Southampton fans should enjoy struggles of Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren at Liverpool while it lasts

Originally posted on Metro:

Adam Lallana’s Liverpool career has got off to a slow start (Picture: Getty Images)

As a Saints fan it is difficult not to take a little pleasure in watching Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana struggle in the early days of their Liverpool careers.

Unfortunately for the two Saints’ departees, who left the club this summer without an ounce of professionalism, they now play for a club whose games are pretty much all televised, meaning the world is tuning in to watch them stink up the place as they struggle to adapt.

Liverpool have had a laborious start to the season, which possibly to be expected after both losing Luis Suarez and performing above themselves in the previous campaign. However, after a home defeat to Aston Villa and then an undeserved victory over Ludogorets on their return to the Champions League last night (not to mention the unconvincing win over us…

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New-look Southampton come out blazing vs Newcastle, showing transfer window wasn’t so bad after all

Originally posted on Metro:

Morgan Schneiderlin curls in Southampton’s fourth goal against Newcastle United (Picture: Getty)

Saturday was the annual Southampton FC funday – a day when supporters young and old can enjoy games and sideshows in and around St Mary’s before settling down in their seats to watch the big match.

There were two non-scheduled sideshows that took the biscuit though – Ronald Koeman’s death-defying daredevils and Alan Pardew’s calamitous circus of clowns. This wasn’t men against boys, this was Barcelona against the Dog and Duck.

Saints were 2-0 up within 20 minutes and never looked back, and they could have been further in front after Shane Long was cruelly denied a clear penalty, the challenge of which left him concussed.

It was a performance by the home side that wasn’t only dominant but completely without fear and, dare I say it, with the addition of the missing ruthlessness that they often lacked under Mauricio Pochettino.

Koeman’s…

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Southampton would not want under-fire Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew back at the club

Originally posted on Metro:

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew’s side face Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

Saints’ visitors this weekend come in the form of Newcastle United, and their fanbase are less than happy with still having former St. Mary’s boss Alan Pardew at the helm.

Saints fans themselves have an odd, perhaps uncomfortable relationship with Pardew, and one that can only be filed under ‘he did alright on the pitch’. When he was dismissed by then chairman Nicola Cortese the fans reacted badly, because there could be little complaint as to the achievements of the side from a playing point of view, but little was spoke about the reasons why he went, though plenty of rumours followed.

It seems pretty popular opinion that while Pardew is a competent enough football manager, he perhaps isn’t the most likeable of people. With other incidents at other clubs and very few former club’s fans really talking about him…

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Southampton are doing everything they can to sort replica kit issue, so why make a ‘story’ out of it?

Originally posted on Metro:

Morgan Schneiderlin sports the Southampton shirt which has caused a few issues for fans (Picture: Getty Images)

If there is one thing that bothers me it is ‘not news’, especially when it is regards my football club.

The media is a powerful tool, and can with the right words be used to create ill feeling where none whatsoever is necessary.

After a ‘turbulent summer’ (this is now the most used Southampton related cliché since ‘meltdown’ and ‘firesale’), Saints fans might have been forgive for thinking they might get some respite from negative media attention now that it all seems to have turned out okay.

But no. Yesterday a local radio outlet, BBC Radio Solent, was dedicating a section of their show to the fact that the new Saints replica shirt was prone to the odd glitch and people were having to take them back. But what’s the story here?

Are the…

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Former Southampton defender Francis Benali’s toughest challenge yet

Originally posted on Metro:

SOUTHAMPTON V DERBY FOOTBALL PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH. PIC DAVE SHOPLAND. FRANCIS BENALI WAS SENT OFF FOR THE 11TH TIME IN HIS CAREER ***FINAL SCORE SOUTHAMPTON 0 DERBY COUNTY 2***

Francis Benali (Picture: Dave Shopland)

Football supporters love a player who shows commitment, passion and drive for the shirt, and Saints fans would find it hard to argue a case for anyone more committed to the Southampton cause than Francis Benali.

