Southampton v Newcastle
27th October 2018
In the absence of the unwell Højbjerg, Mario Lemina pulled the strings in midfield with Romeu
IBO Reporter : theinvisibleman
I haven’t been to a Saints match since September 2017, when I watched our lot amble round the pitch to a defeat at the hands of Watford near the start of Mauricio Pellegrino’s disastrous tenure so, as I hate the virus-ridden and pop-up-infested crappy (not to mention illegal) internet ‘streams’, I am having to listen to Adam and Dave on Solent.
Just over a year on from that match, Mark Hughes is the bloke in charge and, while he managed to - just - keep Saints in the Premier League after taking over from MoPe, Saints remain abysmal. Hughes doesn’t seem to have a clue how to stop the rot and, with a measly 5 wins in 40-odd games, Saints are stuck in a rut but things don’t look like improving sometime soon, especially as today we’re at home and our home record has been atrocious for best part of a year now.
Enter Newcastle, another side who are as dismal as Saints but with one difference - Saints actually managed one win this season while Newcastle are so far winless and we all know what happens when opposition clubs and players are on a bad run, so I was hoping the afternoon didn’t result in the usual Saints magnanimity.
Saints team for the afternoon was:
McCarthy (GK), Bertrand, Cédric, Hoedt, Stephens, Redmond, Elyounoussi, Lemina, Romeu, Austin, Ings
With as the Subs:
Yoshida, Gabbiadini, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Gunn, Long, Vestergaard
Our best player this season by far, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, is out with an illness and is replaced by Romeu while Gabbiadini finds himself on the bench yet again, with the immobile and past-it Austin selected ahead of him.
Anyway, here are a few things typed while listening to Solent Sport.
Almost a good start after 3 mins, Elyounoussi nearly scored but the Barcodes’ keeper Martin Dubravka saved it although, according to various comments around the forums, he (Elyounoussi) would have been better off squaring it for a tap in.
In the meantime, the Newcastle fans made their feeling about Barcodes owner Mike Ashley clear with ‘you fat fecking bastard’ coming over the airwaves loud and clear, but least their owner makes himself known, unlike our mysterious Chinese bloke who has barely uttered a peep since taking over let alone tried to halt our downward slide.
Saints had a decent start to this game but the lack of goals is a concern and the longer a game goes on, the more convinced you are they’ll bottle it completely and lose their nerve, as has happened so often over the past season and a bit.
After the decent opening stages, Saints predictably retreated and let Newcastle into the game, which soon descended into a bore-fest with two awful teams not offering much.
As of the 15th minute Saints were 400 minutes without a Premier League goal, an utterly dismal statistic which shows how bad we are in front of goal and that point was underlined when Redmond put the ball over the bar when in on goal.
Saints woke up a bit and had two good chances late in the first half, with Ings and Lemina both missing but Newcastle are just as poor and had a couple of half chances of their own before the break.
Despite a couple of injuries that required treatment, there were only 3 mins of added time at the end of the first half but Saints did get another couple of goes at goal with Elyounoussi sending the ball well over the bar and Dubravka saving from Stephens after a corner.
Half time 0-0
No changes were made at half time and the second half was as scrappy as the first but, while Saints had chances they didn’t manage to do anything with them. Even when they got in the box they did everything except score or they dithered enough so the opposition defenders can clear the danger. Both Elyounoussi and Redmond had shots blocked.
Austin, who has been about as much use as a chocolate oven, is finally replaced by Gabbiadini 20 mins into the second half. He was a good player but now seems unfit and thoroughly past-it.
The next substitutions saw Romeu replaced by JWP and Long replacing Elyounoussi. I’m not a Shane Long fan - what’s the point of a striker who doesn’t score? - and he has to be one of the worst forwards in football. Long's ineptitude in front of goal was illustrated by a horrible miss near the end of the game, and then Gabbiadini sent a shot into the stands, which sums up Saints’ dire form.
Late in the second half I was sitting here thinking ‘FFS Saints just come on’; as Adam and Dave described each miss (22 shots, 4 on target). It’s incredibly frustrating as, while they’d played reasonably well in patches, they just can’t hit the back of the net. Like the previous week at Bournemouth, Saints were the better team but just can’t score.
The match finishes 0-0
At the final whistle boos echoed round St Mary’s, and who can blame them, as we're now into the third year of absolute dross. This is utterly frustrating for all of us but more so for the unfortunates who have parted with good money to witness this. It’s not good enough and surely our reclusive owner must do something and soon, otherwise his £200 million pound loan to buy the club will be looking like a Very Bad Idea Indeed, when our - as things stand - inevitable relegation occurs. He could start with sacking Hughes - who doesn’t seem to know his best team and doesn’t appear to have an iota of an idea what to do - and continue with Les Reed, Ross Wilson and Ralph Krueger who have presided over the whole mess.
Next up is Manchester City at the Etihad, what could possibly go wrong?
Jack Stephens had a decent game for the second week running
14 Romeu (Ward-Prowse 78')
11 Elyounoussi (Long 78')
10 Austin (Gabbiadini 63')
10 Diamé (Ki Sung-yueng 76')
17 Pérez (Rondón 69')
13 Muto (Atsu 80' - Booked 90')
4 Ki Sung-yueng
Saturday 27th October
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
- Southampton 50%
- Newcastle 50%
- Southampton 22
- Newcastle 6
Shots on Target
- Southampton 4
- Newcastle 0
- Southampton 7
- Newcastle 2
- Southampton 9
- Newcastle 12