|Chelsea 3 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 2nd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Chelsea The Preview
Friday, 1st Oct 2021 09:35
Saints travel to West London to take on Chelsea in the first of two meetings scheduled between the clubs at Stamford bridge in October, can they replicate the form that they showed in their last away game at Manchester City.
Saints travel to Chelsea with some confidence after a solid if not spectacular start to the season that has shown they are a hard side to beat, but the worry is that they have yet to win in six Premier League games.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has a full squad to pick from aside from long term casualty Jack Stephens and also Armando Broja who being on loan from the Blues cannot play against his parent club.
This means that in many respects the line up and formation will be quite easy to predict, or will it ? Hasenhuttl has shown this season that he is not afraid of making changes, although some of those changes have been hard to fathom at some points.
In goal Alex McCarthy hasn't done much wrong in the past few games after a shaky start to the season, in the centre of defence the only real choice is Jan Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu, surely even Ralph wouldn't throw in Lyanco for his debut against Chelsea !
But the first question of the day revolves around the full backs, we now have an abundance of riches in those positions, in the second half of last season we had only two options, now we have five including new signing Thierry Small and Yan Valery.
Most Saints fans would like to see Kyle Walker Peters restored to right back with Tino Livramento playing on front of him with Romain Perraud playing in the left back spot.
Ralph so far has resisted this and more of that in a few lines time.
In the centre of midfield James Ward Prowse and Oriol Romeu are cast iron picks, it could be argued that they haven't created enough yet, especially JWP, but they have had some tough battles in the Premier League so far which have been more about protecting the back four and stopping other teams playing, this has meant we haven't conceded much so far, but we have paid a price going forward.
Up front it looks like Adam Armstrong and Che Adams with Broja unavailable.
So back to the question of who should play in the wide positions, the fans want to see Livramento played in one of those roles and I can see their point, the truth is that so far no one has made either of the wide midfield positions their own, Redmond, Djenepo, Elyounoussi and Walcott have all played there, but none have truly made themselves undroppable.
This is a tough game we need to do something different, playing Livramento on the right side would improve things in two areas, firstly he is naturally more a defender than an attacker, so can provide cover against a good side, secondly he is a player that has pace and can drive forward and run at players, yes so can the others, but Livramento more than others seems to have an end product.
So for me at Stamford Bridge he is the ideal player for this position.
On the other side and I'm assuming here that unless there is something that we don't know about Stuart Armstrong's absence, there is no way he can spend two months without playing a game and be ready to start a match after only a week's training.
That being the case then I would play Nathan Redmond, he more than any other player has actually had an end product that has created good chances a la his two passes at Newcastle that both resulted in goals, albeit the second from the resulting penalty and also the ball at Manchester City where he put Adam Armstrong one on one with the keeper.
Redmond has his critics and some of that criticism is justified, but he still gets an end product more than any of our other options, he should just be doing it more often.
This is of course assuming that Ralph opts for a 4-4-2 formation and this is the one area we cannot be sure of, there are plenty of other options including bringing in Ibrahima Diallo in a three man midfield and playing only one striker.
So we can go to Chelsea with some confidence that we can give them a game as we did in both games last season and now we have more options.
But we do have to start scoring goals, there is a feeling starting to creep in that if we had Danny Ings then perhaps we would have grabbed a goal or two more and turned a couple of draws into wins and that would have given us a good start rather than average.
But Ings is gone and we have to look to what we have, the issue to be truthful isn't the scoring power of Armstrong or Adams up front, it is about getting service to them, they have both hit a period where they just can't seem to get a goal, they aren't missing glaring chances, they have just been thwarted by good saves and near misses, they have both shown they can sore goals in the Premier league, they both work hard and that hard work will pay off.
This will be a tough game, Chelsea have made a good start and sit 3rd only a point off leaders Liverpool, but they are not infallible and have shown they can drop points, they come into the game a little out of form, a 1-0 defeat at Juventus came from a lack of concentration in the 11th second of the second half and that cost them the game in the Champions league, before that a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester City in the League and a 1-1 draw at home to Villa in the League which saw then need penalties to go through.
This could be a dangerous time to play them, Coach Tuchel will be livid at this winless streak and will be making sure that they don't fall down again, but they have injury problems, Pulisic and Mount have missed the last few games and N Golo 'Kante has Covid 19 and it is unclear whether any other members of Chelsea's squad will have to self isolate.
You would still expect Chelsea to win this game, but we have said that the last three visits to Stamford Bridge and left unbeaten, we also had the same thoughts for the trip to Manchester City.
We get this game out of the way and we can start to play teams we can beat, the sooner the better.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
When Saturday Comes #16 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and this time instead of an international break we played yesterday evening, and now have the luxury of sitting back and seeing what’s going to happen around us in the league table. A gritty display last night saw the U’s fight back from a being a goal down, with Freddy netting his 8th of the season, helped in no small measure by an inch-perfect through ball from Alan Judge. Whisper it, but with (at least) 30 competitive matches to go to the end of the season, Freddy’s average of 0.4 goals per game would actually see him reach that mythical ’20 goals per season’ figure – not bad for an Ipswich reject 😊.
When Saturday Comes #15 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and finally the U’s return to the league programme after what seems an age as a result of our international break. The Forest Green match has been rearranged for 21st December, the last Tuesday before Xmas, and it will no doubt be a chilly night on top of the hill overlooking Nailsworth. Originally billed as a 7pm kick-off, it seems to have been pushed back to 7.45pm now – better make sure before I set off on the short drive for that one. Talking of short drives, bravo to our U18s winning 2-0 at Swindon in the FA Youth Cup midweek, to set up a mouth-watering home tie against Arsenal in the 3rd Round.
When Saturday Comes #14 by wessex_exile
This week, When Saturday Comes the U’s find themselves on an international break and a weekend off for the WAGs to get in some Christmas shopping. Just as well too, given the U’s have inconsiderately eased past AFC Sudbury to deny them the customary FA Cup Second Round break in December to do likewise. We wait to hear who our opponent will be at the JobServe – it’ll be either top of League One Wigan Athletic or Cameron Coxe’s National League parent club Solihull Moors, who replay at Damson Park on Tuesday evening. Incidentally, Solihull Moors may be part of history being made today, with their match at Meadow Lane already expected to easily top 10,000, and may break the record attendance for that league, which currently stands at 11,083 when Bristol Rovers faced Alfreton Town in 2015.
When Saturday Comes #13 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…will we still be in the FA Cup? I heard somewhere during the week that the U’s have been eliminated from the FA Cup by non-league opposition more times than any other league club! Remarkable really when you consider that many non-U’s associate Colchester United with the greatest FA Cup giant-killing of all time. Following tonight, we travel to Portman Road on Tuesday night to see if we can stay in the Pizza Slice Trophy. Regardless that it is a much-maligned competition these days, surely that’s motivation enough for our tractor boy contingent?
When Saturday Comes #12 by wessex_exile
A relegation six-pointer already, seriously! Grim news so early in a season which had such promise, but that may well turn out to be the reality when the dust settles in May. On the eve of All-Hallows Eve, I’m wondering whether the U’s will have served up Trick or Treat by 5pm this afternoon. Plenty has been written over the last week by supporters, the press, even the Chairman about the protests during and after the Sutton United rocky horror football show, and whilst everyone has the right to voice their opinion on the club’s fortunes on and off the pitch, that doesn’t give anyone (even the Chairman) the right to be abusive – it’s not big, it’s not clever, and if anything it undermines the validity of that opinion.
[ Vote here ]