Saints At Burnley The Preview
Friday, 9th Aug 2019 08:17
Saints meet Burnley on the opening day for the second year running, however this time it is up in Lancashire rather than the South Coast.
Saints travel to Burnley full of confidence after an unbeaten pre season, but this is the Premier League and the results will count for nothing come 3pm at Turf Moor.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's squad is improved from last season so the hope is that if he can get the results that he achieved in the second half of the season over a full 38 games then this should not be one of struggle and indeed could be one of once again a finish in the top 10.
In terms of selection most would agree that the side will virtually pick itself in all but one position, with the big question being what formation will the manager employ.
Many would assume that it will be a 3 - 2 - 3 - 2 line up, probably his most popular choice last term, if that is the case then the big question will be who partners Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard in the back three, will it be Wesley Hoedt who has featured in pre season or will he have to go with either Jack Stephens or Maya Yoshida.
That would then see Ryan Bertrand and Yan Valery employed as wing backs, with a central 3 and 2 up front.
However with the arrival of Che Adams this causes selection headaches in fitting both two out of three from Danny Ings, Che Adams and Nathan Redmond, therefore there could be a subtle change made and it may line up more 3-2-2-1-2 .
That would see a back 3, the 2 wing backs and a central 2 of probably Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and James Ward Prowse, that would then free up Nathan Redmond to play behind the strikers in a more free flowing role and then Adams and Ings up front.
The big plus though will be the options available to the manager off the bench, attacking wise he will have Moussa Djenepo Shane Long, Sofiane Boufal and possibly Michael Obafemi, Stuart Armstrong, and Oriol Romeo in midfield and Cedric and a central defensive player.
This is perhaps where Saints will start to win games late on, we have options off the bench in all areas especially attacking where too often last term our 3 main options Ings, Austin & Long were too often injured and we struggled going forward.
Now we have options and more to the point they are contrasting options, so the manager can change the pattern of the game rather than just changing like for like.
So Saints can go into this season with confidence with a squad that the manager can mould into the style that he wants.
Burnley has not been a lucky ground for us of late, now would be a good time to take all three points, a rare occurrence on the opening day in the Premier League, something we have only done twice in the last two decades and truly start to show that the shoots of recovery that emerged last season are growing and growing fast.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #48 by wessex_exile
“And now the end is near, and so we face the final curtain…regrets, we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Not quite right Paul Anka, probably more than a few, but otherwise a fair assessment of where the U’s are today. It’ll be interesting to see how we perform with the relegation monkey finally off their back – I’m not expecting miracles, particularly with Tranmere needing at least a point to guarantee making the play-offs, but they’ll certainly be more nervous than we will be, so can we make that count? This will be my last blog of the season, and not yet sure what I may or may not do for next season, but suggestions are always welcome.
Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
Here we are, at the penultimate game of the season, and our last game in front of the cardboard U’s faithful at the JobServe. It has been a long, difficult, and definitely strange season, which frankly I’ll be glad to see the back of. That’ll we’ll be here again in August is definitely going to be something to celebrate, but I suspect we’re facing a summer of significant rebuilding both on the pitch, and possibly off it too. I won’t be the only one, but the biggest oddity for me has been being able to watch every single game – not always easy viewing, but something I’ve never done before, and probably never will again. But it doesn’t really make up for not being there in person, the long train journey away-days, meeting fellow U’s and other supporters, and of course sharing a beer or three. Fingers-crossed we can return to the terraces in 2021/22.
Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
That was quite a week for us all then. In the space of four short but remarkably tense days we have gone from having to take shoes and socks off to check how many more points we need to guarantee survival, or whether we would even achieve it, to breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we’re almost there. But close of play this afternoon, whether by our own actions or the failure of others, I am sure survival will be confirmed. Of course, Tuesday night not only all but guaranteed it, it also virtually condemned local rivals Southend United to non-league football for the foreseeable. Looking at the host of fully professional former football league sides currently battling it out for the two promotion slots out of the National league (including Hartlepool, Torquay, Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County), it is not going to be a walk in the park for Southend to return any day soon.
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
[ Vote here ]