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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