|Southampton 1 v 0 Leeds United|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 16th October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton V Leeds United The Preview
Friday, 15th Oct 2021 10:12
Leeds United were a bit of a bogey side for us last year and beat us twice both against the run of play, can Saints break that hoodoo and earn their first win of the season, Ralph Hasenhuttl might find that adversity actually wins the day.
Last season Saints lost twice to Leeds United, the first game at Elland Road saw us dominate the first half and a lead wiped out due to a controversial decision that saw us take a quick free kick with the referee's permission and put the ball in the net only for it to be overturned with the ref claiming Leeds weren't ready.
In the second half we got caught on the break straight after the break and then saw Oriol Romeu break his ankle on a pitch that was unstable and quite frankly dangerous at a time when we were pushing hard for an equaliser.
Two late goals sealed a 3-0 win for the home side, but the result did not reflect the pattern of the game and Saints had two pieces of bad luck and inept refereeing that epitomised what was happening at the time.
When the Peacocks (Do they still have that nickname or is it just Dirty Leeds these days) arrived at St Mary's it was a similar story, Saints had plenty of possession and more attempts at goal, but a goal on 73 minutes saw us fall behind and then as we chased an equaliser the visitors broke and scored a second.
I'm not complaining about the fact they won, in truth praise should be given for the way that they took their chances, they played the way they play and did it well, I have no complaints about Leeds in either game, they deserved their wins because they held firm, had a bit of luck when needed and took their chances, something that we failed too often to do last season.
But this is a new season and although we have tightened up at the back, that has been at the expense of scoring goals, although we have been creating chances we have not been taking them.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's hand though will be forced this weekend by two player missing, in midfield we will be without James Ward Prowse, out of the starting line up for the first time since soon after Ralph's arrival some 2 year and 10 months ago.
This will more than likely see Ibrahima Diallo come into the side and with Diallo being a more defensive player than JWP it could signal a change in formation in the side, either to a back 3 or to 5 man midfield, Ralph has options to do either.
But I suspect to start he will stick to his more usual 4-4-2, but that could change mid game.
If he does stick to that then he has several decisions to make.
In the defence he will stick to Bednarek & Salisu in the centre, but the full back options are less certain, Tino Livramento is a shoe in at right back on form, but with most of the failings going forward being the wide players, again I would like to see Tino pushed into a midfield role with KWP in his normal right back position, Romain Perraud playing on the left.
In the midfield I think it will be Diallo and Romeu who will start, but who will play out wide, there will be a clamour for Stuart Armstrong to return, but I would say that with no competitive game time due to injury and not having played a match of any kind for something like 10 weeks, he will be better deployed off the bench.
Personally I would like to see Livramento and Nathan Redmond deployed out wide.
Redmond will not be the popular choice, but he Elyounoussi and Djenepo have all had virtually the same game time in the Premier League this season and like it or not Redmond has influenced games more than any of the either two, he might be inconsistent of late, but as he showed at Newcastle he is the only one who has end product, the problem is creating chances for the strikers and in that respect he is the man more than any who has delivered.
Up front Che Adams looks set to be missing and this gives Ralph a chance to give Armando Broja his first start in the Premier League for Saints.
In truth Broja is perhaps better suited to our style of play than either Che Adams or Adam Armstrong, we rely on the wide player getting down the wing and getting crosses into the box, both Adams and Adam Armstrong are more channel runners.
Broja has the height to win aerial balls, I think he could be a key man against Leeds, he comes back from International duty having come on as a 66th minute substitute against Hungary and scoring the only goal of the game, for the second game he came on in the 60th minute, so the good news for Saints is that he should not be too tired and he will be chomping at the bit.
The real key though is not to play into Leeds hands, they like Wolves are a side who like to sit deep and go quickly on the break as we found out last season, we have to be organised and counter that, we did so in the main against Wolves in our last home game, but they still caught us out twice and we paid the price on one occasion.
Leeds had a good season last season, but are they a good side ? They play to a pattern that involves breaking quickly and fast, they know only one way to play and this season they have been found out a little in this respect.
They have not been so tight at the back and with 14 goals conceded only Newcastle & Norwich have let in more, we have to exploit this and then make sure we control the game and don't do our usual trick of pouring forward and getting caught on the break, we have to be organised and patient.
A big game for both clubs, a game that will go a long way to pointing the direction both of our seasons will go, from our perspective we need a win, it does not matter how we achieve it we just have to win.
We need to keep up the support from the stands and keep our side going, Leeds will have a noisy crowd who will make a lot of noise and stay behind them, we need to match that.
Going to football is about enjoyment, we have all lost 18 months of our football supporting careers, personally I go to football to enjoy myself and support my team, it is not always about winning, it is about the occasion and the game.
Go on Saturday be loud and be proud of your team and your club, Leeds have endured long periods of being out of the Premier League and under achievement, but during those periods their fans were able to split up the difference between supporting the club and supporting the owners, lets all kick in the same direction when we play games of football.
Photo: Action Images
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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.
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