Stacks Image 2

Sparta Prague v Southampton

Generali Arena Stadium, Prague - Thursday, 24th November 2016
> 71% Possession, but lose 1-0
> Toothless up front again
> Defence goes AWOL for the goal
> All to play for at St.Mary's
Match Report

IBO Reporter : channonite

I sat down to watch this with high hopes of a point at the very least. Soon after the start in which Saints looked really purposeful, they could have taken an early lead, if the forwards had been even half awake. They went on to have over 70% possession, but achieved very little at all with it. Although Sparta Prague had less than 30% possession, they managed to score as early as the 11th minute. In fact, if it were not for Forster, Sparta could have had at least a couple more goals. Now it all comes down to the last match in the group against Hapoel Be’er Sheva at St.Mary's.

Some of Puel's team selection for this match were dictated by circumstances. Tadić will take a few more days before considering playing with his broken nose. Cédric having just come back from injury, needs using sparingly. Fonte managed to pick up a foot injury against Liverpool. Finally the trio of Davis, Bertrand and Romeu were rested, in preparation for Sunday's game at St.Mary's against Koeman's Everton (a crunch match if ever there was one).

So, the back four in front of Forster were Martina, Yoshida, van Dijk and McQueen. The midfield was Clasie, Højbjerg and Ward-Prowse, with Rodriguez, Long and Redmond up front. Looking at that team on paper it seems to me that the biggest problem is that it doesn't look like a team. I know that sounds odd, but to me, they are a collection of good individual players (yes, I know that a fair few have issues with Martina), but they just don't seem to gel.

After that early miss, which turned out to be the highlight for Saints, things rapidly went downhill. It would be easy to point the finger at Martina, when Costa scored in the 11th minute, but Clasie didn't react either and even Forster really should have got a damned sight closer to the ball than he did.

Still, things happen and it was only a single goal, almost at the start of the match and there was still plenty of time to put things right wasn't there? Well, yes there was, but although Saints passed it about a lot, that was all they did. Half Time came and I thought that the chance for Puel to sort things out would result in a better performance in the second half. Fat chance.

Rodriguez was looking completely ineffective, off the pace and just not at the races. The normally impressive Højbjerg was looking almost as bad. Ten minutes after the restart the pair were hauled off and replaced by Boufal and Romeu (at least he got 55 minutes rest).

Frankly, this wasn't an improvement and the performance actually got worse. Redmond for one looked absolutely shattered. At the back van Dijk was looking cross and doing his impression of a one man team. In fact the nearest Saints actually came to scoring was just before the end when the big Dutchman headed just over the bar.

All in all, a very disappointing game, but Saints have a very simple mission now. They will progress if they beat Hapoel Be’er Sheva at St.Mary's on the 8th December. They will also progress if it is a goalless draw, but will go out of the competition should it be a score draw, such are the vagaries of the Europa League.


Sparta Prague

33 Koubek

4 Karavayev

2 Mazuch

3 Kadlec

26 Nhamoinesu

30 Julis (Köstl 90'+3)

25 Holek - Booked 32'

11 Marecek

22 Holzer (Dudl 90'+1)

9 Dockal

21 Lafata (Havelka 88')


27 Miller

43 Dudl

45 Havelka

46 Kadlec

47 Köstl

48 Majka

50 Novotny


1 Forster

15 Martina

3 Yoshida

17 van Dijk

38 McQueen

4 Clasie (Austin 72')

23 Højbjerg (Romeu 55')

16 Ward-Prowse

9 Rodriguez (Boufal 55')

7 Long

22 Redmond


8 Davis

10 Austin

14 Romeu

19 Boufal

21 Bertrand

24 Stephens

41 Lewis

Europa League
Alt image
Stacks Image 9

Thu, 24th Nov 2016
Europa League - Group K

Sparta Prague 1

  • Nhamoinesu 11'

Southampton 0

HT 1-0

Referee : Jesús Gil Manzano


Sparta Prague 29%

Southampton 71%


Sparta Prague 6

Southampton 12

Shots on Target

Sparta Prague 4

Southampton 3


Sparta Prague 0

Southampton 5


Sparta Prague 12

Southampton 16