Wolves v Southampton
29th September 2018
Højbjerg had a good game again
IBO Reporter : channonite
Saints were competent at best for most of the match, although never as crisp, or urgent as Wolves, but all the old problems surfaced in the final few minutes. Many will point to the fact that two errors by Stuart Armstrong led directly to the two goals, but in truth the problems ran through the whole side.
The problems stem at the back, from the seemingly pointless appointment of Ryan Bertrand as captain. The captain should be vocal, urging his team on and calming down where needed. Bertrand is anything but vocal. Then you have the two central defenders who really don't seem up to it at the moment. Jannik Vestergaard is like the 'Ents', those giant walking, talking tree characters from the Lord of the Rings films. All the speed and agility of a glacier. As for Hoedt, well he doesn't seem to be improving does he? It must make the experienced Japanese international Maya Yoshida despair. Off the back of a very good World Cup for him, what happens? Nothing. Same goes for Jan Bednarek. The Polish CB was one of the successes of the revival at the end of last season. What happens? Couple of cameos at best. Insane.
In midfield the only consistent performer is Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, the Dane probably the only one showing real passion and in my opinion, the one person that probably should be captain.
As for the rest of the midfield players, inconsistency is the common denominator.
Then up front. Words fail me at how ineffective Charlie Austin was in this match. It comes to something when I found myself regretting that Shane Long wasn't playing. Gabbiadini and Gallagher just appear to be totally underused and ignored. At least the Italian gets a few minutes on the pitch now and again.
Anyway, to the match.
Thank goodness for McCarthy, the Saints stopper was in action almost straight away and the game was only nine minutes old when he pulled off a fine save to deny Wolves Jonny. This was to be the first of several important stops in another fine performance.
Saints clawed their way into the game, but to be honest Wolves always looked more organised and determined, while at the same time demonstrating exactly why they had been having difficulty scoring goals. It was noticeable that they were having success down their right side and Bertrand was having a tough afternoon, but the home side could not seem to turn it into anything worthy of beating McCarthy.
Højbjerg was having more joy in the midfield, with the Dane impressive once again. Lemina was having one of his less influential games though.
Ings always looks threatening and his movement was causing the defenders problems, but on the other hand Austin was almost invisible and I actually forgot that he was on the pitch. Saints were managing to fashion a few chances, but I couldn't say that the Wolves goalie was unduly troubled.
We arrived at half-time with the score still 0-0 and as Saints fans have come to almost expect, there was a sort of inevitability of feeling that the opposition would score against our static defence.
Immediately after the restart Ings almost broke through, after a slip in the defence and you could sense that the home crowd were nervous. The Wolves managers reaction was to take off the No.10, Costa and send on the Midlands club's record signing Traoré. Funnily enough, it didn't make a huge amount of difference for them immediately, but at the same time Redmond was having more success going the other way, although he was showing his by now trademark indecision, once he had done the difficult stuff.
One of Saints best chances came from a free kick with Vestergaard launching a thunderous shot some way out which caught Patricio by surprise, but he managed to smother it, before any Saints players could react.
Shortly after this Hughes took off Elyounoussi, whose main contribution was a corner kick, which Sky nominated for the Worst Ever Corner award. The Norwegian held up his hand as he went to kick the ball and everybody was jostling for position in and around the Wolves penalty area. He then kicked the ball straight behind for a goal kick. Woeful. Anyway, he was replaced by Armstrong.
Next change was the anonymous Austin being replaced by Gabbiadini a few minutes later.
The key change however, was from Wolves in the 77th minute, when Jota was replaced by Cavaleiro. He was only on the pitch for two minutes before he scored the breakthrough goal for the home side. It was a succession of Saints errors, starting with Armstrong, including Vestergaard and ending up with the ball in the net. Whichever way you look at it - a great Wolves goal, or poor defending, the result was the same - 1-0 and the visitor's heads visibly dropped.
It could have been 2-0 almost immediately, but for a fine save from a Jiménez header by McCarthy. But it was finally 2-0 in the 87th minute, when Doherty for the umpteenth time in the match, broke down the right and cut back to Jonny at the near post, who shot under McCarthy to seal the win.
It is a bit early to say that the season is unravelling, but with tales emerging after this match of players bickering amongst themselves and board members supposedly arguing with coaching staff, there is a strong feeling that all is not well at the club.
Cédric was another that had a good game
11 Rui Patrício
28 João Moutinho
19 Castro Otto - Booked 57'
10 Hélder Costa (Traoré 53' - Booked 74')
18 Jota - Booked 51' (Cavaleiro 77')
9 Jiménez (Bonatini 90'+1)
21 Bertrand - Booked 50'
11 Elyounoussi (Armstrong 71')
10 Austin (Gabbiadini 77')
Saturday 29th September 2018
- Cavaleiro 79'
- Castro Otto 87'
Referee: Stuart Attwell
- Wolves 49%
- Saints 51%
- Wolves 14
- Saints 17
Shots on Target
- Wolves 6
- Saints 6
- Wolves 8
- Saints 6
- Wolves 11
- Saints 7