St.Mary’s - 7th December, 2013
Referee : Anthony Taylor
Attendance : 31,229
I was miserable today, I've still got a cold and I really and truly thought we'd be spanked, I was pretty wrong about that, So, After admitting I got that wrong, on to the players.
Gazzaniga > Made one save today, it wasn't that convincing, but he didn't stand much of a chance for the goal that he let in. However, by and large I would reiterate that he needs to experience 1st team football, and he needs to do that somewhere other than the premiership. He plays on his line and doesn't come out and get the ball when he needs to, which makes his defence incredibly nervous. He did okay but only because the rest of the team did excellently.
Chambers > This boy is mustard, best game I've seen from him. I thought he was brave and when inexperience made him do something he shouldn't have, he tried and usually made amends. A really excellent performance and I have to be honest, I thought Clyne himself would probably not have done better today, really very very good.
Dejan > Excellent today, either he or José should have buried that header in the 6 yard box (if it was him that was there, I thought it was?). Other than that, brilliant and showed his true strength of the day which is playing on the ground and tackling, an excellent performance from a very good player indeed.
Fonte > Made Mr Lover Lover much more comfortable and looked very good himself. One particularly awful header had me sweating, but otherwise he looked very good and our pretty safe back line continued to the the end of the game. Good going.
Shaw > As disappointing as he was the last time, this time he was excellent. I think it might have to do with whether he thinks he has it over the opposing full-back/midfielder. Whatever, he certainly did and he looked brilliant, but slightly tired towards the end. He had a really good game and this was one of the ones his agent will be storing away for new contract/transfer time. Good stuff and very powerful from such a young player.
Cork > There he is, that's the player I wondered about on Wednesday. Excellent performance, all over the pitch, good passing, range of movement was clever, some nice footwork and interestingly, very good aerial presence. An all-round excellent performance from Jack and for me anyway, Man of the Match.
Adam > I thought when I watched him today that the big teams must now be taking some serious interest in him, he was everywhere, and another exemplary captain like performance. I thought he was excellent and even if he did run out of steam at the end, he was very very good, without having quite the same cutting edge as we have seen over the past few games. He has come of age and could well be the next "Mr Southampton"
JWP > A little anonymous early on, but after about 20 minutes started to come into the game and his energy started to help the team get over the early goal conceded. I thought he was a little bit too respectful of them in the 1st half, although that could be said for a few more of our players as well, it became very obvious when we "got amongst them" that that was what we needed to do. Nevertheless, a solid performance without being in any way particularly eye-catching, or outstanding, better than being substituted in the last couple of games anyway and something to build on.
Davis > Not quite as impressive as he was against Villa, although it may be that he looked so good because he was the only player playing at the top of their game in that match. Anyway, another solid performance and he is impressing me more and more, I'm starting to see what Pooch sees in him and I think that the Davis/Cork midfield partnership is actually a lot stronger than I had feared it would be. Another good game from this excellent player.
Rodriguez > Despite being slightly anonymous early on, he grew into this match and I have to say he was in danger of taking a man of the match award from Cork, if he had managed to put away some of the opportunities he made for himself. Excellent performance and should be taped and shown to youngsters as a exemplar of how to play "directly", whilst retaining the other team work characteristics you require in the modern game.
Dani O > Okay, let's get this out of the way, that is one of the best individual goals I have seen at St Mary's, bar none. It was a piece of genius without any shadow of a doubt. That being said, I thought he had a crap game, his movement was appalling, his hold-up play was patchy and he missed 2/3 sitters whilst making the impossible look easy. Very, very frustrating to write about, because everyone will remember the brilliance and few will remember the fact he was a passenger for a lot of the rest of the match. If he just ups his brilliance quotient even a little bit, it will be lovely to watch and we will win lots of games. As it was, until he scored that beauty I was wishing Rickie was on…
Lambert > Did not much in his time on the pitch, put himself about a bit and niggled their defence which was useful, wasn't given a lot to feed on though, so I can't say he did badly at all, just what he needed to, without getting the last minute dramatic winner everyone hoped he would.
Ramirez > I can't say he did anything to draw the attention to him at all in his brief time on the pitch. In fact, the little he did do was patently out of practice. Let's hope he can get back towards his best, because we are going to need him and I for one look forward to seeing at least one more brilliant performance from him in a Southampton shirt. Today wasn't it but you know, it might come?
Reed > He's little isn't he? Didn't have a lot of time to impress, so not surprised that he didn't particularly. He may need a bit more time and a little more physical presence, but that's my own particular brand of midfielder and I understand not everyone is quite that "robust". He will never be Big Victor but let's hope our academy has turned out another gem, on today's performance there's no particular way of knowing whether that's true.
And we were the best team on the pitch, apart from the 1st 10 minutes where we were too polite, too respectful and not at all the Southampton we all have come to know and love. We took the game to them and they let us have it, we made a very good midfielder look very average (YYT), we gave a half chance to one of the best strikers in the league and he took it, not much of a surprise there.
Anyway, we battled that performance out, players that came in realised today, if not against Villa, that this was their opportunity to make themselves invaluable to the team. I have to say a lot of them have raised eyebrows and if Pooch really does put people in on merit, then there's a couple of players here that could well be keeping big names out the team. This is as it should be.
Guess what? I have a confession, I had a bet we would lose today, I don't often bet on football but it was really good odds on a certain scoreline that I just couldn't resist, but at the end of it all, I'm not at all sorry I didn't get paid out.
We were excellent, the best team drew today and I was expecting mediocrity at best from us, in the end we should have won easily, if we could only get that particular "missing the easy chances" monkey off our backs, we would have stuffed them again at home.
I was disappointed to have to go to this game but, what with season ticket prices being what they are, I trudged off with my cold and my miserable face, I was bloody glad I did, a brilliant performance and a really good game to watch, I left feeling like we had won, even if we didn't, one of my games of the season without doubt.
Bring on Newcastle, if we can score they are toast…
7th December 2013
20 Lallana (Ramírez - 85' )
17 Osvaldo (Lambert - 77' )
08 Davis (Reed - 90' )
07 Milner (Javi García - 62' )
42 Y Touré (Dzeko - 79' )
16 Agüero Booked
09 Negredo (Jesús Navas - 62' )
08 Nasri Booked
14 Javi García
15 Jesús Navas
Manchester City 45%
Manchester City 13
Manchester City 3
Manchester City 4
Manchester City 9