Tag Archives: Southampton

Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4 …

The eagerly awaited South Coast Derby eventually came last night, as league 1 Portsmouth took on Premier League Southampton. It was the first derby between the two teams since 2012, and predictably enough, went the way of Southampton.

The scoreline might seem a tad harsh on Portsmouth, who fielded a strong side last night. The side bore close resemblance to the team that narrowly missed out on Promotion from League 1 Last season.

Southampton for their part were fresh, following being beaten in another South Coast Derby on Friday night against Bournemouth. That game saw them on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline, so last nights game was always going to be a tall order for Portsmouth

However…

Portsmouth more than held their own for 30 minutes, before making two sloppy mistakes by their standards. These defensive errors, which led to Danny Ings Scoring two goals.

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Premier League Review

I am starting this week’s review with the match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night because it had a big talking point.

The game finished 1-1 with goals from Anthony Martial and a trademark long range effort by Ruben Neves. The result itself was interesting enough as its evidence that Wolves aren’t far away from the top six.

The talking point came when United were awarded a penalty with the score at 1-1 and last week’s scorer of a penalty Marcus Rashford went into conversation with Paul Pogba. The result of the chat resulted in Pogba taking the penalty and then subsequently having the spot kick well saved.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed after the game that the penalty duties are being shared between Rashford and Pogba and that “whoever feels confident on the day” should take it. This for me is a risky and strange policy as it adds an unnecessary seed of doubt and pressure to the taker, which showed its force again in United’s next match on Saturday, More on that later.

Moving onto Saturday’s roundup which I am starting at Anfield where the only two teams with 100% records in the league went head to head as Liverpool faced Arsenal.

Liverpool were controlling much of the possession and territory but Arsenal created good openings on the break from record signing Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

In the process, interestingly, Pepe became the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil Van Dijk breaking a record that has stood for well over a year, no mean feat. It has also become more evident that Liverpool are not performing as well in defence without Allison in goal and his deputy Adrian almost cost them another goal, as just like last weekend, one of his clearances went straight to the Gunners but luckily for him, Aubameyang, uncharacteristically, lacked composure.

Despite all of this, Liverpool’s territorial advantage paid off with them taking the lead through a Joel Matip’s header just before half-time.

After the break, David Luiz cost Arsenal any hopes, by first tugging Mohammad Salah’s shirt in the penalty area, with Salah himself scoring the penalty. It was the Egyptian once again who embarrassed Luiz by the touchline as the Brazilian needlessly dived in and Salah chipped the ball over him before running to the edge of the box and superbly curling into the bottom corner just before the hour. This ended the contest, although Arsenal did get a late consolation through Lucas Torreira.

The result means Liverpool are the only side in England with a 100% record and continues Arsenals poor record at Liverpool, however they can take something from the chances they created.

Now back to Manchester United who were playing Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, a venue where Palace hadn’t won since 1989.

United were dominant as expected, but couldn’t find the break through and Palace broke after 32 minutes which left Jordan Ayew one-on-one with David De Gea, who silenced the crowd by coolly slotting home.

There was yet more United penalty drama in the second-half when they were awarded a spot kick when Scott McTominay was bundled over. Everyone waited to see who would take the kick following Monday’s drama and this time it was back to Marcus Rashford.

However, he suffered the same fate as Pogba seeing his penalty cannon off the inside of the post. This only further strengthens my argument that Solskjaer’s method is an incorrect one. United continued to push and found an equaliser through summer signing Daniel James, who scored in consecutive home matches by curling in a delightful equaliser in the 89th minute following Pogba’s good tackle on Wilfred Zaha and with a neat build-up from Rashford and Anthony Martial.

The Red Devil’s thought they could still win it but were caught with too many players forward allowing Zaha to burst forward and find full-back, Patrick van Aanholt, who netted the winner in the 93rd minute, thumping in as the ball broke loose.

The result means United have picked up just one point from the last two matches and are showing they may struggle to get into the top four once again, a thought I had in pre-season.

