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Southampton At Leicester City The Preview
Friday, 30th Apr 2021 12:57

It will take about 20 secs for the TV pundits to bring up Leicester City's last visit to St Mary's, but that game is now water under the bridge, it is all about getting 3 points that finally get the spectre of relegation off our coat tails and restoring pride to the team and the fan base.

Tonight will see a number of pundits drag up that game 18 months ago when Leicester last visited St Mary's, they will talk about revenge but the truth is we had that 15 months ago when we won at the King Power Stadium in the return fixture.

Tonight is not about Leicester City it is about putting to an end our awful run of fixtures, a run that has made what looked like a promising season turn into a bit of a nightmare, but good teams don't become bad teams overnight, we know our squad hasn't the depth os some, but that run has been about injury crisis's, var decisions and poor refereeing more than anything.

Of course the manager has to take some of the blame, but most of the issues have been about things beyond his control, if you think that there is a better man to run Southampton Football Club on the pitch, then tell me who you think it is and why, don't just say Eddie Howe, a man who had not one but two winless runs of a similar magnitude to ours, last season at Bournemouth.

Tonight is gong to be tough, missing Danny Ings is bad enough, but other key players such as Oriol Romeu long term have hit us hard.

Tonight is another game where although we won't be struggling to fill the bench as we did during that run, we will lack in key areas.

Ralph Hasenhuttl needs to show the fans tonight that he can adapt, make changes and motivate his side.

So tonight needs to be not about revenge for the game 18 months ago, but about restoring our own pride as a squad, we need to sort out the wheat from the chafe and see who can self motivate and play without fear.

Ralph has mentioned that now is about planning for next year and most of our squad need to prove that they can do it, football is a squad game and some players will never be first choice players as the norm, but they need to show that they can push for a place in the first team when they make the starting XI.

It will be interesting who plays in goal, Alex McCarthy at Spurs was a surprise, Fraser Forster had done a decent job, will he be restored this evening.

At the back it will be a question of whether Ralph sticks to the back four at Spurs with Salisu at left back, or whether he goes to a back three and employs wing backs .

That will decide who plays in the centre of midfield and I would not be surprised to see Alex Jankewitz make an appearance at some point.

Up front Che Adams must lead the line, if I have one criticism of the manager it was dropping Adams for the return of Danny Ings, when you have scored in 3 Premier League games in a row as Adams did, you deserve to keep your place.

Now is the time for Che Adams to shine and show not only the manager but the fans that if Danny Ings does leave, then there is nothing to worry about.

Off the bench we still have options, Nathan Tella is another who seemed to drop out when a player returned from injury, in Tella's case Theo Walcott, of all our youngsters Nathan Tella is the one that truly could make it at this level.

So tonight is about pride and playing for the future, what is gone is gone, only what happens next season now count, this has been a strange season not just for Saints but all clubs, we have some solid foundations, no one is pretending that everything is rosy, but things are a lot better than they were in December 2018 when Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived at this club.

Leicester City are a good side who are looking for the points that will get them into the Champions League, but we should not be scared of them, we have shown in the last three meetings that we can match them, tonight we need to prove that again.

Photo: Action Images

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schatfield added 13:38 - Apr 30
You lot will probably say I am not a true fan for saying this, but I wouldnt mind if we lost tonight and then all our remaining games and were relegated. I have kind of got fed up of this league and would rather play some attractive, fun games every week in the championship (Norwich have the perfect play book for that).

halftimeorange added 13:44 - Apr 30
I think there's a fair chance we will lose all our remaining games and not be relegated. That could well mean next season will be entirely the same as this season since Christmas. That really would be difficult to accept.

SanMarco added 13:49 - Apr 30
"good teams don't become bad teams overnight" - no, but November to May is actually half a year not one night. I find it hard to dredge up any optimism for this evening. A lucky draw like the 1-1 vs Chelsea is the most I think we can hope for. I hope I am wrong. I have to say the longer this season goes on the more of my enthusiasm is squeezed out of me. My head says we are safe but I don't think it will be by much.

Interesting idea schatfield but would that really happen? I don't remember many attractive and fun games in the seasons after we went down last time.

A1079 added 13:56 - Apr 30
I think it is a very candid and honest response Schatfield and both you and halftimeorange I really get where you are coming from.

When we were in the Championship and League One I arguably got more enjoyment out of watching Saints than I have done in the last 2-3 seasons (the odd game apart of course).

If the club is not going to put us in a position where we can reasonably compete at the level we are then there is almost no point in being in it as there is no joy in just seeing an endless struggle. I would rather watch us at a level we can reasonably compete.

I would love us to do well in the PL (though I have little or no love for the PL as a whole - the way the players act, VAR, the cost of tickets etc) and shake up the elite but I cannot see that happening any time soon.

I am not sure I can ever say I would want us to lose or be relegated as I want to see success for the team and the club and the city but there is little joy to be had from just watching your team just trying to survive from what eventually will be inevitable unless things at all levels in the club on and off the pitch changes.

Nevertheless I hope we do win tonight both for the sake of the team and club and manager but also to shut the noise up from the pundits, commentators etc that will be inevitable as Nick rightly points out. I will be surprised if we even get to 20 seconds before that result is mentioned.

JoeEgg added 15:03 - Apr 30
"So tonight is about pride and playing for the future, what is gone is gone, only what happens next season now count"

What an extraordinary statement from the man who only recently was ready to call this our best ever season!

You've been wrong all season Nick and you are wrong again about Eddie Howe. With the players the Saints have I would rather see him in charge. He did a great job at Bournemouth and got the best out of their Championship players. Ralph when he arrived seemed like a breath of fresh air but its not just the results, but also the style of play, and not learning lessons from past mistakes that concerns me most. We are by no means safe, you choose to overlook that fact, and I'm sorry Nick - what happens this season does matter. If we dont get it right now we might as well be playing Championshikp football because we all know our history of playing the summer transfer market!!

Centurion added 15:40 - Apr 30
3 points, just 3 points. Don't care how jammy or in what manner I just want to put relegation fears to bed. Oh, and defeats over the weekend for Fulham and WBA.

felly1 added 16:24 - Apr 30
Certainty don't agree with Shatfield regarding relegation.
Last time we were relegation from the Prem we spent 4 poor seasons, with a bunch of disinterested journeymen and the standard of football was frankly awful. I admit one of those seasons we reached the playoffs but even then we seriously flattered to deceive.
Fingers crossed tonight for the boys, our form has been so bad though you end up constantly fearing the worst... I guess the players must be feeling the same way!

HythePeer added 16:58 - Apr 30

allsaint54 added 19:36 - Apr 30
Stephens & Redmond starting, wtf. Can't see any points from this game unfortunately.

KriSaint added 00:30 - May 1
1-1 with 10 vs 11 for 80 minutes.
Game on.
McCarthy 10
Salisu 10
KWP 10
JWP 10
The rest of the lads 9.

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