Celta 0-0 Saints

Saints looked slightly sluggish in the opening exchanges, with Michael Krohn-Dehli rattling the bar for Celta after just three minutes. The visitors nearly created a chance on the counter in the immediate aftermath, with Adam Lallana's cross being cut-out by the keeper. A few moments later Jay Rodriguez took down Chambers' deep ball in the area, only to see his cutback intercepted. It was Rodriguez who had the first major chance on 12 minutes, blazing over from just outside the box. By the 15 minute mark Saints had control of the game, enjoying plenty of possession. Rodriguez really should have made it 1-0 on 22. The forward robbed an opponent, before embarking on a fine individual run. Rodriguez did brilliantly to create the opening for himself, but then missed a simple one-on-one with the keeper. Lovren underlined his strength in the attacking third, twice heading wide from set pieces. On 30 minutes Chambers' cross was nodded over by Lambert. Celta then had a series of corners, with Andreu Fontas curling a shot narrowly wide of the post. The game really came to life during the final five minutes of the first half, with both teams threatening. Once again the counter attacking system was a key component of Saints' play.

Chambers and Luke Shaw were the only players not to be substituted at half-time. There was initially a slight drop off from the away side, but Pochettino's men began to press with greater intensity by the hour mark. The last 25 minutes or so were slightly tense, with neither side giving much away in defence. Celta's best chance had arrived earlier, when Augusto Fernandez got the better of his man before firing a weak volley at Artur Boruc. James Ward-Prowse was at the heart of most of Saints' attacking play, always showing for the ball whilst displaying a great variety of passing. On 80 Guly escaped the attention of two defenders before curling the ball just past the post. Danny Fox was involved immediately after coming on, supplying a cross which was cut out by the Celta keeper. The Scottish international then blocked a cross at the other end. Saints put their Spanish opponents under pressure during the last few minutes, with Steven Davis' stinging drive palmed away. Saints then had a series of corners. Ward-Prowse fed Guly who headed against the bar. The game then went to penalties, with Celta running out 4-1 winners. Guly and Ward-Prowse missed their penalties. Davis was the only Saints player to score from the spot.

A very productive workout for Saints. Pochettino appears to have plenty of strength in depth within his squad, with both the first half and second half team looking equally adept. Kelvin Davis didn't have too much to do and communicated with his side well once again. Chambers made a few minor misjudgements early on, but looked excellent on the ball, growing into his role and providing some decent crosses. Yoshida looked slightly rusty early on, but wasn't really troubled. Lovren looks to be improving. Luke Shaw was comfortable throughout. Schneiderlin hasn't stood out quite as much as one might expect, but he was solid enough alongside the equally dependable Victor Wanyama. Gaston Ramirez looked sharper than expected, given the amount of time he's spent with the team. The Uruguayan threaded a number of fine balls through the Celta defence. Lallana looked very dangerous. Rodriguez's display was typical of so many of his outings last season. His movement and skill was top draw, but his end product left a lot to be desired. Lambert had a reasonable game, testing the keeper a couple of times.

As mentioned earlier, Ward-Prowse dictated play throughout the second-half, stamping his authority on the game. Guly was very sharp once again. He was a handful going forward, won a number of free-kicks and never neglected his defensive duties. Steven Davis looked a lot brighter than he has done in previous friendlies, eager to get the ball back and keep it moving. Artur Boruc, Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld didn't have too much to do. Jack Cork was tidy in midfield. Jason Puncheon and Emmanuel Mayuka looked lively on occasions, but weren't involved too much. Fox had a solid cameo.

Saints 4-3 Real Sociedad

Saints rounded off pre-season in style with a spectacular win over Real Sociedad. The home side were dominant throughout the first half. The movement and transitional play from Saints was superb. Goalscorer Lallana was heavily involved from the outset. The skipper couldn't quite get on the end of a Rodriguez through ball early on. Moments later England's Rickie Lambert played a clever pass into the box, which was cut out before it could reach Lallana. The playmaker then found the net in the 7th minute, finishing off Lambert's ball. Soon after, Rodriguez created a brilliant opening for himself, before firing a low shot straight at keeper Claudio Bravo. Both Sociedad's first half goals came very much against the run of play. Gorka Elustondo took advantage of a mix-up at the back to level for the Spaniard's on 29. Saints quickly made amends, with Schneiderlin latching on to Wanyama's through ball and cleverly dinking over Bravo and the rest of the Sociedad defence. On 38 minutes Carlos Vela got the better of Callum Chambers on the left, taking down a long ball before slotting low past Boruc. Saints regained the lead once again on 40 minutes, with Hooiveld slightly fortuitously heading in from a Lallana free-kick. The game turned nasty just before the break. Vela and a number of other Sociedad players had been involved in a series of petulant incidents. Things really boiled over when Rickie Lambert and Alberto De La Bella became embroiled in a shoving match. Had this been a competitive outing both men may well have been sent off, but on this occasion the referee showed some leniency, yellow carding the pair.

Saints made a host of changes at half-time. Sociedad came into the game a lot more, with the tempo beginning to slow. The chances started to dry up too. The visitors looked the more likely, and bagged a deserved equaliser on the hour. Kelvin Davis was beaten far too easily at his near post by Swiss striker Haris Seferovic, who got beyond Danny Fox before neatly finishing. Antonie Griezmann had a chance to put Sociedad ahead, intercepting Cork's header back to Davis. The Frenchman failed to find the target, however. Things livened up during the final 15 minutes, following the introduction of Jason Puncheon, Emmanuel Mayuka and Lloyd Isgrove. Two of the three subs were involved in the winner. Puncheon had a shot saved by the keeper, with the ball bouncing back out to Isgrove on the edge of the area. He fired into the ground, with Puncheon nipping in just on the line to make it 4-3.

