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Southampton 1 v 2 Crystal Palace
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday, 2nd January 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Saints V Crystal Palace The Preview
Tuesday, 2nd Jan 2018 12:05

The proverbial six pointer, Saints win it and they shoot up the table to 12th and 5 points clear of the frop zone, but if they lose it then it is a big worry.


Saints have to go out and show the fight they showed at Old Trafford, however as great a result as it was in the home of the devil himself, we have to also recognise that it was not a perfect performance and could so easily have turned into a glorious defeat as it did at Stamford Bridge, lapses in concentration could have cost us dearly on Saturday, we have to make sure that they do not happen again tonight.

This is a big game for the manager, the fans have been calling for his head of late, but the board have kept quiet and rightly so, we do not want to go down the line of panic everytime something is not going well, Pellegrino has to be given time to show that he is or isn't the man to take us foward.

Having said that if we fail to win tonight that will make it 9 games without a win and indeed only 2 wins in 17 games since we beat the Eagles up at Selhurst Park back in September, to be blunt this is not acceptable, Mauricio Pellegrino has to get his show on the road and fast, if he were to fail to win tonight then it is hard to see that he can continue going forward, indeed even if he was to win it would still leave many question marks over his management, it would perhaps only paper over the cracks.

Sadly Pellegrino has made too many errors in recent months and they are all coming home to roost now with injuries and suspensions etc working against him, there is a big gap between today's game and the next Premier League fixture at Watford, plenty of time to make change if deemed necessary.

But Saints stil have the team to win this one, it just needs the manager to be able to put out the right side, to recognise the players that are doing well and keep them in the side.

At the back there is not much to choose, Alex McCarthy will surely keep his place and in the back line he does not have much option for change, the only question will be if Ryan Bertrand is fit to return, if he is with respect to both Matt Targett and Sam McQueen who have both deputised well in his absence, then he has to play.

In midfield it is more difficult, both Hojbjerg and Romeu were outstanding at Old Trafford, they have to stay in, but does he keep in JWP to hold the ball and pass it or does he bring back Mario Lemina.

Dusan Tadic and Sofiane Boufal likwise deserve to stay in the team, however i have a feeling that one might be rested and Nathan Redmond come back in, if only to negate the pace down the flanks that Palace have.

Up front it is difficult, Shane Long did superbly against United as the lone striker, he is better suited to this role than Manolo Gabbiadini, so I would expect him to keep his place, although as we now know "expect" is not a word that you can associate with Pellegrino's team selections.

So again the key could well be who is on the bench and can they change the game, sadly our attacking options are limited and that could be a problem.

This is a must win game, as i keep saying we are not a bad side, indeed if we had just held on against Arsenal and Huddersfield in our last two home games instead of gifting them soft goals then we would now be 11th and looking at a win tonight to push us up to 9th.

Of course that is all ifs and buts, but that tells us the story of the season, we are not far off where we want to be and that is in the top 10, we have been the architects of our own downfall too many times this season, too many goals have been down to poor marking and we can't keep doing that, at Manchester united we got away with it, as we found against Burnley, Arsenal & Huddersfield in our last three out of our last four home games we cannot keep giving people free headers and expect to keep clean sheets.

So tonight has to be about positivity, from the manager, from the players and just as importantly from the supporters, this has to be one of those games that turns a season and turns it in the right direction.

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underweststand added 12:18 - Jan 2
All the main facts made clear here. If we fail to get all 3 points tonight, then we will be down amongst the " dead and dying " at the foot of the table.
Clearly we are not a "bad side" and I understand that MP has to try all the alternatives until he gets results, but the real pressure is on our strike force who have been "blunted " by quite a few defences and their share of shots against the wood work.

Surely Long, Gabbiadini and Boufal must strat scoring again SOON...and let us some some really constructive play fron Redmond please.
There may be some exciting buys /loans on the horizon, but a loss today would put everyone under severe pressure.
2

schatfield added 12:24 - Jan 2
bit worried about Zaha tonight.......hope he is properly man marked throughout or he could have a field day
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Sanguin added 12:25 - Jan 2
We have to win. They have a defensive crisis with Dann and Sakho injured, in previous years that would make me feel extremely confident but currently I'm worried we won't score.

I expect Redmond to start after being rested. Lemina may come in with fresher legs, but Hojbjerg is the best of the three for me currently. I really hope Bertrand is fit, we're really missing his and Soares' industry down the flanks.
0

SanMarco added 13:04 - Jan 2
I expect MP will go if things go badly tonight. Palace are a tougher proposition than Huddersfield so defensive lapses must be avoided. Just imagine Bentenke unmarked from a cross. Last year we went 1-0 down in this one and came back to win - I hope we are strong enough to do that tonight if we need to. Bertrand back would be great. This will be called a 'must win' but defeat wont mean we are going down but it would show that we need big changes during the Jan window.
3

bstokesaint added 13:16 - Jan 2
This is a massive game. This is likely to determine whether we will be facing a relegation fight or pushing for something greater than mid-table. I think MP’s future hinges on this game and consequently our ‘ambition’ (in terms of who we would bring in) hangs on this. I also think that the £75 ‘reinvestment’ depends on tonight’s result. Will we try and strengthen with proven journeymen and think short-term or will we think we’re too good for this nonsense and that we’re underperforming and therefore let’s bring in 3-4 quality players and motivate/lift the current team?
The cynical side of me says if we can’t beat the likes of Palace then we have no chance of staying up and don’t deserve to. There’s no point in following up a fantastic point at OT with a lousy performance at home against a poor team. And I’m already agitated by the use of the word “rested”. Please give performing teams that get result a chance to repeat performances without making wholesale changes and messing that all up. It still amazes me that professionals of yesteryear could manage long seasons, often playing every game, and today’s footballer gets knackered after 90 minutes. Overpaid and pampered comes to mind.
2

Consigliere added 13:42 - Jan 2
Another thread on this site suggested that the supporters really need to get behind the team this evening, and I would agree although I don't know whether the evidence shows that the mood of the crowd can directly affect the performance of the players on the pitch. There is an interesting experiment to be had here as to whether a supportive or hostile reaction from the home fans has any correlation with the players' performance on the pitch. We all think that it does, and intuitively, you would expect that to be the case, but it would be interesting to see some scientific research on the point.

There is a Psychology PhD in there for someone up at the University!
2

SonicBoom added 14:28 - Jan 2
I'm certainly worried about being in the frop zone........
2

DorsetIan added 15:51 - Jan 2
April last season we had a tough run in to look forward to and a loss at home to Palace (another evening game) would have left us looking nervously over our shoulders. We won it 3-1 and followed up with a win away at West Brom, all of which settled the nerves nicely. Let's see if we can do that again tonight!!

MP under huge pressure. Board etc must be thinking about whether they need to bring someone else in before they start spending the VVD £. Good luck MP.
2

aceofthebase added 17:03 - Jan 2
Play him he scored the last match, play him he is well rested., play him he had a good game last match, don't play him or him he is always useless, apart from that game a few weeks ago. Play both him and him but not him and him.

Poor old MP if he doesn't play him and instead plays him and we don't win then we can all say why the heck didn't we play him, him, him, him etc

Who would want to be manager of Saints! I just hope that we are all singing from the same Hymn sheet.
-1

petedoors1 added 21:57 - Jan 2
PELLEGRINO MUST GO, KRUEGER MUST GO AND REED MUST GO.


1

aceofthebase added 22:03 - Jan 2
The team sat back after being in control, how the manager gets the blame beats me. The players are to blame and it's the same ones for the last two years.
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