of diminishing returns. Every season they get weaker and eventually drop out of the league.

That is the position we found ourselves in for a time. We lost sight of the investment in youth policy and had to scrabble around to plug holes in the first team due to numerous player sales. At the time we didn't have the young players ready or able to step up and maintain the same level of performance as the ones being sold so the club switched its attention to filling first team positions, with little real success. Each season the team got that little bit weaker, but the youth teams were not getting stronger and the gap remained between the two.

So this transfer does not represent a lack of ambition. Quite the opposite in my view. Its ambitious as its target is to recruit the best young players we can, to boost our first team performance in the short term and stability in the long which in turn provides a platform not just for Premier League survival, but growth back into a top half team that is challenging on several fronts.

By bringing in RH to oversee this project, the club has made it clear that his role is more than that of a first team coach. We know that he has developed the tactical bible to be applied to the development and youth squads, to support a seamless progression and integration pathway to the first team, but he also has a say in transfers and is entirely on board with the approach to playing our most talented players, whatever their age.

I think we can be a little rash to judge RH and the work he is doing at the club right now. Its very difficult to take an objective view on a game by game basis if every loss is a catastrophe, every win a masterstroke. He has been a head coach since 2011, that's one season less than Graham Potter or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. People talk about these other two managers as still learning the ropes, needing time to continue to grow and develop their philosophies and managerial skills. So we must view RH in the same light. He has made every team that he has coached better, in terms of league finish and first team performance. The same applies to us given where we were when he took over from Mark Hughes. Last season was tough, potentially the toughest of his career given the dramatic loss of form, but we need to be patient and give him the time he needs to address those issues. Jurgen Klopp has been a manager for 20 years and yet could do little to halt Liverpool's form dropping off a cliff last season. We watched him dabble with experimental line ups and substitutions (like RH) as he grappled to recover the team's performance level, but nothing really worked. And that's a manager with twice the level of experience as ours.

Its not a question of anyone being frightened to stand up to RH. His role is to help the club deliver on its footballing ambitions and the club afford him the power he needs to do that. He is here for a project, at least under contract for the next 3 years, and I'm sure the club will support him throughout that time. The stability of his role means that for club and players, existing and future signings, they know the direction of travel and the drivers behind that. I know you may be worried that the direction of travel is in a southerly direction but the club seeking stability and investing in the first team of the near future are huge positives intending to deliver a more upward trend. This summer is the first I have seen that investment in youth truly come to fruition, where we are not just signing 16 year olds who MAY develop into first team players at some point in the next 5 years, we have brought in 3 young players in TL, TS and DS who are already knocking on the first team door. Seeing them break into the first team is a great advert for other young players who will be looking to make similar moves next summer and we can hopefully get on a roll. That is one of the main reasons I feel more positive about this season and those ahead.

If RH were to leave, it would mean tearing up everything. A new manager with a new style, a new philosophy, new tactics, new views on players and a new approach to relationships. That's a whole lot of areas of potential upset and we would be starting again. As with selling players and getting in new ones, and apart from the turmoil created in team performance, with a new manager you never know until someone's in the job whether you are trading up or not. That may be a convoluted way of saying 'careful what you wish for' but when you have a role in a club like RH's, replacing him is not as simple as bringing in someone to get the first team firing. His job is more widespread and detailed than that, specifically in support of the project the club is pursuing to protect our future and stability. To cut the head off that project now makes no sense and unwarranted on the back of improved performance of the first team in his time here. Safely away from relegation in his first half season. 11th in his first full season. Bloody hell, we were top of the Premier League last November. The fall from there was a long one but with our new signings looking positive, surely we have more grounds for optimism this season.


11.) 28 Aug 2021 01:44:19
Elfigo .
With regards to the new signings. I could not agree more, great signings, all have proved their worth…
Established youngsters with great reputations .

With regards to the rest of your very long and well written post. You seem very reluctant to criticise Ralph in any way.
It matters not whether Saints have handed Ralph the ‘Freedom of the City’ . I believe the clubs belief in him was from his early performances.

The last two seasons have been dire!

He has showed a very naive and very poor tactical awareness.
His team selection, his substitutions, his adjusting tactics when an opponent changes, have been almost non existent.
His perseverance with players who clearly are not performing regularly, is bizarre! Redmond? Djenepo and more recently Walcott. His playing Stephens ahead of bednerek?

60 points lost from winning positions? Is beyond belief!
He has learnt little, negative progression. his learning curve is pointed downwards!

You can preach Ralph and the ‘book’ as much as you like.
While the book may contain a path to a consistent way of playing, Ralph has not shown anything to convince me has the necessary skills to see the process through.

