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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