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Southampton 0 v 0 Burnley
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 12th August 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Saints V Watford The Preview
Friday, 26th Jan 2018 14:00

Saints take on Watford only a fortnight after the controversial draw at Vicarage Road, but Mauricio Pellegrino has a dilemma.

Under normal circumstances Mauricio Pellegrino might be using this game to try and keep his side moving forwards, the win at Fulham in the 3rd round has provided some momentum and it has lead to two straight draws in the League, the first against this weekend's visitors in controversial style with a blatant handball costing Saints a vital three points and therefore condemning them to a spot in the relegation zone and the second a decent draw against top four side Tottenham.

But Pellegrino has the small issue of a relegation six pointer against Brighton looming only four days after this game, so will be keen not to pick up any silly injuries that might cost him dearly on Wednesday evening or indeed next Saturday at West Brom.

Therefore I think that he might mix and match his side a little, perhaps stopping short of total changes as in the same round last season when Saints were slaughtered by Claude Puel's decision to play a virtual reserve side against Arsenal, but not putting out his strongest side either.

Tommorrow Pellegrino has to find that happy balance, in goal he could opt to give Fraser Forster a run out, certainly Alex McCarthy has done well but in truth hasn't been convincing in the past two games, so a run out for Forster might be in order.

In defence Pellegrino has his weakest area, in that although he has quality in Soares, Hoedt and Bertrand, he cannot afford for any of them to get injured as he has little in the way of cover, I would expect him to mix and match in the back four, indeed it could be all change with a back four selected from Pied, Bednarek, Yoshida Stephens and McQueen.

In midfield Pellegrino has plenty of options so will almost certainly make changes, especially in the centre where he may rest one of the starting trio on Sunday, then he also has plenty of wide options as well, all of his midfield are experienced and can come in so he has options.

Up front does he keep faith with Gabbiadini or does he reinstate Shane Long who did so well up at Watford, or does he give Carrillo his debut ?

Personally I would keep faith with Gabbiadini if only to keep Long fit for Wednesday and I would have him joined on the bench by Carrillo, we need the new signing in the side as soon as possible and integrated with his team mates, I would keep him in reserv but look to give him a run out at the end to give him a taste of the pace of English football.

All in all Pellegrino has plenty of options with his only real worries being the lack of quality at the back and the lack of a replacement for Van Dijk in the transfer window is rather worrying.

We need to win this game to give us more confidence, but more importantly the manager needs to start to show he has the tactical nous to lead us forward, perhaps whilst Saints were chasing Carrillo it ironically kept Pellegrino in a job as his close connections would have played a part in enticing the striker, now he is signed, it could mean Saints might be ready to make a change if needed.

The start of a big week for Saints, by the end of it we all might feel a lot happier or conversely Pellegrino's position would surely be untenable.

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underweststand added 14:56 - Jan 26
OK... the Cup is the Cup, so even if we don't get a win..at least we don't lose 3 points.

I think he really must start with Gabbiadini, because his head is on the block now that Carrillo is on the books. Maybe not a start for Long, but why not Sims?...he was very impressive in his debut game last season. Have most of the experience on the bench,
Davis, Yoshida maybe Boufal too. I really don't know what to say about Redmond (?)

If it gets to HT with no score (?) unlikely in a Cup game, then we will see some changes after the hour mark if there are no goals.

Result , obviously a win would be good ..a good cup run is always a nice plus...2-0 (?)

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SanMarco added 15:42 - Jan 26
I await floods of comments disagreeing over the defence! Suffice to say a club with ambitions for the top 8 does not have Yoshi and Stephens as their FIRST CHOICE CBs. It is as simple as that.

Throwing the Arsenal game last season may have been backed by some of the connoisseurs on here but was a kick in the teeth for many fans and I think was a bad mistake by Puel. MP doesn't need another poor home performance so has to start reasonably strong. I think we should rest Hoedt, Cedric and Bertrand for this one + start with Gabby. Hopefully the weaknesses in centre of defence will not be costly as Watford are not confident at the moment. Having said that there is new manager syndrome...
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LordDZLucan added 16:48 - Jan 26
We need to wrap Yoshi in cotton wool for Wednesday so we can'tt play him. I'm sorry SanMarco but he is the best centre back we've got.
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scummerlou added 19:20 - Jan 26
Tough choice for MP.... cant pick up any injuries b4 wednesday night but cant afford a defeat with this small momentum we have, might turn the crowd again and we are back to square 1.
If we do change the defence, then I feel we should go with AM... need a keeper behind the back 4 that has got some confidence from his recent run... not sure FF behind a makeshift back 4 is a sensible option. Play Maya at CB +1( save Wes and JS for the Glenn Murray treatment on wed )
Midfield has to include SD with ML for me... when ML and OR play together it seems to affect OR game.... PEH has been our best mid for a few games now and definetly save for Wed.
Up top... not sure what the value of playing MG if we are not going to play to his strengths... he is more suited to clever 10 feeding him in ,not as a target man.
Decisions Decisions all over the park...
COYRS
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skiptonsaint added 19:53 - Jan 26
We can't risk many of the first choice options at the back but we have midfield options and in attack.

Why not play an attacking game ? Entertain the crowd and maybe a couple of goals for people who might then go on a run ...ie Sims ?

Bring the new guy on for the last 10 minutes as well ..
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SanMarco added 20:08 - Jan 26
Well Lord Lucan if you are right then we really are fecked...
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DorsetIan added 08:18 - Jan 27
Watford have also got a six-pointer on Weds night, away at Stoke, so let’s see how much they mess about with their team. For me, priority no.1 is to keep the positive momentum going from the last two games, so not too many changes please, and an attacking mind set. Looking forward to a goof game.
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