Benitez makes some subtle changes to his formation .
From that moment, the loss was inevitable! What did Ralph do? Virtually nothing! ’ Then declares we didn’t deserve to lose? Yes we did! We did nothing while they overran us!

Yes it’s a nice idea that Ralph can take us to another level via his book, but I have seen no evidence.

Let’s see what he does with these new signings…

More importantly, what will
He do when an opponent tweeks their formation.
That appears to be a chapter missing in his book.


 

 

 

elfigo's rumour replies

 

Click To View This Thread

06 Oct 2019 08:39:58
I think you may be reading more into the situation than is actually there. Team selection is nuanced and match specific and shouldn’t be reduced to simple player – coach disagreements. RH has highlighted that YV has been struggling in training and his performance has dipped. He also underlined its not a case of not trusting YV. He is a young player, still developing and his from will be inconsistent. But now he has been training hard and is looking to be involved v Chelsea.

The club failed to invest in full back positions again this summer despite selling, so we have two right backs, one of which stated a desire to leave over the summer and the other is young and still learning. On the other side, we have one left back in Bertrand.

We praise RH for taking a stern approach with players, insisting they invest in his vision or they drop out, but then when things on the pitch aren’t perfect, you think we should bemoan his approach and say he’s going too far? We should second guess why certain players aren’t playing?

About Valery, RH has already spoken this week. Cedric pulled out against Spurs because of a calf injury sustained during the week’s training and aggravated in the pre-game warm-up. RH also explained the reasons for his line-up choice v Spurs which is perfectly sensible. Yes, experimenting with Danso in a full back position in the past has been unsuccessful, but so what? Given our scant options, I’m perfectly happy for the head coach to try a few things to see what works.

Comparing our team to Leicester and Schalke is ridiculous. Leicester have a very talented squad of players with a balanced blend of youth and experience that should see them challenging for European places this season. That alone is not down to Brendan Rodgers. Schalke have played 7 games so far under David Wagner and a season’s performance cannot be judged after 7 games.

Also, what’s the point in repeating silly rumours about Charlie Austin that you yourself state you don’t know are true? They are the seeds of undermining our head coach and sewing them does nothing but harm. If this forum is to become a negative spiral of nonsense and a platform for sharing unfounded conjecture then I for one will be checking out. Its disappointing that this forum is far more active when we aren’t playing well compared to when we are struggling. I understand why that is, but perhaps things would feel slightly less bleak if there was a positive post for every negative one.

Given we are only 7 games into the season, shouldn’t we just let things develop and see how we get on? RH has already demonstrated more ability than our last few head coaches and given the ability levels in our squad, we cannot expect too much. We are targeting a finish between 10 and 14 place this season. Anything more is unrealistic at this stage. Its frustrating that we are not playing better at the moment but RH has done enough to earn our trust and patience. let's not be hyper-critical before the season really starts to show its colours.

elfigo

 

 

 

elfigo's banter replies

 

Click To View This Thread

13 Dec 2021 10:57:09
The two concerns I have about the squad I have raised previously - that we don't have any real star players that will keep us ticking along when times are hard or results tough. No-one to dig us out of a hole.

Secondly, where are the goals going to come from. Its always a gamble bringing a player up from the Championship because so often, they work out as Che has. Its early days for Armstrong still and perhaps premature to judge, but when you consider an attacking line-up with the likes of Armstrong, Adams, Walcott, Tella, Djneppo, Redmond, Moi, S.Armstrong, Broja, it leaves a lot to be desired. Armstrong may near double figures if he can have a good run, Broja too but the others? Adams will have had a great season if he reaches double figures in the league. The other attacking players simply do not do enough or are not good enough to provide the sort of return that we need.

You can lay the blame at the manager's door all you like but we consistently have long spells of dominance and attacking play in matches and we simply cannot score. The system is functioning better this season than last. There have already been several games where we took a narrow lead but failed to hang on, but if we had scored more when in the ascendency, the result may well have been different. Arsenal was the latest example of the team being on top for a good spell but failing to get the ball in the goal.

There are a couple of things that could be remedied by the coaches. Firstly, in the current system, there needs to be more fluidity and penetration from the front 4. We have plenty of shots in matches and work the opposition goalkeepers but more often than not, they are shots to nothing from a tight angle or from outside the box where the likelihood of scoring is lower. We need to find a way to work the ball in behind the opponents defensive line to cross or cutback from wide positions accurately, or play through balls to forwards in central positions so we have more shots from in side the box without a line of defenders between the striker and the goal. But that will also rely on the front 4 being quite fluid in their positions to make runs from deep harder to track etc.

