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Southampton 1 v 0 Bristol City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 29th November 2023 Kick-off 19:45
Southampton V Bristol City The Preview
Wednesday, 29th Nov 2023 09:51

Things did not go well for Saints on the first night of the midweek fixtures, but they can make amends for that by beating Bristol City who are one of the chasing pack for a play off place.

It was a topsy turvy night for results on Tuesday evening, but the big one was West Brom's win at Cardiff, a result that propelled them above Saints and Leeds into 2nd place.

But there were other scorelines that helped the Southampton cause, Preston lost ground as did the aforementioned Cardiff.

But a win over Bristol City this evening is essential in order to keep up our momentum and if we despatch the Robins then we will jump back over West Brom and then if Russell Martin's old club Swansea can win at Leeds over the Yorkshire side as well.

But this is all just a side issue, the big job is to win tonight's game of football and keep up our unbeaten run.

Bristol themselves are in mid table limbo, they are in no immediate danger of a relegation battle, being 12 points clear of the bottom three after two wins and a draw in their last 3 games, but they are still 5 points off the top 6, with 5 clubs in between them and the last play off spot.

So tonight has a lot of incentives for the visitors, they are not just turning up for the fun of it, they know a win will put them on the fringes of the promotion battle.

After the draw at Huddersfield, you would have thought that it was a defeat judging by some comments, but the reality is we are now a decent side, we are still a work in progress, but we are getting stronger, however the proof of that is winning games of football and we need to do that this evening.

From a team perspective it is hard to see many changes from Saturday's starting line up.

Three of the back four are undroppable at the moment and the only issue is at left back, on the face of it you would think that James Bree will keep his place, but if a change is made further up the pitch and Russell Martin wants to take the bull by the horns you could see Ryan Manning restored to the starting line up, but more of that in a minute.

In midfield you would think that the trio of Flynn Downes, Will Smallbone and Stuart Armstrong will start, if that is the case then Martin's conundrum is who will form the front three.

Adam Armstrong is a given, he is the second highest scorer in the division, only one behind Blackburn's Sammie Szmodics, the question is who plays alongside him.

On Saturday it was Ryan Fraser and Kamaldeen Sulemana, but neither excelled and there could be changes.

Most likely to be dropped is Sulemana, he did not have a good game and was hooked off shortly after the break, if he is not in the starting XI, this could mean that the manager might consider restoring Ryan Manning to the team if he has a man in front of him who is more defensive minded.

Charley Alcaraz is the most likely to come into the side, but will he play in a central position with Adam Armstrong out wide or be used on the flank himself.

If Ryan Fraser is dropped then who would replace him is a little more difficult unless you keep Sulemana in the side, Sam Edozie was the most lively of those who played as the wide man at Huddersfield and the only man to get a shot on target second half, but was that enough for a place in the starting line up ?

Ross Stewart will be hoping that he might get a home debut and that could well be in Russell Martin's mind with Adam Armstrong and Charley Alcatraz flanking him.

One man who won't be in line is Sam Amo-Ameyaw who played 90 minutes in the U21 sides 2-0 defeat to Valencia last night.

I think that Russell may opt for continuity rather than a big reshuffle, so I would think that it could be just the single change and that will be either Fraser or Sulemana dropping to the bench.

Bristol City will fancy their chances after their surge up the table in the last three games, taking 7 points in the process, however the first of those results was a narrow 1-0 win over rock bottom Sheffield Wednesday, who played the last hour of the game down to 10 men.

The second was a draw against 3rd from bottom QPR and at the weekend they enjoyed a fine win over promotion chasing Middlesbrough 3-2, that result cannot be underestimated although Boro are mid table at the moment.

So the Robins come in their best form of the season and are a tough side to beat, the 18 goals they have conceded having been bettered by West Brom and Leeds with 17 let in and Leicester with 10.

So it won't be easy for Saints to break down the Robin's defence and the key will be an early goal to force them to come out at us a bit.

If there is one big disappointment this season it is that with all the firepower we have we have yet to really turn over a side and beat them well, we have not given anyone a drubbing yet and we need to do so to give us the confidence to play with the shackles off sometime and get forward a little more, especially in the second half to kill off a game.

Photo: Action Images



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IanRC added 10:14 - Nov 29
Hopefully Fraser raTherthan Sulemana unless the latter is injured. I think Fraser is more effective as a sub towards the end of the game.
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Centurion added 11:05 - Nov 29
A good summary.
We have a realistic chance of being in the play offs but we should at the very least draw to Bristol City at home if we are to finish in the top 6.
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Bowlercow added 11:24 - Nov 29
I just feel that our confidence is still a little fragile and an unexpected defeat could shatter it completely The Bristol players will still be trying to impress their relatively new boss which always seems to give them a lift
Listening to RM's news conference he wants the same from Kammy that we do and he explains why it is proving difficult for him Trust me it is worth a listen
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kenchilds70 added 14:58 - Nov 29
Neither Sulemana or Ryan are 90 minute men. So for me Id use the former in the first half and the latter the second. Id start Charles and give Downes and Smallbone half games each. Id play Bellis harwood and give Bednarek and Holgate half games each. The other positions can be filled by the plethora of usual suspects.
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