|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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Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!
Letters from Wiltshire #42 by wessex_exile
Well, these sure are strange times at Colchester United, particularly for a club (nor a Chairman) not usually associated with the ‘managerial revolving door’ approach. With results not matching expectations or even minimum requirements, and a brief spell after being appointed Interim Head Coach, Wayne Brown has been released to return to the Jammers, for whenever their pandemic-interrupted football restarts. In comes not one, or two, but three new ‘appointments’. Hayden Mullins steps up as Head Coach to the end of the season, Joe Dunne apparently comes back to the U’s in a sort of unofficial coaching/ team-spirit sort of role, and exceptionally experienced lower-league former Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale arrives to provide Hayden with advice and support – crikey!
Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
This afternoon the U’s take on Bradford City in a bid to gather sufficient points to stay clear of the bottom two. It’ll be a tough gig though, even if (as I suspect) Bradford City have left it a bit too late to challenge the play-off spots. They were on a decent run of form, that is until defeats at Newport, Carlisle, Scunthorpe and a goalless draw at home to Oldham put paid to any lingering promotion hopes. For us, it’s simple, to stay out of the bottom two, for all intents and purposes we only need to gain half (or more) of the points that Grimsby or Southend do. Sounds easy, just wish I felt more confident we will…
Letters from Wiltshire #40 by wessex_exile
Today we learned the sad news that Peter Lorimer has passed away, aged 74, after a long-term illness. Love or loathe Revie’s Leeds, no one can deny that “Hotshot Lorimer” was a truly magnificent footballer, and his passing is a sad day for the global football family.
Letters from Wiltshire #10 - the missing edition by wessex_exile
As I rather expected, work has been somewhat manic in recent days, so I'm not going to have time for a blog ahead of the match tonight, so soz about that.
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