|Stoke City 2 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 30th September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Stoke City The Preview
Friday, 29th Sep 2017 17:46
Saints travel to injury hit Stoke City looking to keep their unbeaten run going away from home this season.
This is the part of the season that starts to sort out the wheat from the chafe, when sides at the bottom either start to win a game or two or realise they are in a relegation scrap and some sides who have had good starts to the season start to wain.
For Saints it is a chance to take a big step forward to show that they are genuine top 8 contenders for the 4th season in a row.
Despite a so so start to the season we still sit comfortably in 11th place, knowing that we have underperformed so far and can do so much better.
The last two games have been good performances but no one can deny we lack in the final third of the pitch and now we have the foundations both at the back and in the centre of midfield this is the area that Mauricio Pellegrino will want to improve on in this game.
On paper he perhaps wil not have a better chance, Stoke have not had the best start defensively and with so many central defenders out on Saturday we have the opportunity to find our shooting boots.
The manager is confident that it is not the lack of strikers that is costing us in front of goal butthe quality of the final ball and i do agree with him, but I think that now we have Lemina in midfield this will help a lot to give us more time on the ball going forward and instill confidence in Tadic and Redmond to start to play as well as we have seen them in the past.
These are the two key player in this game, if they can produce their best form then the chances will be created and will start to become more frequent, better quality and a better conversion rate.
Mauricio Pellegrino has hinted that he might go with a back three, certainly this would enable him to bring back Van Dijk and push Bertrand and Cedric further forward, it would also allow him to put in an extra man behind the main striker, either someone like Ward Prowse who can pass a ball, or even Gabbiadini or Austin as a deeper lying striker.
Certainly with Stoke's injury issues and indifferent start to the season this could be a good time to try this out.
As I said this is a game that will go a long way to showing Saints fans that the team can match previous seasons, certainly a sizeable minority need their faith in the team restored, a good win at Stoke will go a long way towards doing that.
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