Premier League

St.Mary's, Sunday, 14:00

Southampton 1

  • Perraud 89'

Newcastle 4

  • Almirón 35'
  • Wood 58'
  • Willock 62'
  • Bruno Guimarães 90'+1

Embed from Getty Images

Romain Perraud scores Saints consolation goal, but it was a cracking shot

IBO Reporter: Spot51


|This is not the best time to be playing Newcastle. They have lost just once this season and currently sit 4th in the table. We have only beaten them once (admittedly to go top of the league 2 years back) in umpteen attempts. Clearly the Saudi blood money has helped, but TBF Eddie Howe has also got a tune out of many of the players who'd looked fairly ordinary before his arrival. They defend well, they have creative midfielders and seem to get goals from all over the pitch. Seems Jolinton is suspended, but that only means St Maximin will return and he generally seems unplayable to our team. Nick Pope is possibly England's best shot stopper and only his inability to do the sweeper-keeper stuff keeps him behind Pickford. They are a top side these days.

All is not lost though as Saints often raise their game against the big boys and, with Lavia and Bella-Kotchap back, we'll be closer to full strength than we have been for a while. Right back remains a problem, so we may do the 3-5-2 thing again. Who knows? Expect Theo Walcott to be on the bench and, should he come on, will clock up his 400th EPL appearance.

Team News

|Wow! Theo starts for the first time in !! months! He is allegedly playing off/alongside Ché in a 4-4-2. At last we have Larios at right back. He may be young and lightweight, but at the Barca academy he'll have learned to play on either flank. ABK returns alongside Salisu with Perraud at left back. AMN and JWP are in the engine room and Moi and Stu out wide. Lavia is on the bench.

Eddie has St Maximin on the bench and has brought in Murphy for Joelinton.

Our ref is Stuart Attwell.

Match Report

|Alan Bloody Smith is back, joining in the pitch-side interview of Eddie Howe. Shows how far Saints have fallen with this gimp working all our live games. We did at least learn that NUFC has the best defence in the Prem. Managing is not hard when you can buy anyone you like…

Saints are bottom of every stat they show and Ralph is brutally honest in his interview. Most of the pre-match was one big Newcastle love-in and the only good thing they found to talk about re Saints was Le Tiss's 1993 goal of the season against today's visitors.

Newcastle are clad in dark blue and yellow. The teams changed ends before the Remembrance minute of silence and the Last Post played by a trumpeter from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The sun is out as Saints kick off towards the Chapel.

There is nothing between the sides early on, indeed Saints are doing more attacking. The away side are not slow to put a foot in as Stu is fouled on his first 2 dribbles. We even muster the first shot on 9 minutes when ABK's forward pass found Ché but Botman got in the way of his effort - corner Saints. JWP's cross breaks to Perraud whose low shot was tipped round the post by Pope. The next corner was too close to the keeper who was able to grab it.

Newcastle gradually eased themselves into the game and won a couple of corners. The first came when Larios tackled Willock and the ball spun out. Trippier's cross went long but Stu was obliged to head it out. Baz punched the second corner away and Ché was able to clear the ball.

On 21m Larios and Stu worked the ball down our right. When Bruno won the ball back he was upended by Ché. Two minutes later Baz kicked the ball straight to Almiron who immediately found Wilson but we were saved by the lino's flag. The less those 2 see of the ball, the better!

We were still in this one and our next attack saw Schar head JWP's cross out of their box. Almiron was getting more involved and pleaded for a penalty when the ball struck Salisu's arm but the ref was having none of it. We were doing a lot more defending now as Newcastle stepped up their attacks. Almiron set up Wilson but he screwed his shot wide.

On the half hour they put together their best move, Trippier getting down the right and crossing the ball to Willock on the other flank. He sent the ball towards Almiron whose volley thankfully hit a Saints body and was cleared. Soon after, Larios went down and it became clear he was hurt.

While he was treated on the pitch, Ralph had the players on the touchline telling them what he wanted. Larios had to come off and we sent on Lavia with AMN moving to right back. Within a minute we were behind. Almiron picked up the ball in his own half and carried it forward. He played it wide to Longstaff who found Wilson. Almiron had continued his forward run, collected the ball and carried on past Salisu, past AMN in the box and finally past Baz. 1-0 Newcastle.

I took solace from the fact that this lifted them above Spurs in the table but that wasn't much consolation. Again we had competed well with a top side but again they had cut us open with their first direct assault on our goal. Buggeration!

We went straight back on the attack and Perraud's shot hit Trippier, winning another corner. A defender met it, sending it out for a throw. We got a Sailsu "special" which Pope easily caught. AMN may not like playing at full back, but it does allow him to get forward and he was decent getting forward, but Ché could not capitalise.

On 41m, Willock's cross found Longstaff whose header went high. Saints then launched a move involving Stu and Moi. They worked the ball to Ché who was challenged in the box, the ball breaking to Moi whose shot was blocked. Replays showed Ché was shoved in the back but we then learned Mike Dean on VAR had seen nothing untoward - Quelle Surprise! Makes it all the more interesting that the ref wasn't bullied into giving that handball earlier on…

Newcastle have some huge defenders and, in our next attack, one of them booted the ball, which hit Theo right in the face from close range. He went over like a rag doll and I was surprised he was soon up and running about again.

