1) Nathan Redmond is a very different animal to Mane
Redmond was brilliant last night and has impressed all pre-season. He has the foot speed of a tap dancer, seemingly able to avoid tackles in the manner a fly always manages to avoid that rolled up newspaper. Last season Sadio Mane was our most dangerous threat, a bundle of energy ready to explode into action at any point. Unfortunately he also looked like he struggled to contain his own power. Always playing on the edge, never far from a terrible touch or awful shot. There was nothing subtle about his game. Redmond maybe not quite so explosive but looks fully in charge of his movement and he could quite easily offer more goals and assists than his Senegalese predecessor.
Redmond-Tadic-Long looks like being the first choice attack. It is going to scare the absolute shit out of opposition defences.
2) Saint Pierre is pretty good
Scratch that. There really isn't any need to modest about this. Hojbjerg is going to be sensational. Players that can breeze past a man in the centre of the pitch are worth their weight in gold. It is an incredible weapon, taking multiple opposition players out of position, creating pockets of space.
The dribbling is his most eye-catching ability but mix in his top draw passing, eagerness to get on the ball as well as tenacity and strength in defending. Could the black box have unearthed a player even better than the mighty Schneiderlin?
3) O Left Backs, Where Art Thou?
Bertrand is injured, Targett is MIA. Step forward the next man up. Josh Debayo... wait he's injured too. Who is next? It's Sam McQueen. A left winger. He has played more minutes than anyone else this summer in circumstances similar to Chambers elevation to the first team 3 years ago. Last night McQueen was brilliant going forward but got skinned a few times defensively. The news on Bertrand is he might play on Sunday. He isn't training at the moment so no matter what happens he will be rusty when the home opener comes round. Not sure how comfortable Puel will be starting Mr McQueen against Watford.
4) We could do with our European Champions returning soon
Cedric and our captain have been partying all around France and Portugal this summer and as a result are a month behind in their pre-season preperations. Yoshida and Martina have held the fort without any troubles and there have been interesting cameos this summer from the youth team in Yan Valery and Alfie Jones. But these talents are far too raw to get any minutes in the premier league this season.
5) There goes the youth
As the internationals return from their delayed holidays the involvement of youth teamers has also decreased. If yesterday was a competitive match and 11 subs weren't allowed then only McQueen would have seen any action. As it was, Isgrove and Jones also got token run outs and the likes of Hesketh, Gallagher, Turnbull et al shall have to make do with a match against Bournemouth u23s at Staplewood tonight. A shame for Jake Hesketh in particular as he had a quietly decent game at Groningen.
6) We learned that the number of things we learned can't fit within the boundaries of contrived article formats
7) Watford are bastards
How could they sack Flores. I mean look at him.
Quique Sánchez Flores: "Hem estat bé, amb ordre"— RCD ESPANYOL OFICIAL (@RCDEspanyol) 4 August 2016
Quique Sánchez Flores: "Hemos estado bien, con orden" #RCDEhttps://t.co/RFesy3DCrZ
8) Celebrity ref in mid-season form
Mike Dean playing an advantage is one of my least favourite things about football. It's up there with Qatar's slave labour world cup and double compound leg fractures.
Mike Dean Getting Annoyed at Wasted Advantage v7#CelebrityRefs— Celebrity Refs (@CelebrityRefs) 10 May 2016
9) Kingsland and Northam are better than Itchen and Chapel
Many fans looking to sit in their normal seat were turned away and told to occupy the quiet side of St Mary's last night. As a Kingslander, I can't say I'll be rushing back there anytime soon.