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Football News: Review of Southampton v Brighton Match 17 September 2018

Review of Southampton v Brighton Match 17 September 2018
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A frustrating night, but before the game, a draw seemed the most likely result. Its just hard to swallow when you're 2 goals up with over an hour gone. Southampton lined up in the now usual 4-4-2. Brighton pulled a surprise by lining up in a 4-3-3. They had seen our weakness but perhaps it was unfamiliarity with the system and the effect of the two week break but they were awful in the first half. They were without the injured Pascal Groβ and they lacked someone with that little extra something to aid a smooth transition into attack. In my article before the game, I spoke of stats suggesting Brighton were pressing and more aggressive this season but there was nothing of that in the first 45. They were the opposite - passive and limp.

But the second half saw a totally different Brighton. Here was the aggression and pressure that caused individual errors from our players and created chances for them. We were clinging on and then comes Shane Long's big moment. A ball over the top saw him racing toward the goal in pursuit and he needed the right touch to beat Ryan and score. Instead, he stabbed it straight out behind goal, about 8 yards wide, for a goal kick. I think he was trying to poke it past Ryan so he could run on to it and score in an empty net but at that pace, it would have required the deftest of touches and even then, a composed finish from a very tight angle. The replays suggest just stabbing the ball towards goal would have been a better option. He was trying to be too clever and I think that's down to confidence.

So our penalty came against the run of play, created and scored by Danny Ings, but put us in a commanding position at 2-0. It's a cliché but its true. A team is most vulnerable just after scoring and so it proved. 2 mins later, it was 2-1. Defence and Keeper could all have done better but we still had a lead so it should have been a wake up call. We did have a little spell of about 7 or 8 minutes, with some neat interchanges but when the substitutes came on, we lost rhythm and impetus.

JWP is not a like for like change for Elyounoussi. He struggled to get a foothold in the game and the team felt a little lopsided. Seeing no improvement, MH decided to bring on Steven Davis to see out the game. Many managers may have made the same call with 10 minutes left given the way Brighton were on top, but the risk in doing this is always that you put all your eggs in one basket. Gabbi was left isolated up top to put an extra body in the midfield but it had no impact on Brighton's ability to come forward. It perhaps only invited them on stronger as our ability to attack or even hold the ball up was gone. Charlie Austin must have been frustrated watching from the sideline.

The late penalty award did seem a little soft, but there was a nudge in Duffy's back and sometimes, that's all the ref needs to see. 2-2. That's about all I recall of JWP's involvement, save shortly after giving the penalty away, Bertrand pulled rank over a freekick we had won about 20 yards out. He was a spectator as Bertrand curled it into a nice spot for Ryan to save. Despite an awful first half, Brighton did deserve a point as they were better in the second half than us, and their display in the second half was better than ours had been in the first. If only we could have found their levels, perhaps we could have killed the game off in the first half when they were so poor.

Looking at our next 4 or 5 games, its getting harder to see us sorting things out in the near future.

Written by figodasilva September 18 2018 00:24:32


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