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Southampton v Wolves

13th April 2019
Match Report 
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A stellar performance from Redmond, topped off with two goals


Match Report

IBO Reporter : channonite


Introduction

Something a little different this time, as I start by looking at what we have to go, where we are and where we have come from. If that makes sense.

So, here we are at the business end of the season and we have five games left after today's game, these are:

Date
Time
Team
Home/Away

Sat, 20th April

17:30

Newcastle

Away

Tues, 23rd April

19:45

Watford

Away

Sat, 27th April

15:00

Bournemouth

Home

Sat, 4th May

15:00

West Ham

Away

Sun, 12th May

15:00

Huddersfield

Home

There are no top six sides left in that list, but plenty of scope for potential banana skin type games.

Bear with me as I go through a few stats. Prior to this match, Saints were in 17th place in the Premier League and had a five point lead over Cardiff in 18th. Nowhere near enough to be comfortable. This crucial win over Wolves, coupled with losses for both Cardiff and Brighton, means that we are now 16th on 36 points, Brighton are 17th and looking vulnerable on 33 points and Cardiff are 18th on 28 points. An 8 point gap with 15 for Saints to play for. I think we will be fine now.

It is a long way from the mess we were left in by Hughes and his predecessor, the utterly hopeless Mauricio Pellegrino, with a demoralised, unfit squad and fans almost expecting their team to be relegated. Enter Ralph Hasenhüttl and even with no players at all signed in the January window, he has managed to transform the very ethos of the club. Youngsters are being given their chances, with Yan Valery for example, making the right wing back slot his own and more recently, Josh Sims coming off the bench to influence games, notably in the victory against Tottenham last month. The senior players have changed as well. As an example, the perennially underachieving James Ward-Prowse has blossomed into a goal scoring midfielder who can change games. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has been made captain and has grown into the role, giving much needed leadership to the side. And notably Nathan Redmond has started to look like he knows what he is doing and is causing opposing defenders all sorts of problems. On top of all that, the players are now fitter, motivated and clearly enjoying playing.

Since the turn of the year, the record at St.Mary's has been: P7, W4, D1, L2, F12, A9, PTS 25. For comparison, during the whole of the previous 2017/18 season, the record was: P19, W4, D7, L8, F20, A26, PTS 16. Some turnaround from the dross of the last two managers.


The Match

Right, back to today. I think everyone knew that Danny Ings would be back in the side, after being unable to play in the Liverpool game, as he is still technically on loan from Liverpool, even though Saints are due to pay some £20M for him in the Summer. Shane Long was the unlucky one and dropped to the bench. What I was not expecting however, was Josh Sims in the team, at the expense of Oriol Romeu. So, only two midfielders, but a very positive looking lineup.

In goal, once again was Angus Gunn, with Bednarek, Yoshida and Vestergaard in front of him. The wing-backs were Valery and Bertrand, with Ward-Prowse and captain, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in midfield. At the front was Ings, with Redmond and Sims out wide.

There was a really positive feeling amongst the fans in the ground for this game and Saints came out of the blocks very quickly. It paid immediate dividends when Højbjerg picked up the ball and flicked it over the heads of a contested midfield to Sims wide on the right. Josh went racing up the wing and looked up to thread the ball through to Nathan Redmond. He got in front of the defender and hit the ball high into the net, beyond Rui Patricio in the Wolves goal. 1-0 and only two minutes on the clock.

Not long after this there was some impressively sharp, incisive play from Saints, with Valery on the right finding Ings on the edge of the Wolves penalty area. Danny swivelled and passed to Redmond who struck the ball first time, on target, but the Wolves goalie saved low to the right.

Wolves then had an extended period of possession, without actually troubling Saints too much. Gunn was hardly being troubled in the goal. It seemed like Saints were happy to allow Wolves to buzz around with the ball, while waiting for a chance to take it from them and hit them on the break.

This worked up until almost the half hour mark, when Wolves won one of the 9 corners they had in the match and as the ball came across into the penalty area, Boly rose above the defenders to head into the roof of the net. 1-1.

What came next epitomises the "new" Saints for me. While Wolves players were busy congratulating themselves, the home side were quietly lining up for the restart. the ball was played back to Bednarek by Valery, who in turn played a wonderful long range pass which found Sims. The youngster controlled the ball well and found the onrushing Ings. Danny hardly paused, before finding the completely unmarked Redmond. The final ball was a wonderful dink over the head of the onrushing Rui Patricio. 2-1 and Wolves had been level for just a minute. That was the equivalent of a boxer's punch to the solar plexus and took the wind right out of their sails. Whatever the analogies, the home crowd were positively purring at that response from their team.