Benali was a hard working, industrious, tough tackling defender who made over 300 appearances for his home town club, and while his output was never spectacular his love of his team and his undoubted desire for the cause made him a cult hero amongst those on the terraces.

Famed for putting in some big challenges, Benali now faces his biggest one yet, running 1,000 miles, taking in every Premier League ground from St. James’ Park to St. Mary’s over three weeks, without any rest days. A staggering feat of human endeavour, and all in the name of cancer research.

Franny started in Newcastle on Sunday August 24 and…

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What does Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne have to do to get a game for England?

Originally posted on Metro:

Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne celebrates after scoring a goal against Liverpool (Picture: Reuters)

As England played out a frustrating, dull, lacklustre performance in front of a half empty Wembley, it was difficult to come to any other conclusion than they have finally reached the peak of their mediocrity.

A 1-0 victory over Norway at home courtesy of a penalty from Wayne Rooney, the new England captain, the least expiring choice since, well, err… Steven Gerrard. It was poor, and that is the level that England now are, the decline has been steady for a number of years, as increasingly players who struggle to get games for their club sides are still considered regulars for the national team.

I know it is annoying when club fans bemoan that their player didn’t play, but, as a Saints fan it was annoying to watch Roy Hodgson select a centre-half in Jonathan Stones at right…

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On the Mané: Sadio is a Saint!

…Well you’ve had the lowdown on Toby Alderweireld (http://georgeweahscousin.com/2014/09/02/alder-right-noises-toby-is-a-saint/) and now here it is on his new deadline day colleague Sadio Mané.

Unlike the Belgian, Mané is lesser known in the UK but has had high profile links to Arsenal in the past, and it is believed he was a target of some bloke called Pochettino at Spurs this Summer. A Senegal international, Mané has made his name in Austria playing for Red Bull Salzburg, scoring a hefty amount of goals for a winger.

With Saints crying out for some pace and natural width Mané looks to be just the kind of player we have been missing. I spoke to Josh Bloom a Red Bull Salzburg regular on what Sadio will bring to the team.

It’s came from nowhere, but this seems to be a very good signing for Saints. What can we expect from Mané?

JB ‘Mané is a pacey, exciting, wide right forward/winger – who will cause defences a few problems. It was always felt he had become too good to stay in the Austrian Bundesliga, he deserves his move. I watched him tear Bayern’s full strength back line to pieces in January in a friendly. Several clubs have been monitoring him for a long time.’

Any specific strengths and weaknesses?

JB ‘He’s very quick, and has a trick or two. He will be very exciting to watch and will rack up the assists. However he does go to ground easily, and for a man who breaks through the line often, he should score more than he does.’

If you listen carefully Sadio you can hear Ben Smith and Neil Ashton's bubble burst...

If you listen carefully Sadio you can hear Ben Smith and Neil Ashton’s bubble burst…

Do you think he will be able to adapt quickly to the Premier League?

JB ‘ I expect him to have an immediate impact, and will come up to speed quickly. He may need to bulk up a bit to deal with the physical nature of the Premier League, he can get knocked off the ball too easily. That said he is very, very fit. Salzburg play a high pressure, high tempo 4-2-4 system in which he runs his socks off.’

Is there another player in England you think he is similar to?

JB ‘He reminds me of Theo Walcott – when he’s on form, he’s unplayable, when he’s having a bad day you want to pull your hair out – not because he’s playing particularly poorly, but rather you know he could influence play more than he does.’

King of the Breakdance Tackle!

King of the Breakdance Tackle!

With the outgoings at Saints this Summer, many have suggested there is a lack of ‘ambition’ at the club. With Mané being linked to bigger clubs in the past, does this signing refute that?

JB ‘I think that’s his level actually. He needed to leave the Austrian Bundesliga, his only real tests were coming in European games. He’s still young – bigger teams will be keeping an eye on him to see if he sinks or swims in a decent league. Good signing for Saints, especially when he easily could have gone to a ‘bigger’ German club.’

