Sixer’s Southampton Soapbox: “for 25 minutes we looked good”

Jake sent a message with the graphic on the left:

“Another false dawn is snuffed out.”

Is there any hope?

David Moyes suggests there is, other results suggest there may be.

But, for the real truth, there’s only one place to go. Pete Sixsmith – he’s seen it all, he knows what’s what.

Over to Pete:



“After the Lord Mayor’s Show comes the dustcart” is an old maxim that makes it clear that after a spectacular display (The Lord Mayor’s Show, a 4-0 away win at Crystal Palace), it is usually followed by something that is less welcome ( a cart to pick up all the horse s***, a 4-0 home defeat to Southampton). We have had a lot of dustcarts over the years – this was possibly the one that will prove terminal.

It often applies after a win over Our Friends from the North – defeats at Stoke City, Hull City and at home to the Tigers spring to mind, but there have been others of which this was the latest. The optimism which had been at abnormally high levels all week had gone by 4.45 to be replaced by that sinking feeling which Sunderland fans have known for the last few years as the grim spectre of the Championship stalks the Stadium.

I don’t hold with the view that we would be better off being relegated because you can win games in the lower league. That philosophy has worked at Newcastle but not at Villa and there are lots of relegated clubs who do not bounce back and appear to be stuck in the limbo of being “a decent Championship side” – Fulham, Ipswich, Wolves. We are more likely to join that group rather than having a barnstorming season a la the Mags.

For 25 minutes we looked good. Oviedo and Gibson were a breath of fresh air, both using the ball well and pushing forward. Ndong was busy and ran the centre of the park and Januzaj had one excellent run and set up Defoe who got his feet tangled up. It looked good – but the rule is, that when on top, you must score. We didn’t and allowed Southampton to seize and maintain control.

Poor defending allowed them to go in at the break two goals to the good, both scored by Manolo Gabbiadini. He looked nothing like Marco but was just as effective and, on this display, will be an excellent acquisition for the Saints.

His first goal came after a lethal cross from the very impressive Ryan Bertrand which beat Lamine Kone’s despairing diving header and probably hit the Italian striker on the arm as it went in. The second showed up all of our limitations as Gabbiadini (already lined up as a pundit on BBC Solent) turned O’Shea and Kone in the box and drilled home the second to win the game for his team.

Jake's take
We need him at his best but he wasn’t

Kone lost interest after this while O’Shea was withdrawn and replaced by Pienaar as we reverted to a flat back four. Pienaar was expected to try to break the stranglehold that Davis, Ward- Prowse and Romeu had over the game but it proved to be yet another poor substitution by the manager.

I have long been an admirer of Davis who I feel is the most underrated player in the League. Ward- Prowse is another fine player but Romeu had escaped my attention until I saw him yesterday. He had a few games for Chelsea, went on loan to Valencia and Stuttgart and came to Southampton last season. He has hardly missed a game since and acts as the midfield enforcer, the type of which Ndong aspires to be, M’Vila might have been and Lorik Cana certainly was for a brief spell in 2009.


Between them, they made our midfield of Larsson, Gibson and Ndong look pedestrian and Pienaar added nothing to it. He has some nice touches but is clearly too slow for this league. Honeyman would be a better bet – although not a great one. The absence of Cattermole and Kirchhoff is now being very much felt. Maybe Cana would contemplate a return – he appears to be without a club at the moment.

The final two goals were late on and showed the depths to which we sank as the crowd vacated the ground to enjoy the traffic jams out of the city. Denayer, who makes up for a slight lack of quality by plenty of effort, turned in the third and then we just couldn’t be bothered to stop Long from scoring. How we needed a player like this in the last two windows, someone with a bit of muscle and a bit of nous to complement our one man forward line.

Fraser Forster (a privately educated former Mag – what’s not to dislike about that) had one “save” to make when Ndong fired in a “shot” in the 65th minute and, apart from a header missed by Kone and a clearly offside goal from late sub Khazri, Southampton were barely troubled.

It was yet another dispiriting performance (that prefix gets some use!) and one which pushes us further back in the scramble to avoid the trips to St Andrews and Craven Cottage next season. Other teams lost but not with the panache that we did and if I were a Swansea, Leicester or Middlesbrough fan, I would be already writing off the bottom two as virtual certainties to slip away.

