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Southampton 1 v 1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 4th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton V Brighton The Preview
Friday, 3rd Dec 2021 07:45

After a disappointing few games, Saints look to get back to winning ways against draw specialists Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's, can they get back to winning ways and how will Ralph Hasenhuttl react to his goalkeeping crisis ?

One solitary point out of the last nine had brought Saints to yet another crossroads in the season, a win against Brighton will take them to within a point of the Seagulls, whilst defeat will have us looking nervously over our shoulders.

After an opening spell that saw them win 4 of their opening 5 Premier League games, Brighton now haven't won since the 5th game of the season on 19th September.

In the next 9 games though they have only lost twice and drawn 7 of those fixtures to become the draw specialists of the Premier League.

So they come to St Mary's with some confidence although they were booed off in their draw with Leeds last weekend, given that are currently sitting in their highest top flight position ever and on target for their best ever League season, you have to ask just what their supporters are expecting from their manager and team.

So the pressure is on them to get their first win in almost 3 months.

Saints also have a few things to sort out, not least the goalkeeping problem that has not been resolved this season and has reared it's ugly head in the last three games.

Some will point at the build up to some of the goals, but the fact of the matter is that good teams have keepers that win them points by doing what is expected of them, the occasional world class save and minimal errors, our keeper is not doing anyone of those things.

The frustration is that if he had then I would be writing this with Saints sat in 7th place and Saints social media and website message boards would be a happier place.

A steady keeper would see us enjoying the season not pointing the blame at anyone and everyone which is what is happening when the solution is actually easy.

So the big big question is will Ralph Hasenhuttl deal with the situation or put his hopes on Alex McCarthy again and hope that he does not make another error.

Sometimes managers have to be pro active and make big decisions, I suspect that our manager is at a real crossroads here, he has to show leadership.

Other than that although things are not perfect, we do have a strong squad and we are making progress, some will disagree, but I say it and say it again, Leicester for instance do well because they have a strong and reliable keeper and that is the difference between the two sides.

Brighton are a team who don't score many, they have notched only 13 the same total as us, but they don't let many in either , only 15 as against our 20, as I have said, our keeper has made 5 errors in the last 8 goals conceded, that highlights why the Seagulls are 7th and we are 16th.

This is a winnable game, do so and we are moving up the table, fail to so and the knives will once again be out in some quarters for Ralph Hasenhuttl, i would say unfairly from the perspective he has put out teams that should have won games only to see individual errors cost us dearly, but on the other hand he now has to deal with it, what he does and whether whatever he does works out or not will de defined by the score at 5pm on Saturday.

So big game for Saints, but one where we can go in with confidence, Che Adams is starting to his some goalscoring form, if Adam Armstrong can turn some good performances in the build up into goals then he will soon be showing just why we bought him, but the fact is we have to start doing it soon, on paper it's simple cut out errors and start scoring goals, what could be more easier !!

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highfield49 added 08:53 - Dec 3
I'm wondering if Forster has a clause in his contract that triggers extra payments dependent on appearances. I don't think many of us supporters actually think that Forster is the answer to our problems but McCarthy looks so vulnerable that Groundhog Day is now showing every week. Brighton seem to have a lot of players injured at present so aren't as threatening as they were earlier in the season. Maybe Broja and Adams up front would produce more goals than the Adams and Armstrong pairing. Tella should keep his place but the return of a fully match fit Stu Armstrong is probably what the team needs most at present. The fact that the team keeps chopping and changing indicates that few, if any, of the squad are really on top of their game and is inhibiting momentum. It's been a long time since the likes of Fonte, Lallana, VVD, Lambert, Mane etc were lifting our expectations.

SaintPaulVW added 09:13 - Dec 3
At least there is no Glenn Murray to spoil my afternoon.

I agree that the Norwich game was disappointing but we would have been lucky to get anything off of Liverpool and the Leicester game was a fair result. We played well against the Foxes so I can't be too disappointed.

However I agree that a reasonable target to set would be 4 points from the Leicester and Brighton games. So a win is what is needed.

In the absence of Stu A, I hope Ralph continues with Tella and Redmond. Both had great games on Wednesday.

I would still prefer KWP on the right, I think Tino has been sussed by the opposition laptop crew. Time for a test and a bit of coaching. Perraud on the Left.

McCarthy also deserves a rest. Time for Forster to play, if only to increase his value for a loan move to entice a new Keeper.

Brighton are not the most attacking side, so I'm presuming 4 at the back. Romeu and JWP in front.

Up front Adams is certain. Armstrong is still adapting but I think start him and Broja on for the second half. Or vice versa.

I would like to see us playing more balls into space to take advantage of Tella and Armstrong's pace. Disrupting and quickly turning defences albeit with a greater loss of possession seems more likely to lead to goals than retaining possession and slow passing around a set formation.


underweststand added 10:09 - Dec 3
Regardless of the opposition this is a game to win and stay up with the pack of clubs in midtable who are clustered together separated by only one point and goal difference.

I agree with highfield49 and SaintPaul (above) in that Ralph must give McCarthy a break from the wholesale criticism he is getting in the wake of recent poor performances.
With Forster likely to leave in January and /or the signing of a new keeper, perhaps this is the ideal time for FF to have his "swan-song" before eventually moving on .

Despite results we have still managed to keep a half-decent GD compared with others in the bottom half, but the problem is still the lack of goals scored as we see that our 3 wins have just been by 1-0 margins, and that even scoring twice is no guarantee of getting all
3 points. No matter what combination of strikers Ralph uses, we have to find a successful goal-scoring combination - before Norwich overtake our miserable goal tally.


Farlow added 10:19 - Dec 3
Lets get Michael Carrick on the coaching staff.I hope Tella gets a start.
It amuses me that people think the players read this,as their is so little praise
it would not be good for their confidence.If we had a better back up Keeper maybe Ralph would rest AM but we dont so i dont think he will.

felly1 added 10:46 - Dec 3
Highly unlikely Ralph is going to drop Mccarthy when he has publicly praised for the Leicester game and stated that he earnt us a point.

SaintPaulVW added 10:56 - Dec 3
Forster has apparently picked up a slight knock in training.

saintmark1976 added 11:04 - Dec 3
At the moment McCarthy reminds me of that very old football joke:-

“ Our keeper had a really bad game. He went back into the dressing room at full time, put his head in his hands and dropped it”.

I’ll get my coat.

Colburn added 12:10 - Dec 3
I don't think Ralph man-manages that well. During the first lockdown and bubbles, there were a lot of players who were given no chance even though they worked hard and were isolated, which could not have been good for their mental health... Yet he protects certain players from criticism when it is fair.. Poor balance.. He doesn't know how to take people out of the firing line until its too late and doesn't give fair opportunity to those, like Tella, who have deserved it.. It was a brilliant save at the end by Mccarthy but we should not have been that vulnerable with a few minutes to go as we should have been leading and plugging gaps.

JoeEgg added 14:11 - Dec 3
Thanks agan 'Saint Colburn'. Reading all the posts above - thanks guys - the sentence that stands out for me is once again from Colburn!
"It was a brilliant save at the end by Mccarthy but we should not have been that vulnerable with a few minutes to go as we should have been leading and plugging gaps." Maybe Ralph has a problem with the language but some of the stuff he apparently utters between, before and after games leaves me with the strong feeling that he will never be my choice for the manager at Saints.
If we lose to Brighton it will be time to wave goodbye.

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