Chelsea and Frank Lampard headed to Carrow Road to face a vibrant and confident Norwich side following their 3-1 win over Newcastle United looking for their first win of the season and Lampard’s first as a Premier League manager. Lampard continued to show faith in striker, Tammy Abraham and his decision paid off with the youngster scoring two excellent goals to open his Chelsea account. The first came after just three minutes, however, it didn’t take long for Norwich to hit back though, as just three minutes later, Todd Cantwell latched onto Teemu Pukki’s cut back.

Chelsea restored their lead 11 minutes after Cantwell’s equaliser for Norwich, Mount – cut inside the hosts’ defence and unleashed an unstoppable shot high into the net for his second goal of the season.

In a frantic first half Norwich equalised again and it was no surprise that it was Pukki, who scored his fifth goal of the season. Despite Norwich’s second leveller, Chelsea continued to pressure their opponents’ shaky defence; Mount and Christian Pulisic both saw efforts go wide within moments of the second half getting under way.

Abraham’s second goal saw him become the youngest Chelsea player to score twice in a Premier League fixture since 1998, twisting and turning and tying Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in knots before firing an unstoppable drive past Tim Krul.

The Blues thought they had scored again when Kurt Zouma poked a loose ball home, but it was ruled out by the video assistant referee after substitute Olivier Giroud was judged to have fouled the Norwich keeper, Tim Krul.

Lampard now has his all-important first win as Chelsea boss and will be looking to build on this victory.

Watford against West Ham is a match between two sides hoping to challenge in the top half of the league table.

However, only one of the two sides looked like they had that in them in this match at Vicarage Road and that was West Ham.

They have some terrific creative midfielders and their record signing striker, Sebastien Haller scored his first two goals for the Hammers as they ran out 3-1 winners.

Mark Noble’s third-minute penalty set West Ham on their way to their first win of the season after Manuel Lanzini had been fouled by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Watford responded with a well-worked Andre Gray goal, with the forward drilling home a right-foot shot from Will Hughes’ pass.

It was then Haller who took centre stage as he led the line in exemplary fashion and contributed to all three West Ham goals. He displayed his predatory instincts that allowed him to comfortably claim his first goal for Manuel Pellegrini’s side before acrobatically doubling his tally.

Watford did create plenty of chances mainly through Gerard Deulofeu who had seven shots on goal, with only a close-range strike that hit the West Ham crossbar finding the target, alongside Hughes’ extraordinary miss from a yard out after Gray had squared the ball with the score at 1-1, that summed up the hosts’ lack of potency in attack.

At the other end the presence of Haller, Anderson and Lanzini provided too much power, pace and guile for the Watford defence to cope with. Gracia’s side now face a challenging sequence of fixtures – with a home game against Arsenal sandwiched between trips to Newcastle and reigning champions Manchester City – having shipped 41 goals in their last 18 matches.

At the same stage last term Watford had collected nine points after an impressive start, but a pointless return this time around represents a complete reversal of fortune.

Sheffield United were looking to back up their first win back in the top flight but came up against a Leicester City side that were just too good for them on the day.

Ayoze Perez robbed defender Chris Basham before James Maddison played a deft pass with the outside of his foot into space, allowing Jamie Vardy to race in and power home left footed. Vardy – a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan – had been booed throughout and duly cupped his ears in celebration. Billy Sharp and McBurnie’s second half introduction seemed to raise home spirits and suddenly Leicester’s midfield seemed unable to close spaces as quickly. It was Oliver McBurnie, who scored the equaliser from Sam Baldock’s pin-point delivery – proving why the Blades paid Swansea £20m for the striker.

They were level for just eight minutes, however, as substitute, Harvey Barnes, scored a marvellous winner six minutes after coming on, Barnes fired a half-volley from the edge of the box which flew past home keeper Dean Henderson.

