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Southampton Cannot Afford To Fail Against Leeds United
Monday, 11th Oct 2021 10:40

When Saints take on Leeds United at St Mary's on Saturday they reach a turning point in the season and they really do not have any wriggle room in this one, a win is much needed, but more than they they truly cannot afford to lose.

The recent purchase of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabian owners has suddenly upped the anti in the Premier League, not just at the bottom where the Toon start this weekend in the relegation zone, but also in the top half going forward.

It is a landmark moment for the Premier League in that potentially there could be another club with owners who will just throw in money like there is no tomorrow and buy there way up the table and into the Champions League, make no mistake it is not a good day for any club in the top division.

But having money when you can't spend it is no better than having no money at all and from this perspective initially at least it won't help Newcastle's relegation fight until January, indeed it might actually harm it in the short term, as you now have a manager who is a dead man walking and a squad who know that they are soon going to be cast aside.

Of course there will be the usual " play for your places and show me I don't need to buy" statements from whoever replaces Steve Bruce, but professional footballers know the score and half of the Newcastle squad know that their days are numbered, they won't be playing for the shirt.

So this has suddenly made Saints clash with Leeds, a team that sit just one place and two points above us all that more important.

You would imagine that Leeds themselves or for that matter Newcastle won't be around the bottom come the end of the season, so this is a can't lose game.

Saints solid start to the season with four draws from five games has now been ruined by two straight defeats and although I have mentioned before that in the corresponding first 8 fixtures last season we only got 3 points and we already have 4 points going into the 8th game, this is this season and we need to get a win on the board.

The job on Saturday is to make sure that we end the weekend outside of the bottom 3 and that makes getting 3 points if not quite essential, still very important.

We need to drag ourselves up the table and bring haul back the likes of Crystal Palace, Watford, Wolves and also Brentford who have made a great start to a season that most thought would see them go straight back down.

Beating Leeds would therefore not only go a long way towards getting ourselves back up to mid table, but would be a great confidence boost not only to the team, but to the fans who have started to get jittery after two straight defeats.

In essence the Wolves game is the big disappointment, if we had won that the table would look much better, but we didn't so we have to win this one.

A tough game though against a side who beat us twice last season, both times in games that we should have got something out of and would have but for the run of injuries and bad VAR decisions.

Leeds are beatable and they like Yorkshire neighbours are finding that the first season after promotion can be easier than the second, you have a chance to get points on the board before the rest of the division find out about you, but in the second season there are fewer chances for shocks.

Saints need to have confidence in what they are doing and how good the squad is, it is still early days yet and a long way to go, the jitters need to be put to bed and the best way to do that is get 3 points on Saturday.

These days football seems to be boom and bust, win 3 games and suddenly you are a great team, lose 3 games and the knives are out for the manager and it is all doom and gloom.

But the reality is that it is a 38 game season, it is a marathon and not a sprint, it is important to stay focused on what you want to and more importantly can achieve.

Photo: Action Images



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HythePeer added 11:44 - Oct 11
With some of his favourites being absentees RH may be forced in picking the right team for once. I'm optimistic for the first time this season.
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DellBoyWally added 11:51 - Oct 11
The problem I've been having of late is with Ralph, who I support, and his team selections. OK, I know we don't see what goes on in training; and the easiest job in football is the fan who picks the team! But week-after-week we get the same players not performing- Walcott, Redmond, Djenepo. Even JWP seems flat. It must, it really must, be time for, if not a shakeup, a bit of a wiggle. The likes of Tella, who wants to prove himself and excites when he eventually gets on, Boja who scores special goals for Albania, Diallo who lives up midfield and attack when he gets on late, Livramento in right midfield in front of KWP, Rennaud, a proper left back who can run and cross, not cut back. Johnson in goal...!! Oooops, not till January.
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dirk_doone added 12:52 - Oct 11
Has that top photo of Che Adams kicking the ball between Adam Armstrong's legs been photoshopped?

There are 2 things about it which don't look right: A. Armstrong appears to be twice as big as Che Adams. B. Whatever size he was, Che would have hit the ball against his leg.
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Colburn added 12:00 - Oct 13
Need to win this game. Burnley next and they haven't won yet either.. City away for them Saturday so that will probably still be the case next week. Tella and Diallo must start and perhaps Broja too, but I wouldn't be surprised if none of them do. Armstrong back and Elyonoussi, Walcott and Redmond preferred so far, Ralph will probably stick with the more seasoned professionals who have not really done enough to justify their selection. I think he must know he is on very thin ice and this is a must win game for many reasons. Leeds will be looking at it the same way though and they will have a real go at us, unlike how we approached Wolves.
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