A decent workout for Saints, with positives and negatives to take from the game. Some of the attacking play was exquisite, especially in the first half. All three goals came as a result of defensive mistakes however, which must be a cause for concern. Both Boruc and Davis could have done better in between the sticks. Despite conceding three goals, the first half back four of Chambers, Lovren, Hooiveld and Shaw actually looked a bit more cohesive than the second half unit. Individual errors proved costly however. Chambers could have probably done better for the second Sociedad goal. He has been improving, but still shows signs of naivety at the back. Even though he's played more pre-season minutes than anyone else, it still seems unlikely that he will start at West Brom, even if Nathaniel Clyne doesn't recover from his injury. Chambers will have learned a lot recently, but probably isn't quite ready for regular Premier League action just yet. Cork - who was far from his best - will most likely get the nod in the absence of Clyne. Shaw, Hooiveld and Schneiderlin were hesitant in the build-up to the first Sociedad goal. Shaw hobbled off injured, and looks likely to miss the opener at The Hawthorns next week. His replacement Danny Fox has had a reasonable pre-season, but didn't put in a great showing against Sociedad. He was booked for a rash challenge and looked uneasy in defence. Schneiderlin was utterly dominant in midfield, showing for the ball in defence and supporting the team in attack. Victor Wanyama looked just as strong. The pair have the makings of a real dynamic duo. Guly, Lallana, Rodriguez and Lambert all looked extremely sharp. Some might not like it, but Guly could well be in contention for a start at West Brom, having looked so impressive throughout pre-season. Puncheon, Isgrove and Mayuka could be used to good effect from the bench, as they have been on a few occasions in recent weeks.


Saints line-up vs. Celta

K Davis, (Boruc 46), Chambers, Lovren (Fonte 46), Yoshida (Hooiveld 46), Shaw (Fox 81), Wanyama (Cork 46), Schneiderlin (S Davis 46), Ramriez (Ward-Prowse 46), Lallana (Guly 46), Rodriguez (Puncheon 46), Lambert (Mayuka 46)

Saints line-up vs. Real Sociedad

Boruc (Davis 46), Chambers (Cork 62), Lovren (Yoshida 62), Hooiveld (Fonte 46), Shaw (Fox 45), Wanyama (Ward-Prowse 62), Schneiderlin (Isgrove 75), Guly (S. Davis 46), Lallana (Puncheon 75), Rodriguez (Mayuka 75), Lambert (Ramirez 45)


Saints - Lallana (7), Schneiderlin (33), Hooiveld (40), Puncheon (83)

Real Sociedad - Elustondo (29), Vela (38), Seferovic (59)

2013/14 Reports

28/07/2013: Friendly Round-Up: Llagostera, Palamos, Schalke, Besiktas
10/08/2013: Friendly Round-Up Part 2: Celta & Sociedad
12/08/2013: Liverpool U21s 3-4 Saints U21s
17/08/2013: West Brom 0-1 Saints
24/08/2013: Saints 1-1 Sunderland
27/08/2013: Barnsley 1-5 Saints
31/08/2013: Norwich 1-0 Saints
15/09/2013: Saints 0-0 West Ham
21/09/2013: Liverpool 0-1 Saints
24/09/2013: Saints 2-0 Bristol City
28/09/2013: Saints 2-0 Crystal Palace
06/10/2013: Saints 2-0 Swansea
19/10/2013: Man United 1-1 Saints
26/10/2013: Liverpool U18s 3-3 Saints U18s
26/10/2013: Saints 2-0 Fulham
02/11/2013: Stoke 1-1 Saints
06/11/2013: Sunderland 2-1 Saints
09/11/2013: Saints 4-1 Hull
23/11/2013: Arsenal 2-0 Saints
01/12/2013: Chelsea 3-1 Saints
04/12/2013: Saints 2-3 Aston Villa
07/12/2013: Saints 1-1 Man City
14/12/2013: Newcastle 1-1 Saints
22/12/2013: Saints 2-3 Tottenham
26/12/2013: Cardiff 0-3 Saints
29/12/2013: Everton 2-1 Saints
01/01/2014: Saints 0-3 Chelsea
04/01/2014: Saints 4-3 Burnley
11/01/2014: Saints 1-0 West Brom
18/01/2014: Sunderland 2-2 Saints
25/01/2014: Saints 2-0 Yeovil
28/01/2014: Saints 2-2 Arsenal
01/02/2014: Fulham 0-3 Saints
08/02/2014: Saints 2-2 Stoke
11/02/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
15/02/2014: Sunderland 1-0 Saints
22/02/2014: West Ham 3-1 Saints
01/03/2014: Saints 0-3 Liverpool
08/03/2014: Crystal Palace 0-1 Saints
15/03/2014: Saints 4-2 Norwich
23/03/2014: Tottenham 3-2 Saints
29/03/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
05/04/2014: Man City 4-1 Saints
12/04/2014: Saints 0-1 Cardiff
19/04/2014: Aston Villa 0-0 Saints
26/04/2014: Saints 2-0 Everton
03/05/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
11/05/2014: Saints 1-1 Man United