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Southampton 2 v 2 Leicester City
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 1st December 2021 Kick-off 19:30
Southampton V Leicester City The Preview
Wednesday, 1st Dec 2021 09:23

After two straight defeats Saints need to get back to winning ways this week with two home games in a row starting tonight with Leicester City,, the problem is in the last few seasons the Foxes have been a bit of a bogey side at home.

The last time Saints beat Leicester at home was in January 2017 and even though it was a comprehensive 3-0 win the game had repercussions for Southampton FC going forward as in the 55th minute. with the ball running aimlessly out for a goal kick, that little scroat Jamie Vardy decided to run his studs down the back of Virgil Van Dijk's leg.

This put the then Saints central defender out for the rest of the season and in doing so possibly cost Claude Puel his job, in that with a fit Van Dijk we might well have won the League Cup final a month or so later, but Puel would not have had to switch to a defensive formation for the rest of the season to protect a shaky back four.

Since then meeting Leicester at St Mary's has seen three defeats and a draw and i won't even depress you by saying how many goals we have conceded in those 4 games.

But last years encounter did see us break the run of defeats and draw 1-1 despite having now Leicester player Jannik Vestergaard sent off after only 10 minutes, perhaps the nearest he has come to helping Leicester City to a point in 2021, so there is hope for tonight.

The result at Liverpool on Saturday wasn't great, but on the plus side everyone at Anfield saw what the problem was and so did Ralph Hasenhuttl who held his hands up after the game and admitted he got it wrong.

But the team didn't collapse on Saturday, yes in the first half it got ripped apart a few times by a rampart Liverpool side who raced into a 3-0 lead, but as a team we dug in and kept on going, we made sure that it didn't become an embarrassing score line and it could have been.

So in the second half at Anfield Ralph got things right and that is what he needs to do again tonight, go back to the 4-4-2 formation that has worked well over the past couple of months.

In goal Ralph surely must be having some doubts about the keeper, At Anfield the home side had only 6 attempts on target, 4 of them went in, on the first three McCarthy stood no chance but he really should have done better on the 4th which appeared to go right through him, indeed his opposite number had to make 3 saves at various times in the game that made sure that we didn't get a foothold in the game.

Add that to his display at Norwich and the manager must have it on his mind to throw in Forster, however I don't think it will be tonight

It also means Livramento & Kyle Walker Peters in the full back positions, but he will have a dilemma in the centre of defence, Salisu is a no brainer, he has been our best central defender this season, but who plays alongside him, Jan Bednarek for some reason has not looked the player he was in previous seasons and Lyanco stayed on at Anfield whilst the Pole went off at half time.

In midfield Romeu & Ward Prowse are our best pairing, but the question is who plays out wide, no one has really grasped the bull by the horns and demanded the manager pick him, Nathan Redmond has done better than any of his rivals for the wide position, he has made more positive contributions, but who would play on the right ?

Some would say that Tino Livramento would be better suited there and KWP at right back, that is still an option, but at Anfield Livramento looked lost in a more advanced role, although in fairness he didn't have the cover behind him, truth is though the youngster has looked jaded after playing so many games in a row this season after having never played a first team game before August.

Personally I think it is time to unleash Nathan Tella this evening.

Up front I think the option for the manager is easy, Che Adams & Adam Armstrong, Che seems to have a knack for a goal of late and although he didn't score at Anfield and had a chance he should have put away, Adam Armstrong was perhaps our best player going forward, he worked well in the build up play and was lively throughout, he is coming to terms with the jump up to the Premier League, all he is missing is a goal or two, the two so far have been smashed in from the edge of the box, from close range he is perhaps thinking to much, he gets one tap in it could open the floodgates.

Leicester have moved up the table in the past couple of games and have done just what we need to and that is get a couple of straight wins again, Leeds jumped above us last night with a last minute penalty winner against Palace, but a score draw tonight will see us back above them on goal difference, a win will see us also leapfrog Palace and Everton should they fail to beat Liverpool at Goodison.

Indeed we could end the midweek fixtures in 11th place if we can beat the Foxes this evening and that has to be our aim. get three points on the board and send ourselves into the weekend with some confidence and looking up the table and not behind us.

This is the time to keep calm, and concentrate on moving forward, we are slowly building up the squad, it is still a work in progress, but it has potential with an addition or two in key positions and if we get through this season we will have freed up more cash and be able to do something about them.

On Saturday the manager made a mistake in his tactics, he wasn't the first Premier League manager to do so and he won't be the last, indeed managers with a greater reputation have lost games through getting the tactics wrong.

We have stability now and that is something that can be built on, but it will be slowly but surely and the game has changed drastically in the past few years, it is a different League to the one we finished 6th in 6 years ago under Ronald Koeman, hopefully tonight it can be one of those great nights at St Mary's where we win the game and move up the table.

Photo: Action Images

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Boris1977 added 09:47 - Dec 1
When you say bogey do you mean better ?

A1079 added 09:57 - Dec 1
Vardy is an odious guy but streuth, how I wish we had a player with half of his eye for scoring a goal and taking a chance. Without question, the failure in front of goal this season has been the difference (even allowing for our goalkeeping errors).