Secondly, I find it unbelievable that after the success against Leicester from variations in set pieces, in the games since we have reverted to JWP swinging the ball in every single time. The result was the same as it was before Leicester. Harmless and easy to defend. If goals are in such short supply because our attacking players are low on quality, then we need to find goals from elsewhere and set pieces is the most obvious back-up option.

But beyond that, as I have stated in the past, we must accept that our team is low on quality at the moment in attack. This makes it much harder to win games but without funds to bring new players in, I'm not sure there is an easy solution. There is no-one in the youth set up or B team that is challenging for a chance. We have seen two of our better options leave the field injured on Saturday. So we must also temper our expectations to match the reality of a light squad made lighter still in attack by these injuries.

These injuries have arrived at the worst possible time with Palace and Brentford coming up before our game v West Ham. 2 matches v teams around us in the table where we stood a chance of getting something have now become much harder and could see us cut adrift closer to the bottom 3 than with the little group we're in now with a bit of breathing space. But then, maybe someone will step up and surprise us all. Fingers crossed.

elfigo

 

 

Click To View This Thread

09 Dec 2021 23:15:24
You guys will literally whinge about anything!

I'm not sure where you got your player wage figures from Norfolk Saint but from what I've seen, 3 of our top 7 earners started the match v Brighton. 2 were on the bench (Walcott and Moi). The other 2 are injured.

In any event, contracts are negotiated between club and agent and their weekly salary does not always reflect simply their weekly importance to the club.

I think its great to have a manager free to pick the side he thinks is best suited to play the match rather than the binary input of picking the highest earning 11 players.

Figures I have seen don't back up the £1m pa earnings for Harry Lewis. Not sure what his contract allows in respect of bonuses etc but they are probably performance related and if he's not playing he's not earning them. But tying in with the first point, it matters little what he earns when it comes to RH selecting him or not. Given doubts over both GKs in the first team, if Harry was considered ready, he would be given a chance. RH has demonstrated on plenty of occasions that he is happy to give youth a chance so it seems there are doubts about Harry too.

Also, with 2 first team keepers injured, it makes perfectly good sense to bring in an experienced GK proven at this level and capable of playing to a high standard, on a free. There is no guarantee he will start ahead of Harry Lewis. If he does, it is because he is considered the best option. Full stop. It could be argued that either keeper may be a roll of the dice so let's wait and see who is picked and how they play over a couple of games before declaring the club has gone mad and the end of the world is nigh.

Only on this forum could Saints bringing in a solid, experienced back up keeper on a free be met with cries of the club losing its sanity (despite the entirely logical, reasonable and sane reasons for them doing so), RH selecting a starting line-up based on his knowledge of the players and his system rather than their salary be sneered at, and once again, RH rotating players and bringing in new faces to cover for injuries be met with howls that he keeps picking his favourites.

I genuinely worry for your collective blood pressure.

elfigo

 

 

Click To View This Thread

29 Nov 2021 09:21:25
Stuart Armstrong is injured again.

The formation and line up was selected to try and match Liverpool player for player without the ball. Liverpool have a very dynamic front three who play narrow at times with width coming from attacking full backs. The back 5 was intended to man mark those attacking threats, to be matched across the pitch - similar to the way Leeds play.

Unfortunately, Liverpool's movement, fluidity and interplay was far too good against a team simply not used to playing this way. Saints players looked very uncomfortable dragged out of position at times and it once again highlighted the limitations of our midfield pair in anticipating and tracking attacking runs.

But as I've said before, its to our manager's credit that he is prepared to experiment to find solutions to the problems posed by opposition teams. The line up was an exciting one but tactically, it didn't quite work. The problem was addressed at half time when we reverted to our regular shape and the players were more comfortable in the second half, albeit with Liverpool likely easing off a little after 4-0.

Getting something from Liverpool at Anfield was always going to be a bonus. Wednesday will be tough against a rejuvenated Leicester but there's a chance there. The same v Arsenal next Saturday.

elfigo

 

 

Click To View This Thread

05 Oct 2021 16:35:52
Just to clarify as its not the first time its been suggested, I am not a voice from within Southampton FC, just a fan as you all are. I don't mean to say you're not entitled to your views or that your thoughts or feelings are invalid. I'm simply concerned that when the team sheet comes out pre-game, the forecast is bleak and sometimes it seems that no matter the result, the review of the game is equally so.

