Former Leeds player Harding secures win for Saints TSS March 14, 2010 Match reviews 50 Comments I’m thinking it may be time to stop selling players. Just let the ones that have become no use to us wither away and be forgotten about in our reserves, rather than allowing them to come back and haunt us at their new club! Obviously I’m joking. On paper, Harding’s goal was the difference, but in reality, it fails to show the reasons why theres such a difference in current form between these two sides. The statistic that really tells it all about this game is that Leeds United had one shot on target throughout and very few chances besides. Southampton meanwhile were creating chances almost at will in the first half and were unlucky not to get the second when they had a goal ruled out by the ref. Simon Grayson’s clearly irritated reaction after the match shows how frustrating it was for everyone that made the long journey south; “The majority of the players didn’t turn up today and we didn’t play well, our passing was poor, as was our decision making.” Southampton’s defence had no problems nullifying any Leeds attacking threat in the first half, which led to the increased use of the long ball, which was even less affective as the Saints two centre-backs cleared everything with ease. Becchio and Beckford failed to cause any threat at all with the ball pumped long and high, rarely challenging for the headers and never winning them. No matter how much trouble we’re having getting through when the balls on the floor, it’s the only way Leeds should be using when we have two strikers with very little aerial presence. For the reasons why Leeds’ defence started pumping the ball long and high, you have to look at the midfield. Time and time again possession was lost and given away cheaply by misplaced passes or poor control. There were very few similarities between the team that destroyed Tranmere and the one that turned up here and Southampton thoroughly deserved the three points. As bad as Leeds were, you can’t fail to acknowledge how well organised, hard-working and fluent in attack the Saints were. Alan Pardew is a very good manager that gets the basics right and leaves very little to chance. The strengthening he did in January should give Southampton an outside chance at the playoff positions, but if they fail to make the top six, they’ll walk this league with absolute ease next season. You only have to look at the top goal-scorers list to see why Southampton are cruising and Leeds United are stuttering to the finishing line. Leeds have one player capable of 20+ a season, whilst Southampton have the top two in the league and plenty of others able to contribute. I’ve said time and again that January was a massive failure for Leeds. I took some criticism at the time as people pointed towards McSheffrey and the permanent signing of Gradel, but the first was never likely to contribute many goals and the second we all knew would be an inconsistent bit-part player, capable of changing games one week, but having no influence the next. Neither were the second proven goalscorer we’ve missed all season that the best clubs in this league (including Southampton) have. The clubs that did do well in January are now reaping the rewards, whilst those of us that didn’t do enough are struggling to match them. I don’t think it’s season over, and still believe we’ll go up automatically, but it could have been much, much easier and it’s games like these that show us what we could have achieved given one or two more astute signings. Overall, what we witnessed was a well-oiled Saints side that could give every team in this league a good game. Pardew has built and developed an unstoppable force that will win this league outright next season if their dreams are shattered this time round and it won’t be long before they’re back in the hunt for a Premier League place. Despite the result I’m quietly confident about the next few weeks. You take Norwich out of the list of upcoming fixtures and there’s a lot of winable games coming up starting on Monday when we host Millwall. The Southerners did destroy Charlton yesterday and are the form team at the minute so we’ll have to raise our game, but spurred on by a good crowd at Elland Road, I fancy we’ll take all three points. Keep fighting!