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  1. The thing that has stuck me in the last few games, including the second half of the Arsenal game, is that some serious chemistry has developed among this group. They're playing their butts off for eachother, on and off the ball, and actually look like they're enjoying their football rather than doing it for a job. A very good squad seems to be coming together, and results like that won't hurt us on the recruitment front.
  2. We outclassed Norwich and Watford, but we had a poor first half against Arsenal. The two horrific errors - and the loss - obscured the fact that we actually played very well in the second half. This looks like a team where everyone seems to enjoy playing with eachother, and the movement off the ball was excellent. The triangles are set almost instantly - far less of this standing around waiting for someone else to do something. There's interchangeability at the back, in the middle and up front. Smallbone looked good, Vestergaard was outstanding, KWP can solve a longstanding problem, and Adams looked like the player I hoped we were getting. And JWP is developing rapidly as both a player and a leader. It just feels like Ralph is building to a new level, and a lot of the key guys have bought into it.
  3. Fart-arsing around at the back beyond our capability levels 0, Arsenal 2. A lot of it comes from Hojberg playing it back because he doesn't have a control turn, and his play-reading is weak. I'm far from convinced by either Obafemi or Valery. They don't seem to be learning from experience, and the "they're still young" excuse is wearing thin. Redmond was poor, for me. It was like the Redmond of a couple of years back - three or four silky touches followed by the choice between disappearing up his own arse or playing it back.
  4. Biting comment at the end there (from Upson, I think) - Saints will benefit from not having any fans at their home games.
  5. Ings contributes all over the pitch, and we're a better side with Armstrong in the lineup. Valery always seems like an error waiting to happen. JWP looked more like a leader out there than PEH has ever done.
  6. Stop with the opposite full back corners FFS. Every time it's a guaranteed breakaway with us struggling to get back.
  7. Ralph looks like he’s heading back to un-forced dicking around. The Vestergaard inclusion was ridiculously stupid. Most of our progress came from two CDs dovetailing well, and ditching the “me to you, you to me, me back to you” crap. And I am struggling to remember one Obafemi moment since he broke into the team when he’s looked remotely close to having what it takes at this level.
  8. When sweepers were popular the way to counter them was to push one of the strikers on them – almost like having a striker marking a sweeper. It took away their time and space, and often their composure. Of course, VVD is much more than a sweeper. So much of Liverpool’s defensive shape and solidity revolves around him, and he’s the initial launch point for a lot of their attacks. It would be interesting to see how those things look if Long was snapping at VVD’s heels all through the game. It’s not like we’d be losing our main goal scoring threat by sacrificing Long like that.
  9. Given our away form we've got 'em where we want 'em. Moss is so incompetent. He can't even keep up with the game when he gets to watch it on the VAR screen.
  10. Frustrating. I couldn't count the number of times we've been done down our left side, with Bertrand either never in the picture or jogging back after the damage has been done. We knew that Traoré would be attacking that space, so Bertrand either ignored his remit or was too lazy/disengaged to fulfil it.
  11. When it’s almost -30 Celsius outside you do strange stuff to take your mind off it.* Here’s a summary of the changes between the 17 games before the Villa game, and our last five – Overall (Home / Away): Points per game average: 1.7 (1.2 / 2.0) Goals – Saints: 0.8 (0.0 / 1.3) Goal – Opponents: -1.5 (-2.2 / -0.7) Shots – Saints: 0.4 (1.3 / -0.5) Shots – Opponents: -3.7 (-6.6 / -1.4) On Target % - Saints: 11.5% (-0.7% / 19.1%) On Target % - Opponents: 5.5% (2.5% / 10.8%) Scoring % - Saints: 6.0% (-0.9% / 10.8%) Scoring % - Opponents: -9.0% (-12.1% / -4.9%) Pass Success % - Saints: -5.7% (1.1% / -10.8%) Pass Success % - Opponents: 2.0% (0.6% / 2.5%) Possession % - Saints: -2.8% (3.9% / -7.3%) Possession % - Opponents: 2.8% (-3.9% / 7.3%) The most obvious improvements are in our Shots On Target % and our Scoring % (goals as a % of shots). So much of that is down to Danny Ings. Less obvious - but at least as important, for me – is the decline in pass success and possession. Given our dramatic change in ‘fortunes’, those numbers are a great illustration of how statistics can lie. We are more inclined to put the laces through the ball when danger threatens, and less likely to keep trying to force “playing out from the back” with multiple passes between the back two/four. That change is especially pronounced in Away games. The way things have been going lately, I couldn’t care less about our pass completion and possession stats. * It’s a “dry cold” and I’ve felt colder heading back over the Itchen Bridge after another home loss.
  12. The difference between us "playing brave" and playing timid and negative is night and day. Same players, totally different mindset - but it has to come from Ralph. I'm still not sure what our best starting line-up looks like but Armstrong needs to be in it.
  13. Lack of movement is a problem all over the pitch. More than half of our throw-ins are a guaranteed and almost immediate surrender of possession - for that same reason. That's down to two things - sheer laziness on the part of the players, and weak coaching.
  14. So we had 57% possession. For a big chunk of that the ball was with either Stephens or Bednarek, or on its way from one to the other - unless they decided to add some variety by involving McCarthy. And we wonder why we can't break down opposition defences. Until that changes we're going to watch the same kind of turgid crap we saw for most of today. Hojberg's ability to fill a link role (or any role, really) has disappeared. Meanwhile, Lemina is fart-arsing around in Turkey. Today we must have had ten times the number of passes between our central defenders that West Ham did. Within seconds of breaking our attack down, they were back at our box.
  15. It's completely gutless, soulless football. No ambition beyond keeping possession around the halfway line, and we're crap at that. It looks like Ralph has stripped all the creativity and enjoyment out of the players, and pretty much all of them look like they'd rather be somewhere else. Armstrong for Djenepo, Romeu for PEH, and at least have a go FFS.
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