|Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Monday, 23rd November 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Preview
Monday, 23rd Nov 2020 11:55
It seems like an eternity since our last game when we beat Newcastle United to go top of the Premier League albeit briefly, but here we are 17 days later travelling to Wolves knowing a win will propel us into 3rd place only a point behind Tottenham Hotspur & Liverpool.
Saints will travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers this evening stuck in the middle of a traffic jam, not on the M6 but in the Premier League where they could be as high as 3rd by the end of the evening or as low as 7th on 16 points but with 5 teams below us all within 3 points, not to mention Manchester City who are on 12 points with a game in hand.
But we can go there with confidence, firstly knowing that we have players back from injury, Ryan Bertrand should return at right back in the starting line up as well as the likes of Jake Vokins and Will Smallbone who will also return to the squad after injury.
It may seem a long time ago but we are a team in form having won our last three games in a row for the first time in 4 1/2 years and now we look to win a 4th straight Premier League game, a win if achieved will show that we truly do mean business this season.
Wolves have been the surprise side of the last two seasons since their promotion to the Premier League in 2018, but this season they went off track a little at the start losing their first three Premier League fixtures.
Since then they have been a little more mixed in their fortunes, they have achieved wins notably 4-0 at West Ham, but other victories have been more predictable as in the 2-0 win over Fulham with their last outing being a 1-0 defeat at Leicester.
So we can go there with confidence, however they will be keen to win this game and draw level with us on points and more to the point win it by 3 clear goals and jump above us, we start the day in 5th, they in 12th but such is that traffic jam in the Premier League they could be above us this evening.
Since last season they have lost a couple of key players and like us many comparisons can be drawn, Diogo Jota went to Liverpool for £31 million and Matt Doherty for Spurs and they have also a number of players out on loan.
Overall though they have still spent a lot more then they have raked in but they have not seemed to have found the team spirit of the past couple of seasons.
Another factor will be that they have had so many away on International duty, this has left them little time to prepare as most have not returned to the club until Friday, also for a team where their results are based on a strong defence , the rock of which is Conor Coady, they have been rocked by the fact that the England defender has had to self isolate due to coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, although Coady has not contracted the disease himself he has been in self isolation since the 12th November and from that perspective will not have been able to train.
With only Danny Ings missing through injury, Ralph Hasenhuttl will have a lot of options to choose from, but I don't expect him to vary much from the side that beat Newcastle.
Ryan Bertand will come back in at right back with the only other question being who plays in front of him, Moussa Djenepo was good against the Magpies and is great going forward, but is not so hot defensively, that could mean a return for Nathan Redmond who has a good partnership with Ryan Bertrand, alternatively Ralph could move Theo Walcott back to the wing and perhaps give a rare start to Shane Long up front with Che Adams.
Either way he has options including a change of formation perhaps bringing in Ibrahima Diallo for a full debut in a central midfield trio and playing James Ward Prowse in a more forward role with just Che Adams up front.
But we should remember this is a team with spirit, as was shown at Chelsea it is not finished if it goes a goal or two down, it will fight to the final minute and from this perspective Ralph will have options from the bench whatever way the starting line up is shaped.
As I mentioned Saints can go there with confidence, but the truth is we will not win every game, there is a long way to go this season and every side is losing games, we need to just keep doing what we are doing and appreciate that we will win some or lose some, but overall we need to take every game as it comes and then not take that result in isolation, I have always looked at a season being in 3 game tranches, it is how many points you should be aiming to get out of each 3 game run, for the upcoming trio of games against Wolves, Man Utd & Brighton, a 5 point haul would be a par score, a 3 or 4 point haul would be disappointing but not a disaster and anything above 5 success.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #28 by wessex_exile
It’s difficult to think about quite how to write this editorial, without appearing mawkish. On Sunday 17th February 671 people succumbed to coronavirus, with the 7-day average creeping just above 1,000 deaths. On that day, one of those was someone very dear to me, who died in Watford General Hospital of Covid-19 pneumonia. Idiots and conspiracy-theorists will tell you there’s no plague, or that masks infringe their civil liberties, or some other form of spurious non-science bullsh*t, so do me a favour – if they say this to you, please punch them on the f’cking nose for me, and say that’s from Wessex – thank you.
Letters from Wiltshire #27 by wessex_exile
Welcome to 2021, and hopefully a vaccine-driven start to a much better year for everyone – which as you can guess was going to be my introduction two weeks ago. From a selfish perspective, hopefully an improved year for the U’s as well that sees us cement at the very least a play-off spot, but why stop there – don’t mess around with the lottery of play-offs, go straight for it with automatic promotion (who am I kidding). First up in that quest is a tough match against Tranmere Rovers Cambridge United, and no longer with Chuck to help us out. Still, set up for Jevani to put one over on his former club.
Letters from Wiltshire #26 by wessex_exile
Well, after a piss-poor Xmas period so far for the U’s, culminating in the Roots Hall horror show on Boxing Day, let’s hope the U’s have burned off those festive calories and are raring to go. They’ll certainly have to be at their best against a Cheltenham side aiming to force their way into the automatic promotion places. In other news, we now finally have confirmation that there will be a trade deal in place with the EU once Brexit arrives in 2021. It remains to be seen whether it’s a good deal or not, and more to the point, who for, but at least it’s not the economic uncertainty of no-deal.
Letters from Wiltshire #25 by wessex_exile
A little earlier than usual, but as we approach the end of what has been a most difficult year for everyone, I’ll keep the introductory editorial brief, as I’m sure you will all be very busy in the coming days rescuing what you can from this pandemic-ravaged festive period. I simply wish you all peace on earth, goodwill to all (yes, even our South Essex cousins), and here’s to a happy, prosperous and most importantly healthy 2021 for us all.
Letters from Wiltshire #24 by wessex_exile
Welcome to our last match before Christmas. With South Essex going into Tier 3, by the time we take to the pitch at Roots Hall, it’ll be another behind-closed-doors match. With the Tier 3 boundary creeping inexorably closer, one wonders how long the JobServe will hold out and still be able to allow fans to attend. Robbie is doing all he can to make it possible for supporters to attend, and I confess I’m seriously considering our January 2nd match against Tranmere. In other news, I’m relieved to read that the FA will not take disciplinary action against Colchester United after a shameful minority chose to boo players and officials taking the knee, in the words of the EFL “as they highlight the inequality and injustice experienced by the Black Community”. I noticed a tiny minority chose to boo at our mid-week match at the Abbey Stadium, but I was pleased to hear they were immediately drowned out by the remainder of the 2,000 cheering and applauding. I admit I’m a little anxious about today…
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