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Southampton 4 v 1 Brentford
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday, 11th January 2022 Kick-off 19:45
Southampton V Brentford The Preview
Tuesday, 11th Jan 2022 09:21

Saints take on Brentford at St Mary's this evening in a game that would see a win for either club taking it a big step away from the relegation zone and only a few wins from safety, meaning that going forward they could look up the table rather than over their shoulders.

This is a big week for Saints, with games against Brentford & Wolves, they start it 10 points above the relegation zone and 10 points behind Manchester United in 7th, so the result will go a long way towards determining whether the second half of the season will be one with the aspirations being to get into the top 10, or whether it will be a nervous look over their shoulders.

Likewise Brentford who were relegation favourites at the start of the season, but know that 3 more wins will probably see them safe a long time before the season ends.

A win tonight would send us above the Bee's and indeed above Aston Villa & Crystal Palace into 11th place.

So a big game to start the week which if we could win tonight and also at Wolves on Saturday could take us into the top 10 and within spitting distance of the top 7.

But it won't be easy, with injuries, covid & suspension the squad is decimated and Ralph Hasenhuttl has some reshuffling to be doing.

His first headache is in defence, with all three recognised right backs out, he has decisions to make, but he does have options.

The first is to play James Ward Prowse in that position, the Captain has played their before and filled in at Swansea on Saturday, but he would be a loss in midfield.

His second option if he wants to keep a back four would be to play one of Jack Stephens or Jan Bednarek in that position, bringing in Lyanco in the centre if he chooses the latter. He could also play Ibrahima Diallo in this position, it would be the first time he has done it for Saints but he is versatile enough to be able to adapt.

Or he could revert to a back three and use wing backs to protect the flanks.

A hard decision to make, but at least unlike a year ago we have more depth in the squad and we have options in all areas and with the returning Che Adams more striking options.

Brentford rely on breaking forward quickly using Ivan Toney, he is seen as their main threat, but for all the publicity around his contribution he has still only scored 4 goals in the 17 games he has played, the main goal scoring comes from midfield where Yoanne Wissa & Bryan Mbeumo have notched 3 apiece, otherwise the 23 goals scored so far are well spread.

Three weeks ago Rasmus Ankersen was in the Brentford camp and he more than anyone helped plot how they play and their rise through the leagues, now he is in our camp and hopefully has been working with Ralph Hasenhuttl on how to stop the Brentford threat and win the game.

Our season so far though has been very similar to the last few, we play well but keep making basic errors, both individual and as a team that have cost us goals and points, yet we could still rise to 11th this evening and that shows how near we are to being a good stable mid table side pushing for the top 10.

Tonight we have to cut out the errors, we have to do the basics and know when to play the ball and when sometimes we need to put it in row Z and against Brentford that will be crucial.

They will come with high hopes, they play without fear and have had some great results this season, but they have had some awful ones as well namely losses to Norwich & Burnley to name but two, so they are not without their own weak points.

Tonight it needs to be a packed St Mary's to welcome our new owners, everyone behind the team and backing it, then we have a better chance of taking all three points and moving up the table, anything less, even a defeat would not be a disaster at this stage of the season, but it would leave us looking over our shoulders.

This is a pivotal week for Saints. we cross into the second half of the season, if we repeat the first half we will stay up with ease, if we better it then we might just surprise a few people.

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 09:53 - Jan 11
It feels like a pivitol game in terms of where we may go looking ahead but not critical.

Ralph may need to be cute on tactics. He has admitted that we are lacking some energy due to the weekend and some absences so if he plays a high pressing game early we could tire and look leggy by the 2nd half (which has been a tendency in any case - even with a full squad). Equally, I believe Brentford have quite a good record of coming back and scoring late. I don't have stats to back that up but that is my impression.

You are right that we need to avoid needless errors, but we also need to convert our chances (though I think there has been a bit of improvement in that area recently).

Anyway, an important week and 4 points from tonight and Saturday would be a good return.

Colburn added 12:32 - Jan 11
4 points would be a great return and 2 or 3 will not be a disaster but I feel we must take something from tonight or the difficult run coming up will seem a lot tougher. Either way, I don't see us getting dragged in to a relegation battle or threatening 7th place but the latter is more possible if we continue to play like we did against West ham and spuds.

Block8 added 15:55 - Jan 11
Not sure we will get a packed stadium on a wet Tuesday night Nick, however I agree we need to get behind the team and new owners from the start.
Brentford play an attacking 433 line up so we need to be tight in midfield and at full back, Toney like Son tends to drift in from wide left so maybe not having a cavalier full back may be of assistance to us defensively. I'd quite like to see us play 3 in midfield to match them up as we may be a little tired after Saturday. Not sure who I'd play ay RB but would see Stephens or even Olofunwa, rather than JWP, I have a feeling we'll need him in midfield.

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