• Hooiveld 15′ • Martin 57′ • Lallana 65′ • Lee 75′
Saturday, 18th February 2012
Match Report :
It was somewhat befuddled and cold ridden I went to this game, boy was I glad I did, as far as one-sided easy wins go this was pretty much what the book on that score was written on.
I got slightly discomfited when I discovered that Harding was in the squad as right back and pleasantly surprised to see Chaplow back in place of Guly all of which I will go into with a bit more detail later. Suffice to say, "easy, easy" pretty much sums it up, very nice example of LB and Shirley's tactics thread as well.
Player Ratings :
Davis - not overly threatened but made one super stop when in the first half a ball was smashed through a crowd of players towards our goal, he must've only been able to see at the last minute because there were too many people in the way, excellent reaction save and he held it… 7/10, good distribution today as well, nice stuff and steady, just what we needed from a senior player.
Harding - everyone probably expects me to carp or about how crap he was, I have to disappoint, he looked very good considering he's playing on the wrong side and even kicked the ball with his right foot on occasion without falling over . No, seriously, he gets slagged when he's bad he should also get praised when he's good, he's obviously a little bit rusty from not playing first-team football but generally he had a very good game and, this is important, he was defensively sound which is really vital. 7/10 well done, things can get better but generally a really good game from a much derided player, much more like the player I remember from the paint pot cup run.
Fonte - performed well, not massive amounts to do and coped quite admirably with the pace of the attack in front of him, although I think he still looks slightly injured… Maybe that's my imagination, I certainly hope so? 7/10, not a lot to deal with but it got dealt with very well.
Hooiveld - I believe I mentioned in the last couple of games back from injury that he looked a little tentative and not really himself, in this game I thought he looked much better and then he gets taken off at half-time, slightly worrying because I think he's really important for our shape and the way we build play out of the back four. Also for his goals, another one for him today, important and something we have been missing from our defence over the last few years. 7/10, from the half game very good, I hope it was precautionary and he will be back for the next one because he's important?
Fox - looked good today, relatively comfortable and kept our shape well, still needs to overlap more but I know he's covering for Adam so that might not be the ideal thing for him to do all the time. What was also noticeable was there was far less "lumping it upfield" from him and it showed, some of this was down to a lack of pressure from Derby but also some good interchange between him and Spiderman and Adam, 8/10, the best of our defence today and very comfortable.
Lallana - he looked excellent today, he's getting faster of thought and movement and certainly deserved at least the one goal today, very good and much more comfortable in possession with great running with the ball. 9/10, excellent, more please.
Schneiderlin - he ran the game today, he was really good, very strong in the tackle and in closing down, not quite a perfect game but frankly I'm enough of a good one for me to give him a very comfortable 9/10. I couldn't have asked for more from him (being as we very rarely get goals from him, that's okay anyway) and I don't really need to expound further, simply excellent right across the pitch, maybe he read that thread from last week because that was the player I've been waiting to see… Next game I want to see him again .
Cork - he had a brilliant game, very effective and all over the place, Schneiderlin was pretty impressive but Corky has been steadily bringing his game back up again to the level we saw before Christmas, actually I think maybe even higher than that today, I am going to give him MOM, a score of 9/10 the same as Spiderman but he was truly immense and covered every blade of grass with vim and vigour, really good and I wish the shot that cannoned off the defender had got through because he deserved a goal on that performance just to cap it off. Excellent, superb, gutsy, nice going.
Chaplow - got a pretty good ovation when he was substituted, had a really important game for him, and for us, he's still not got his touch back and he was rusty and a number of areas but the aggression and the running and the purity of purpose was back in his game and it was lovely
to watch. 7/10, he could have scored higher if he had connected properly with any of his opportunities but he's obviously coming back and it can only be good for us, the next game will be better and the one after that better still, welcome back Chappie.
Sharp - well, I'd like to put glowing things in here but actually I thought he had a pretty poor game, he got a bit better towards the end of the first half but I wasn't really surprised when I found he'd been substituted at half-time. Not terribly effective, his first touch was often found lacking, not quick of thought or movement and generally needs a bit more training and possibly some time to recover from these mystery injuries (I'm being generous here, I don't really know why he was picked?) 6/10, he tried but even then he felt he didn't think he was going to get anything, one good point was whenever the ball went to the goalkeeper he was sniffing for anything that popped loose, we've missed somebody like that so let's get him fit.
Lambert - played well today but apart from his free kick at the end of the first half didn't really look like getting on the scoresheet himself particularly, it's good to note however that we won by some margin without him scoring, I'm sure he'll be slightly annoyed by this but very comforted by the scoreline anyway. 8/10, I felt a quiet game from his point of view but still the pivot that we build up around and massively important to us on this basis alone. Still developing his roaming striker/whatever you want to call it role which he was very effective with.
Martin - did okay, although it was very obvious he was moving into an established back four and even though he has played with all of these players before it still somehow never quite gels for a while when that happens in a game. Did well overall although he still has a tendency to make the occasional dodgy choice in his defending decisions but it wasn't important today. His goal was a very good set piece goal and again it's good to see we have a threat from elsewhere in our team especially in set piece situations. 7/10, did well, got more comfortable as the game went on.
Lee - already a crowd favourite and the crowd really haven't seen much of him, nevertheless, a good shift from him and the beginnings of understanding about where he's going to run with him and the other players. Always put in good effort and you have to see his goal, what a great thumping shot, absolutely beautiful. 7/10, more for the gold anything else but what a goal.
Puncheon - came on for a tiring chappie and initially didn't look that good but grew into the game and did well, still has a puzzling lack of ambition when the opportunity presents itself to go down the outside of people, especially considering when he does it can have some wonderful results. 6/10, no other reason than he wasn't for long enough to get himself a higher score without scoring a goal as well.
A very comfortable win with a very inspiring performance in front of a home crowd and although Derby were poor, this will generate interest again with some of the flagging fans (how can they be flagging at this stage?) And moves us back to the top of the table. Watford will be tough but we should be able to win that with effort, determination and the right people available for selection, the next home game against Ipswich will be a cracker with both teams willing and able to score shed loads of goals, I think it may be one not for the fainthearted?
All in all an excellent game from the Southampton fans perspective, possibly slightly darkened by the loss of Hooiveld and Sharp (to be known henceforth as "Blunt" until he earns his original surname back) although their departure didn't unduly unsettle the team who went on to score more goals without them than with.
The team are picking up again and it would be a shame if injuries hampered this in some way, hopefully these substitutions were either tactical or for non-serious injuries and both players will be back shortly.
The emergence of Lee and Chappie coming back from injury should mean the attacking quotient of our squad is looking good, our lack of true strength in depth in defence is slightly worrying but, as I said before, maybe a slight red herring, I guess we will find out at Watford?
Good win, great result, a bit of a cold and soggy day but nevertheless great to see.
03 Harding - Booked
26 Hooiveld (Martin - 46' )
18 Chaplow (Puncheon - 72' )
11 Sharp (Lee - 46' )
02 Brayford (Ball - 58' )
16 Bailey - Booked (S Davies - 72' )
09 Tyson (Robinson - 67' )
07 S Davies