Reasonable group - how strong are Benfica these days? Have they sold their stars? Good to see Bergwijn and Benzema picking up goals and assists
Last edited by samsami; 11-06-16 at 01:11 PM.
Saints victorious in Lyon
On Wednesday 16th September we played Olympique Lyonnais at the Stade de Gerland.
Lyon have lost three key players this past summer, including Lacazette who signed for Real Madrid and they are having a very disappointing start of the season. Their most important players are currently David Luiz, Jetro Willems, Rafael and Fellaini.
As for us, we started in our best possible formation although it must be said that we had serious doubts about Bender who has not yet been in top form like last year. In fact, he was the weakest link in our first games of the season. But we did not want to discourage him and today he certainly repaid the trust we placed in him!
The very first chance was for Bergwijn who powered a header at goal, but he put it just wide. But then, a little later Bender showed Ménez a clean set of heels; he continued his forward run and when he found Alexis Sánchez unmarked he squared the ball from the right and Sánchez controlled the ball well, tried his luck and scored!!
A dream start! And in fact, two minutes later Sánchez found the net again, only this time it was ruled out for offside.
There were precious few chances for either team after that opener and we leaned on our defence, but in the second half Goretzka got to take a freekick and he scored with a lovely strike to double our lead!
We could not wish for more! We now brought on some fresh legs but it made very little difference and in the end we won our first group match convincingly!
A very good team effort with Bender of all people being named Man-of-the-Match!
Forster performs heroics to frustrate Arsenal
And just four days later, on Sunday 20th September we beat Arsenal at the Emirates as well, thanks to Fraser Forster and Bergwijn and Benzema.
It seems like we are on a winning streak after Lyon as we played with a lot of confidence today. And even though Arsenal were at times the better team and they certainly created more scoring chances than we did, we have a solid defence plus the European goalkeeper of the year to frustrate our opponents' front line!
Just before half-time Bergwijn scored the deciding goal, his third goal of the season already! And exactly like with his first two goals it was Karim Benzema who provided the assist for Bergwijn! It would appear that we have a partnership with some really good chemistry here!
But it was Fraser Forster who was named Man-of-the-Match as he achieved our fifth clean sheet in six games almost single-handedly today! Forster made some several brilliant saves and he especially showed his class when he turned the ball away after Larsson struck a freekick and seemed already sure to score the equaliser but Forster somehow managed to get his fingertips to the ball and deflect it.
A well-deserved win. Forster was obviously named Man-of-the-Match.
It would look like we are ready for Benfica who will visit St.Mary's on Tuesday! And this will be a crucial tie since Benfica have already won their first group match against Panathinaikos.
Benfica have announced that they will line up in the following formation:
Last edited by samsami; 11-06-16 at 09:28 AM.
They have a cracking team do Benfica
Great start in league and CL (pretty favourable group)
Saint impress and defeat Benfica
On Tuesday 22nd September we played Benfica in front of a relatively small crowd of 36,104 very loud and boisterous fans - and we didn't give Benfica a chance!
With Mario Götze playing superbly we literally outclassed Benfica today. We created several excellent scoring chances before Benzema bent a shot in at goal; and when Ederson Moraes let the ball run free it was Götze who went for the follow up and blasted the ball towards the top corner and found the net!!
And it did not stop there. Just before half-time Götze looked for Benzema in the penalty area, Benzema took on Laporte and advanced on the goalkeeper. He blasted the ball goalwards with his left foot and scored to double our lead!
In the second half we brought on Wanyama for Clasie and Lallana for Sánchez. Both of our subs played well and deep into the second half we also brought on Ward-Prowse for Goretzka, but there were no more goals. Ederson Moraes played fantastically and he frustrated our front line many times. Not that the crowd minded much. They fully supported our lads until the final whistle, knowing very well that the three points were all that really mattered.
A fantastic team performance! The assault on Europe has begun in earnest!
Saints win League match as well
Four days later, on Saturday 26th September we defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers in front of a crowd of 41,643.
We gave no less than five of our squad players rest as we started with Aréola, Wanyama, Rodríguez, Lallana and Sturridge. And it took a while before Götze (of course!) finally scored with a great strike after going by the challenge of Morrison and Daniels. We were never in any real danger but we did not want to take any risks so we brought on Ward-Prowse, Alexis Sánchez and Bergwijn, but it was actually Sturridge who scored our second goal with a header after a perfect assist by Lars Bender.
So in the end it was an easy victory after all - and yet another clean sheet! Also, Bender has definitely found his form as he was named Man-of-the-Match once again!
Menawhile at Stamford Bridge Chelsea unexpectedly lost 3-4 to Leicester City. However, this year Man Utd could very well be the team to beat for a change. The Red Devils still have not conceded a single goal yet!! And we shall have to play them on Saturday...
But before we face Man Utd we have to play Panathinaikos at the Apostolos Nikolaidis in Athens. They have announced that they will line up in the following formation on Tuesday.
Random formation from Pana
2 good wins mate - ticking along nicely with clean sheets
Good run of wins there - Benfica look strong on paper, but then with Benzema, Sanchez, Gotze etc so do you!