I share your frustrations at the style of play at the moment, our form and performance levels at times. But I also see good moments of play not quite rewarded with the goal they deserve, good performances like those against City and United that we could have nicked all 3 points from. The fragile and panicked defending of last season when we were as soft as butter has gone. I totally agree that the compromise is to our attack at the moment, but that is not entirely the reason for our lack of goals.

I think when Ings left, rather than piling all the pressure on a new striker to replace him, the expectation is that the attackers will work as a unit to share the goals amongst them this season. A. Armstrong has been brought in as a goalscorer and will be looking to reach double figures. As will Adams. But Redmond, Djneppo, S. Armstrong and Tella will all need to contribute too, along with JWP from set pieces and pens. I hope Broja will get a few too, but he remains a Chelsea player and I think its key to get our own players firing, rather than relying on external help at this stage. previous seasons show that there are goals in this team. Its now on them and RH to find the solution to the problem.

I do think RH changes the team to challenge the opponent each week. I think Redmond was selected as a forward on Saturday, not only due to his speed with the ball, but also to link up play in transition from defence to attack when we were likely to be stuck with numbers behind the ball. His holding up of play can often be frustrating as it allows opponents back, but it also boosts our numbers in the opposition half too, creating more options and more teammates close to the ball to react and press should we suffer a turnover.

It wasn't working as well as hoped so RH changed it and we were better for it. But Chelsea's formation is used by only a couple of other clubs in the league. The majority utilising a 4-3-3. Some stick with a 4-4-2. So while the adapted formation worked against Chelsea, it might not against Leeds or Watford. RH does favour a 4-2-2-2 and he does have favourites, as pretty much every manager does. But he has also demonstrated the capacity to change the system and the personnel before the game or mid-game to try and address any negative imbalance. I don't believe RH is as poor a manager or as deranged as he's made out to be. I do think he is overly committed to a system which, as time goes on, continues to demonstrate its flaws, but he deserves time to address this.

Firing a manager is always seen as a quick fix to a struggling team but quite often, the impact is limited. It may have been tongue in cheek to compare us to Watford, but I would much rather be a club with a focus on sustainable stability and growth than one with an itchy trigger finger always one bad run away from rolling the dice on the next fresh face to try and turn the tide.

There are so many players listed as being inadequate or ill-suited at times, but our squad is small and our alternatives are usually a step down. For example, if we do play a 4-2-2-2 in our next game, it may be with Jack Stephens deputising for JWP (if he's fit) or Diallo. Neither are particularly suited to the role and will likely struggle. I therefore hope that RH will rather use the opportunity to experiment with formations and personnel so we'll have to wait and see.

But look at our teamsheet and consider honestly how many of our attacking players would get into a top 10 side. S Armstrong when in full flourish, perhaps. But no-one else in my view. Tella and A Armstrong may come good, but that's hope rather than expectation. Hell, consider the same for any other position for that matter. We have no real stars. We have good players in several positions, but certainly not wall to wall across the pitch. That's the reality. For this team to achieve what it has in playing those bigger clubs is good. Its not an acceptance of mediocrity, its an acknowledgement of where we are as a club. We have a manager and a squad capable of competing at this level and with a target of mid-table. Do I want more? Yes. Can we achieve that this season? No.

Firing RH isn't going to make Redmond, Djneppo, Walcott, Adams, Romeu, JWP, McCarthy, Stephens any better. At least not in the short term. Even beyond that its unlikely that all of them would improve. These are our players. This is our squad.

My view of Saints is therefore hopeful, but accepting of the fact that we are closer to the likes of Burnley at the moment than a top 10 club. Maybe we are stuck in a rut with a manager who has taken us as far as we can like Sean Dyche. I think this season will tell us that. But I don't believe the board are anywhere close to considering his position. So calling for his head so soon will only lead to more frustration as its not going to happen. You're right that draws alone will not be enough so if we carry on as we are, RH will deserve to lose his job as he has failed to address the poor results. In the very least though, let's see how we get on against Watford and Burnley etc in the coming weeks and see how the club responds.

elfigo

 

 

Click To View This Thread

27 Sep 2021 15:46:15
Yesterday's game was a frustrating watch, with issues persisting from previous performances this season.

For me, our main issue when we attack is the slow delivery of the ball from front to back. This has been an issue since last season. We do hit several long direct passes from front to back, and when delivered accurately, they provide opportunity. In contrast to other posters, I don't think we do it enough. We also throw in the occasional line breaking pass to get behind the opposition midfield, but again, too infrequently.

