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Southampton 2 v 0 West Bromwich Albion
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 4th October 2020 Kick-off 12:00
Saints V West Bromwich Albion The Preview
Sunday, 4th Oct 2020 10:39

Three seasons ago Saints V West Bromwich Albion was a relegation battle game, this time it's too early in the season to call it that, but a Saints win would push them up the table whilst keeping the Baggies down in the basement.

Saints take on West Brom in a game that will perhaps decide the way the season will go for either club, a Saints win could see us end the weekend around the top 10, but defeat could see us below the Baggies and looking over our shoulders.

Ralph Hasenhuttl will be heartened by the win at Burnley a week ago, but he will alos know that the same problems at the back remain, up in Lancashire he adapted the side to counter their long high ball game and that worked, but he will also know that as was shown in the games before that a side that can pass a ball can catch us on the break too many times to be acceptable.

So the Austrian's dilemma is what he does at the back, will he keep the same central defensive pairing or will he recall Jack Stephens.

West Brom showed they could score goals when they took a three goal lead against Chelsea last week, we have to try and avoid that and we also have to start scoring goals from other areas that Danny Ings.

I should really trademark the next line I say it so many times , We will give our opponents chances through poor marking, we rely too heavily on their poor finishing or even VAR for anyone to be able to say the solution is at the club, perhaps Salisu aside, today will be one of those games, will Saints get away with it or be punished.

Today we need to make sure we take our chances and get away with it at the other end, on the plus side the Baggies have conceded more goals than any other team so far this season, but they have scored more than us, it could be an interesting game.

Another team selection dilemma is the return of Nathan Redmond, does Ralph drop either Stuart Armstrong or Djenepo or does he hold Redmond back on the bench, all indications are that it will be the latter.

But the worrying thing is that writing this I just can't say what way this game will go, Saints have the firepower going forward to blast the Baggies, but equally we are just as likely to gift them chances. the three games before the win at Burnley saw 8 goals conceded and all of them were sloppy marking and but for VAR could have been worse.

The thing Ralph has to stop before the transfer window closes is the fact that every game is a lottery and it really should not be, we are top 10 going forward and Championship in the centre of defence. Something has to be done.

So it will be sloppy Saints but will it also be lucky Saints, sadly that is not in our hands!

Two people who will not be playing are Sofiane Boufal who the last time the two teams met in the League at St Mary's won the game with a wonder goal back in October 2017, for those that say he should be in the Saints squad today it should be noted in 41 Premier League appearances since he has scored only one more, that in a 5-2 defeat at Wembley against Spurs two months later.

Charlie Austin is unlikely to even be in the squad for the Baggies, he is on the verge of a transfer to Derby County. I liked Charlie Austin, he was a character and although he left under a cloud, he scores some vital goals for the club, not least the last minute winner on his debut as a sub at Old Trafford in January 2016, for those that were there it was truly one of those moments we go to football for.

Photo: Action Images

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