And so off they go to New York for a team bonding session. It gets them out of the way of the support for a few days and they may have time to reflect on the lack of professionalism in the closing stages when certain players threw in the towel and showed little enthusiasm for the fight that lies ahead.

Dustcarts play an important role in any society as they pick up the mess left by their so called betters. There will be a new group of players next season who will have to pick up the stinking deposits left by this lot.


Sixer by Jake


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5 thoughts on “Sixer’s Southampton Soapbox: “for 25 minutes we looked good””

  1. I agree with Dave on Billy Jones. I’ve been to two games recently, West Brom and yesterday, and for me the worst of a very bad bunch were Jones and Januzaj (although Djilobodji played at WBA and was equally clueless). Jones is completely inept in everything he attempts. Surely we’ve got a better right-back than him in the club. If we’re supposed to be playing with wing-backs surely Manquillo could offer more going forward. Or play Love … at least we’d get some commitment and it would prepare him for the Championship.

    Januzaj is simply not a footballer. He looks like someone who, as a 13-year old, impressed his mates on the school playground with his fancy skills and hasn’t advanced any further. I confidently predict that in 5 years time he will not be in professional football. He’ll probably be working in Sales and the only footy he will play will be in the annual Company 5-a-side competition (if he tries Semi-Pro he’ll get knocked off the ball even easier than in the Pro game).

    Pienaar looked like an old man yesterday but I didn’t think Gibson hid. He just ran out of steam as he’s hardly played in recent times. It’s clear that the biggest problem we will have is in not signing a forward to support Defoe. Things might occasionally work away from home if we can hit teams on the break but I just see the remaining home games being similar to yesterday … aimless balls up to Defoe who is surrounded by four massive defenders.

    I left after the third goal yesterday, I couldn’t take any more pain. Only about the third time I’ve left early in nearly 50 years of watching. It’s a seven hour round trip for a home game for me and the rubbish of the past 5 years – not just the defeats but the sheer lack of entertainment – means that I have no plans to return. If they start winning and entertaining of course I’ll be back …. but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  2. I’m afraid SAFC should be re-named Old Evertonians. Rodwell was brought straight in when Moyes arrived good enough or not we then have been subjected to the signings of Pienaar, no where near up to it, Gibson not fit because not good enough for Everton, Lescott just not good enough and Anichebe good enough when fit but almost never fit. Add to this that the confidence of the players seems to have been shot to bits and for whatever reason one of last years important saviours Khazri never gets a real chance. It appears the Palace result was a real fluke, oh and by the way when Gerrard said on TV that without Defoe we were an average Championship team I feel he was being optimistic. I’m guessing that none of the long suffering supporters performing this badly at work would not given a jolly to New York.

  3. Looking at some of the ratings yesterday, particularly the Sunderland Echo, I can’t help feeling that people watch a different game to me.
    Jones is getting better ratings than most of the defence despite being 20 yards away from Bertrand when he crossed for the first. One of the points of a 5 man defence is that the full backs should be wide and stop crosses. Contrast him and Oviedo, who already looks a proper defender which Jones just isn’t.
    Denayer is getting worse ratings than many others, despite being the only one in a central area who actually tried. He flung himself in the way of many shots and it was the fact that he was still trying that led to own goal that he could do little about.
    The one that annoys me most is that Gibson is getting better ratings than Ndong, despite hiding for entire second half. Ndong regularly had nobody to pass to as Gibson just disappeared. People only seem to judge players by what happens when they have the ball and never notice those that are hiding (Craig Gardner regularly got decent ratings in bad team performances despite not touching the ball at all). Gibson’s second half performance was just woeful and only worsened by those of Pienaar and Borini. One is just too slow for this league and the other appears to have completely lost interest. I know Khazri is not covering himself in glory, but he only gets 10 minutes and tries too hard to impress. If he had been given the 40 that Borini got he would certainly have done more, even if some of it was bad!
    I thought that if we lost last week I could at least relax for the season in the knowledge that it was over. I suspect I may be relaxed once the Man City game is over.

  4. Great article Sixer. Far better that the performance Sunderland served up.

    Wrinkly, you reminded me of John Cleese in Clockwise: ‘It’s not the despair……..I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

  5. A cracker of an article. It sums up the experience I endured yesterday perfectly. For reasons now best forgotten but including that poisonous word (for SAFC fans) ….. HOPE, the Heart of England supporters branch had got a small coach organised for the game. It was a pleasant enough day out if you forget the two hours sandwiched between the twelve hours of travelling!!

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