Saturday’s final match saw a south coast derby as Brighton met Southampton, Brighton have started the season impressively, whilst Southampton headed into the encounter pointless and this showed in the early stages as Neil Maupay and Martin Montoya both had chances.

However, the game swung the visitors’ way when Florin Andone was dismissed following a rash challenge that left Yan Valery withering in agony near the halfway line. A challenge that Brighton manager Graham Potter said he “can’t defend”.

The Seagulls responded well, initially, with Lewis Dunk’s header chalked off by VAR, but the Saints capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half. They took the lead through Moussa Djenepo, who came on as a substitute eight minutes into the second half and his impact was almost instant, cutting in from the left and curling into the top corner just two minutes after entering the fray.

A late Nathan Redmond goal secured the points for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Onto Sunday’s matches and a Tottenham Hotspur side buoyed by gaining a point at Manchester City took on a Newcastle United side with no points and were embarrassed by Norwich last weekend, surely this could only end one way. In fact, Newcastle looked like a completely different team from last weekend, credit to Steve Bruce for that, they were superb in defence and caused Spurs problems on the counter attack.

It was from one of these counters that they took a surprise lead through record signing Joelinton, this his first goal since joining. Spurs were caught with too many players forward and Joelinton controlled Christian Atsu’s through pass beautifully before drilling past Hugo Lloris.

Spurs enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but couldn’t find the creativity to unlock an excellent back five of Newcastle.

Cristian Eriksen and Giovani lo Celso, both started on the bench and came on together after an hours to try and add this creativity.

Lo Celso, nearly made the difference with a pass to Harry Kane in the penalty area and Kane went down under a challenge by Jamal Lascelles.

The Newcastle defender appeared to slip and dive across Kane, as he knew he had no chance of getting to the ball, clever or reckless the referee and the VAR decided it wasn’t a penalty.

Spurs created more opportunities the best of which fell to Lucas Moira, who shot over from eight yards after being found by former Newcastle player Moussa Sissoko, who was unsurprisingly roundly booed throughout by the toon army crowd.

Spurs couldn’t find a way through and from evidence of this and other weekend results we could be heading towards another two horse race for the title.

There was a meeting between the last two sides to finish 7th in the league at Molineux, where Burnley were the visitors to Wolves.

It was the Clarets who were the more effective side and eventually took the lead through an excellent strike from Ashley Barnes, his fourth goal in three Premier League games this season.

Burnley were denied a second goal when Rui Patricio produced an excellent save to keep out Chris Wood, while Ben Mee headed against the bar with the rebound coming off Wolves defender Ryan Bennett and hitting the post.

However, Wolves were awarded a penalty in the dying moments when Erik Pieters fouled Raul Jimenez.

After a video assistant referee check, Jimenez stepped up to calmly roll the ball past Nick Pope and earn Wolves a third successive Premier League draw.

Despite this lacklustre performance from Wolves, I wouldn’t be worried that they are set to suffer like Burnley did last season in the league due to being in European Competition.

The Final Match of the weekend was a routine win for champions Man City away at Bournemouth. Another goal apiece for Aguero and Sterling meant they lead 2-0 at half time. Bournemouth rallied and substitute Harry Wilson’s superb 25-yard free-kick raised hopes of a fight-back, However Aguero pounced for City’s third after good work from Silva. Wilsons strike means he has scored two stunners in his two first premier league matches.

Ward-Prowse called up by England as Delph, Stones and Loftus-Cheek withdraw

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has been called up into the England Squad for the Euro 2020 Qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro respectively following injuries to three players.

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek alongwith Manchester City duo John Stones and Fabian Delph have all pulled out after picking up injuries during the weekends games for their club sides.

Ward-Prowse has only featured once for the senior side back in March 2017 when he featured alongside teammate Nathan Redmond during England’s 1-0 friendly defeat against Germany when the Saints play maker replaced Jake Livermore in the 82nd minute.

Ward-Prowse wasn’t included in Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate’s original squad for the qualifiers which left some pundits and journalists wonder how he’d been omitted from the squad after a string of impressive performances for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in the Premier League this campaign.

