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West Bromwich Albion 3 v 0 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Monday, 12th April 2021 Kick-off 18:00
Southampton V West Bromwich Albion The Preview
Monday, 12th Apr 2021 09:56

It's last chance saloon for Sam Allardyce and his boys, can Ralph Hasenhuttl ride into town and take advantage of the pressure that is now on this game for the Baggies and in doing so put an end to any lingering Saints worries.

Sam Allardyce is known for never having been relegated as a manager, but even he must be thinking that run is about to come to an end after Newcastle United beat Burnley yesterday to go 6 points clear of the drop zone and more worryingly for the Baggies to leave them now 11 points adrift of safety and with a 15 goal deficit between the two sides in goal difference.

That means that with just 8 games left West Brom must win 4 of them without Newcastle even picking up another point and it is hard to see them doing that when you look at their run in with trips to Arsenal, Leicester & Aston Villa and home games against Liverpool & West Ham.

So this is truly the last throw of the dice for Sam Allardyce this evening and he has to hope that he comes up with a double six and gets to throw the dice again next weekend.

He will hope that he will face a Saints side with one eye on next weekend's FA Cup semi final.

From a Saints perspective the only injury doubt for this evening was Kyle Walker Peters, but even that seems just to have been a Hasenhuttl smokescreen at his press conference as the former Spurs right back has since been pictured in full training.

But the Austrian manager does have a dilemma, after going the best part of three months with a squad decimated by injuries week in week out, he is now at a point where the only truly first choice squad member out injured is Oriol Romeu.

He has to consider whether to rest a player or two in key positions, certainly we have no back up for Kyle Walker Peters, nor real midfield defensive dynamo without Romeu's stand in Ibrahima Diallo and although in the case of Danny Ings we have other options, Ings is the talisman in the side.

So it must be tempting to Ralph to perhaps rest that trio, all of whom have suffered with injuries in the past few months, not just to protect them from injury, but to give his fringe players some game time and in doing so guarding against complacency and finding that his team might well have one eye on Wembley in six days time as Allardyce will hope.

I therefore would not be surprised to see a change of formation for this one with KWP rested a back three of Bednarek, Salisu & Vestergaard supported by wingbacks.

In the centre the manager seem to be keen to give Alexadre Jankewitz the chance to redeem himself after the Old Trafford misdemeanour and he could slot in for Diallo, up front playing the in form Che Adams would not be the worst option to keep Ings safe and warm on the bench.

From a Saints perspective the safety line is in sight, a win tis evening would leave us 13 points above Fulham occupying the 3rd from bottom spot, with the cottagers only having 6 games left now they would need to win 5 of them just to get above us without us even getting another point, mathematically they could overtake us if we hit that 39 points total, but truth is with the run in they have it is not going to happen.

But if Fulham's position is tight then West Brom's is dire, they had a win at Chelsea last weekend, but that was a freak result, they have only won 4 Premier League games all season and have not managed back to back wins at all, even when adding in cup competitions.

Big Sam has tightened them up and made them harder to beat, but their form has still not been great and they are a side who sit back defend in depth and then try and go on the break, a glimmer of hope for them is that this is not the type of side we usually prosper against.

But although they don't concede much these days, the Chelsea game aside they score even less and the last few months have been littered with 1-0 or 2-1 defeats.

They will come out all guns blazing this evening, they have to, our job is to calm them down weather the early storm and then break that confidence by scoring and if we can do that their heads will drop and the spirit will drain out of the side.

With all due respect in their hearts the West Brom players know they are down, forget how far they are from Saints, they are 11 points off safety, they need more than snookers now they need miracles, all they can do is show professional pride and go down with all guns blazing.

It will be a shame I like West Brom it is a good awayday trip, sadly we can't go this evening so we will have to watch it on the telly.

Hopefully this evening will be the start of a great 6 day period for Saints in which we have regained our form and confidence and find ourselves with an FA Cup final to occupy us for a month, but we won't count our chickens until they hatch and firstly we have to deal with another type of bird, the Throstles as they were known back in the 1970's when I first started watching football.

Photo: Action Images

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SanMarco added 10:24 - Apr 12
I would only rest players who were actually not fully fit. No point risking such players with a semi coming up. That match is a full 6 days away so I see no need to rest fit players unless they are showing signs of fatigue. There, I would suggest that maybe Bednerak deserves a rest. On the KWP thing - if he does rest him then please, please, play Ramsey. What is the point of him otherwise? This is hardly a high-pressure game and we clearly have no other RB cover.

highfield49 added 11:40 - Apr 12
If KWP isn't fully fit then changing the shape of the team in consequence makes no sense. Absolutely agree that Ramsay should be given a run out and see how he adjusts to the intensity of first team football. Jankewitz will no doubt get game time in the coming weeks because he is another player who needs to be assessed at top level before the transfer window kicks in. No problem with Salisu starting, to give Bednarek a rest, because he already looks comfortable at the back. However, I still think we should be putting out a team to win the match and not take the foot off the pedal just because of a match at the weekend.

underweststand added 13:24 - Apr 12
I go along with .." SanMarco and Highfield 49 "..in that resting players for the sake of it is one thing, but the fringe players mentioned must get some real experience, and this game is (on paper) one of the least challenging fixtures left in our season.
Recent results suggest we are finding our way back to form and it's better that we give a youngsters game time now and not be forced to use them against the City's and United's in this league, where we know that even our strongest eleven would be hard pushed to get a result. Even if newcomers DAJFU tonight, it's no guarantee that they would do well against Tottenham or Liverpool, but it is a step up for them from their usual PL2 games.

SaintPaulVW added 23:00 - Apr 12
Wish I'd rested and not watched that

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