|Southampton 1 v 2 West Ham United|
Barclays Premier League
Thursday, 27th December 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Saints V West Ham United The Preview
Thursday, 27th Dec 2018 09:20
Saints look to make it a good festive period by getting another three points and make it a good ending to a terrible year.
Boxing Day was a good day for Saints without playing, the clubs below didn't make any significant ground on us and those above us also failed to win, a win today against the Hammers would leave us ending the day looking upwards instead of over our shoulders.
Saints problems over the past two years have been all about a failure to put together winning runs, every step forward has usually been followed by a step backward and a step sideways, often worse.
Now for the first time in 20 months we have the opportunity to win three games in a row.
There is great optimism amongst the Saints supporters at the moment after the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl, he has been the light at the end of the tunnel and he has been a big part in stopping the toxic atmosphere and showing Saints fans that there is little wrong with the club overall that a few wins can't put right.
However it should be noted that we will lose games, we will still have bad performances, every club does, but hopefully they will start to become less frequent as the season goes on.
In the meantime though Hasenhuttl still has a lot of work to do and he knows that there are still areas of the squad that need strengthening.
But for the moment he can only play the players he has at his disposal and the teams that the fixture list presents, perhaps the most consistent player of the season will be missing, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg will miss a game through suspension.
That gap looks certain to be plugged by Mario Lemina who missed the Arsenal win through injury and came on as a sub at Huddersfield, this shows the depth of the Saints squad in the midfield and even with Hojbjerg out we will have options from the bench.
Up front we are scoring goals again, Ings is a great front man who both scores and creates and the contribution being made from Nathan Redmond this season should not be under estimated, even before Hasenhuttl arrived his running at players was creating chances, not always assists, but as against Manchester United, he was getting the ball into the box and into the feet of others who would then provide the assist.
In fact the biggest danger today is overconfidence from the fans, some will come expecting an easy win, there are no easy games in this League, as yesterday showed a side like Everton can be hammered at home by six one day and then score five away a few days later, there are a few clubs starting to pull away at the top and drop away at the bottom, but in the middle there is little difference.
West Ham are an example of that and they have recently done just what Saints need to and that is put together a winning streak that pulls us clear.
The question is today as it is with most teams outside of the Big Six is what team will turn up on the day ?
I don't expect too many surprises from King Ralph today, Hojbjerg and Bertrand aside he has a full squad to pick from, but aside from perhaps a return for Cedric which I think would be harsh on Valery, he has a side that is now well drilled motivated and in form.
Hopefully if you add to that the fact that fitness levels will be getting better with each week of training, hopefully we can make this the perfect Christmas.
Photo: Action Images
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