Saints v West Brom
St.Mary's, Saturday 23rd August 2014
Well… I could think of a number of better ways of spending a Saturday afternoon than that.
West Brom, honestly, I think the word 'shit' would encompass it quite nicely, the fact we couldn't beat them, not even really trouble them, that's worrying.
Pedestrian, unimaginative and the loss of a shameful opportunity to thrash a relegation possibility, I could go on, and I shall… but I did see a couple of things I was very impressed with, namely big Victor and the Pube Anvil. More on that later.
Forster: excellent, commanding, communicative, bloody scary big, all the things you want in a goalkeeper plus some reasonable agility (although to be truthful he was only really tested once, a test he passed with flying colours). So not really much to go on, but he does look the business, once he gets his Mojo working with the rest of the defence I don't think there's any doubt that we have really improved in this area. Obviously we need to see him against some world-class opposition, West Brom certainly weren't that, but the start is good and he'll get better playing against better players, which is as it should be.
Clyne: doubled up on and looking a little frustrated to be the 'go to guy' for creating goalscoring opportunities. I think he misses the creativity we have had stripped from us. Defensively he looked okay but he had really nothing to deal with per se. It's frustrating to see him frustrated.
Fonte: solid game, tried to push forward and get people energised, not really particularly pressured, a reasonably good performance against weak opposition.
Yoshida: passing adequate (can't ask more than that considering what we have seen in the past), timing of tackle slightly questionable but again, how do you judge a defender against really poor opposition, did okay apart from when he got rolled but nothing occurred as a result so… whatever.
Bertrand: more of an offensive threat in the second half but again suffers for me in comparison with Luke, I'll get over it, I promise. I think actually he will prove to be a reasonably good acquisition, a sensible player with a lot of experience and a reasonable amount of playing time playing with and against really good opposition, not the worst left back we could have purchased while we wait for Targett to get his shit together.
Wanyama: well, big Victor can pass, accurately and with some degree of distance, excellent stuff. Not only that, he looked very good today in his all-round game. Trimmer as well, a really good game from him.
Davis: didn't really get into it, I have jinxed him and I apologise. Honestly just lots of hard work from him but very little end product. I was slightly surprised it was him that was replaced but I can see why.
Ward-Prowse: after all the praise in the week you would think he would play out of his skin, he didn't. He hit the post with a freekick, he passed the ball to other people on his own team (I would say a prerequisite of being a footballer) but I can't honestly say much else about him other than for about 45 minutes Mulumbu had him for his bitch and that he had a distinctly pompey coloured pair of football boots on. Average isn't sufficient in a Southampton player…
Tadić: some great touches and you can't help thinking he needs somebody to link up with that he doesn't have yet. I liked what I saw and yet I didn't see enough, still a good signing though.
Schneiderlin: he was there, he played a couple of good things and he did enough but you could see that he was looking for something that just isn't at the club at the moment. There is no creativity for him to pass to, or not much, and he can't do it himself.
Pellè: Well, I thought he was better. Everyone will slag him off and call him crap but honestly, when did he ever get a good ball? When was he ever presented with an opportunity that didn't leave him with his back to at least two central defenders? His touch isn't as good as Rickie, his running isn't as intelligent as Rickie but I saw progress here and I'm pleased. Less donkey, more new Forest pony, we're getting there.
Long: he's not a right winger, I'm not sure if I can say anything else? He was played so far out of position he might as well have been put in the goal. I can't say if he was good or bad because he just wasn't in the game being asked to play where he did.
Cork: brought on when I think Ronnie decided to go for a draw at about 15 minutes from the end, and actually provided energy and a little impetus (briefly) to our game. Again, another player with not long enough, or correct positioning, to judge properly.
We should have been able to thrash this lot, we are clearly a better football team but played bereft of much in the way of a plan A, let alone any opportunity to implement a plan B.
As was explained to me by Les Reed after the game (I knew this but I wanted to humour Les who is a nice bloke), we switched the triangle ala Shirley & LB to try and give some more support to Pelle and it worked to a certain extent but our creation of goalscoring opportunities was pants as was our support to the Premier League' s hunkiest striker™… He didn't win everything but even if he did there was no one there to do anything with it!
There ARE positives though I have to fight through the lethargy of bland football to find them. Players are starting to work together and clearly the fitness is coming. Pelle, Fonte, Big Victor, Forster, Clyne, Bertrand & Tadic will clearly come good.
The tempo however is bloody appalling, the pressing well…there is no pressing… certainly not high up the pitch, and although that might be because we are scared of people running in behind, it also might be because that's not how Ronnie plays?
I've become used to a high pressing game and it looks very lethargic to me the way we play now and I don't bloody like it.
Forster looked excellent, I can't say he had a lot to do but providing the club don't receive an astronomical offer I think we've got a good one for a long time to come. He commanded the area excellently and smothered the only great opportunity they had, he was great Coming out quickly as well which is good to know of such a huge keeper.
I saw Gardos warming up and he looks a big unit so I guess we aren't going to be short (ha ha) on height at the back or at set pieces that's for sure.
We missed Lallana, I don't like the little git and I'm sorry to have to say it but there you go. And pooch, we miss pooch big-time.
There you go, that's it, it was depressing, it wasn't great being there, I really enjoyed seeing Yates after so long and I wanted to enjoy the football but I didn't really see any to enjoy… Maybe in three weeks…
02 Clyne - Booked
08 Davis (Long 45')
16 Ward-Prowse (Cork - 78')
07 Long 17 Taïder
West Bromwich Albion
15 Pocognoli (Davidson 60')
08 Gardner - Booked
18 Berahino (Sessegnon - 89')
10 Anichebe (Ideye - 52')
11 Brunt - Booked
West Brom post match interview with Ronald Koeman
West Brom 0
- Southampton 58%
- West Bromwich Albion 42%
- Southampton 8
- West Bromwich Albion 8
- Southampton 2
- West Bromwich Albion 2
- Southampton 1
- West Bromwich Albion 5
- Southampton 14
- West Bromwich Albion 15
Referee : Roger East
Attendance : 27,598