|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
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!
Letters from Wiltshire #42 by wessex_exile
Well, these sure are strange times at Colchester United, particularly for a club (nor a Chairman) not usually associated with the ‘managerial revolving door’ approach. With results not matching expectations or even minimum requirements, and a brief spell after being appointed Interim Head Coach, Wayne Brown has been released to return to the Jammers, for whenever their pandemic-interrupted football restarts. In comes not one, or two, but three new ‘appointments’. Hayden Mullins steps up as Head Coach to the end of the season, Joe Dunne apparently comes back to the U’s in a sort of unofficial coaching/ team-spirit sort of role, and exceptionally experienced lower-league former Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale arrives to provide Hayden with advice and support – crikey!
Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
This afternoon the U’s take on Bradford City in a bid to gather sufficient points to stay clear of the bottom two. It’ll be a tough gig though, even if (as I suspect) Bradford City have left it a bit too late to challenge the play-off spots. They were on a decent run of form, that is until defeats at Newport, Carlisle, Scunthorpe and a goalless draw at home to Oldham put paid to any lingering promotion hopes. For us, it’s simple, to stay out of the bottom two, for all intents and purposes we only need to gain half (or more) of the points that Grimsby or Southend do. Sounds easy, just wish I felt more confident we will…
[ Vote here ]