|Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 29th September 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Preview
Friday, 28th Sep 2018 09:32
Saints head up to Molineaux to take on Wolves for the first time in ten seasons, but can Mark Hughes get not only his team selection right,but the motivation.
Mark Hughes seems to have settled on a core of players who he sees as his first choice, so far McCarthy in goal, Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt & Bertrand in the back four, Hojbjerg & Lemina in the midfield and then Redmond & Ings in attacking roles seem bolted on whoever the opposition.
This leaves very little room for manoeuvre for the manager, although in fairness to him it is hard to see anyone else in the squad that is truly a better bet to oust any of these players.
Some would say that Hoedt should be dropped for Yoshida but I disagree, although Hoedt scored an OG at Anfield, he is still the stronger of the pairing at the moment and it is Vestergaard who needs to up his game and react quicker, but as I have maintained these two have to be given a chance to forge a pairing.
Elsewhere on the pitch there seems to be only three positions that will be changed from the starting line up at Anfield, one of them is bolted on, Danny Ings will come in for Shane Long who has a toe injury.
Then it is only a question of how Hughes sets up and whether he opts for an attacking or defensive line up.
I would expect Matt Targett to drop to the bench and possibly Oriol Romeu, but it is anyone's guess who will replace them, Stuart Armstrong will be one contender as will Moi Elyounoussi.
Or perhaps Hughes will revert to a back three with Bednarek joining Hoedt & Vestergaard, that could offer options and mean a more attacking line up.
But the real problem isn't the personnel, its the fact that they are not as motivated as they should be and that is leading to errors, that was the case at Liverpool where slack defending mean't we were two down with barely 20 minutes on the clock, for most of the rest of the game we coped, but as in previous games lapses again cost us dearly. we just can't seem to concentrate for 90 minutes.
But there was enough in both the win at Palace & the first 65 minutes against Brighton to show we can start to move forward, regain the confidence and start to win games.
This is where Hughes comes in, by his own admission we have not been up and at sides as we should have been and that has to change, the Liverpool result has to be put to one side, not many teams will get points at Anfield this season, we need to build on the two games before that.
This trip won't be easy, but it is not as hard as some would have you believe, Wolves are a tight outfit and could be this season's Burnley, but they are not good enough for above that and although I don't think they will struggle and have to worry about relegation, they are more likely to finish in mid table than anywhere else.
We have to do what we did in both the Palace and Brighton games, dominate for an hour or so, but then we have to go a stage further and complete the final 30 minutes.
We have to be tight and then tighter still and that comes from the manager not only motivating the players, but making the right substitutions, in both the above games I though the players did their part, but when they needed the manager to chip in and help them see the game out he was found lacking with substitutions, at Palace we held on against Brighton we didn't.
So it is time for the manager to earn his money, the squad is good enough, it is under performing though and this is what distinguishes a good manager from a run of the mill one.
Saints can win this game and they really need to get at least a draw out of it otherwise the moaners will be on their backs and we will face a very tough October.
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