Southampton v Watford
10th November 2018
We scored a goal! Well, Gabbiadini did, which was a relief both for him and us.
IBO Reporter : THE BEAST
Where to start? Okay, let's go for "the weather".
It was pretty foul, not cold but sodding wet, I parked in the car park and it started to rain and I thought to myself "I'll just wait it out, it won't be long…" 30 minutes later I decided that I had to just get on with it because it was still raining, in fact it had gotten worse, this was pretty much the tale of the rest of the match. 2 minutes of clear skies then immersion in an upright sea with slots in it for the rest of the time.
This made for reasonably bedraggled and unhappy-looking footballers, some pretty bedraggled unhappy-looking fans and one of the few occasions I've been to St Marys when they haven't actually turned on the sprinklers on the pitch!
Now, I can hear you thinking to yourself "what has this got to do with football, shut up and get on with the match review"… Well, kiss my arse, and… now let's do "the football".
Well, contrary to the whingeing, we actually played pretty well for about 60 minutes, I mean there was the odd feck up, Pierre was unaccountably profligate with the football, gifting it to Watford in numerous dangerous positions for no reason that I could tell whatsoever (reasonably unusual for him I have to admit) and Bertie did give them a penalty which, inexplicably, the referee chose not to actually insist they have.
Apart from that, we were reasonably comfortable, I was expecting a very tough game from Watford and us to be both outgunned and outplayed, it didn't happen really like that which gives me some cause for optimism, as Watford are flying at the moment and we were the best team on the pitch for a good hour.
We made quite a few chances, not something that's actually been a problem since Hughes has taken over, scored a sloppy (but joyously welcomed) goal (because actually scoring goals has been a massive problem ever since big sexy left really), decided to get rather nervous again (as we always do at the moment) and start inexplicably hoofing the ball (which of course means it comes straight back at you immediately).
Although I think it looked like we were a bit "backs to the wall", I don't remember the end of the match being particularly stressful, I think it just kind of ended up being the natural result of those 2 teams playing each other, and provided VAR supporters with a lot of ammunition.
Some notes on some of the players.
Hughes substituted Armstrong, who individually should have scored a goal (but to be fair to him, Foster pulled off a cracking save), looked incredibly rusty and not especially up to speed with the premiership, yet, in my mind anyway, seemed to enhance our forward play quite dramatically by just being the right kind of player in that "number 10" position. I actually think he may be successful with us, he certainly has the attributes to do it, I think he just hasn't had enough actual football. Anyway, I really liked the cohesiveness we gained through having him in the team and I hope Hughes continues to give him opportunities because I think he's going to get better and I think he's also going to score goals, which let's face it, we need desperately. That being said, his individual performance, if you aren't looking at his amplifying ability on the rest of the team, was a bit mediocre-to-crap, so he needs to up his game otherwise he's just going to get left out.
Super Mario looked excellent, but I think is carrying some kind of injury, that and the recurrence of his "sometimes I give a shit, sometimes I don't" on and off football style made him both a joy and intensely irritating to watch.
Pierre was his usual punchy self but made too many mistakes, don't know whether the Man City game is eating him up or not, but he didn't look himself particularly, I wonder why Hughes singularly prefers him to Romeo even when he's not quite himself?
I thought our backline looked safer with Yoshi there, brought in to replace an obviously shellshocked Stephens. Interestingly, a bit like the front line with Armstrong, Maya seemed to give the defence confidence and, from my point of view, they looked up for it and much more confident than a team that had been thrashed the previous week would have without him I think. Individually, he also had a good game.
Hoedt was really very good, not something I have thought about him when watching him play football very much. You can only do so much as a central defender and I think his personal game was pretty good, he certainly showed massive commitment and, during one stage of the game, threw himself at about 3 or 4 tackles as our midfield continually conceded the ball after he'd won it back for us. Really solid, very committed, long may it continue.
McCarthy also had a really good game, Watford didn't get very many opportunities at actually shooting but the ones they did get, he stopped. As their goal was a deflection off our own player, I don't think he stood a chance with that, he had a very solid game and that nipper from Man City won't be getting his shirt for a while yet on this kind of form.
So, what else to note, Ings went off with an injury 5 minutes before the end of the first half which kind of indicates that he had to go off, not good for us. Don't know what it is, or how long he may be out, but he is a footballer we need, even if he has looked off the pace a little in the last couple of games (which could be very understandable if he's carrying some kind of injury).
Michael Obafemi made a cameo appearance towards the end and looks like a sprinting machine, I guess the hope is that the form he has shown for the reserves has potential to spill over into his performances for the first team, didn't really get too many opportunities to show what he can do but let's face it, we need a forward that can score goals so all I can say is "welcome Michael".
Final words on this.
The result of this game is getting a little bit tangled up with all the reports of inadequate refereeing, let's just say that both teams both gained and lost from the refereeing decisions and the end result was probably the right result on actual play. Albeit that the end of the game probably would have looked a bit different with Bertrand off the pitch (and I think he would have had to go if the penalty would have been given). In the long run I think we dodged a bullet actually, 10 men against Watford would have been a bit much for our fragile ability to handle playing actual football at this point in time. That being said, Charlie's goal (and let's face it that was the only thing he did that was decent in this game) was a cracker and should have stood as well, but who knows whether we would have been in that position with Bertie gone anyway.
So, to cap it off, a much better performance than I was expecting, we seem to have had a bit of a slap from the Man City thrashing, let's hope it continues to give them all a kick up the arse.
We look better with Armstrong in there, I hope he did enough to get picked for the next game because we need that balance that he provides at the front of the pitch.
Yoshi deserves to stay in, like Armstrong, he gives us something that we need despite occasionally making a mistake. He didn't really make a mistake in this game anyway so maybe that's something he's learning to eradicate as well with age? Anyway, whatever, if he makes Wesley play that much better (as he did against Watford) then that's just good for us.
Cross your fingers that super Mario and Danny Ings are fit, not sure what we will look like without them. One possible benefit that might come from Danny Ings not playing is that maybe Hughes will actually pick Gallagher, the boy needs to be able to prove himself, or to prove he's not fit to play premiership football. One way or the other, he needs to get games to be able to show us which side of that he's going to come out of. Let's give him a game against a weaker team and see what he can do.
An enjoyable if soggy day, we scored a goal, we played better, we got a bit lucky but we got a point (although I know we really needed the 3), we didn't get soundly beaten by a Premier league form team. These are good things, as we are going to have relatively little to shout about this year let's celebrate the good things when we can.
PS. I got to pay £5 for 2 bags of crisps in the gasworks… The beer was better though even if it was another £1 more for 2 pints than it used to be!
Charlie's post match interview was passionate, to say the least
2 Cédric - Booked 64'
21 Bertrand - Booked 38'
23 Højbjerg - Booked 88'
17 Armstrong (Ward-Prowse 74')
22 Redmond (Obafemi 90')
9 Ings (Austin 40')
14 Chalobah - Booked 55'
19 Hughes (Deeney 40')
37 Pereyra (Gray 68')
7 Deulofeu - Booked 80'
Saturday, 10th November
- Gabbiadini 20'
- Holebas 82'
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance : 28,153
- Southampton 42%
- Watford 58%
- Southampton 14
- Watford 12
Shots on Target
- Southampton 4
- Watford 6
- Southampton 7
- Watford 6
- Southampton 13
- Watford 13