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Southampton   v   Burnley
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 11th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Stoke City The Preview
Friday, 29th Sep 2017 17:46

Saints travel to injury hit Stoke City looking to keep their unbeaten run going away from home this season.

This is the part of the season that starts to sort out the wheat from the chafe, when sides at the bottom either start to win a game or two or realise they are in a relegation scrap and some sides who have had good starts to the season start to wain.

For Saints it is a chance to take a big step forward to show that they are genuine top 8 contenders for the 4th season in a row.

Despite a so so start to the season we still sit comfortably in 11th place, knowing that we have underperformed so far and can do so much better.

The last two games have been good performances but no one can deny we lack in the final third of the pitch and now we have the foundations both at the back and in the centre of midfield this is the area that Mauricio Pellegrino will want to improve on in this game.

On paper he perhaps wil not have a better chance, Stoke have not had the best start defensively and with so many central defenders out on Saturday we have the opportunity to find our shooting boots.

The manager is confident that it is not the lack of strikers that is costing us in front of goal butthe quality of the final ball and i do agree with him, but I think that now we have Lemina in midfield this will help a lot to give us more time on the ball going forward and instill confidence in Tadic and Redmond to start to play as well as we have seen them in the past.

These are the two key player in this game, if they can produce their best form then the chances will be created and will start to become more frequent, better quality and a better conversion rate.

Mauricio Pellegrino has hinted that he might go with a back three, certainly this would enable him to bring back Van Dijk and push Bertrand and Cedric further forward, it would also allow him to put in an extra man behind the main striker, either someone like Ward Prowse who can pass a ball, or even Gabbiadini or Austin as a deeper lying striker.

Certainly with Stoke's injury issues and indifferent start to the season this could be a good time to try this out.

As I said this is a game that will go a long way to showing Saints fans that the team can match previous seasons, certainly a sizeable minority need their faith in the team restored, a good win at Stoke will go a long way towards doing that.

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halftimeorange added 19:35 - Sep 29
I just don't see Redmond as the answer to ending our goal drought although I'd love to be proved wrong. As for Tadic, I remember him being called "Mr Assist" on Sky but, then we had Pelle. Our lack of height in attack is killing us and it's not helped by any of our attacking midfielders consistently failing to beat the first man with their crossing. I certainly agree with others that we need to try two strikers and if Van Dijk happens to be one of them (as has been suggested by another poster earlier this week on this site) I would applaud the experiment. As far as experiments go we won't see too many involving youngsters because the fear of losing (and, therefore, losing the club money) is breeding a raft of cautious managers. Van Dijk is likely to be useful wherever he plays.

SaintBrock added 19:55 - Sep 29
In the training videos Jack Stephens always seems to finish well with good strength to shrug off tackles. If he cannot get a game at the back why not try him as an AM, he reads the game well and is quick with two good feet?

steve73 added 00:28 - Sep 30
Stoke aren't just there for the taking. I think they're still a good (if unlikable) side and far too easily underestimated. I rarely predict defeat for us even if it defies common sense...but I think they're gonna grind out an ugly one. I hope not because I think a lot of people are on the verge of going into meltdown.

Whatever happens we'll know a hell of a lot more about our team and manager after this game.

steve73 added 00:34 - Sep 30
Oh..and no disrespect meant to other posters but..VVD as a striker and Stephens as AM?? Behave.

aceofthebase added 10:19 - Sep 30
steve73 .. No disrespect either but didn't Gareth Bale play at left back for Saints.

steve73 added 10:47 - Sep 30
Absolutely and I'm not against trying players out in different positions, Stephens clearly has quality on the ball. But I think people are starting to get a bit panicky about the lack of goals and looking for increasingly whacky solutions. We just need to tough it out, I'm sure the manager is moving us forward and the goals will come. Square pegs in round holes won't fix anything.

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