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Chelsea 3 v 3 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 17th October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Chelsea The Preview
Saturday, 17th Oct 2020 10:30

Saints head to Stamford Bridge today to make history in the first individual pay per view Premier league game, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has other things to worry about with two notable absences through injury.

A trip to Stamford Bridge is always a daunting task, but one that Saints have periodically stood up to and prospered over the years more than at most of the other so called Big Six clubs.

But Ralph Hasenhuttl is already having to look at his starting line up and revamp with the absences of Stuart Armstrong who has been in isolation after testing positive for Covid19 and Moussa Djenepo with a hamstring injury picked up during the first half of the win over West Bromwich Albion.

On the plus side Hasenhuttl has three additions to his squad who have yet to feature on a matchday, Mohamed Salisu and Ibrahima Diallo are joined by the prodigal son Theo Walcott.

This gives the Austrian manager plenty of options, he could of course stick to the 4-4-2 formation that has seen two straight wins and clean sheets by putting in Nathan Redmond and then either Theo Walcott or Will Smallbone to play in the wide positions in midfield and this looks his most likely option.

But he could also bring in Diallo in the centre and perhaps switch James Ward Prowse to the right of the midfield.

He could also try a change of formation and play three at the back adding either Salisu or even Jack Stephens to Bednarek & Vestergaard in the centre, pushing the full backs forward a central trio of JWP, Romeu & Diallo with Danny Ings and Che Adams up top.

There is plenty to think about for the manager, but it does show that the squad is now stronger than it was before in all positions.

My gut feeling is that he won't experiment too much, this is a tough game and not the time to change too much, I think he will keep the core of the side that have won the last two games and then tweak the midfield opting to put in Redmond & Wallcott on the flanks, although I think he might just opt for a little bit of caution and play the tougher in the tackle Will Smallbone ahead of Walcott.

It will be a tough game and as always we will have to rely on a little bit of luck and hope that Chelsea don't take a chance or two.

But we go into the game in confident mood having had those back to back wins and although we didn't cover all bases in the transfer window I think overall we are better prepared for the rest of the season than we were a year ago.

When you go to Chelsea at least over the past 17 years since the Abramovich multi millions turned them from also rans into a Big Six club you can never go with confidence you can win, but we have managed that on more than one occasion, if we can do so today then it will be a great result, but the brutal truth the first thing we want to see is a competent, competitive and spirited performance, if that gets us a win then great, a draw would be fine and a narrow defeat would not be a disaster.

But lets be honest we still have that weakness a the back and till we see Mohamed Salisue play we will not know if we have gone any way towards solving it.

So I remain cautiously optimistic for the season, but it will be good to get one of the more difficult away fixtures out of the way.

Chelsea for their part have had a mixed start to the season, a win at Brighton on the opening day was promising, but that was followed by a home defeat to Liverpool and a 3-3 draw at West Brom that saw them 3-0 after only 27 minutes, they managed to turn it around second half but the cracks were there to see.

Last time out they routed Crystal Palace 4-0 at Stamford Bridge, all this points to a side packed with talent, but they are not the finished article, they can concede goals but also score them, this means that predicting the scoreline in this game is difficult, both sides have potent attacks but are somewhat lacking defensively, it could be 4-4,, so hopefully 0-0.

Photo: Action Images



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InsideOut added 10:47 - Oct 17
Nice preview but 0-0 are pretty rare lately. I'm going for 3-2 to Saints.
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nickdevon added 11:31 - Oct 17
Agree with all you say.
I think romeu / jwp centre and theo and redmond outside. When theo gets tired bring on diallo next to oriel and push jwp wider.
Suprise 2.1 win for SAINTS today i hope.

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felly1 added 13:34 - Oct 17
Hope Ralph doesn't start with Smallbone in the wide right position. He has looked out of sorts when we've played him in that role. He doesn't have the natural pace of fleet footed skills required. He's a centre midfield player.
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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile

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