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Southampton 1 v 1 Chelsea
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 20th February 2021 Kick-off 12:30
Southampton V Chelsea The Preview
Friday, 19th Feb 2021 17:10

When you are on a run o six straight Premier League defeats, perhaps the last team you want to come up against are a Chelsea side who have won four on the bounce in the league, but sometimes victories come when you have your backs to the wall.

It cannot be denied that at the moment it seems that all the bad karma Saints have racked up over the past year or so has arrived to kick them up the rear end at the same time, injuries, suspensions, poor refereeing, individual errors and atrocious VAR decisions are bad enough when you get each one in isolation, but at the moment it seems that in every game we play we get at least 4 out of 5, if we are very lucky just 3.

So perhaps Saints are due that slice of luck soon, lets hope so.

But a time of writing whilst admitting Saints have 5 players definitely out of the game through injury with 3 of them in Ibrahima Diallo, Kyle Walker Peters and Theo Walcott have been certain to play some part, Ralph hasenhuttl has hinted that there may be another player or two in his squad doubtful although he stopped short of naming them.

Hopefully he is just trying to play down the game and lull Chelsea into a sense of false security.

But the manager has other decisions to make and the first is in goal, a week ago we pondered the question whether it was time to bring Fraser Forster back into the starting line up and the answer was that Ralph stuck with Alex McCarthy, but he again was found wanting when he conceded the second goal against Wolves last weekend, it wasn't the first time he had been beaten at his near post whilst sinking to his knee and doing little to try and stop it and surely Ralph knows that McCarthy is not in good form, he has given him the chance to play through a bad patch but it's getting worse not better.

The next question is who to play at right back Jack Stephens would be an obvious replacement if we stick with 4-4-2, but I have a feeling that there could be a change in the strategy, I would not be surprised if Ralph went with three at the back, Bednarek, Vestgaard & Salisu, with Armstrong & Bertrand effectively wing backs.

Then a central trio of Oriol Romeu & JWP as the holding players with Minamino just in front.

Up front Danny Ings partnering Che Adams.

That would leave options on the bench in Stephens, Redmond, Djenpo so that there is experienced cover in all areas and then several youngsters to make up the rest of the bench.

We just have to break this awful run, no one can odds the bad luck we have had, but it is not all about that, poor decision making has also cost us defensively and if we can cut that out that is half the battle.

We seem to try to always pass our way out of every situation , but when you get closed down sometimes you have t put your foot through the ball and clear your lines, we just don't seem able to do that at the moment.

But in Ralph Hasenhuttl we trust, at some time the injury tide will turn and we will get back into form, hopefully that will be in time for the Bournemouth FA Cup quarter final, but in the meantime we just have to get back to basics and grind out results.

Sometimes a win happens in extraordinary circumstances, perhaps the game against Chelsea will be one of them, but if it isn't we pick ourselves up and go again, this is a strange season and every club seems to lose a few and then win a few.

Photo: Action Images

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sandywelsh added 17:39 - Feb 19
Its got to be Forster to start in goal and at right back Ramsay if we want to have a chance of getting any points out of this game. McCarthy should have been dropped after the 9-0 defeat.

TimSaint added 18:00 - Feb 19
Poor decision making has not only cost us defensively. It should also be noted that it has happened so much in attack as well and it costs us just as much as it does in the rear guard.

Shooting when it is better to pass, Passing when it is better to shoot, Using your wrong foot to shoot, Passing the ball behind the target man in the box, Taking an extra touch that allows the defender to close down, Not wanting the responsibility of passing or shooting so laying it off.

All these make up the overall picture from an attacking perspective. We haven't scored many in the league this year and goals change games. So hopefully we have worked on this, as well as our goalkeeping and RB options !!

teamster1 added 20:12 - Feb 19
I honestly cannot see where the next win is coming from and to make matters worse I see the Man City game has been brought forward. I am watching Fulham’s results with interest as I have a feeling we are in for a nail biting end to the season. Relegation is not out of the realms of possibility for me. No leaders on the pitch and a total lack of game management from the team and manager.
The high press game we play is great if you have the players to play it but I’m afraid we don’t have that. Our confidence has been too easily eroded.

Colburn added 00:20 - Feb 20
Have to agree its time for Mccarthy to have a break and bring in Forster. I don't think the defence has been the biggest issue, rather as you say our determination to pass our way out of every dangerous situation and the poor final ball or shot in the opposition's box. Nevertheless, the confidence of the unit is low and a change may help in goal. If we do somehow go ahead, we can't settle for the one goal, as Ralph has said himself, you force your own luck and maybe a deflected effort goes in instead of giving the ball away in our own half for the sake of procedure. Not sure we will revert to a back 3 and prefer the pace of Ramsay over Jack for this game as Werner is quick and likely to drift wide left. Fingers crossed we can get a point and stop the rot.

AmericanSaint added 03:04 - Feb 20

I like the idea of changing formation to a back three and flooding midfield. I think Forster should start but not because of what you think AM did on these goals. The 3 goals AM has been from acute angles were just good goals. All keepers drop to their knees at the angles as you are taught the low shots are the highest percentage (attacker) and hardest to stop (keeper). I just think AM needs a rest and FF has been playing well. Pluss FF will boot the ball before trying to make a tricky pass and at this time, that is what we need. Well I will be up super early to watch the game and hope my weekend starts of well. COYR

Centurion added 05:52 - Feb 20
If Fulham beat Sheffield and we lose we are in a relegation fight.

LordDZLucan added 11:06 - Feb 20
Am I the only one that thinks that actually Vestergaard was more at fault for Wolves 2nd goal last week than McCarthy? Neto went past him as though his feet were concreted into the pitch!

underweststand added 11:15 - Feb 20
If we are to get anything from this game, we need a watertight defence and some VAR luck on a few occasions, and someone who can find their goal scoring form PDQ.

Aside from that ..it seems like a fairly straightforward match against a side whose players who have cost ...about twice the valuation of our entire club. No problem.

davidargyll added 11:44 - Feb 20
Yes like everyone else I am nervous as hell, but predicting we are going to lose is silly because (a) if we do you'll all just feel even worse, and (b) if we get a point or three, then you'll all look mugs and start making excuses for having been so negative.
So COYR, lets all cheer like crazy for our lads, fingers crossed for some large slices of luck and for Christ's sake, they are only Chelsea who struggled to beat Newcastle and Sheffield United with a manager who's only been there for five minutes; it really isn't so unlikely as the naysayers think...

SanMarco added 11:52 - Feb 20
I see Armstrong is the mystery injury. Yes - I am nervous, if the results go like the bookies expect then we are 7 pts ahead of Fulham.

On the point that we are 'due a bit of luck', yes I am sure we are but we need to TAKE that luck. Wolvea and Villa were lucky against us and got 3 pts each. We were lucky in the second half against Newcastle and goy no points.

To end on a positive note - no reason why we can't get a point, Chelsea are good but not invincible. I won't say 'anything we get will be a bonus' because I last said that just before the Manure game...

LordDZLucan added 12:08 - Feb 20
No Stuart Armstrong. That's our creativity out of the window. I fear the worst. COYR. Surprise me!

AirFlorida added 12:17 - Feb 20
Is Ralph sleeping with Alex? FFS, FF ignored yet again.

sandywelsh added 12:25 - Feb 20
Its not looking good. Why are Forster and Adams on the bench? No Armstrong = No Creativity.

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