Saints win in Athens
On Tuesday 29th September we played Panathinaikos at the Apostolos Nikolaidis in Athens.
Panathinakos have a decent goalkeeper in Luke Steele, but otherwise they have a very mediocre team. We chose Wanyama over Clasie for this match. Both players are superb as defensive central midfielder and Wanyama deserves to get more game time.
A very early goal by Benzema was ruled out by the linesman's flag because Bergwijn was offside but we created so many chances that it barely mattered and it was clear that it could only be a matter of time before we would score one or more goals.
It did take quite a while though. In the end it was Bergwijn who found the net after Sánchez had fired the ball in low and hard and Steele had let the ball run free so that Bergwijn was left with a simple finish.
Bender scored our second goal with a header after Sánchez had swung a corner into the box and that goal settled the match, but in reality it was never a real match; it was one way traffic from the off and Panathinaikos never had a single shot at goal on target.
We played well against a very mediocre team although we should probably have scored more than just the two goals.
Qualifying from this group should be easy now, certainly if we defeat Panathinakos at St.Mary's next.
Saints stun Man Utd at Old Trafford
Four days later, on Saturday 3rd October we stunned Man Utd who conceived their first two goals of the season in front of a crowd of no less than 69,515(!). This is the kind of crowd we would like to see at St.Mary's!
Everything actually happened in a brief eight-minute window at the end of the first half of the match.
With 37 minutes of the clock Goretzka scored the opener after a perfect assist by Lars Bender. That very same minute Wanyama received a yellow card and the very next minute Martial scored, only it was ruled out for offside. We then decided to bring off Wanyama and replace him by Clasie. Two minutes later Kongolo came off after picking up a knock and so we brought on Van Dijk, whose first action was to hit the ball towards Alexis Sánchez in the area and Sánchez did not hesitate but scored our second goal!! But then, right before the break James collected the ball and scored a goal for Man Utd!
In the second half there were very few scoring chances. We defended exceptionally very well and after the final whistle was blown we left Old Trafford with three points in the bag!
Our defence was superb today and Goretzka was named Man-of-the-Match.
Hull hold Saints to a draw
The win at Old Trafford was spectacular, but on Wednesday 7th October Hull held us to an unexpected draw at the Kingston Communications Stadium and we were brought back to reality.
With Van Dijk for the injured Terence Kongolo and with Clasie back as central defensive midfielder we used the attacking 4-1-4-1 formation and this resulted in a quick opener by Alexis Sánchez. The assist by Benzema was brilliant. He received the ball from Goretzka and controlled it on his chest before sending it into the area just in front of Sánchez who only had to apply the finish!
But we failed to score a second goal and in the second half Odubajo scored the equaliser. There were still some thirty minutes remaining, but Fitzsimons and his defenders prevented us from scoring again.
Perhaps we underestimated Hull after the remarkable win at Old Trafford?
We are still in first place, but Man Utd have a game in hand...
After the international break, on Wednesday 21st October we play Panathinaikos at St.Mary's.
Excellent run of results (I said that the CL group would be plain sailing ). Good to be leading the league, although it is early days.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Good win over Man United, hope you can smash Panathinaikos and get CL qualification sewn up
What leagues do you have selected ? It's usually harder to play European games against teams from playable leagues.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Still going strong since the season started then, unbeaten
Saints qualify for Champions League Phase Two
On Wednesday 21st October we had very little difficulty defeating Panathinaikos at St.Mary's in front of a crowd of 41,645. This time our opponents did not manage even a single shot on goal!
It did take a while before we finally scored the opener, though. In fact, it took an assist by Fraser Forster who delivered the ball upfield where Benzema gathered it, advanced and skipped past the challenge of Evangelou and scored with a low drive!
In the second half it took us considerably less time to find the net. It was Clasie who scored with a lovely strike. And after we had made a triple substitution it was Lallana, one of the subs, who scored our third goal.
An very comfortable win. Abdennour was named Man-of-the-Match.
This result means that we have already qualified for Phase Two so in the remaining two group matches we can give anybody a rest who needs one.
Saints score four second-half goals to overturn early Palace advantage
Three days later, on Saturday 24th October we struggled considerably in front of a crowd of 41,606 but in the end we managed to turn the game around and defeat Crystal Palace.
We gave no less than seven of our regular first team players rest for this match, and initially that seemed to have been the wrong decision. Oréola had a bad day and we were 0-2 down at half time against the team that resides near the bottom of the league! But in the second half we bounced back with a vengeance and we beat Palace 4-2 to stay at the top of the League.
Daniel Sturridge has scored in both games that he appeared in and he played very well both times. He may yet prove to be valuable for us this season!
Liverpool are also doing well again with Selke having scored eleven goals in ten appearances!
What did U Change at half time to score 4 Goals ?
Switched to centralized iodine with a wib wib keeper, I bet
Good to tidy up the Champions League qualification as early as possible. Looking forward to the draw for the next round.
United's game in hand could make it interesting. Surprised to see the league so tight after that many games. It could be an dramatic season domestically.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
An excellent win and great stuff to qualify with 2 games to go. Makes it interesting for those 2 games, do you give the player a rest to keep them fit for the other games or do you keep picking everyone to maintain the consistency so far...