|Southampton 1 v 0 Arsenal|
Saturday, 23rd January 2021 Kick-off 12:00
|Southampton 1 v 0 Arsenal|
Saturday, 23rd January 2021 Kick-off 12:00
Southampton V Arsenal The FA Cup Preview
Saturday, 23rd Jan 2021 07:45
Southampton take on Arsenal in the 4th round of the FA Cup for the right to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ralph Hasenhuttl is taking it seriously so it is likely to be a changed side from the one that beat Shrewsbury a few days ago,
Arsenal might well have rallied since our draw at the Emirates a couple of months ago, but Saints can go into the game with no fear despite a number of injury worries.
It was a virtual reserve side against the Shrews, but that will change as Hasenhuttl will ring the changes.
In goal it will be interesting to see whether it is Fraser Forster or Alex McCarthy who starts, the latter is very much the number one keeper, but Ralph may want to conserve McCarthy for a couple of tough games coming up in the Premier League.
At right back Kyle Walker Peters will surely come back into the side and in the centre Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek will play as there is literally no other option, but at left back the manager has a dilemma, Ryan Bertrand can play but will be suspended for the Gunners visit in midweek, so will he feel it better to leave Jake Vokins in the side to give him a little more experience in the Premier League.
In midfield with Oriol Romeu still not 100% Ibrahima Diallo will stay in the side, in truth he has been another gem discovered and has been one of our better players in the last few games, James Ward Prowse will play unless injured.
But out wide it will be different with Theo Walcott and Stuart Armstrong likely to play out wide.
Up front Che Adams will play and it looks like he will be partnered by Danny Ings, if that is the case, it will be a strong Saints side and one that Ryan Bertrand aside was good enough to beat Liverpool.
The issue though will be who is on the bench, Shane Long and Dan N Lundulu look likely to be there, as will Ryan Bertrand assuming Vokins gets the nod, Jan Valery as well but then it starts to get a bit desperate, it will be a question of who is fit enough, perhaps Nathan Tella and Oriol Romeu might be just about ready, but after that we are into the academy ranks.
Our starting XI can beat Arsenal, but the big question is can we cope if we have an injury during the game or indeed as legs tire as the game goes on.
This is a crucial week in our season coming up, if we can get through this round by beating Arsenal and get a result in the Premier League game on Tuesday, then we will start to get the likes of Nathan Redmond and Jannik Vestergaard back into the side.
We just need the youngsters to step up to the plate as they have done so far, the season can get very exciting here or become one of if only, but whatever the result , Ralph Hasenhuttl has turned this club around, brought back the pride and turned us into contenders again, perhaps this won't be our season, but then again it just might.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #34 by wessex_exile
I won’t dwell on Robbie’s latest message to the supporters – we’ve all read it, and we’ve all probably drawn our own conclusions about what it doesn’t say as much as what it does. To me, bottom line, I suspect the clock is now ticking for Steve Ball (at least), turn around this terrible form pretty damn quick, or start clearing out your locker. Regardless of personal opinions on any of the individuals concerned, I would like to think none of us actually wants to see people made redundant in the current climate. But, these are difficult times that require tough decisions. If Steve Ball is up to the job and can turn this around, I’ll be more than happy to support him. If he’s not, he has to go before irreparable harm is done…and we all know what that will look like, we’ve been there before…
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Friday night football – can’t beat it. Gives you that feelgood factor all weekend, sitting back to enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon watching others fail in your wake. Of course, you have to win first, which we’ve been struggling to do for a while now, so be prepared for the possibility of a miserable weekend just in case. We share this evening with Reading v AFC Bournemouth, albeit they kick-off an hour later than we do. In the real world, leaders of the UK’s five largest business groups have written to Boris demanding action on the substantial difficulties they are facing over Brexit bureaucracy, whilst French border authorities are reporting that two-thirds of lorries arriving from the UK are empty (i.e. no exports leaving the UK). Still, at least the NHS can enjoy their extra £350m per week…
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