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Saints At Watford The Preview
Friday, 12th Jan 2018 15:53

Saints make the relatively short trip up to Watford knowing that defeat would leave them in real relegation trouble.

There can be no doubt that this is a very important game for Saints, win it and we move clear of the bottom three and also drag Watford back into our sights, but losing it is unthinkable.

The problem for Mauricio Pellegrino is that his incompetence in selections and substitutions cost us dearly when we had a full squad to pick from and then when injuries bit deep it meant that he paid the price for not getting the points in the bag earlier.

There are many screaming and shouting about Saints predicament, but the main thing is to remain clam, Saints have the squad to pull clear, they are in this position not because the club is badly run, not invested money in the squad or are short on quality, but because we have made individual errors at key moments, of course mistakes will always be made, but I don't think I have ever seen so many soft goals given away in a single season.

This all being the case the solution is simple, we just need to be focused, not lose our concentration and then it comes down to the manager to make the right tactical decisions.

We will hopefully have Wesley Hoedt back on Saturday, he is key, with him in the side we have a truly Premier League quality central defender who can win balls and read the game, without him in our current squad we dont, as the goals conceded at St Mary's alone have shown in recent weeks.

So if Pellegrino can put out a stronger defence, get the midfield right then we can at least match our performance at Old Trafford only two weeks ago and get a point, if we can keep it tight and then get a few chances there is no reason why we can't win.

Personally I would hope that the manager's team would line up something like this.


Stephens, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand.

Still not the strongest back four in this division, but the best we can put out assuming we do not want to risk Soares.

In midfield I would use a central trio of

Romeu, Lemina, Hojbjerg.

As strong as most outside of the top six.

Wide it would be for me Sofiane Boufal & James Ward Prowse.

A combination of the flare of Boufal and the ball playing of JWP.

Up front Shane Long has worked hard in the past few weeks and deserves to start.

On the bench we then have.

Forster, Tadic, Redmond, Davis, Gabbiadini.

These five are good options to have and offer us chances to change and win the game from the bench.

The last two places are a little more difficult as we are not sure who will and won be fit.

We need cover at full back so at least one from Soares/Pied and McQueen plus we might also feel we need to cover the central defensive spot, although we could move Stephens, so I would perhaps expect Bednarek to get one spot.

Make no bones this is a vital game, I do not think that winning it or losing it will change the managers position in the Boards eyes, I think by now they know the problems and know what needs to be done, however a defeat will cause meltdown in the fanbase, a very large proportion of whom have lost faith in the manager, if Saints lose to Watford that percentage will grow.

But patence is needed tomorrow, the travelling support have been magnificent all season, they need to be again and stay behind the team right to the end.

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Sanguin added 15:58 - Jan 12
Three defensive midfielders seems way too defensive to me. I don't think Lemina is in form either.

LordDZLucan added 16:31 - Jan 12
Nick, I think you must have shares in Hoedt because in your eyes he is the answer to all of our problems. Personally, I think our problems are further up the pitch and largely down to Pellegrino's insistence on only playing one upfront. I would play two up top; Long to win the balls in the air and hold the ball up and Gabbiadini to feed off him.

skiptonsaint added 16:33 - Jan 12
I predict 1 - 1 , just enough good bits in the performance for MP to limp on

aceofthebase added 17:24 - Jan 12
Hoedt has cost us a game yet you see him as a class player. The difference between central defenders is marginal. More of a reason as to why we are in this predicament is the lack of goals scored rather than goals conceded and that is the fault of all the team and not just the lone player up front.

I just wish we had a mobile athletic giant of a forward to boss and trouble a defence

petedoors1 added 17:38 - Jan 12
Day 12 and Still No Incoming Players

FARESAINT added 18:06 - Jan 12
LordDZLucan is right, the problem is the single loan striker. Theres no need to spend on a defence when we have an ok one. No need to buy a striker as ours are fine. The problem is the service, we need, imho, a decent attacking midfielder who threatens and pushers back oppositions. One that opens up defences allowing our two strikers more freedom from defenders.

heroholmes1 added 18:35 - Jan 12
I like that team, it's back to basics, getting your best players on the pitch.
Mario's not in great form, but he's only had a handful of starts and I believe he can be a force driving at the opposition chipping in with a few goals.

SanMarco added 19:30 - Jan 12
Hoedt is now the best CB in the squad so should play. Personnel further up the field will probably decide the game. We got 4 at Watford last season....

larry12 added 12:36 - Jan 13
"ball playing of JWP." I had to spit out my coffee! He is an Italian soldier during WWII, retreat, retreat, go backwards, go backwards! Keep out of the way. Don't approach the enemy!

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