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Swansea City 2 v 3 Southampton
FA Cup
Saturday, 8th January 2022 Kick-off 17:30
Southampton At Swansea City The Preview
Saturday, 8th Jan 2022 09:31

Saints travel to Swansea City for their first competitive game against the Swans since May 2018, let's hope it is another win, but without the tension and stress we all suffered back on that night.

The last time Saints took on Swansea in the Premier League it was one of the most tense, nervous nights in any Saints fans memory, with one game remaining for both clubs after this one, it was almost a straight fight to avoid relegation.

Saints were level with the Swans and with a far better goal difference, a win would mean that the Welsh side would need a big turnaround on the final day, a draw would leave everything to play for and a win for Swansea would surely leave them uncatchable given that we hosted Champions Manchester City on the final day whilst they hosted already relegated Stoke City.

It was a tense match from both sides settled with a single goal, forced in from close range by Manolo Gabbiadini to the great delight of the Saints fans behind the goal.

No one would have predicted back then, that the next time the two sides would meet in a competitive game it would see the World a far different place and that fans would be banned.

Saints have had a good time in Wales this year, they beat both Swansea and local rivals Cardiff in pre season friendlies and followed that up by slaughtering Newport County in the League Cup.

The side they put out that night was a virtual second string and that will be the case today with multiple changes not just due to resting players, but the ravages of injuries and Covid.

Swansea have not played in just about a month, so it is hard to predict just who they will select, I would imagine that they would be keen to give their first choice players a run out to get them ready for their return to League action.

For Saints with at least 6 players out, it will be a lot easier for Ralph Hasenhuttl to pick his side.

I would expect the line up to be something like this.

Willy Cabbalero

Yan Valery, Jack Stephens, Lyanco, Romain Perraud

Moi Elyounoussi, Ibrahima Diallo, James Ward Prowse, Stuart Armstrong.

Nathan Tella, Adam Armstrong

That has the balance of of those not first choice and a little experience, I would suspect up front Ralph Hasenhuttl might be keen to see if he can get Adam Armstrong back into the scoring groove he had last season, although he might opt for Shane Long in the starting line up.

That is still a decent starting line up and as a wild card perhaps Dynel Simeu might make an appearance at some point, certainly Thierry Small would have if he had not been hit by Covid.

With the news about the change of ownership creating excitement in the supporter base, a good cup run would be just the thing to stir up the passions again and get the fans excited again about watching Saints.

Although it is a home game for Swansea there will be no real advantage given the lack of supporters in the ground meaning Saints can play a game without the influence of a loud home crowd.

In some respects with Swansea ring rusty it might give the advantage to Saints, they will have several players in the side wanting to show Ralph Hasenhuttl they are worth a place in the starting line up, whilst Swansea will not want to play a full blooded game at this point, they will want to ease themselves back into action and not pick up injuries.

But this is still the FA Cup and in most games the result is never certain and that is the same with this game.

Key to the game could either Nathan Tella for Saints or Michael Obafemi for Swansea, Tella has a lot to prove to his manager and convince him he should be in the starting line up more often and Michael Obafemi will be keen to show his old manager he was wrong to sell him, who will be the hero by the end, my money is on Nathan Tella

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 10:07 - Jan 8
Think I'd pick the same start side that you've suggested above ( Nick).
Certainly an ideal start for Valery, and another outing for Perraud would do no harm.

Hard luck on Small (covid) who looks the part in his B team matches.
Agree that Simeu might get some game time, and perhaps even a few more B teamers on the bench looking for first team minutes.

Revisiting Swansea brings memories of Gabbiadini's survival-saving goal in 2018.

TimSaint added 13:30 - Jan 8
There won't be any VAR today.

Apparently it is only being used at Prem grounds in this round.

KriSaint added 14:09 - Jan 8
Still "plenty" of options for the starting 11 despite 1. injuries (Tino+Will) / 2. covid cases (Che+Kyle+Thierry) / 3. suspension (Salisu).

I´d certainly play Fraser Forster to keep him on his toes for the Brentford game. Cabbalero is just a cover goalie for us, so I wouldn't mind seeing Harry Lewis on the bench today.

Suggestion + available alternatives:

Goalie: FF (Lewis, (Willy))

Centerbacks: Bednarek+Lyanco (Stephens, Valery, Simeu)

RB: Valery (JWP, Stephens)

LB: Perraud

Defensive midfielders: JWP + Diallo (Romeu, Stu, Walcott).

No.10s: Redmond + Tella (Walcott, Stu, Djenepo, Moi)

No 9s: Broja + A.A. (Moi, Long, Walcott)


KriSaint added 14:12 - Jan 8
I'm sorry, I made a mistake. Never in a million years would I suggest Walcott as an alternative for defensive midfielder :-D

PaleRider added 14:37 - Jan 8
... or a footballer!

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