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Southampton

Saints suffer Saturday horribilis


In some 20-plus years of watching Southampton I've had some pretty miserable Saturday afternoons, but the aftermath of the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City this weekend is right up there. - Report: Manchester City 4-1 Southampton - Report: Pochettino fears worst for Rodriguez Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the defeat itself that caused such a low feeling, but a plethora of frustrations that were nicely packaged by it. It started with the announcement that goalkeeper Artur Boruc would miss the game through injury and that third-choice youngster Paulo Gazzaniga would start between the sticks for Saints. Immediately upon hearing the news the social networking channels were flooded with messages of despair. Admittedly, when called upon in the past, Gazzaniga has proven to be lacking in confidence and made a few mistakes, but this reaction provided a negative feeling about the game before a ball had been kicked. If the lack of support for Gazzaniga wasn't frustrating enough, his performance only made his critics feel justified. The young Argentinian clearly isn't ready to be playing at this level, and it actually feels like throwing him into games is having a detrimental effect on his career. At times at the Etihad it looked like he had no idea what he needed to do, when he needed to come for the ball and his distribution was poor. He is a decent shot-stopper and the potential is certainly there, but he would seem the ideal candidate to be given a loan spell to get his confidence up. Saints actually played pretty well in the first half, but as seems so often the case this season they were left to rue not making their dominance count. Teams like Manchester City don't need many opportunities to make you pay, and that is precisely what they did. Although the goal that gave them the lead was helped by the worst decision from an official you will see for years, (the assistant referee not flagging David Silva, despite the Spaniard being a good five yards offside) it always felt like Saints would be punished for not taking the lead while on top. If these things were momentarily frustrating, the injury to Jay Rodriguez meant they soon paled into insignificance. With the devastating news on Monday that Rodriguez has, as first feared, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will spend six months on the sidelines, the events of Saturday's game suddenly seem extremely unimportant. Rodriguez has been exceptional for Saints this season, and in my opinion deserved to be on his way to Brazil for the World Cup. Now that opportunity is gone. Keep the faith.