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Southampton 0 v 0 Manchester United
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 17th May 2017 Kick-off 19:45
Saints V Manchester United The Preview !
Wednesday, 17th May 2017 14:31

Manchester United along with Spurs are just about the only teams that we have failed to beat at St Mary's since our return to the Premier League, tonight we try to change that.


It has been almost 14 years since Manchester United tasted defeat on Southampton soil, August 2003 to be exact when an 88th minute James Beattie goal gave us a 1-0 win.

Since then they have played five league games and another three in the FA Cup and we have failed to win a single one of them, in fact we have only managed a single draw with the other seven games ending in defeat, that draw being three years ago when Ricky Lambert scored in his final ever appearance for Saints on 11th May 2014 .

So it is about time we won at St Mary's and in doing so guarantee ourselves a top ten finish whatever happens and more than likely 8th.

The problem is what side will Claude Puel put out, the wholesale changes against Middlesbrough indicated that the Frenchman has learn't nothing from the first half of the season and that is worrying.

He rested several key players and you would expect them to return this evening, but he should perhaps realise that perhaps some of them needed dropping rather than just a rest and that some of those who came in performed better than those they replaced.

This being the case Puel with a virtual full squad at his disposal barring Virgil Van Dijk needs to put out the strongest side, we have a great chance of finishing 8th and a win tonight will make that 99% certain, but we need to get the points under our belt and then worry about resting people.

The wholsesale changes on Saturday reminded me too much of the debacle in Prague where Puel gambled on wholesale changes doing the job when just a point would have virtually guaranteed qualification, then it failed miserably with disastrous consequences, on Saturday Puel again gambled and this time got lucky.

Having done that once he needs to learn that age old adage of taking every game as it comes, for tonight he needs to put out the best side he has at his disposal, no mixing or matching or resting, there are two games left get the job done in the first of these games, don't gamble on the second being easier.

I would like to see a line up as follows

Forster

Soares Yoshida Caceres Bertrand

Davis Clasie Romeu

Long Gabbiadini Redmond

Subs Hassen, Stephens , JWP, Rodriguez, Tadic, Hojbjerg, Boufal.

This is a balanced side aiming to keep the work rate going stopping United playing and then getting the ball wide quickly on the break to catch them on the hop, just as we did for the first goal on Saturday.

The bench has the balance of having cover in all areas but concentrating on having the ability to chane the attacking options.

Harsh on Pied not to get the nod over Stephens and difficult to leave out Charlie Austin and I would be tempted to leave Boufal out and put Austin on the bench if I'm honest and I am still undecided.

But overall I see this as the strongest starting line up at our disposal and a strong bench, it can only go wrong if Puel starts to tinker and decides that Bertrand and Romeu need resting or something like that.

This season will not be remembered fondly by many, but it hasn't been a bad one, just one that has been frustrating due to the stop start nature and the inconsistency.

Saints have a chance to end it on a high and if they can make it three wins in a row then perhaps like the last two seasons it will put it in a little more perspective for some.

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pete_boggs added 14:57 - May 17
Puel will play JWP 100%. He is our best midfielder and our future captain.
-4

Sanguin added 15:28 - May 17
I agree that Clasie deserves a start, from Puel’s previous comments I’m sure that Austin will play a role in this game even if it’s just from the bench. Beyond that I think giving some more of the fringe players a chance to impress might actually be better since they’ll be hungrier to prove themselves. I’d also like to see a couple of youngsters on the bench.

I’m still not liking the Puel hate. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to get you to change your mind on him.
3

JDawg added 16:22 - May 17
I hope Mr Puel is reading this and goes for your squad. I would be inclined to start JWP ahead of Davis for a bit more creativity. Davis can come on an shore up the midfield when we're 2-0 up!

I don't believe that will be the team we'll see tonight I can't help but think it'll be more along the lines of:
Forster
Pied, Yoshi, Stephens, Bertrand
Davis, JWP, Romeu
Tadic, Gabbi, Boufal

After all some of them have had a rest and that line up is bound to work eventually.
-3

Letiss7 added 16:36 - May 17
I personally think Caceres should not start tonight ahead of Stephens as he did nothing at Middlesbrough to deserve displacing Stephens. I am honestly of the opinion that despite the consensus being that Stephens will only be 3rd or 4th choice for CB next season he will improve to be the 1st or 2nd choice irrespective of whether Virgil Van Dijk stays or not.
-3

Letiss7 added 16:40 - May 17
For what it is worth i also think Pied also deserves to start, though maybe tonight might be to soon after being out for so long.
3

allsaint54 added 16:51 - May 17
I don't mind who plays tonight, even Buffoon, provided he doesn't employ his normal tactics against top 6 sides of 10 men behind the ball & playing for 0-0.
1

NYC_Saint added 17:34 - May 17
I seldom comment but I must say the bench you reference above shows how far we've come. Most of the those players would be starting outside the top six and our top scorer doesn't even make the cut!
0

allsaint54 added 19:35 - May 17
Just heard the team for tonight, 8 changes. CP is a joke, he's got to go. At least Buffoon's not playing tonight, small mercy.
3

petedoors1 added 21:46 - May 17
0-0 PUEL OUT
-2

aceofthebase added 22:38 - May 17
PUEL must stay.
1


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