|Manchester United 0 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 30th December 2017 Kick-off 17:30
Saints At Manchester United The Preview
Saturday, 30th Dec 2017 13:39
On the face of it Saints dont stand much chance at Old Trafford, but can they start to show that a corner has been turned with the departure of Virgil Van Dijk.
For the first time in a while Saints don't appear to have anyone who is counter productive to the cause in the camp and this afternoon we will soon find out just how much of a disruptive influence Virgil Van Dijk was to the rest of the squad.
Certainly his former team mates seemed to like Van Dijk and appreciated his cntribution to the team, at least till recently, but footballers know when a player is not giving his all or not and they will not have been impressed by his perfrormances and lack of effort this season, to such a point that the club felt that the point had been reached were it was better just to get rid of him and indeed remove him from the squad, shades of Jose Fonte, who continues to snipe at a club that did nothing wrong to him other than to cave in to his demands when he got too big for his boots.
So the first thing we will find out at Old Trafford is whether Van Dijk had really become such a disruptive influence.
The second thing we will discover is whether Mauricio Pellegrino can now rally his squad and more importantly make the right team selections.
The problem for Pellegrino is whether he has failed to such an extent that the board consider it can't be turned round, also just as he needs all hands to the pump, he has seen what should have been his best player depart, his top scorer injured and two key defenders out injured, that is a big loss for him.
Thi game therefore is somewhat of a free hit, we need to get it out of the way and then we can worry about the second half of the season with a clean sheet and look to get back on track.
Pellegrino's team selections will be crucial, he has to get them right, he has got too many wrong.
I read plenty of comments on social media about how Les Reed has taken us into chaos, the truth is that our expectations have risen above what is acheivable, ambition is bandied about as if merely saying you can do something is good enough and that unless you state that you are going to win the league then you are not ambitious.
Reed will point to Saints League positions since our return to the Premier League as testimony of the good job he has done and he is right, but past success is in the past, it is also about now and Reed has to lead from the front and make some key decisions.
So whatever happens today needs to be forgotten, the big game is against Crystal Palace on Tuesday and then going forward, next year and the first four months are crucial, today is a game that we can do little about, but on Monday the clock is ticking, signings need to be made, decsions need to be made and more importantly points need to be gained.
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