The New Mural for St.Mary's Was Coming on Well
Hull at home is not a fixture to set the pulses racing but today presents a decent chance for 3 points as we’re not playing on of the Premier League big boys. Hull started the season with no players and a shit manager in Moonface but somehow managed to stay in touch with everyone else until it was time for Moonface to depart and be replaced by Marco Silva. Silva got the Paul Merson seal of approval in that the ex-Skate, ex-Drug talking alcoholic gambler thought his appointment as a joke and he’s quietly gone about giving Hull a chance to stay up. Fair play to him for doing so. In truth, all of their points have been at home and their away record is absolutely abysmal so it should be three points for us.
Last week it looked like the takeover by Lander Sports was on again but then came reports that one of the main players in Lander Sports had a slightly dubious history involving bribery and execuition. Not exactly a parking fine and a speeding ticket - so that's all gone quiet again.
To today - Usually I’ll watch the highlights of the game to confirm I’ve got certain incidents correct or in the correct order but in an illustration of what is becoming The Southampton Way, I can’t be arsed. Also, there were no incidents of any note until the 90th minute anyway.
So, the first half happened. Saints were fucking clueless going forward as yet again, playing three wingers didn’t work in the slightest. Hull didn’t commit any players forward and we didn’t attack with any dynamism at all. No passes to Gabbiadini and that was it. Grosicki hit the post for them from a free kick and that was it.
The half time relay happened with Kenzie Benali showing more enthusiasm than any of the players and at least some fucker had a shot at goal.
The second half happened as well. Claude made some shite like for like substitutions which changed absolutely nothing and in the last minute, the big unit N’Diaye decieded to try and rip Yoshida’s head off instead of defending against him at a set piece and the ref gave a clear penalty. So, after 90 minutes of utter dogshit, we had a gilt edged chance to get three points which we didn’t deserve and paper over some serious chasms. There are two potential penalty takers on the pitch, Tadic and J-Rod and it falls to bloody Tadic. A stroke of his left foot and a bit of a scuffer to the keeper’s right and Jakupovic gets down will to get a strong hand to it. Average penalty, good save. I can’t even be arsed to be that angry about it. It's like when Shane Long is clean through - you don;t even get excited because you know that either through an offside flag or missing the target, there's a very good chance it's not going in. Tadic is a shite penalty taker so he’s always likely to miss and the game has been completely shite and I think I’m numb. I don’t think anyone really cares.
It nearly gets worse as Hull go up our end and win a corner. We predictably don’t clear it properly and Niasse should score but he’s absolute wank so Cedric manages to clear his poked effort off the line easily enough. Full time and thank fuck for that! Yet another afternoon at St.Mary’s which has taken up a few hours of my life that I’ll never get back. 0-0, the result the game deserved.
Fucking dreadful. If we had won 1-0 with a penalty then it would have been a robbery in what was a completely abysmal performance. Didn't score and we didn't deserve to win. Make no mistake, Hull didn't deserve to win either. They came for a point and they got it, really really easily.
Attention must turn to our manager and everything about him. In the second half, Hull were hardly attacking at all and the manager had a chance on 60 minutes to try and change things with substitutions, which is what they are there for. Everything about what Claude does is predictable. It was predictable in the last game that the Chuckle Brothers would not be able to stop Diego the Bastard. It was predictable that Caceres would still not be put in the team today despite the struggles those two had in the Chelsea game. It is predictable that playing Boufal, Tadic and Redmond behind one striker would not work - after all it hadn't worked in the Bournemouth and Manchester City games when this combination ruined the shape of the team and the performance went to shit. It was predictable that Boufal would be the one substituted today despite far away being better than the other two. It was predictable that it would be straight swap substitutions. What fucking difference was there going to be, taking off a good striker and putting on a worse one. Play with two strikers you boring predictable fucker. What are you afraid of? I'm getting somewhat tired of boring and predictable. After the first two subs, I predicted that the third would be J-Rod for Redmond with two minutes left. Guess what – I was right – predictable as fuck.
So many home games with absolutely zero excitement at an average of barely a goal a game. Not good enough. A combination of pre-Manolo shit strikers and Claude tactics. In the 4-2-3-1 formation that we have at the moment, you need a No 10 who is a goal threat and Tadic is not. Is it 2 or 3 goals this season?
A number of players looked like they really couldn't be arsed today, none more so than Ryan Bertrand who has been a superb player for us over the past three seasons but today he really looked like he couldn't be less interested. Joining him in that was Nathan Redmond who was absolutely appalling. Then there was Dusan Tadic who did at least look like he was trying at some point but again, we go back to predictability with his penalties. As they go it actually wasn't too bad a spot kick but you never feel like he's definitely going to score and it's certainly not a surprise when he doesn't. Manolo Gabbiadini didn't get a pass all game and instead of giving him some help with a strike partner, Claude decides to take him off. Not only that, he replaces him with Shane Long who has absolutely zero confidence at the moment and looks like a player who knows it and he knows that nothing is going to happen for him. Steve Davis and Oriol Romeu were best two players and they at least try their hearts out for 90 minutes. The Chuckle Brothers at centre back had absolutely nothing to do but still managed to look shaky with long punts forward sailing over their head and bouncing and causing people to hack the ball out of play.
JWP got dropped today, I assume because of a poor performance at Chelsea. With him went our threat from dead balls and the only midfielder we have who can pass the ball with any intent. If having a poor game is the criteria for getting dropped then we should see some different players for the next match with Bertrand, Tadic and Redmond being replaced with McQueen, Sims and Hojbjerg and of course we know that the Chuckle Brothers should be broken up but there's no point in even wishing for that any more as Mr fucking predictable will see to that. To think that I had a go at Pochettino once for only having a plan A. At last his plan A was decent.
In the other dugout today was Marco Silva, a manager who has been busy inspiring a revival in Hull City's fortunes. "Inspiring" - there is a word that you'll never hear in the same sentence as "Claude". Some like Adkins, inspire with personality. Pochettino and Koeman with their standing in the game and by having a string of international caps for their respective countries. A few achievements in French football and a very quiet, almost gentle personality isn’t going to cut it. Claude shows that it means something to him whenever we score a goal – something that we don’t do often enough. ‘Dead rubber’ game like this one are a good indicator of whether players want to put it in for our manager. Now cast your mind back over the last 90 minutes.
Something clearly isn’t working at the moment – I thought after the Everton away game that he’d lost the dressing room but that kind of got swept under the carpet with the José Fonte situation and the run to the EFL Cup Final. It’s beginning to look that way again. I got asked in my Podcast interview the other day if I thought Puel should stay or go. My answer is that I don’t really know, it's not like some managers that we've had int he past where it was so bad that they simply had to go (Burley, Branfoot, Jones for football reasons) – but what I do know is that when I'd found out they had gone, I was pissed off when all of Pardew, Adkins, Pochettino and Koeman were no longer the Saints manager. If Claude was not the Saints manager any more, I don’t think I’d care. A new manager may be worse but there are many managers out there who would love to manage Saints who would be better. That was the criteria that Cortese used when Adkins went - he felt that there were better managers out there.