We had four added minutes and Saints put together their best move so far involving AMN, Ché and Stu. The latter got to the bye line and pinged the perfect pass towards the back post. Moi came steaming in and looked sure to equalise: only he didn't. The ball flew the wrong side of the post and it was Moi nestling in the net. FFS!

We were being watched by Mr Southgate who must've been worried when Trippier went down soon after. He was mightily relieved when the England man was able to continue. Baz sent one of his "Hail Mary" passes downfield, but Theo was flagged offside. We won one final free kick, but could not affect the half time score - still 0-1.

Wilson had hardly trained last week following flu and didn't reappear for the 2nd half. Kiwi Chris Wood made a rare appearance in his stead. As in the first half, Newcastle were happy to stick a foot in to stop Stu and, after 47m, Willock's foul gave us a free kick at the edge of JWP's range. He hit it well enough but Pope saw it all the way and held on to it.

We continued to get forward and as Moi tried to cut past Trippier the ball bounced up and hit his arm. It was close to the penalty box, but sadly not close enough. JWP was left with a "short corner" which fell for Perraud whose shot was blocked. The ball spun to AMN who collected it, found Moi but his shot flew over the bar.

Moments later AMN was at it again, surging down the wing before sending a driven cross, which was athletically fielded by Pope. Our team were getting "A" for effort and continued to get forward, but smart movement by the opposition defence caught first Theo, then Ché in the clear but offside.

On 56m Botman had a moment, lost possession and sent Moi scurrying forward. The Norwegian got his head up, floated a delightful cross right into Ché's path. He caught it well enough on the volley and it flew past Pope: and then past the post! Ouch! The camera panned in on Ché's face - it was now pissing down with rain so it wasn't clear whether tears were rolling down his cheeks.

Undeterred, our team carried on attacking and another cross from AMN was met by Moi, but his header went off target. As Newcastle attempted to move upfield, Salisu went through the back of Wood on halfway. They played the ball left from the free kick, enabling Murphy to carry the ball forward. Cutting into our box, he cut the ball back. It looked as if was going to go behind Wood, but he turned as the ball reached him, took a touch, then stuck in at the far post with Baz nowhere near. For an hour we've been peppering their goal; they muster 2 shots on target and are 0-2 up. Bollux!!

Again, Saints get forward, NUFC drop back: we attack, they defend. Another Saints corner on 62m. The ball comes over, they clear their lines and suddenly there are runners everywhere. The wily Trippier carries the ball toward halfway, before threading a pass between our retreating defenders into the stride of Willock. He outpaces his marker and toes the ball across, just inside the far post. 0-3 and "Goodnight Nurse".

A tranche of substitutions (accompanied by loud booing from the home fans) ensues. Ernie has the points and replaces Murphy with Shelvey to shore up midfield. Ralph hooks Theo, Stu and Ché bringing on Adam, Joe and young Edozie. The camera catches Ralph, hood up in the driving rain, a picture of utter dejection. If we weren't already thinking about him leaving, that showed it would be the kindest thing.

Edozie clearly fancies his chances against Dan Burn, sprints past him and is fouled. Saints next attack saw Adam find Perraud, who again got a shot away, only for Schar's massive frame to block his effort. AMN was next up but his cross went too close to the keeper and was seized.

Edozie was doing well wide right and won a couple of corners, but we made nothing of them. Then there were 2 more substitutions; ABK's return from injury lasted just over 70m, with DCC coming on in his place and our bete-noire St Maximin came on for Willock.

Next time Edozie got forward he looked up to see Salisu bombing forward, he picked out the Black Stars' man, whose woeful shot went high into the crowd. Lavia was fouled by Bruno, but soon after went steaming through the Brazilian and was booked. AMN then created a chance for Adam who hit the target, but Pope saved.

By now there was a party going on in the away section. Meanwhile Almiron was down and soon replaced by Anderson - at the same time Manquillo came on for Trippier. Edozie then went on a run but produced no end product and this inspired St Maximin to have a go too. He'd beaten half our team before being seen off by weight of numbers.

Moi then won a corner off Burn and Salisu rose to meet JWP's cross. This may have been on target, but cannoned off Wood for another corner. Again the Ghanain got on the end of the cross, this was definitely on target, but Nick Pope tipped it over the bar. Their defence got the next corner away.

On 89m, Saints finally got on the scoresheet. Again Salisu was forward, but this time he sent a sweet pass between defenders into the path of the eager Perraud. The Frenchman cut back onto his swinger, before curling a lovely shot past the dive of Pope; better late than never 1-3. Perraud always looked our player most likely to score and if we ever attain a full set of full backs, I'd like to see him given chances further forward. Indeed, he'd have been a better strike partner for Ché than Theo.

By the time celebrations had died down we were into 4 added minutes. Perhaps we were not concentrating, but we didn't get in the face of Bruno as he carried the ball forward. He was still well outside the area when he let loose and, again, the ball nestled in the far corner with Baz nowhere near it again. 1-4 FFS. That was it!

