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Southampton 2 v 1 Norwich City
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 4th December 2019 Kick-off 19:30
Saints V Norwich The Preview
Wednesday, 4th Dec 2019 09:44

This is a biggie not just for Saints but for Norwich City as well, if Saints can win then they could move out of the bottom four and bring the rest of the pack in front into the relegation dogfight.

Watford was a very important game, by beating them we gave the supporters hope again and now we have to consolidate those three points by gaining another set in quick succession.

This means another gutsy performance where we never give up either on or off the field, on Saturday for a long period it did not look good with plenty of possession but little imagination and real chances to the final 15 minutes and it is going to be the same again tonight.

Our expectations need to be realistic, we know what the issues are they cannot be changed overnight, we are not going to suddenly become a great all round team who can defend like Trojans and tear sides apart, but we can be a side that gets points through sheer determination, if we can keep the opposition out then we have plenty of match winners in the side.

So this game will not be for the purists, it will see defensive mistakes, but we have to hope that like Saturday we don't get punished much or even at all.

Against Watford the best thing was the spirit showed by the players in keeping going even when things weren't going well and for some the harder they tried the less it came off.

Tonight I don't think Ralph will deviate much from the starting line up from the weekend, but I think he will make a change or two.

At the back there is a case for Yan Valery to be restored at right back in some fans minds but I have to say that I didn't think Cedric had as bad a game as some would have you believe, the major chances that the Hornets had were not down to him and I would say that Ryan Bertrand struggled more than Cedric in marking.

The only other change for the manager to consider is Michael Obafemi, the youngster has pace, that cannot be denied, but he is yet to show either the skill or finishing of Djenepo and he is at a crossroads in his career at present.

This will be perhaps the one change in the side if any, but who would Ralph replace him with, perhaps the time to throw in Che Adams could be tonight, the summer signing from Birmingham has talent, but earlier in the season couldn't buy a goal, perhaps after a rest that could change.

Sofiane Boufal would have been an obvious swap for Obafemi, but he has his toe problem, personally I think he is more effective coming off the bench for a late power play as happened on Saturday and I would expect that again tonight.

Other than these potential changes I think the team will be pretty much the same, I was surprised to see Nathan Redmond, James Ward Prowse & Pierre Emile Hojbjerg get so much stick after the game, yes Redmond did not have a great game, everything he tried failed to come off, but good players have off games and this was one of his, but he is potentially our best player as he proved last season and earlier in this, form is temporary class is permananent.

Hojbjerg plays a role that earns little plaudits, he is the carryer, get the ball carry it and then move it on, hs job isn't to create but get the ball to those who can, he will perhaps only be appreciated by some when he is gone.

Finally James Ward Prowse, for some he will never be any good, yet this season he has been a consistent performer despite being played in several different positions, out of our 15 League goals he has scored 4 of them, he is the one player in the team who can pick a pass and open up sides, yet he is often the most maligned.

So tonight is going to be once again about getting behind the team and every player in it and for the full 90 minutes, they showed on Saturday they will not lose spirit, not lose hope and not give up till the final whistle and that has to be the same for the supporters, as long as their is still a chance of a win or a point then we all should be there to see it and if necessary will the ball into the net if nothing else.

As older supporters know from the 1990's if we are to survive then we need a siege mentality, at the moment we have backed ourselves into a corner with fans leaving the game at half time on Saturday or midway in the second half, we have talked ourselves into a losing mentality, created a negative vibe in the stands and this has to stop.

Saturday was the lowest crowd at St Mary's for a Premier League match for a long time, from memory there has only been one lower and that was back in 2001 for a Monday televised game in our first season.

But this was as good an atmosphere as any other game this season, football crowds are not always about numbers to create an atmosphere, sometimes when a crowd is low as on Saturday it means you have lost some of the negative elements in that crowd and I think that was the case against Watford, in the final quarter we had the hard core left willing to get behind the team and that helped.

I hate the Premier League and what it stands for, but I want my club to play at the highest level and that is this division, people talk about the good old days back in League 1, they were good fun but they weren't that good, ask the 16,402 who turned up to see Wycombe play at St mary's on a cold evening 10 years ago this very week, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

But now is now, football clubs go through good and bad times as was shown back then, when the team plays get behind them, this is not happy clapping it is called support.

