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West Bromwich Albion 0 v 0 Southampton

Sunday, 12th May 2024 Kick-off 14:15
Keep It Simple, Play Your Best Players, Change Little ! Is The Message To Southampton
Friday, 10th May 2024 08:18

A week ago Saints travelled to Leeds with their supporters lamenting how bad we had been in the previous three games, now after a comprehensive win at Elland Road the tide has turned, the message is simple, More of the same !

The three straight defeats in April occurred for different reasons, but all had one underlying issue that contributed to the losses and the key word was "Tinkering"

Whether it was in the starting line up or in making substitutions, there were too many changes, the back line was constantly changed and the forward line as well, when we had three wingers on the pitch at Cardiff, the writing was clearly on the wall.

But at Leeds something changed. we put out arguably our best side, we played in a formation that the players knew how to play and when made, the substitutions were timely and for the right reasons, rather than just changing for change sake.

So the lesson was learned up at Elland Road and from the start of the game we looked a different side, controlled and knowing what we needed to do.

A little bit as we did when we bounced back at West Brom back in February after out first defeat in 23 games at Bristol City.

So hopefully Russell Martin has learned that lesson, there can be no excuse of having to play too many games in a short period of time, we have two games, hopefully three, to turn this season into one to remember.

We do not need to use 22 players in those games, we need to get that consistency back, a back four that is solid, a midfield that compliments both defence and attack and up front the players who have done the job over the season, Adam Armstrong, Che Adams & Ryan Frazer.

The same core dozen or so players that got us through the 22 game unbeaten run.

If things aren't going well stick with those that are tried and tested, when you are chasing goals, don't take off your best forward, the second highest in the division and put on a player that has not scored all season and hope that he finally pays off.

So the message ahead of the trip to West Bromwich Albion is as simple as the message itself.

"Keep It Simple, Play Your Best Players, Change Little !"

Photo: Action Images

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UgandaSaint added 08:28 - May 10
So Nick "we played in a formation that the players knew how to play" well where did Stephens fit in to this? He appeared to be operating as a third centre-back, a formation I don't recall us playing before. If you consider he was a midfielder, you have previously told us he is not suited to that role. I am not a supporter of his, but the team did look better balanced against Leeds.

Bowlercow added 12:02 - May 10
So many points in your piece that I could argue with Nick l am however in agreement that the style and tactics used at Leeds did the business and we never looked under too much pressure
Having JS in the back line still scares the whatsit out of me and as we saw last week he is prone to being turned over by an aggressive press If he wants 3 centre backs then my choice would be Charles Bednarek and THB
I remain confident that we will go to Wembley and get back to the PL

felly1 added 14:15 - May 10
Rather contradictory read that Nick.
You state we should play the same team that beat Leeds but then say we should play four at the back when against Leeds we played 5-3-2 or in possession 3-5-2.
Fraser didn't start either.
He's been proven to be an excellent sub yet not such a good starter.
I suspect Martin will play the same team but the question will be whether we end up playing into West Broms hands who we've beaten twice playing 4-3-3.


davidargyll added 19:03 - May 10
I didn’t see the game v Leeds so I am risking talking bollo*cks but I recall RM saying afterwards that he decided midweek that they would try something different, ie us pressing the oppo rather than the other way round.
Whether that would have been achieved with another lineup goodness knows, but my impression is that the individuals on the pitch were happier playing that way. And that is the lesson to be learned, it’s not about WHO plays where it’s about HOW they play. So let’s hope that for the next three games they can replicate it, regardless of who is selected.

mascott514 added 08:05 - May 12
I agree Nick, that performance at Leeds was good. Against a tough team (who were obviously falling apart)

Unlike nearly everyone - I have a lot of time for Jack Stephens. Sure, you see errors mote so than the other two CB but, in these massive games, you need characters and big voices

I like 5 at the back- we're a little bit more protected in the middle, and it pushes the full backs out wider, meaning we are not seeing so many free crosses going in-which has done my head in this season.

Also agree about forwards- Ross only as back up- its too risky

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