- Teams & Interviews
Midtjylland v Southampton
MCH Arena, Herning, Thursday 27th August 2015
> Long ball game plays to Midtjylland’s strengths
> Midtjylland were not really tested
If I thought the first leg was poor, then this match in Denmark was ten times worse. The problem in the home tie was that Saints just could not find a way to cope with Midtjylland's negative tactics and time wasting. On the balance of play then, Saints probably shaded it, but still conceded an away goal to the Danes.
This time Saints couldn't claim that. Apart from a brief moment at the start of the match, when Fonte had a header cleared off the line, the team were second best. The only tactic seemed to be for Caulker to lump it up the field to Pellè. Again and again and again. This only seemed to change in the second half, when Tadić replaced Caulker, Long replaced Rodriguez and finally Juanmi had replaced Davis. This was all too little, too late. Particularly as Midtjylland had scored a goal before the match was half an hour old.
So that was Europe that was.
When the line up was announced it struck me that it was overly defensive, with all three central defenders again and Martina starting as a full back. Mané was on the bench, but not fit enough to play for long. Talking of which, Shane Long was on the bench as well. Wanyama was missing altogether, a stomach upset, or something similar. Apparently.
What with Dušan Tadić's blood disorder, Koeman was struggling to put together a cohesive team. If you look at the team on the second tab here, the only attack minded players on the pitch were Pellè and Rodriguez. JRod is not anywhere near up to speed yet and poor old Graziano seems doomed to toil at the coalface for every minute of every match, with little respite and even less help.
From the off, Saints almost immediately made a breakthrough, when José Fonte had a header cleared off the line by a Midtjylland defender. Looking back now, I do wonder what would have happened if that had gone in, but that's football. Again.
In the immediate aftermath of that chance Saints had a couple of other decent chances which came to nothing, but Midtjylland gradually realised that Saints only seemed to have one tactic and that played right into their hands.
The Midtjylland goal when it came just short of the half hour, was from a mistake by Rodriguez and their No.9, Rasmussen made light work of scoring. At this point I am sure that Saints fans everywhere had their collective heads in their hands. 2-1 down on aggregate and playing without any sort of fluency, or threat.
As the remaining confidence ebbed away, the second half saw little improvement in ambition. And so, Saints european adventure drew to a close.
As cross as I was at the manner of the defeat to a team that, at best were limited in skill, i am not totally despondent. Firstly it is still August and the season doesn't end for another nine months. The engine room of the team was missing. Clasie, Creative Director and Wanyama, Enforcer (will he still be a Saint after the window closes next week?), together with our first choice left back, Bertrand. Added to which we have still not managed to get a suitable replacement central defender for the departed Alderweireld. The team just looks unbalanced. Even the normally reliable Fonte is looking shaky.
It is nowhere near panic time and I am sure that the team will gel. Saints fans really need to get behind the team on Sunday. A win would put smiles on faces again.
Thursday, 29th December 2011
32 Bak Nielsen (Romer - 83' )
03 Sparv Booked
27 Sisto (Hassan - 68' )
07 Poulsen Booked
08 Andersson (Pusic - 80' )
26 Banggaard Jensen
26 Caulker (Tadic - 56' )
08 Davis (Juanmi - 83' )
33 Targett - Booked
09 Rodriguez - Booked (Long - 76' )
Playoff Round - Away
FC Midtjylland 1
- Rasmussen 28′
(agg 2 - 1)
Referee : Liran Liany
Attendance : 9,481
- FC Midtjylland 38%
- Southampton 62%
- FC Midtjylland 11
- Southampton 12
- FC Midtjylland 2
- Southampton 5
- FC Midtjylland 3
- Southampton 5
- FC Midtjylland 5
- Southampton 17
- 2015-16 News
Saints win the last match of the season
In what was ultimately a party atmosphere, Saints qualified for the Europa League by finishing in 5th place, equal on points with Manchester United, but ahead on goal difference. That could change, with the Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth game abandoned. If ManU win, or draw the rearranged game, then Saints will finish 6th, which is still a Europa League qualifying place.
Heck of a way to end the season.
- Premier League
- Europa League
Saints won the Qualifying Round 3 against Vitesse 5-0 on aggregate.
In the Play Off Round Saints faced Danish Champions, Midtjylland. The first leg was played on Thursday 20th August at St.Mary’s, ending in a 1-1 draw.
The decisive return match was on Thursday 27th August in Denmark, which ended in a poor 1-0 loss and ultimate exit from the competition.
- The League Cup
Saints drew MKDons away on Wednesday 23rd September, which ended in a straightforward 6-0 win.
The next round was on Wednesday, 28th October at home to Aston Villa. This was a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests
The final outing in this season’s League Cup was at home when Saints were comprehensively thrashed by Liverpool
- The FA Cup
Well, that was short and not very sweet.
Saints faced Crystal Palace in the 3rd round of the 2015/16 FACup, but lost 1-2 on the day.
- 2015-16 Signings
Saints signed nine players this season. Two on loan and seven on long term contracts. Read more about them by clicking the button.
- Kelvin's Testamonial
Kelvin is retiring after being central to the club's rise through the divisions. Saints awarded him that rare thing these days, a testimonial which enabled him to have a great evening with current and past colleagues, while raising a lot of money for charity.