Photo: Action Images

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perazi added 09:52 - Dec 4
I haven't seen Ward-Prowse "pick a pass and open up a side all season"....or ever. But you keep writing this stuff. There's a reason why so many people question his performances in the light of people like you who portray him as some sort of star player. If Ralph keeps playing a two man midfield with WP one of them, we are in a lot of trouble. It's the other area (in addition to CB) we are massively weak - midfield. Agree that PEH had a good game against Watford, and Redmond should be retained against his old Club. Boufal, Djenepo and Ings are the attacking players who can keep Saints afloat.

SaintNick added 10:46 - Dec 4
Ward Prowse is worth his place in the team, I have only been defending him in the last coupe of months because he is getting slagged off by some who will give him no credit whatsoever.

You are right he isnt picking passes or opening up sides because that isn't the way we play, we look to get the ball to our wide men to put in crosses, so for JWP he rarely has an opportunity to pick passes apart from out wide where you don't get the plaudits for doing so.

If you have never seen him pick a pass then you haven't been to many games, I remember a glorious one at Stoke one year when he found Jay Rodrigues to score, that one sticks in my memory there ar eothers.

A year ago I wasn't sticking up for him much, he had lost his way but he came back and played a full part last year in our revival, yet some like you give him no credit for that, in the last four games he has scored three times he has some consistency and getting back to form again, he has played well in each of those games.

He just seems to be a player that some will give no credit for

davidargyll added 11:50 - Dec 4
I am not a JWP fan but I really take my hat off to him for his goal at the weekend; and for that reason alone he deserves his place. Without it and the hand ball we would be plum bottom...

SaintPaulVW added 12:33 - Dec 4
Hope Ralph sticks with a standard formation with players playing in their correct positions.

We have something to build on from Saturday so too many changes shouldn't be needed. Che for Obafemi maybe. Valery for Cedric too.

Agree Boufal is best as a super sub atm. Hopefully he can build from this. Would like to see him in the team from the start but he needs to earn it.

JWP still an enigma. Was fairly useless for most of the game but gave us the win on Saturday. Got to stick with him imo.

Redmond hopefully will respond to the subbing on Saturday. Particularly against his old side.

Ings, Djenepo, McCarthy definitely all deserve their places. Peh and RB, probably just about as well

CB's - just wait for the next howler really. At least their confidence doesn't seem to dip after they drop the latest bolok.

I just wish we could game manage a bit better when we are in the lead at the end of the game. We seem to just line up in ranks and boot the ball forward at the first opportunity. We need to hold it in the opposition's half to use up the clock, not try to line up like obstacles on a pinball table and let the opposition have chance after chance.



sidsaint added 13:39 - Dec 4
Good to see JWP getting a bit of backing. Maybe it's his Pompey connections that understandably irritate some.I think he is a good club man, and with Danny Ings seems to be our main goalscorers. Better a safe pass than giving the ball away and many pundits rate his dead ball abilities. I hope Redmond responds to the manager's criticism as he really has the talent to turn a game when he puts his mind to it. 3 points tonight is what we all need to start a tough month.

BoondockSaint added 14:43 - Dec 4
JWP deserves a place on the team mainly because the rest of the players are not much better.

Yes he has scored in the last few games-but he is like a golfer who scores a hole in one every few tournaments. You marvel at the shot, amazed at how he got it just right, but forget that his drives, approaches and putts are generally wide of the mark. So you just watch and hope he can catch the lightning in a bottle.

I am happy he was able to score on the follow-up after missing the penalty because he would have really heard it from the fans. But having said that, he should not have been taking it in the first place.

I prefer him not taking corners, but hanging around the top of the box and pouncing on the ball as it bounces around in the area. He seems more productive there.

KriSaint added 17:58 - Dec 4
It would be stupid of Ralph not to put Adams back in the team tonight against a promoted team. Adams played very well vs the other promoted team that we have played against - Sheff. U. - and it was only very bad luck and a world class save that kept him from scoring in that game.
I think Adams WILL - finally - get his first PL goal tonight, against promoted opposition, if selected, and I hope Ralph has the balls and the brain to give him a start against a team that has conceded 30 goals in 14 games. We desperately need to get him to start scoring.

My starting line-up (4-2-2-2)
Valery, Bednarek, Danso, Bertrand
Djenepo, Redmond
Ings , Adams

aceofthebase added 18:46 - Dec 4
Valery not playing or in the Subs. Is he injured?

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