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Southampton 1 v 3 Manchester City
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 30th December 2018 Kick-off 14:15
Saints V Manchester City The Preview
Sunday, 30th Dec 2018 10:01

They year ends as last season did with a home game against Manchester City, can Saints pull off an unlikely win.

Manchester City are in the middle of a slump by their own standards having lost three out of the last four in the Premier League, but is that good or bad news for Saints ?

Saints have revived drastically since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl but the main problem that has not yet been solved is at the back where we still cannot defend to the standards required in this league.

The defensive permutations employed by Ralph have in the main worked to a degree, but the same old problems are still there we just lose concentration at key moments and we are not fast enough, to be blunt literally every goal we concede is still through individual error, we can't change that before the visit of City but something needs to be done in January.

So what can the Austrian do to stop Manchester City ?

The ray of light is that although City are the Premier League top scorers, they have scored over twice as many at home as away, on the road they have hit only 16 goals, by far the lowest in the top six, indeed we have hit 10 ourselves and at the end of the season it is going to be this that costs City dearly.

The key today will be how our defence performs, can they dig in whilst City attack us with pace and trickery and cut out the errors, if they can then we have a chance, but they have to up their game considerably otherwise we are going to have to try and outscore City and that could be disastrous.

On the plus side Saints have Pierre Emile Hojbjerg back after suspension and he will be a big plus in the midfield, but as I emphasise our problems are not in the midfield or even attack where we are scoring with regularity these days, Cardiff being our only blank since Newcastle 10 games ago.

My gut feeling is that anything we get out of this game and indeed Chelsea on Wednesday will be a real bonus, the real work begins with the five games starting with Leicester and ending with Cardiff, if we can come through this spell in good shape and with a key signing or two on board then we will know whether the last few months of the season will be as nervy as the last or the start of our rebuilding.

I am far more optimistic of us coming through that spell than I am of the next two games, I hope to be proved wrong.

Photo: Action Images

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saintmark1976 added 10:43 - Dec 30
I'm expecting a defeat today which means that Nick's match day verdict will almost certainly not appear tomorrow.On this basis I would like to wish all Saints fans a happy and prosperous New Year.

Those who have contributed to Nick's site during 2018 have varied and strongly held views but it is to everyones credit that there appears to have been little use of bad language or rancour. Long may it continue.

underweststand added 11:17 - Dec 30
Anything can - and often does - happen with Boxing Day / New Year fixtures.
Looking at yesterdays results, proves the point exactly.

Of course - on paper - we are up against a very good side, but given the right luck we can gain a point - or more. Last season we lost both games against City - in added time, which was tragic when you consider the effort we put into the first 90 minutes of both games.

We are still amongst the teams who have had most goal chances (outside the top 6) and regardless of the opposition scoring against us we really should look to convert more.

At last Redmond is becoming a real threat, and a good 60 minutes from Danny Ings is the best we can hope for until he builds up to 100% fitness. We really missed Hojbjerg v. West Ham , and hope he and Romeu can make a positive impact in todays game, which is sure to be a good testing ground for everyone .. including Hasenhuttl.

I think we are all in favour of Ralph giving some youngsters game time, but as long as he doesn't overstep the balance of the side it may work in the short term, although I still think there will be a MAJOR overhaul of the squad during January despite the low key mutterings about minimal new transfers.


allsaint54 added 14:11 - Dec 30
JWP starting, not a cat in hells chance. Why oh why. Play one of the academy players instead. When did we last win with JWP starting

sandywelsh added 16:34 - Dec 30
Terrible game Man City had 77% Possession. The starting line up was useless why were so many 1st team players rested. This game showed why JWP should not play he took a dive to try and get a pen then scores an own goal. Dave merrington said on radio Solent this was the worst game he had seen Saints play this season. With out Alex McCarthy in goal Man City would have scored 7 or 8. We need a major clear out in January starting with JWP, Stephens, Austin, Elyounoussi, Lemina, Davis, Hoedt, Gallagher and Long. Then we need to buy 4 or 5 good players. We should be matching West Ham spending £40 million on a striker.

mikesaint added 00:15 - Dec 31
What sort of team was that you put out today Ralph Hasenhuttl ? Had you surrendered before we even started? That was the worst performance of the season so far and it made Man City look good. If you had stood bye the normal 1st team players we could have got a draw. The team today were running about like headless chickens.

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