Game's Gone

By Patrick Surlis

Is Ralph panicking?





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Is Ralph panicking?
By Patrick Surlis • Issue #3 • View online
Seven days. Two games. One win. One loss. Another unwanted club record.
Not easy being a Saints fan, is it?
The past week has seen us progress to the FA Cup quarter-final (good).
It has also seen us lose a sixth-straight league game for the first time in our history (bad).
That run is the result of bad luck, bad performances and bad officiating. Occasionally that terrible combination leads to terrible outcomes, i.e. relegation.
Fortunately, we’re not having those conversations right now.
But I do want to have this conversation - are we seeing Ralph panic?
He loves his 4-2-2-2 system. And for good reason too, it works.
But when it doesn’t? What’s the plan B? In recent games we’ve got our answer…
For the first time in a LONG time we shifted to a back three in the second half against Newcastle.
Against the 10-men and then the 9-men, we huffed and we puffed and we created…not much.
We ended the game with Jannik Vestergaard up front.
It looked desperate.
So to see that repeated against Wolves was depressing and concerning.
Yes, Ralph has very little to work with. But is that really the best we can do?
Hasenhuttl does not hide his emotions. It’s part of the reason why we love him.
But when things aren’t going well, it makes it pretty easy to read him.
Many people commented after the Utd game that he was giving off a very different vibe to the Leicester one.
As he said, we were a ‘shit team’ back then.
But after the Wolves game? He looked exasperated. Almost like he’s out of ideas.
Now that might be harsh. And to be honest I don’t really blame him if he is.
The injuries, the suspensions, the rotten luck, the awful decisions. It’s been a horror run.
How do you keep picking yourself up?
I guess you tell yourself it’s not that bad. That’s what I’ve been doing at least.
We’re in the FA Cup quarter-finals. For a team with basically nothing to play for, that is a positive.
Look at teams around us, teams like Crystal Palace who are sleepwalking to another forgotten season.
Survival, yes. But where is the joy?
For us, all our eggs are basically in one basket now, with Bournemouth away for a place in the semis at Wembley.
But at least they are in one basket.
Better than no eggs and no basket.
And yes, it’s not getting any easier in the league. Chelsea at home next, then Leeds away, then at Goodison Park.
I don’t want to say that club record will extend, but I expect…no sorry, I’m not putting that out in the universe.
After that though? The fixture list opens up.
Sheffield United (a). Brighton (h). Burnley (h). West Brom (a). Crystal Palace (h).
We’ll be OK.

Our Scottish Midfielder
Few can hold their head high following our recent run, but Stuart Armstrong is definitely one of them.
Everything he does on the pitch is positive. He drives. He creates. He commits.
The run and cross for Danny’s opener on Saturday was a perfect example of Stuart at his best.
Just over seven million pounds from Celtic. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Game's Gone
Quick, wave! That’s the game leaving. Was nice while it was here, fond memories.
Fully gone now, of course.
Here’s the latest…
Not handball
Not handball
Also not handball
Also not handball
Handball, apparently
Handball, apparently
Episode 52 - Making the wrong kind of history
Easily listen to Oh When The Saints in your podcast app of choice
Up Next
Saturday 20th February, 12.30pm GMT
  • Chelsea (home), Premier League, BT Sport
Ultimate fantasy...
OWTS Pick of the Week
Home of Oriol Romeu circa 2014. This VfB Stuttgart sweater is perfect for your 5-a-side warm up as you slice the ball out of the cage.
Thank you for reading!
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Patrick Surlis

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