|Southampton 3 v 1 Sheffield United|
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 26th July 2020 Kick-off 16:00
Saints V Sheffield United The Preview
Sunday, 26th Jul 2020 09:19
A last day where there is not too much at stake for Saints, just whether they will finish 11th or 12th and of course the little matter of around £2.5 million in prize money, which in these troubled times is not to be sniffed at.
Back in the dark days of October no one could have foreseen the ending to this season, not just the fact that it would be ending around 2 1/2 months later than scheduled due to a global pandemic, but that we would not have the worry of relegation to content with and that we would also be ruing the fact that we should really have finished in the top 10.
When the promotion places in the Championship are finalised fans of all team look to the sides coming up and consider which teams would represent a good chance of all three points, with all due respect Sheffield United would probably have been one of those teams we would have looked at as a good bet and it is pleasing to see that they have done so well this season and go into this game with a guarantee of a top 10 finish.
Ironically though if Saints can beat the Blades they will achieve a notable landmark themselves, a win will see us having taken all 18 points from the three promoted sides in the Premier League for the first time ever and although that might seem a little trivial it shows how Ralph Hasenhuttl has disciplined his side to hold their nerve and get the job done, too often in the past it has been our failure to beat the sides at the bottom that has plunged us into trouble.
The current situation means that both sides will take this with a little more seriousness than normal, all clubs are suffering financial hardship with issues with cashflow and Saints can use the extra cash if they can beat the Blades and better Everton's result.
To do that and leap above them is the goal for us, but the Toffee's are in the pole position not only from the fact that they have a one goal better difference, but they are playing one of the leakiest defences in Bournemouth who have to win to stand any chance of staying up so therefore have to throw caution to the wind at the back, but Sheffield United are one of the tightest only Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded less.
That being the case , I can see us beating them, but I can't see us beating them by many.
Some Saints fans will be looking at Goodison Park and hoping that Bournemouth are buried, but that will mean they have mixed feelings, on one hand they would be pleased to see Everton with a commanding lead by half time, but truth is if that happens then we have little chance of finishing 11th and those who want the Cherries relegating might have to sweat a little if they want the double whammy of Saints finishing above Everton and Bournemouth relegated.
Ralph Hassenhuttl will put out a strong side and will be looking to finish with a flourish, he is a very focused manager and he will already know which players are in his plans for next season and which aren't, therefore I do not expect to see much change from the core side that has featured since the restart.
I would expect a fit again Jan Bednarek return after missing the Bournemouth game, but tactically the only other changes I foresee is that with Sheffield United a team that defend and make it hard for you to break them down that perhaps Will Smallbone could replace Oriol Romeu to give us a more attacking option and that Ralph will want to keep Che Adams scoring so will start him ahead of Shane Long.
This will not be an easy game, the Blades play in the way that we struggle against at St Mary's ie sitting deep and going at you on the break, this means that a one goal win or defeat is their most common result, I mentioned that with 36 goals conceded United are one of the best defences in the League, but conversely they have only scored 38, only 6 teams have scored less and of that number 3 of them have scored only 1 less.
So this will not be a pretty game and we have to make sure we don't get caught on the break, we have to play a disciplined game, if we can get ahead we have to stay focused and not let them catch us out.
But all this being said, whatever the result it will good to get the season finished and done and dusted, we have shown we have the foundations to finish in the top 10 next season, indeed as I have mentioned we really should have done so this.
We can have a great season next year with an addition or two to the squad at the back and all indications are that we are looking to get our business done early, there are things to look forward to after a difficult couple of years, it is now time to start looking forward and not keep looking back.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 29 bloggers
Matches of Yesteryear - Cardiff v U's 11/4/98 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, after a reasonably solid but distinctly dull semi-final first leg lit up by a moment of sheer brilliance by Bramall, just one match away from a socially distanced Wembley play-off final. We may have a slight advantage, but there is of course still much to do, and I can’t imagine for a moment that Exeter will be that shot-shy again at t’other St James’ Park. It’s all about the result though, performance is irrelevant, so I’ll take an even duller 0-0 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well, and for those of you blessed with progeny – Happy Father’s Day!
Matches of Yesteryear - Reading v U's 11/11/2000 by wessex_exile
So, after months of uncertainty, here we finally are at the start of a well-deserved play-off campaign. I say well-deserved, though in truth the play-offs ought to have been our minimum aspiration back in August. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball – no one could have predicted back then what the world was going to become, that hundreds of thousands would perish, and that most clubs today are probably fighting for their very existence. In fact, as already mentioned by MFB and Durham, no one could have predicted that were it not for a stirring 3-0 victory at Carlisle in our last match back in March, we wouldn’t have even been in the play-offs. During lockdown, I have been reassured by the honest and stateman-like announcements from our Chairman keeping us all updated, and never more grateful that we have him looking after the club.
Matches of Yesteryear - Millwall v U's 14/4/99 by wessex_exile
And so here we are, at what would have been the last match of the domestic season, at home to FGR, and almost certainly still in with a shout of making the play-offs – maybe even already guaranteed by now. As I look out this morning, it’s a beautiful sunny day, and I would almost certainly already be on the first leg of a train journey to be amongst the faithful at the Jobserve Community Stadium. Given the location of our opponents, I’d probably be sharing the journey with a few hundred FGR supporters too, but they’ve always been a friendly bunch whenever I’ve met them, so I wouldn’t have been too concerned about that. Instead, we sit and wait to see how and when the season may (or may not) finish – strange times indeed…
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Accrington Stanley 13/1/04 by wessex_exile
Happy Saturday everyone…well, less of the happy actually, with rain falling freely since yesterday afternoon. Still, good weather to be in lockdown for, takes away that feeling that you might be missing out on some quality time outside. In an open letter yesterday to all supporters of EFL clubs, chairman Rick Parry stated “…with or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions”. If that can be achieved, it appears almost certain these will be matches behind closed doors, streamed live to all supporters – which inevitably will break the long-held Saturday 3pm blackout for televised matches. We all know why that blackout was in place, but this is a difficult time, and it requires an innovative solution.
Matches of Yesteryear - Swansea v U's 7/3/06 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, I sincerely hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully not going too cabin-feverish! Today would have been a home match against Oldham Athletic, and after our surely guaranteed epic 3-2 victory at Sixfields on Good Friday, it would be just one more victory needed to guarantee a play-off place…think I might have been out in the sun a bit too much over the last few days 😊
[ Vote here ]