So there we have it Sadio Mané marks the end of a brilliant turnaround at St. Mary’s this Summer, and for me it would seem Ronald Koeman has built a very good squad with his kitty. Thanks to Josh for the help.

Bring on Newcastle!

Chris

 

Alder right noises: Toby is a Saint!

It was a pretty eventful transfer deadline day for Saints with the club leaving it as late as possible to announce their new players.

The first through the door last night was Belgian international defender Toby Alderweireld on a season long loan with option to buy deal from Atletico Madrid.  Alderweireld was part of Atletico’s La Liga winning and Champion’s League runners up squad last season and it is somewhat of a coup to see him arrive at St. Mary’s.

Capable of playing at both centre half and right back he not only provides vital cover but also the ability to take the club up a level in defensive terms.

I spoke to Kristof Terreur from the website ‘One Man in England‘ and asked him for the lowdown on his countryman.

It’s came from nowhere, but this seems to be a very good signing for Saints. What can we expect from Alderweireld?
KT ‘Alderweireld is a strong, determined central defender with an excellent long pass. He can also play as a right back. Despite the fact that he’s not the tallest, he’s strong in the air and a threat on set pieces. He likes too tackle too. ‘

Any specific strengths and weaknesses?

KT ‘Strengths: His presence, his long ball, his tackle, his treat on attacking set-pieces.

Weakness: he’s not the quickest, and both at Atlético and Ajax he was sometimes caught out of position and made some errors. Although he has a good long ball, he’s not the most accurate passer either, like the other Belgian central defenders in the PL.’

Toby the Saint!

Toby the Saint!

 

Do you think he will be able to adapt quickly to the Premier League?

KT ‘With his determination and tackling he’ll win hearts easily. He has the capacities to turn his hand to the English game.’

With the outgoings at Saints this Summer, many have suggested there is a lack of ‘ambition’ at the club. Does this signing refute that?

KT ‘Well, it’s only a loan. Alderweireld was linked to Arsenal a lot, but the interest was never concrete. Neither with the other big teams. Because he’s Belgian everyone is jumping on the bandwagon as the next big thing. But as a central defender he will always be behind Kompany or Vermaelen in the national team.’

Alderweireld at the World Cup.

Alderweireld at the World Cup.

So there we have it. Saints first of two deadline day players sounds like someone with a big future in the game. Thanks to Kristof for his time. The lowdon on Sadio Mané coming soon…..

Chris

How Southampton have actually come out of the transfer window a stronger club

Originally posted on Metro:

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has attracted some big players to the club (Picture: Getty Images)

Well in the end that was quite some transfer window for Southampton Football Club.

Just a few weeks ago it seemed the emphasis on Saints was that of an ‘exodus’ a ‘firesale’ and the media’s favourite term a ‘meltdown’,

Sadly, and much to their disappointment, the English press found themselves having to report on two more incoming players at St. Mary’s last night, and as stated by chairman Ralph Krueger despite their protests, that both Jay Rodroguez and Morgan Schneiderlin would be going nowhere.

Yesterday’s deadline day additions of La Liga winner and Champion’s League finalist Toby Alderweireld and Senegal winger Sadio Mane took the clubs Summer spending to nearly £60 million and arguably Saints have ended the Summer with a more successful manager and a deeper squad.

The signing of Alderweireld in particular will turn…

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Southampton face West Ham United – a club that are hard to like

Originally posted on Metro:

West Ham’s Kevin Nolan United (Picture: Getty Images)

I’ve always liked West Ham United as a football club, for me they have always embodied London in footballing terms, far more so than the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs but in recent years they have made it increasingly difficult for me to retain my admiration.

This is largely a personnel issue granted, but there is something about Saints’ fixtures with the Hammers that really see me struggling to find any enthusiasm for them. Partly because of late they have always frustrated us, and I’m pretty sure nobody in football outside of East London enjoys smugness on the faces of Sam Allardyce, David Gold, David Sullivan and Kevin Nolan amongst others?

I know this is going to seem over the top and harsh, but those four people in particular make a club once famed for it’s expansive play and promotion of…

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