Poor City Are Well Beaten By Saints
An unusually bold Chris Hughton made five changes for this trip to face Southampton at St. Mary`s. It was almost as though he had been reading some of the recent Vital Norwich articles/comments.
Out went Martin, Bassong, Redmond, Hoolahan and RvW and in came, Whittaker, Bennett, Pilkington, Howson and Hooper.
Despite being brave in his selections though, City found themselves one nil down after just five minutes as Morgan Schneiderlin latched on to a Ramirez through ball and beat Ruddy.
Immediately, heads in yellow shirts dropped and shoulders sagged as any confidence that had been present seeped out of the City players.
By some miracle, Norwich were only one goal down at half time as a dominant Southampton side were noticeably quicker in their movement and were first to every ball.
Davis and Ramirez both wasted decent chances to double the hosts` lead before half time against a static, woeful City side. The visitors did wake up a little bit before half time with Gary Hooper firing into the side netting, but that was about it.
The second half started in the same vein and City didn`t look much like scoring before the excellent Adam Lallana was replaced on 57 minutes for striker, Rickie Lambert.
This didn`t bode well for a poor looking City defence and indeed, the England striker took just 66 seconds to make his mark as he made the most of a poor flick towards his own goal from Ryan Bennett and then cut inside a weak challenge from Yobo before firing past Ruddy to make it two nil.
It had been coming, and the inept performance that CH was watching forced him to make a triple substitution on 64 minutes with Redmond, Elmander and RvW replacing Pilkington, Johnson and Hooper.
You can`t argue with that. It`s about as forceful as a coach can be at that point in the game but as Hooper was withdrawn chants of "You don`t know what you`re doing…" could be heard loud and clear from the travelling City fans.
On 72 minutes, Rodriguez made it 3-0 after De Prado`s initial shot was blocked and then Lambert played his club and England colleague in to score easily.
Rodriguez then hit the bar as Ruddy then held his arms out wide and screamed at the men in yellow. "What the @#*! Is going on?" Was the clear sentiment.
Never give a sucker an even break goes the phrase, and Southampton almost did that as first Fonte played a poor back pass that allowed Elmander to nip in and score (you did read that right, yes, Elmander scored) and then Snodgrass knocked in the rebound after Boruc parried van Wolfswinkel`s shot.
Two goals in a minute and it was game on - shame we only started playing with five minutes to go.
As City poured forward, an unlikely equalizer looked a possibility until in the 97th minute when Tettey slipped and Southampton broke with Gallagher scoring his first goal for The Saints.
4-2 was how it finished but being honest, anything less than a home win would`ve been a travesty.
Every game should be being treated like a cup final now and although a tough place to go, St. Mary`s is a place that we should at least be competitive. For long periods of this game we were unable to get anywhere near the home side and that is just not good enough.
A few results didn`t go our way yesterday and that is what we are reduced to relying on at the moment. Sunderland and West Brom at home are now, more than ever, "must win" games. I think that 35 points may well keep you up this year so it`s still very much in our own hands but anymore performances like this and we`ll be relegation favourites.