van Dijk 11′
Sigurdsson 83′ (pen)
FT 90 +5 HT 1-0
Referee : Roger East
Attendance : 30,704
Southampton v Swansea
St.Mary’s, Saturday 26th September 2015
> First goal for van Dijk
> Bertrand plays a full 90 minutes and is excellent
How I’ve decided to look at Europa. We earned the right to play 4 matches. We lost once in those 4 matches and fell on the unfortunate side of an otherwise great run. If we continue to get points in 3 out of 4 games in the EPL I’m not worried about our chances at another run at Europe at all.
Why I picked this match?
Other than a delightful conversation with a middle aged bird from Wales prior to the Swans match (Shelvey’s wondergoal) my only association with Swans is Cork and that they tend to play rather good football as a rule, which I’ve typically respected them for. I don’t have the historical perspective of some of my peers here so I’ll just stick to today’s match.
5’ VVD wins header over Gomis and basically punishes him. Gomis gets up seeking a call and his body language changes the rest of the match.
Early on we saw rather decent football. Both teams trying to play their way. Swans with a sort of tiki taka scissor backpass n run style. A decent strike from Shelvey after a muddled run in and a nice foot by Soarez to push it out. Saints start out pressing high as we did against Manchester United, but without De Gea it just feels like it's coming.
Davis actually impresses with some good close down runs, especially on the former Saint Cork. Dušan's class so far, it looks like only a matter of time. simply abusing the Swans down the left side of the pitch. One great opportunity missed by Pellè. Pretty sure he missed the one timer despite trying to act like he meant to let it go by… fizzled a great one but great class and dominance from the Left so far. Bertrand’s movement is what I think Matty still has to learn to emulate. Maybe his skill set allows him more range but Targett just doesn’t know how to make decisive overlaps yet, or at least nowhere near on the level that Bertie n Tadic are gelling in a few minutes.
Wanyama bulls over a Swan, takes the ball and puts in a rather nice low cross, this is what we want to see him doing more and more.
Tadić cool collection earns corner. JWP near post curl to the head of VVD. Seems like we have a head that can seek out the ball… that’s 2 assists in 2 league matches I believe, I think we might finally start to see JWP start to mature into the player we’ve all seen flashes of in his young career.
Pellè looking more rangy and active, quick runs wide opening the space up behind him, saw it midweek I believe on a few clipped replays and glad to see him able to do more than sit in front of 2 centrehalves n hope for the best. Noticed Tadić n Mané switch sides… this could be an utterly cruel trick on opposing fullbacks. Manage a more than handful of class in a stop/start/flick sorta Tadić way or deal with the High Octane and unpredictable Mané, then as soon as you get comfy... switch. Mané still lacks the concentration to be ready to make a jump to a big club, too many silly unnecessary offsides - see 20’ n diving when tired, 58' and miscue with JWP becomes a turnover. Both teams are showing pretty great movement with poor passing or pretty great passing with poor movement. Tribute to both defenses throwing a wrench into things and just not being on the same page. By about 25minutes in the game looks to calm down a bit as both the supporters and the players all look like they need a breather after this frantic pace to start the match. Wonderful to watch but must be taking a toll and expect things to slow a bit before Halftime.
The first sign of wear, extra physicality because legs are tired is no surprise as it starts to get a wee bit chippy. A nice poke from Soarez and Mane racing Taylor, small shove in the back gets called and straight two arms extended shove from Ashley Williams completely ignored? Hmmmkay.
Ref has a chat with Williams which is more than he deserves imho. During this talk I realize the ref holds his hands like he’s a Chinese kung fu monk from a movie made in 1978. That odd hand hold I bet he said ‘Buddha Bless You’ as they parted ways. Also he’s bald, he’s totally a secret buddhist kung fu monk. Solved, we can move on now.
This is a litmus test I think. A club that will actually play football with us and we seem to be doing quite well. I don’t really understand why any club plays football with us anymore as our comparative records have got to be astounding between letting us play or have to get through a bus. But I guess it’s early in the season and everyone’s warm before the cold n rain starts so there’s plenty of time for cynicism in strategy later.
As expected, we slow down a bit. If we don’t have the wind to press the whole match then why do we open with it then let off so that the other team can recover their wits, string together some nice opportunities n passes and feel better? It’s that or JWP has shifted back next to Wanyama at the moment and Davis is the one not really contributing to the attack. He doesn’t fit the system, he probably is a great example to the kids in how to work hard at practice except for the fact that he probably doesn’t seem to have the best ability to capitalize on this level… I dunno, I feel like he’d be a legend of the Scottish league.
1st Half Reflections:
We had the ball less but did more when we did. We let Swans spend most of that posession movin it from Keeper to Back 4. I don’t know how you fit Davis n JWP together. I def like JWP more in the center than out right and he’s had a cracking game. Probably MVP if not for Virgil playin out of his Van Dijk!
Only score came on a defensive miscue and miscommunication between Cork n Gomis so not a whole lot to seperate the two teams but other than a couple of longer range shots Swans haven’t really made much in the way of threatening. Flashes from Cédric I like, Mané flashes of too much flashiness. Pellè upping the work rate really makes a huge difference but that’s as much due to the change in the back 4 as anything. Though Bertie still looks a lil slow in defense and most of the successful attack buildups have come through on his side so we’ll see what adjustments are made in the second half.
Start of 2nd.
Monk makes two changes bringing off Cork and Gomis, assumin no injury issues (tho Gomis looked shaken up from the jump with that VVD header over his back I mentioned before). I wonder if there’s any connection to the two who made the defensive set piece miscue are the first two off.
