Play, Rinse, Repeat, Play, Rinse, Repeat
After the Liverpool win in midweek there is of course another game just around the corner and it’s Burnley. Despite being absolutely woeful when we beat them at St.Mary’s earlier in the season, they’ve made a much better fist of trying to stay in the Premier League than they did last time out a couple of years ago. This has all been built on their home form as their away form is shocking – 1 point all season I think. They are however, pretty shite and so we should take the momentum from Wednesday and get something here as long as Claude doesn’t fuck about with the team too much.
There’s been confirmation this week that José Fonte will not be considered for selection until after the transfer window has closed so he’s played his last game for us unless no one comes in for him. This leaves us with Virgil and Maya as first choice and Jack Stephens as back up and this really isn’t good enough so as well as our chronic need for a striker, we also desperately need a centre back. As far as I know we have that Florin Gardos chap but he may well have been deported for all we’ve heard about him recently.
Claude kind of rotated with Hojbjerg and JWP coming on for Davis and Clasie in midfield and Shane Long getting another chance to remember where the fuck the goal is in place of J-Rod. The three players left out were the three who got substituted against Liverpool so I’m guessing they ran themselves into the ground. Burnley have a very good keeper in Tom Heaton and they have Andre Gray who is not very good on Twitter but other than that they’re workmanlike and nothing exceptional.
It’s interesting to me that Burnley have such a good home record when their away form is crap and they were absolute dogshit when they played at our place. Oh I’d forgotten about Ratboy George Boyd who just runs about and that’s it – his first involvement is to not track Ryan Bertrand who is away and bending a great cross in between defence and keeper. Shane has made a good run and gets there first in front of Ward but misses the ball and it hits Ward and deflects for a corner. That’s poor and there’s no excuse for playing an airshot. We capitalize on the corner in a big way as JWP plays it short to Redmond who crosses it four feet off the ground where it hits the first man. We’ve got one of the best corner takers in the country and we play it short to play in a cross that Warwick Davis would have cleared.
The game is settling into a pattern of Saints possession and Burnley staying organized in exactly the kind of way that we struggle to score against. Redmond has a header deflected over from a Tadic cross and Tadic has the best chance so far as Redmond finds hin on the left hand side and he does the right thing in going across the keeper but what a surprise, wide of the far post.
Following the ref giving us a break by not giving a clear foul by Hojbjerg on Hendrick, Long does pull out a great cross from the right which is met by JWP who heads it down and straight at Heaton who doesn’t have to move to block it. And that’s it for the half – a half where we’ve been bad and they’ve been worse.
Burnley start the second half the brighter and Romeu bins Ashley Barnes to give them a free kick which is miles out but it doesn’t stop Defour from having a go which Fraser falls on easily. For us, Redmond is showing a lack of quality both in crossing and shooting, firstly butchering a break with a crap ball to Hojbjerg and then shooting wide when Hojbjerg found him having retrieved the ball. Well he didn’t really shoot wide as let it slide off his foot and keep going.
Tadic has produced his usual post-broken nose performance so he’s off with J-Rod coming on to play against his hometown club and we immediately look better as he finds Cedric on the right and his cross is met at the back post by Long but can he get the header on target? Can he fuck and wide of the near post.
Joey Barton and Sam Vokes are on for Burnley and we win a free kick in midfield which JWP expertly delivers into the mixer. Virgil gets a touch and there’s an almighty scramble but predictably it’s a Burnley boot and not a Southampton one that connects.
On 80 minutes, Ratboy Boyd cuts in from the right and Romeu goes to challenge and makes contact which is all Ratboy needs to buy a cheap free kick about 25 yards out. Barton is over it and there’s a deep sense of inevitability. Always one to write interesting scripts is Joey Barton and he hits it, not very well but our wall is shambolic and breaks up, it flicks off someone and Fraser is wrong footed and it skims into the corner. For fuck sake. On first look it seems that Fraser has lined up the wall and stood behind it and it’s his side but I think the wall has just totally failed to do it’s job. Fraser has followed the ball but the little nick from the disintegrating wall has killed us.
Might as well blow the whistle now as we all know how this one ends. Sims is on for Redmond. I know he’s been shite but surely in the context of the team we have out on the pitch, we need one of the top scorers on the pitch. We have a go to be fair – Bertrand has a volley which is well saved and from the corner, JWP finds Virgil who battles past three defenders but can only find Heaton with the header.
It’s taken 90 minutes but we finally produce some flowing football as via Bertrand and Virgil, J-Rod picks it up and runs at the defence before opening himself out and going for the far post – Heaton makes the save and Sims fires the rebound at the near post with Heaton getting down very well to make the save again.
The last few minutes are spent with us over-committing and nearly chucking in another one when Barton puts Ratboy away on the left but he makes a balls of it allowing us to get back. The End.
Oh just fuck off! Yet another game where we dominate, have a host of half chances, never really look like scoring and then concede and needless goal to their first decent effort. Today it wasn’t even a decent effort – a pointlessly given away shite free kick which deflected in courtesy of a shit disintegrating wall. Bollocks! Scored by Joey Barton who shouldn’t even be fucking playing. Recently banned for placing bets on football matches while in Scotland, charged about 3 weeks ago with betting on over a thousand matches in England but the case hasn’t been heard yet for some fucking reason so he’s allowed to play in the mean time. He’ll no doubt get banned for the rest of the season as of next week but we’ll let him play against Southampton and score a spawny fucking goal. Fair play to Burnley for finding a way to win and that’s all that matters. They were lucky bastards to win when it really should have been a 0-0 draw in what was a pretty piss poor game.
Joey Barton and Burnley isn’t the issue though. It’s our inability to stick it in the net and the players we have who are shite in that regard. We should have signed another striker at the start of the season and we should have been lining one up for January 1st as even when Austin was fit as we were hardly prolific. Once Austin was injured we looked desperate and everyone knew we’d be shite until January 1st but surely we’d have a striker lined up…. but no. Two weeks in and still nothing except Les Reed saying it’s a tough window to do business in – we fucking know that Les but it’s your job – to give the manager a squad to work with.
That’s only part of the story though as on the goalscoring front, all of Tadic, Hojbjerg, JWP, Davis, Long, Rodriguez & Redmond are all under performing. They have chances and miss them, we cross the ball in and there’s no bastard there. Shane Long is the biggest let down – fuck me, zero goals from open play all season and just one headed goal from a corner in addition to not being able to control a football.
Claude gave his standard interview after the game which I read with subtitles as I couldn’t be arsed to listen to it. It’s Groundhog Day, again, the same game, the same pattern, the same chances, the same misses, the same lack of runners, the same one chance for the opposition, the same knowing we won’t get back into it, the same flat resigned feeling at the final whistle, same manager interview. Rewind, repeat, rewind, repeat. Fuck off. There’s no real point in saying anything else – it’s the same every week.
Next up is the game we didn’t want against Norwich in the FA Cup which will definitely see appearances for Jack Stephens, Harrison Reed, Josh Sims, Sam McQueen and probably even Cuco the Clown. I’ll be there… bring it on!