SAT, 29 APR 2017
Referee : Mike Dean
Attendance : 31,120
Shots on Target
Saints v Hull
St.Mary’s - Saturday, 30th April 2017
> Once again the tactics were all wrong
> The team selection was wrong
> There didn't appear to be a Plan B
IBO Reporter : channonite
I was going to approach this match report with the aim of covering all the key moments in the match, which is actually quite difficult when you are actually at the match in question.
There was nothing like that to trouble me in this match however. It was the worst match I have seen at St.Mary's this season. By some margin. There are two words to describe this match perfectly. Utter crap.
I can't just leave it like that though.
While we were sat finishing our lunch in Nick's (the traffic into Southampton was awful and we were late), the BBC Sport app alerted us to the teams and we puzzled over the choice of Boufal over JWP. How were Romeu and Davis supposed to run the midfield against a busy, organised Hull team fighting for it's Premier League life?
We got to the ground and all around us the general feeling was that this was madness. I saw someone going to his seat with a slogan printed on his jacket "I'm a better manager than he is". I was tempted to ask him what he would do.
The match started and it quickly became apparent that :
- The tactics were wrong
- The formation was wrong
- A fair number of players seemed disinterested
- Saints would be lucky to get to halftime without conceding
Fortunately for Saints, Hull were just not that good and you could see why they are at the wrong end of the table. They were organised and energetic, yes, just not very good.
The first half could be best summed up by saying that there was a lot of running about, but not very much happened.
So, half time and still 0-0. Puel would surely change things as a two man midfield was clearly a mistake. So was having both Boufal and Tadić up at the front with Redmond and Gabbiadini. Boufal and Gabbiadini were both trying very hard, particularly the former. Redmond was doing his best headless chicken routine, always a sign that he didn't quite understand what he was supposed to be doing. Tadić on the other hand was just flat out abject. Utterly pointless him even being on the pitch.
The teams came out and there was a general murmuring of disbelief as we realised that the team was exactly as it had finished the first half. The end result was the game carried on as it had done. Dreadful to watch.
Eventually, even Puel couldn't stand it any more and just before the 60' mark we saw Sims and Long getting ready to come on. Even that brought murmurings of discontent, as Tadić needed to be replaced and we needed JWP on to help get a grip of the midfield. When the substitutions were made the murmurings became louder, as it was realised that Sims was coming on for Boufal and Long was coming on for Gabbiadini. So, we were removing the two players most likely to score. Brilliant. As Gabbiadini gloomily trudged off, there were chants of "You don't know what you're doing, you don't know what you're doing". That is something that I haven't heard for many seasons.
The game limped on, with nothing of any real note happening. Towards the final few minutes Hull switched three players, obviously to protect the precious point they had their hands on. Saints finally took off the hapless Redmond and brought on Jay Rodriguez. At last Saints started to apply some pressure, too little too late I thought.
Out of the blue, in the final seconds of the match, there was a mêlée in the Hull penalty area and to be honest, I have no idea where the ball was, but suddenly Yoshida was flat on his back, appealing to the referee. To be fair, Mike Dean was right on the spot and didn't hesitate. Penalty!
Tadić stepped up with the ball and struck the ball to the right. Time seemed to slow and the ball seemed to move agonisingly slowly, while at the same time, Jakupovic was diving equally slowly towards the ball. It seemed all too easy for him as he palmed the ball away. The Hull players went mental and Tadić stood there with his shirt up to his face, as if he just wanted to become invisible.
A suitably limp end to a limp performance.
There were some good things to come out of this débâcle, Jack Stephens looked a really good Centre Half, certainly as good as the current flavour of the minute, Hull's Harry Maguire. Josh Sims had a good little cameo, reminding us all of how good he is.
At the end of the day, it was a 0-0 draw and Saints had a single point, but it certainly felt like a defeat. It was just the abject manner of the performance that hurt and Puel clearly didn't have a plan B, a criticism that we heard from his former club's fans when he arrived at Southampton. After this, it looks as if finishing 9th in the Premier League may be a bit of a challenge.
19 Boufal (Sims 58')
22 Redmond (Rodriguez 87')
20 Gabbiadini (Long 59')
13 Ranocchia - Booked 90'
5 Maguire - Booked 70'
10 N'Diaye - Booked 90'
50 Markovic (Dawson 90')
40 Goebel (Henriksen 72')
17 Grosicki (Huddlestone 83')