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Southampton 1 v 1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Barclays Premier League
Thursday, 16th July 2020 Kick-off 20:00
Saints V Brighton The Preview
Thursday, 16th Jul 2020 10:29

We have yet to beat Brighton at home in the Premier League, can we break that record and in doing so push ourselves closer to a top 10 finish.

We have a poor record at home to Brighton of late, our away record is much better, both Premier League games so far have seen draws and although we beat them 3-0 in our promotion season from the Championship, our two games in League One against them saw another draw and a defeat.

Even back in the late 70's early 90's when we had a burst of playing them in both Division One & Two the record was two Saints wins, one Brighton win and two draws, so we could do with beating them this evening to help balance things up a bit.

A win tonight would see us on 48 points, only 3 behind Burnley in 10th, although the Lancashire side have to remain favourites for that position with Norwich away and ironically Brighton at home as their final two fixtures. Likewise Everton host Aston Villa tonight followed by Sheffield United and finally Bournemouth at home.

So 10th is a tough ask, but if we win tonight it is still a possibility and depending on how results go could almost guarantee 12th a position we would have all taken at the start of December.

This shows just how far we have come and that we have many things to look forward to next season with a couple of good signings, but it is one step at a time and first things first and that is beating Brighton.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has already talked about the tiredness in the squad, so it is likely that there will be changes made, his pre match comments made me think that perhaps we might make a change at right back, Kevin Danso could be a wild card choice and certainly one of the midfield positions, up front I would expect to see either Obafemi or Shane Long get a start in place of Che Adams.

Considering changes highlights just where we are weak, at the back we have literally no other options we would feel comfortable with replacing any of the four who played the last game, yet in midfield and up front we have plenty of options.

My worry is that this game will be like many of the others that we have lost at St Mary's, we will have plenty of possession but we will get caught on the break, the Seagulls don't score many on the road but they don't concede many either and that is why playing away suits us best at the moment, we can sit and hold and then break ourselves.

Brighton arrive on 36 points, they are probably already safe, but they will still be looking over their shoulders and knowing tonight is the night that they can put all worries out of the way and make mathematically certain they are playing in the Premier League next season and can relax in the final two games.

This is why we need to win, we need to keep them needing to make sure, their final two games are against Newcastle the team just below us and Burnley who we are chasing in 10th, by beating them we give them something to play for, not to mention ourselves having a sniff at 10th.

I'm not going to keep repeating my usual warnings, they keep coming true with predictability, we can't change anything this season I just hope we do so once the transfer window opens, sadly I think we will fall just short of 10th and will rue those errors.

But on the whole this has been a positive restart for Saints, we just need to keep things going this season and then we can look forward to the next with positivity, Ralph Hasenhuttl has sorted out many problems this season, I have faith he can sort out the final few issues and the future is bright.

Photo: Action Images

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highfield49 added 11:36 - Jul 16
"I'm not going to repeat my usual warnings" but I can't resist hinting that our central defenders are rubbish. Give it a break Nick.
As for team changes against Brighton I'd think Smallbone and PEH are likely starters. Personally I'd rest Ings and have Adams starting with Long or Obafemi. The right back choice is the one area for me that needs some creativity, whilst JWP could do a job there I think he could do with an evening off as well as Ings. Obviously an ideal time to have given Valery a run out if he was fit but Danso seems to be the likely solution. Assuming Bertrand starts I'd like Vokins to get a run out in the second half if we have control of the game.

TimSaint added 12:06 - Jul 16
City put 5 past them in their last game - so as we are at home, we should be looking to do the same. Start with the strongest side possible, then make up to 5 changes as the game progresses, so we are ready to win at and relegate Bournemouth.
I don't feel safe with Danso on the pitch - especially at Right Back, where he had an absolute 'mare off the bench there at Wolves away.
As I said, start strong, then introduce the likes of Smallbone, Long, Oba/Adams, or even PEH and Vestergaard if the game is safe !! :-)

wibbersda added 12:37 - Jul 16
I see you are starting to back off just a little bit now on the defense. Did you see Liverpool last night? Even the best defender in the Prem makes mistakes.

Waylander added 13:24 - Jul 16
I think Vestergaard may get a start tonight to counter their threat from set pieces.

Colburn added 13:29 - Jul 16
Agree with Highfield, give it a break. You have not been proved right whatsoever, but keep dreaming Nick. Some people just don't agree with your view and constant daily beration of the same people. I find your desperation to be right about this quite disturbing as you use this platform as often as possible to blow your own trumpet, which sounds like its in dire need of tuning..
Again, I find these daily attacks to be cowardly and more importantly, imbalanced.

SonicBoom added 13:42 - Jul 16
If you guys think our centre backs are good enough then I really don't know what games you watch. They seem like decent likeable guys but we've has a soft centre for several seasons now. It started in the cup final when Ibrahimovic was left totally unmarked to head in from 5 yards and it's not got a lot better.
The players have had a break longer than pre-season so I'd play them all. There's not many games left.

saintmark1976 added 15:47 - Jul 16
All I hope is that for the sake of Nick’s health neither of our centre backs ever make an error anything like “the best defender in the world” did yesterday evening.

If I were a Bournemouth fan I would be very interested in our team selection tonight.Players rested would indicate that we were really going for the win on Sunday rather than perhaps doing them a neighbourly favour?

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