Colburn added 10:15 - Dec 1
Added to the fact that when we do go ahead in games, we stop attacking in the second half properly and throw away whatever advantage we have gained..
I don't see it as a positive that Ralph realised his stupidity at half time then brought on a favourite who as usual did nothing.. Neither do I see four nil as not embarrassing... Of course it is.. And Romeu did not exactly show he was one of our best midfielders, was woeful for three of the goals, ball watching each time losing his man for the first goal, then Salah and finally Van Dijk.
The trouble with Romeu and JWP is the same as the problem with Ralph, they are too comfortable with no pressure on their position..
Leicester have become a bogey side because they are better than us and attack for a whole game, not just 45 mins...

felly1 added 10:37 - Dec 1
Hope he brings back in Stephens to give us a bit of leadership and organisation at the back that we were clearly lacking against Liverpool. Sadly I think our lack of quality in either the final pass or the finishing could cost us tonight as this has been the story of the season so far. Fingers crossed the lads find a way to get a positive result though.

ElSanto added 10:47 - Dec 1
KWP Salisu Stephens Livramento
Tella JWP Romeu Redmond
Adams Adams

Looking for something as close to this as possible (would like to see Forster in goal, but I know it's adream)

landsdownsaint added 10:49 - Dec 1
It’s simple “ Armstrong needs too start scoring .

deanosfc8 added 12:04 - Dec 1
Colburn.. Full of positives as usual!
Bet the team can't wait for your positive backing tonight!!

saintmark1976 added 12:52 - Dec 1
deanosfc8, please “don’t shoot the messenger”. Many see Colburn’s comments as sensible well thought out realism. It’s not his concern that others find it difficult to comprehend his point of view and regard him as purely negative is it ? Either way let’s all hope that we get a win this evening.

JoeEgg added 13:00 - Dec 1
I enjoy reading Nick's previews because they reflect a guy in total love with his club and dare I say it, the manager! But then I have to read Colburn who tells it as it really is - brings us back to reality. Between you two guys its an excellent preview for the game and puts to shame the sensationalism and utter rubbish provided by so much of the social media - and especially at Hampshire Live!
If Ralph and the boys get it right tonight it will be a great achievement and provide us with some much needed hope for the rest of the season. Lose to Leicester and I cant see Ralph being tolerated here much longer.

janecook added 13:31 - Dec 1
We must be in a bad way if people talk about bringing back Stephens to give us leadership and organisation! He does of none of those in fact he is not good enough to play in the Prem. One player we do miss is Fraser Forster.

SaintPaulVW added 13:48 - Dec 1
After shipping 6 goals in the last 2 games McCarthy needs a night off. So, I think Forster deserves a start.

I am also firmly in the Tino needs a break camp. So KWP, on the right, Perraud on the left.

Sali and Bedders at CB

Romeu and JWP, who needs to find his dead ball skills pronto. Even the dullest commentators are going to notice soon that he isn't living up to their frequently trotted out cliche.

Tella, or, the free ranging fan's favourite Redmond, with Diallo. Che and AA up front.

If CheAA can find the target, hit the ball and miss the defender we should be all right.


Colburn added 14:44 - Dec 1
Deano.. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with comments which paper over cracks or bring a touch of reality to the debate. It is because I am so passionate about our club that I feel the need to disagree with the argument that we should be happy with a 4-0 loss or that it is a good thing and also disagree with suggestions of knee jerk reactions and short sightedness when the timescale and statistics prove otherwise..
But if that is your opinion on me then that is fine, you neglect to mention the unwavering support for the likes of Stephens, who get nothing short of a battering on here, nor my positivity surrounding the vast majority of the squad. My issue has been with the groundhog day decision making which our manager seems to be unwilling to learn from and also with players who were not putting in a full shift for the team or were constantly selected irrespective of performance and effort. You have to address the truth and facts, however negative they are before you can solve them. I am hoping as much as any fan that we win tonight and indeed every game but when you see the same mistakes made and published articles which excuse or misrepresent them, it is difficult to stay silent because the excuses do nothing of any genuine use in problem solving.
If this explanation is no good for you then fair enough, that's your opinion and I respect it.

Block8 added 16:20 - Dec 1
Just a couple of points, totally agree with Coburn on the stupid team selection and formation at Liverpool. A formation that just may have worked against Norwich but suicidal against a bang in form Liverpool. He doesn't play Tella, who offers a positive difference going forward, as he doesn't trust him defensively. For all those still slagging off Stephens, he and Salisu have been our best CB pairing this season. We overload the work on JWP & Romeu who are most of the time up against a three man midfield and if they are not performing we do have Watts & Chauke in the B team, both performing exceptionally well at present. For tonight Livramento needs a rest as does McCarthy and maybe start Diallo for either JWP or Romeu, giving us a bit more pace in the middle plus a bit more going forward! Think Tella is a must and I would play Redmond, for his workrate defensively. Adams and armstrong up front, KWP & Peraud at full back.

YosemiteSaint added 20:58 - Dec 1
Our goalie is costing us points—and it's very clear that opponents know exactly how to exploit him (by attacking his near post).

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