|Saints At Bristol City The Preview|
Tue 07th Aug 2012 10:05
Saints head to the west country to face Bristol City at Ashton Gate in their penultimate pre season fixture.
Saints are starting to get to the business end of pre season with only two games and twelve days to go before the big kick off against Manchester City, its hard though to predict just what Nigel Adkins will do in this game, will he step up a gear and play something approaching what he sees as his starting XI, or will it be another game of most of a 20 man squad being used.
The rumour mill is that in this game he will be concentrating more on the attacking formation, so far in pre season Saints have experimented with a more fluid line up after spending most of last season in a rigid 4-4-2 set up whatever the opposition or situation, Adkins clearly feels that he needs to have more in the teams locker in the Premier and has therefore tried to bring in different styles of playing.
Personally Im glad to see this, I said at the start of pre season that I felt that Adam Lallana for one would need to play central and that we needed more pace on the wings and Adkins clearly felt the same way, the problem is for the manager is that despite his best efforts, he has not been able to bring in the personel able to play as wing backs on either side to be able to switch to this formation.
On the right he has several options, but the stark truth is none of them truly stick out as being up to the job, Guly, De Ridder, Puncheon, Chaplow, all had their moments last season, but none stood out as a truly consistent player even at Championship level.
On the left its even more crucial, Adam lallana I feel could well be the surprise package in the Premier this season, not just from Saints but any team, but not playing out wide, in the centre, this being the case then signing Alexandria Buttner was crucial, clearly Adkins thought so six weeks ago, so its a surprise that with the deal going down that we havent signed someone else, unless there is more to this than meets the eye, which personally as time stretches on and we sign nobody and Buttner goes nowhere Im starting to believe.
To cut a long story short though, it is fine us playing a 4-3--2-1 formation or however you want to portray it, but the stark truth is we havent got the people here to do it at the moment, unless we play Jay Rodriguez out wide for instance.
So im not sure that tonights game at Ashton Gate will really tell us or the manager a lot about a new formation, only playing it with the men that will have to do it in the league will really tell him that.
So I think tonight will be another dose of our previous games, 20 or so players used and a lot of switching, there will be thinks to be taken from the game, the manager will be looking at certain players to see if they have the things he is looking for, the last thing in mind though will be the result
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