|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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When Saturday Comes #23 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and the Uâ€™s have a new management team in charge for a tough trip to Salford. Football is a results business, and sadly Hayden Mullins and his assistant Alex Dyer couldnâ€™t deliver those results on the pitch. Yes theyâ€™ve had some tough breaks when luck and competent officials have just completely deserted them, but bottom line is we havenâ€™t been good enough, and it was the right call by Robbie Cowling to no doubt reluctantly let them go after seven defeats in the last eight games, our solitary point a dour 0-0 at Bradford City.
When Saturday Comes #22 by wessex_exile
Itâ€™s the 15th of January, and still the Uâ€™s are attempting to play their first home match of 2022. Weather looks good (check), players have returned from injury (check), no on-day Covid testing to get in the way (check), so barring fire famine or flood, I reckon we must have at least a 50:50 chance of a game at the JobServe this afternoon. Whether itâ€™ll be three much-needed points or not, and if youâ€™ll pardon the pun, I at least did see green shoots at the New Lawn on Tuesday. We still lost, and the table doesnâ€™t lie, but definitely signs to encourage me that whilst itâ€™s not going to be a comfortable journey, weâ€™ll be alright by May.
When Saturday Comes #21 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, what should have been the first home game of 2022, and I discover seconds before posting this that the game is called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Having gone to the trouble of writing this, even though weâ€™re not playing Iâ€™m going to post it anyway â€“ itâ€™s not like youâ€™ve got anything else to do this afternoon.
When Saturday Comes #20 by wessex_exile
Finally, When Saturday Comesâ€¦and the Uâ€™s (for now at least) have a match to play. Mind you, Iâ€™m writing this on Friday afternoon, so thereâ€™s still time yet for yet another Covid/ injury postponement, I guess. I certainly hope not, as Iâ€™m planning on heading over to Crawley for this one. Mind you, now that the EFL have decreed there will be no on the day testing to eliminate the possibility of last-minute cancellations, I think Iâ€™ll defer buying a train ticket until this evening. Needless to say, a repeat of our last visit to Broadfield (The Peopleâ€™s Pension Stadium under the terms of a sponsorship deal) would do very nicely indeed.
When Saturday Comes #19 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comesâ€¦and the Uâ€™s find themselves fixtureless again, following Hartlepoolâ€™s request to postpone the game because of positive Covid tests amongst their squad. To heap further fixture congestion problems on the Uâ€™s, in short order Forest Green Rovers did likewise for our already rearranged match at the New Lawn on Tuesday night, and for the same reason. Theyâ€™re not on their own either, with in all (so far) four Premier League and 19 EFL matches postponed today â€“ all for positive Covid tests in their squads.
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