There then followed a couple of chances which could have effectively sealed the result for Saints and both fell to Josh Sims. The first saw Sims pick off an appalling back pass, but unfortunately he pulled his shot wide of the far post. The second saw Ward-Prowse win the ball and find Ings, who then sent the proverbial defence slitting pass through to Sims right in front of goal. This time Josh contrived to pull the ball wide of the goal, when it looked easier to at least hit the target. To the crowds credit, they didn't get on Sims back but roundly applauded his efforts. He will get better with more game time.

So, half-time and 2-1 to Saints. Talk about an action packed half! I was exhausted and in need of a drink. While queuing on the concourse I was amazed to see Sky's stats for the match, giving Wolves 69% possession. That might have been true, but we looked absolutely lethal on the break.

The second half continued with more Wolves possession and more swarming around the Saints penalty area, without actually achieving much. There was one moment of light relief, when Raul managed to slice the ball out for a throw in from right in front of Gunn.

Some of the Saints defending was beginning to look a bit untidy and Hasenhüttl was looking a bit concerned on the sidelines. On 61 minutes he moved, replacing Ings with Long and Sims with Romeu. that had an almost immediate effect and from that moment on the game drifted away from Wolves.

Then Saints did put the game to bed even with some 20 minutes remaining. On one of their numerous breaks upfield a wolves player put the ball behind for a corner. Ward-Prowse took it on the left and as the ball came in several players missed the ball. Yoshida with his back to the goal went for an overhead kick as he was falling. It hit a defenders leg and came back to the Japanese player as he was lying on the ground. He flicked the ball in the general direction of the goal, where it fell to the unmarked and onside Shane Long, who poked it past the wrong footed goalie. 3-1 and thanks for the 3 points.

Saints were all over Wolves now and there was an even better chance which fell to Maya Yoshida, after a Romeu drive had been beaten out, but he was denied by a tremendous save from Patricio.

That effectively was that and the game drew to a close with Saints in almost total control. The referee was a new slimline Jon Moss and to his credit he hardly put a foot wrong, other than a brief spell when Long came on (he just couldn't help himself!). After just four minutes of injury time he blew the whistle and the feeling of joy in the ground was almost tangible. The team celebrated the win with the fans and everyone went home happy.


Man of the Match

Only one candidate for me - Nathan Redmond. Two excellent goals and a constant thorn in the side of the defenders. An honourable mention for Danny Ings though. He looked sharp and made many positive contributions during his time on the pitch. All bodes well for the future.


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Another home game, another goal from Shane Long. He has his mojo back.

Teams 
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An important win was celebrated by the team at the end


Southampton


28 Gunn

35 Bednarek

3 Yoshida

4 Vestergaard

43 Valery (Stephens 84')

16 Ward-Prowse

23 Højbjerg

21 Bertrand - Booked 67'

39 Sims (Romeu 61')

22 Redmond

9 Ings (Long 61')


Wolves


11 Rui Patrício

27 Saïss - Booked 74'

16 Coady

15 Boly

2 Doherty (Traoré 60')

32 Dendoncker

8 Neves (Gibbs-White 69')

28 João Moutinho - Booked 40'

19 Castro Otto

9 Jiménez - Booked 45'

18 Jota (Hélder Costa 87')


Saints Subs

1 McCarthy

5 Stephens

7 Long

10 Austin

14 Romeu

17 Armstrong

33 Targett



Wolves Subs

5 Bennett

7 Cavaleiro

10 Hélder Costa

17 Gibbs-White

21 Ruddy

29 Vinagre

37 Traoré


Premier League
2018-19
Wolves


Southampton

3

  • Redmond 2', 30'
  • Long 71'


Wolves

1

  • Boly 28'



Referee: Jonathan Moss

Attendance: 31,708




Possession

  • Southampton 30%
  • Wolves 70%

Shots

  • Southampton 13
  • Wolves 17

Shots on Target

  • Southampton 6
  • Wolves 2

Corners

  • Southampton 4
  • Wolves 9

Fouls

  • Southampton 13
  • Wolves 8

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