Instead, we look hesitant on the ball most of the time and I agree that something has to give in the JWP/ Romeu axis for us to become a little more progressive. With the system as it is, with the ball Saints attack with a 3-4-3/ 3-3-4 formation which sees our centrebacks split and one of the central midfielders drop into the space between them. From that position, neither Romeu or JWP look to play progressive passes forward and rather simply look to recycle the ball or break up play if lose possession.

That leaves one central midfielder who usually sits between the opposition's lines of attack and midfield to create passing lanes with our defensive line, but often means they are targeted and swallowed by the opposition's midfielders. This takes them out of the game as a progressive passing option as they are forced to pass backwards or sideways.

On the flip side, this floating midfielder can interplay and draw opposition bodies out of position to open up passing lanes either side, so in sacrificing themselves as an attacking passing option, its possible with the right movement and interplay to create options for others. This is where the line splitting passes come in, as we saw a couple from Bednarek yesterday just bypassing our midfield, and that of Wolves, to get to our attacking midfielders.

These narrow attacking midfielders also help to create space by drawing opposition wide midfielders in, or even full backs, to create space in the wide channels for our attacking full backs to try and exploit.

For this system to work, the ball needs to get from our defensive third to the attacking third as quickly as possible to catch the opposition cold and create an overload with our full backs, attacking midfielders and strikers all working together against a back four. This more direct approach doesn't need to come at the expense of control or possession. Whilst some of our long balls lack accuracy in terms of finding a Saints player, this is also the trigger for our high press as we fight hard for the second ball, looking to force a turnover close to the opposition goal and catch them sleeping.

What we're doing all too often at the moment is slowing attacks down. When the ball is played backwards, or sideways, or when wide players have to cut back on to their stronger foot, it affords the opponent valuable seconds to recover into defensive positions and shut down the spaces. There have been several moments in every game this season that one of our attacking players has made a run from deep looking for a pass behind the opponent's back four, when there is room for such a pass to be made, but the opportunity is turned down, in favour of a safe sideways or backwards pass. In the time of Danny Ings, this pass in behind was a main weapon with usually Ings himself making the run. Those runs are still being made despite Ings no longer being in the team (evidence that this is encouraged through coaching) but for some reason, JWP and Romeu are regularly turning it down. Plus we currently have the right footed left back who is reluctant to overlap and attack the byline in behind the opposition defence as his left foot isn't quite up to it, meaning even if the ball does get forward down our left side quickly, the attack is likely to break down as we cut back inside through either KWP or Redmond.

So this comes back to the main point. Perhaps, JWP and Romeu are being too pragmatic. I would consider this being a change in philosophy by JWP that has helped us concede fewer goals of late, but this was evident last season. Its like we're still being haunted by the ghost of pragmatic possession, fearing giving the ball away more than sabotaging our own attacking opportunities.

I think Perraud has been fine when he has played. I don't know whether the fear was him coming up against Traore but as it turned out, Traore only came on late and then played through the middle. I'm still not entirely sure why Tella isn't playing, or why Broja isn't given a start. Perhaps there is something in training that we don't see.

I have doubts about the front 2 pairing. Armstrong I think would be more effective sitting slightly deeper at times if he prefers to shoot from range and he has the pace to get behind centrebacks if the right ball is played from a deeper position. He doesn't seem to have the guile nor stature to get by defenders at the moment. Che Adams is a good outlet, is strong and competes well for the ball, but once that has been done, he doesn't offer enough goal threat for me. He's often stuck outside the box when we attack or arrives too late to get a shot off. He doesn't seem to offer an aerial threat in the box either, so whilst our wide play often encourages crossing, we lack targets to hit and have little option but to cross low or cut back. Broja is different as he has guile, speed and aerial presence. I can understand the logic of only wanting to use him as back up as he remains the player of another team and surely its better for our long term future if we can get our own players playing better before we rely on someone who may well only be here for the season.

But then if we play these personnel, perhaps a different system is required to get the best of them. A font three, not dissimilar to Liverpool with Adams battling for the ball and flicking it on from a deeper position to the speed of Tella and Armstrong? Maybe a midfield 3 with someone like Diallo or Armstrong who can play more progressive passes from there, to counter the more pragmatic Romeu and JWP.

Maybe there is another solution that can get these players working in the 4-2-2-2. Maybe they will grow in to their positions and in a few weeks time, these doubts may be gone. On the back of 2 impressive draws against the Manchester teams and West Ham, and only a 0-1 loss to Wolves who we bettered for much of the game, I don't think we're in need of a revolution. But the early signs are there of imbalance in the team that will need to be rectified somehow in order to get our attack firing and alleviate the pressure on the defence to keep clean sheets.

elfigo