Alan Smith gave Longstaff his MoM on the basis of all his graft, but they had several good performances. However, in his post match interview Ernie admitted his side had not played particularly well. The match stats supported that argument.

  • Saints / Newcastle
  • Possession 55% / 45%
  • Corners 8 / 2
  • Fouls 7 / 10
  • Shots 16 / 7
  • On Target 5 / 4
  • Goals 1 / 4

The bottom one is the one that matters and highlights why we ended up 18th in the table. This match was a perfect example of why we fail. Over the course of the game we work hard, we match opponents and, in most metrics, we come out OK. Sadly, we are simply ineffective.

We go into matches hoping to win. Newcastle expect to win. We try to score goals by hitting the ball as hard as possible. Newcastle score goals by slotting them into the corners. We are awful finishers, which puts our defence under immense pressure. Newcastle are a well drilled team who work for each other and have the confidence they will attack and defend effectively.

They'll very likely be in the Champion's League next season. Where will Saints be?

Man Of The Match

|Checked my IBO contract and there is nothing to make me choose a home player as Man of the Match. Only once gave it to an away player (Woodgate at Newcastle - long before IBO) but now feel I must give it to our manager. For the first (and last) time, congratulations Ralph Hassenhuttl.

It was not till Monday Ralph was officially gone but, before and after the match, The Force was strong with rumours of his imminent sacking. Four years is a long time in EPL management and under Ralph we enjoyed intermittent highs among considerable lows. He will always be remembered for both 9-0 defeats but, unlike those of us who actually endured those events, most people won't recall the sendings off, the criminal refereeing or Bednarek's revoked red card. Nor do people remember that a few months after the Leicester debacle, Ralph's team turned them over at the King Power.

Ralph liked the Gengen-press, as used by Red Bull clubs. It is still played by Marco Rose at Leipzig but they have a side packed with super-fit super stars. You can also see it under Jesse Marsch at Leeds where he is recruiting tireless, box to box runners and when Bamford is fit they'll be a handful: which is the point. The high press is hard work but creates lots of chances. You need strikers to put these chances away (Werner, Silva, Nkunku) and with Ings in our side it was effective.

Not replacing Ings was the major cause of the second half of Ralph's reign seeing Saints slide backwards. We became ineffective as what had been working well suddenly became a hard slog. Players still put in the effort but gained little reward and left us vulnerable after 70 minutes of hard running. Other teams learned to survive long enough to win the points.

This season we had new coaches, new players but got the same old, same old. Ralph began frigging about with formations, selections and substitutions but we remained ineffective. We don't look a bad side. Indeed, some of our passing and movement is a joy to behold but unless it produces goals it requires our defence to be perfect to avoid defeat. Our defence ain't perfect.

I felt sorry for Ralph this season. He looked a beaten man sometimes and I'm sure his pride was all that kept him going. His removal could have come much sooner but, presumably, the timing of the Desert Cup will give Nat the chance to begin sorting out our problems.

Anyhow, Ralph is one of the Saints managers I'll retain good memories of. He achieved a number of notable wins and I'll never forget his sheer delight when he finally got one over on Jurgen's Liverpool. Thank you for the memories.

Embed from Getty Images

Ralph's last game as Southampton Manager. So long and thanks



  • 31 Bazunu
  • 28 Larios (Lavia 34' - Booked 75')
  • 37 Bella-Kotchap (Caleta-Car 72')
  • 22 Salisu
  • 15 Perraud
  • 8 Ward-Prowse
  • 3 Maitland-Niles
  • 17 S Armstrong (Aribo 64')
  • 10 Adams (A Armstrong 64')
  • 24 Elyounoussi
  • 32 Walcott (Edozie 64')


  • 1 McCarthy
  • 4 Lyanco
  • 6 Caleta-Car
  • 7 Aribo
  • 9 A Armstrong
  • 18 Mara
  • 23 Edozie
  • 27 Diallo
  • 45 Lavia


  • 22 Pope
  • 2 Trippier (Manquillo 80')
  • 5 Schär
  • 4 Botman
  • 33 Burn
  • 36 S Longstaff
  • 39 Bruno Guimarães
  • 28 Willock (Saint-Maximin 73')
  • 24 Almirón (Anderson 81')
  • 9 Wilson (Wood 45')
  • 23 Murphy (Shelvey 64')


  • 6 Lascelles
  • 8 Shelvey
  • 10 Saint-Maximin
  • 13 Targett
  • 19 Manquillo
  • 20 Wood
  • 21 Fraser
  • 26 Darlow
  • 32 Anderson

Match Stats


  • Possession: 55%
  • Shots: 16
  • Shots on Target: 5
  • Corners: 8
  • Fouls: 7


  • Possession: 45%
  • Shots: 7
  • Shots on Target: 4
  • Corners: 2
  • Fouls: 10


  • Referee: Stuart Attwell
  • Assistants: Darren Cann, Harry Lennard
  • Fourth official: Simon Hooper
  • VAR: Mike Dean
  • Assistant VAR: Steven Meredith

  • Attendance: 30,402

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