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Southampton V Leeds United The Wembley Play off Preview
Saturday, 25th May 2024 09:35

They call it the biggest money game in the World, Saints are looking to restore the Premier League multi millions to their coffers next season and for many of their fans, that is all there is to be happy about if they win the game.

In football you always want the team you support to be playing at the highest level and in England that is the Premier League, but these days it is a lot more polarised between those that have rich owners with bottomless pockets and those that have not.

So for most members of the Premier League it is about making up the numbers, with the hope that as Saints were in 2016, you are the club that gets lucky and breaks the mould for a short while.

Speaking to many Southampton fans they are all of the same opinion, if we win the game and take the money, but stay in the Championship, next season would be a lot more fun.

But this is all a pipe dream and the reality is that we have to go to Wembley and win and get back in the Premier League and get back to the business of chasing mid table mediocrity, which is what constitutes success for around 60% of the Premier League now and won't change until the so called Big 7 leave for a European Super League.

But none of this matter tomorrow, it is about celebrating Southampton FC and cheering them on to getting the job done and propelling us back to the top flight.

Saints fans stepped up to the plate a week ago when they generated perhaps the best atmosphere ever seen in St Mary's and the fans responded.

The problem is that Leeds fans are going to be stepping up to the plate as well, we have to make sure that the neutrals watching aren't talking about their great support but ours !
We have the advantage, although we are playing in our dour black kit, that is not our club colours, Leeds play in white another neutral colour, if as some would say it is actually a colour at all.

That means their end will not look as colourful as our, if we all try and wear something red, then it will be a visual advantage.

But it is not enough to just wear a Saints scarf and sit there in silence, as we did against West Brom, we all have to make some noise and we need to keep making it however the game is going.

One thing we have learned about Russell Martin's sides this season, is that the game is never over until the final whistle, we are specialists in late goals, we wear the opposition down by constantly keeping the ball and making them chase it and that is why they concede late equalisers or winners.

The big question is always what team will the manager put out, I have to be honest I think we might as well hand Leeds the team sheet now, I can't see anything other than the side that started against West Brom, although that in itself could be an issue.

If we play Jack Stephens at left back and to be honest he has done a good job in the two play off games so far, then he is going to have his plate full early on, Leeds will come at us early doors and Stephens will need the help that he can get on our left, that means that whoever is in front of Jack will have to work hard.

It will be a Ryan who will get this job, but will it be more defensive minded with Ryan Manning or will it be the more attacking minded Ryan Fraser, I feel it will be a combination of the two with one replacing the other whoever starts.

But other than that, I think what will turn this game is the use of substitutes and from that angle I think we have the advantage.

The Southampton bench is stronger than the Leeds one, in defence we have James Bree an experienced defender at this level, in the centre of midfield we have the youth of Shea Charles and the experience of Joe Rothwell to call on and attacking wise we have some real options, Sam Edozie, Sulemana and the two wild cards of Che Adams & Ross Stewart.

Adams seems to be ready for a place on the bench, but unlikely to play anything other than a short period of time, he is our get out of jail card, but one that Leeds might not have.

So the day of judgement approaches and we should embrace it, this is a game that we have worked the whole season for, it is a winnable one, albeit a tough one.

The message is still the same to both players and fans, "Leave nothing on the pitch, Leave nothing in the stands"

Wear your red & white with pride, make some noise and hopefully we will carry the day.

Photo: Action Images

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Colburn added 10:06 - May 25
Still think the kit we wore when we beat them 3 weeks ago is the right one. Aesthetics aren’t as important as psychology for me.. We will have plenty of colour in the stands anyway. I don’t think it’s hard to predict the Leeds line up either so I don’t think they have that early advantage and it probably doesn’t matter when the team is announced, it’s about who rises to the challenge on the day and has that bit of luck. Leeds are still favourites with the bookies so we go in as the underdogs and I personally prefer that pressure on them..
Stephens has indeed proved many wrong and at least silenced others in the last couple of games and has showed what a presence he can be but agree he will need the help of Manning to deal with Gnonto while KWP covers Summerville. If we keep those 2 quiet, we should win the game. COYS!

jameshill added 13:42 - May 25
My ten pence worth is that the team selection that wins on Sunday is the one that started the Leeds away game assuming C.A. is fit to start. Five at the back that day seemed to neutralise Leed's best players - their wingers.
What ever happens - promise me one thing:

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