Sleeping on the job
Southampton's match against Norwich over the weekend highlighted the strengths and weaknesses in the Saints game. Norwich offered little in the way of any threat and a strong start from the hosts saw them deservedly take the lead after five minutes.
March 19th, 2014
Even after going a goal behind the Canaries showed no real urgency or attempt to close down the Southampton players as they enjoyed plenty of possession deep inside the Norwich half.
Now practically a season ticket holder at St. Mary’s, Roy Hodgson had taken up his usual spot in the executive seats and watched on as Southampton’s English players carried on their good form.
After coming off the bench to replace Adam Lallana in the second half and taking less than two minutes to find the back of the net with a classy finish, Rickie Lambert then unselfishly set up Jay Rodriguez for Southampton’s third.
If only one of them has the chance to go to the World Cup this summer, you’d have to say that Lambert certainly brings more to the table, especially with his prowess from the penalty spot.
At the back Luke Shaw gave another solid performance, gliding forward effortlessly in possession. It surely won’t be long before he finds the back of the net after one of his driving runs.
Three goals to the good and absolutely cruising, the Saints made two defensive errors (not from their English contingent, Roy!) in as many minutes to gift Norwich their two best (only?) chances of the game. They took them both. Game on, much to the displeasure of the Southampton fans who up until that point had been having a lovely time.
If Southampton are to have any aspirations of leapfrogging a stuttering United side in seventh place they must first learn to remain completely ruthless for the full 90 minutes. Their problem against Norwich was not that they had so much possession – something Saints have enjoyed a lot this season – but perhaps the cause was the time and freedom they were given on the ball by the Canaries.
Pressure forces you to stay alert and the best players can concentrate for a full 90 minutes. Southampton didn’t throw this one away but they nearly did, it’s not often that you win 4-2 and play a part in all 6 goals…