|Southampton 0 v 0 Burnley|
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 12th August 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Saints V Stoke City The Preview
Saturday, 3rd Mar 2018 08:44
This is yet another must win game for Saints, but in our position they all are till the end of the season.
Now is the time for calmness rather than panic in both the dressing room and the stands this afternoon, the fans are clamouring for two up front, but Mauricio Pellegrino has to balance that out by considering whether employing two strikers may cost us dearly be being swamped in midfield.
Likewise he also has to decide whether Josh Sims can take the pressure of starting a big game like this and produce the goods with all that weight of expectation from the crowd on his shoulders.
Sims has started only one game in the Premier League in his career plus another 8 off the bench, usually 10-20 minute cameo's at their longest.
For a flair player like Sims it is easy to make a couple of good runs in a short period of time and get the saliva flowing in the stands, but it is a different matter doing it consistently over 90 minutes.
Sims only start was against Everton on his debut and he looked good that day, but that game was 16 months ago.
Sims is an undoubted talent, but for both the player's sake and the team, the manager has to get this call right, will Sims be better employed as an impact player in this game than risk not getting into the game and being taken off and the fans getting on his back.
I therefore expect the manager to play it safe in this one and go with the tried and trusted so to speak.
I think the manager will feel that with Guido Carrillo leading the line he has the line up he needs and that in the last six games in the Premier League we have lost only once and gained 7 points in the process, add to that 3 wins in the FA Cup and we have built up some momentum to built on, I don't think he will risk that too much.
But this is a game that Pellegrino has to get it right, if he loses it we are in big trouble and it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, yes the board have backed him so far, but there will be a point where enough is enough and defeat against Stoke could well be that point.
So I expect little surprises in Pellegrino's starting XI, it is more likely to be the side that started the game at Burnley than the one that finished it, but his selection could well be the one that finishes him as the manager of Saints.
The message is as always in a relegation fight, the teams that hold their nerves and get momentum going with the fans behind them 100% is the team that stays up, the team that falls into chaos is the one that drops like a stone, remember this and if you want the players to do their bit then lets all do ours and encourage them.
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