Southampton v Stoke
Saturday, 3rd March 2018
IBO Reporter : THE BEAST
Where do I start? Well, Yateley and I were going to go to the game but his arse is buried in snow and I'm a big wuss so we didn't but I did watch it all thanks to the miracle of live beamed TV.
It was still a waste of time!
There was an interesting team choice, Josh Sims got in the team, no PEH and Carrillo kept his spot, it was, for Pellegrino, a very brave choice.
From the beginning Sims looked full of running but curiously scared, he looked like someone told him to only ever shoot if it was a sure thing, he seemed curiously inhibited but maybe that was just first-team nerves after being out for so long?
Stoke came out tediously, they came for a draw, or to snatch a win from a freekick or a breakaway, think "Leicester but not so good". Anyway, it didn't really make for an entertaining game until Diouf stood on the hoof of Hoedt, minor handbags ensued and then shortly afterwards Hootie had a chance to challenge for an aerial ball and basically took him out… It was brutal… And also the most enjoyable part of the match as far as I was concerned as at least it was proactive.
The rest of the game was Saints having all the ball, running around and either crossing into the box or getting a corner and crossing into the box where, surprise surprise, the 2 centre backs from Stoke then cleared the ball… It was mindnumbing watching this happen again and again and again and again and again and again.
Towards the end we decided to overload slightly and PellegriNo brought on both Gabbiadini and Boufal, I can't say it made a lot of difference if I'm honest, we missed a sure sitting header shortly afterwards but apart from pinning Stoke back in their box (which is basically the story of the entire game) we didn't really do anything that made any score other than 0-0 looked likely.
Right at the end Crouch could have won it for them but thankfully Stephens made sure he missed his header… That was it.
McCarthy - good game, had very little to do except for one excellent save from a header in the first half, it didn't even look like it was a save until you see the slow mo, but it was brilliant. Other than that, was only remarkable in the fact that we got to see a goalkeeper that would come out and catch the ball… A rarity for us Saints fans
Cedric - tirelessly up and down the right-hand side, I got the feeling he did exactly what he was told to do but even though he put in some good crosses, no one could make anything of them. Had a couple of good shots (and a couple of bad ones). A reasonable game but nothing earthshattering
Stephens - dealt very well with a slowing Crouch, looked a bit less sure of himself against Diouf before he got injured but basically played well and as mentioned previously, saved us from conceding Crouchs' usual goal against us.
Hoedt - ever since the big beginning of the year when we got him I've not been 100% happy with his performances, he is capable of very good defensive play but also is too easily muscled off the ball and, for a man of his height, relatively weak in the air. However, today he was good and although there was some initial hesitation in the first half he later grab this game by the scruff of the neck and was the major outlet from the back of the pitch for the team. A good game by him.
Bertrand - Captain today but I thought it took him about 70 minutes to get going honest, you could see what he was trying to do but he looked a little out of sorts. He got going and, very like Cedric, did what he was supposed to do. Didn't knock it out of the park though and, as the captain, needed to drive this team, FFS, somebody needs to drive this team!
Lemina - another one that came into the game, slow starter and, in my opinion anyway, looks much better when given a "box to box" role, today he seemed to be sitting alongside Romeo a bit more. As the game kept going though and we put more more pressure on Stoke's started to go forward more and looked much more like himself. Didn't look like ever pulling off a worldly though.
Romeu - defensively sound but he looked really REALLY slow today, I know he's not a sprinter but I wonder if he's carrying some kind of knock because I'm twice his age and I can exonerate faster than that (even without the car). Steady game, distribution a bit dull, doesn't look the player of last year though.
Tadić - that player who creates all those chances, I didn't see him today, I saw the really frustrating one, the one you know can play better but, inexplicably, just isn't. We were much better when he left the pitch which is not always the case but definitely was today
Sims - one of the ones for the future, one of the ones we've been waiting to happen, looked a bit anxious and overawed by today and didn't really play his usual football. Probably because the manager told him not to, let's face it, that's what happened to all of our players! Anyway, I'm glad he's back in the first team and taking part but I know that he can influence games much better than he did today.
Redmond - nice to see him back as well, needs to shoot a bit more, he's got a really good right foot when he puts his mind to it, him and Tadic both, they need to actually pull the trigger every so often instead of looking to pass it to somebody else (who then doesn't score).
Carrillo - for me, today was his most frustrating game, I know he hasn't scored but he has looked like creating for others, today apart from once, he didn't look like that. He'll play better than this… He'll need to have we going to avoid the drop.
Subs, I'm not going to go through all of them because honestly, they didn't really make much difference other than to increase the pressure on Stoke. They were all adequate without being in any way game changing… Which is of course what we require.
Frustrating, massively frustrating, all the possession and never looked like making it Count.
I could write the same thing about this game as I would of about the game at the beginning of the year, we haven't evolved, we haven't changed, we haven't improved and if this team is demonstrating the manager's ideas, there we need someone with different ideas in charge.
If they aren't doing what the manager tells them to do, that we need different players.
Let's face it, but that's going to happen before the end of this year so if we survive, and it's a massive if, it'll be because somebody else fecked up even bigger than we did because this lot, as a football club, they haven't got it in them to do better than they did today.
Let's face it, that's damning…
39 Sims (Boufal 76')
11 Tadić (Gabbiadini 64')
9 Carrillo (Long 79')
15 Martins Indi
21 Stafylidis (Crouch 45')
20 Cameron - Booked 41'
10 Choupo-Moting (Jesé 64')
18 Diouf (Pieters 23')
Saturday, 3rd Mar 2018
Referee : Anthony Taylor
Attendance : 30,335
- Southampton 65%
- Stoke 35%
- Southampton 18
- Stoke 12
Shots on Target
- Southampton 6
- Stoke 3
- Southampton 15
- Stoke 4
- Southampton 8
- Stoke 13