Interesting Moment 4
Ki with a shit eating grin on his face after a cheap back/kidney thump on Mane to shut down the attack. I’m confident we are going to see more and more of this as Mane matures (assuming that’s going to happen).
53’ Tadic Goal.
I love the way Pellè is starting to develop chemistry with Mané as well as Tadić. Twice now this game it’s just been the perfect idea but here the CH(that’s cnhair) is in the way. Then he just gets it back and does it again to Tadić who tries to chip cross to Mané, but catches a defender and it floats over a falling Fabianski brilliantly. The kind of play this squad made when they were confident and clicking last season and didn’t when they were wet, cold, sore, and frustrated. At least we’re seeming to play more cohesively and it’s not just constant miscues.
Now I feel good. Let’s see if RK keeps the pedal down or takes the foot off the gas the way we seemed to with United. Course Fabianski’s no De Gea but a quick aside. A lot of announcers have talked about Tadić’s … exuberance and “showmanship.” It’s a bunch of shit. He brings energy and emotion as well as class on the ball and in the cross (especially when on his favored left side.). So you can say he’s too individualistic or flamboyant and selfish. I don’t see that at all. I see a player who’s passionate about his team and their success and now that he’s healthy we’re getting a chance to see him fight for it.
You know when BV looks good he looks like a Buffalo on roller blades, in spandex, casually listening to a discman. But when he looks bad good lord he looks like a pig trying to play a trombone on broken roller skates.
Swans seem to have decided to move on Cédric more now. Maybe it’s just for the sun, so the crosser can see in and both the defender and attacker have to deal with the sun? I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the reason as I see no reason not to press Bertie more as he gets more winded coming off an injury.
Sure Mané gets in the rebound with a (less rushed) turn and fire. But the real class in that buildup (and luck) was Pellè finding Bertie out wide nutmeging a swan in the process. The kind of 50/50 thing so many of these matches turn on. I guess we’re out of the woods at this point. Swans have looked hapless except for a few decent buildups down the right, a fair couple of long shots from JonJoBoBo, and that one nice run from Eder off the lead pass of Shelvey. But really nothing. Saints have been comfortable in a counter mode in a way I haven’t seen them play and a suggestion I believe I made last year at one point which was met with a chorus of ‘ARE YOU CRAZY?!?’ Personally, I think this club has to learn to play on the counter so that our opponents can't ‘solve’ us by parking the bus for 90 minutes. Letting them stretch out and opening up lanes was much easier with Morgan n Toby booting it from the back but I think VVD has shown some class there and if JWP can consistently play in the holding position or off of BV then also helps solve our linkup problem we ran into against the public transit strategy.
Romeu in Davis out.
Davis didn’t upset me today but I like the move letting BV and Alfa roam around creating a moat in front of the castle wall of our back 4. Now if they can maraud as a unit will be interesting to see.
Swans respond with a really nice ball in to Shelvey… between BV and Alfa (how who else saw that answer immediately…) can’t tell if Alfa ate it or Shelvey got away with one but glad to see Stekasauras ranging out and scoopin it up. A clean sheet in sight, a D minded unit out on the pitch, time to grind ‘em up!
JWP shifts over right and you immediately see a difference in the pressing of the Swans. No one can even receive the ball without being immediately met by a Saint. Time to turn the pressure up and break their spirit then cruise into the sunset. Can’t complain about anything so far RK and JWP is just looking more and more confident, maybe it helps to have him on the pitch. (with Tadić I was gonna say then I realized just letting him play is probably the best method of growth eh). Since coming on Romeu looks frantic and rushed, like he has something to prove. I’m hoping he doesn’t respond to not getting time by coming out too hot and doing something dumb, or getting himself caught out of position.
I’ve watched it probably 10x. It’s a penalty. There’s nothing cynical about it but it’s simply sloppy and impedes the forward. I think he either misjudged the weight on the pass or was trying to block a one-time shot that never came. I have no issue with it as it’s your captain laying everything on the line to hold a clean sheet for club and keeper.
Really not much for me here, I definitely don’t disagree with the decision but I also wouldn’t have shown a yellow either. Now all that being said (writing this in extratime during the replay), that’s the kind of challenge Jose got away with several times last season without that call when it probably should’ve been so I get it regardless again.
3-1 Saints Gylfi PK
Well the game and me was starting to run out of steam so I guess it gave the folks from Wales something to enjoy before they trek home. Still see no reason the Saints don’t continue to slam the door.
I don’t know why I hear so much love for Romeu, he takes too many 50/50 chances and sacrifices positioning for a last ditch tackle. He took 2 there. Eder flopped on the first one and was straight clipped the second. He’s a giant of a man. Why can’t he take a couple steps back or run with them as opposed to such a direct approach. Some matches that would be the end of his day.
Saints were too much for Swans and extra impressed by the manner in which we made them struggle to follow through with their gameplan and turned in a stellar performance on both sides of the ball. Not without mistake, obviously but definitely an improved showing against a better than average side. Great showings from too many to name. Top 3 stars for me were JWP, VVD, and Pelle. Sorry this took so long. I'll put my extended match notes in a thread if anyone feels like watching it over again and going through the time slots.
06 Fonte Booked
17 van Dijk
12 Wanyama Booked
10 Mané (Juanmi - 86' )
08 Davis (Romeu - 63' Booked )
11 Tadic (Rodriguez - 74' )
04 Ki Sung-yueng
24 Cork (Montero - 45' )
08 Shelvey Booked (Britton - 80' )
18 Gomis (Éder - 45' )