It’s also good to see Tom Heaton in the squad for the first time since preparations for last summer’s FIFA World Cup in what was one of the best England performances out in Russia.

West Ham’s Declan Rice gets his first call-up after he recently switched allegiancies from Republic of Ireland to the Three Lions.

England’s Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign begins on Friday 22nd March when Czech Republic come to Wembley Stadium before Southgate and the Three Lions travel to Podgorica to face Montenegro just three days later.

Here is the England squad in full for the Qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Dele (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Should James Ward-Prowse be in the England side?

2nd March 2019- James Ward-Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to level the scores away at Old Trafford. 9th March 2019- James Ward Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to give his side all three points against third place Tottenham, could Southampton have found their new talisman?

The Portsmouth born midfielder has been on the books of Southampton since the age of 8, and has been long touted as the next big thing on the south coast following his 2011 debut at the age of 16. A first team regularly since 2013 and a member of various England youth sides, it was only seen as a matter of time before one of the big sides snapped him up.

The hardworking midfielder has often shown maturity beyond his years, and has a wicked set piece delivery weather that be from corners or free kicks. Strong in the tackle and with an impressive passing range, he has also shown leadership skills, captaining the Saints a number of times.

But manager Mark Hughes wasn’t convinced, and many struggled to see where he would fit into the system. New summer signing Stuart Armstrong was added to an already strong midfield of Mario Lemina, Oriol Romeu, Jordie Clasie and Harrison Reed, add this to the fact he had lost his place at the back end of 17/18, and it looked likely to be a tough campaign for Ward-Prowse.

After being in and out of the side at the start of the season, Ward-Prowse managed to reestablish himself as a first team regular following Mark Hughes’ dismissal and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment, and hasn’t looked back since.

Important goals against Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace have been followed up with three goals in three against Fulham, United and Spurs, meaning Ward-Prowse is already having the best goal scoring season of his career.

It has taken longer than many expected but it now seems Ward-Prowse is ready to step up to the next level, after a number of seasons of showing flashes of his ability he is now delivering consistently and proving to be a match winner for the Saints.

After making his senior England bow in March 2017 as a 82nd minute sub for Jake Livermore, Ward-Prowse must now have his eye on forcing his way into the side again and staying there this time.

Breaking into this current England team won’t be easy after the three lions have enjoyed a very successful 12 months and are set to contest the Nations League Semi Finals this summer. This could prove to be the breakout season for Ward-Prowse, he’ll have to keep his current form up and hope he has caught Gareth Southgate’s eye, but it finally appears Southampton have another local midfielder to get excited about.

Tony Mowbray should look to sign this experienced striker

Blackburn Rovers have had a bad few years, falling out the Premier League and then last season they lost their Championship status despite Tony Mowbray managing to help the team put a good run together towards the back end of the season. 

The club had a huge transformation to their playing ranks this summer bringing in no fewer than 12 players, showing that the board are backing Tony Mowbray as the man to take the club back to tier 2 of English football.

Rovers have started the season by picking up 6 points from a possible 12 after putting together 2 straight victories in their last 2 matches. New signing Dominic Samuel has hit the ground running as he has found the back of the net on 4 occasions already, but the club are going to need to support him if they are to have a good season.

With this in mind the club should look to sign Rickie Lambert who is currently without a club.

Rickie Lambert – The former England international left Cardiff City earlier this year after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

Throughout his career Lambert has found the back of the net 224 times, with 99 of those goals coming when he has played in League One. With this record in League One Lambert would the perfect fit for the club and would support Dominic Samuel and the other strikers at the club.

Having played over 600 times in his career, including plying his trade in the Premier League with Liverpool, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion respectively, Lambert could bring a huge amount of experience to Blackburn’s team which could help the club have a successful season.

Blackburn Rovers fans would Lambert be a good fit for your club? Let us know in the comments section…