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Southampton 1 v 2 Millwall
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 24th February 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton V Millwall The Preview
Friday, 23rd Feb 2024 15:35

Saints needed a late late goal from Ryan Fraser to win at Millwall earlier in the season and now they need to take the three points again, if they are to maintain their chase for automatic promotion.

The problem for me over the last 3 games has been Russell Martin's rotation of the squad, to be blunt about it he has got it badly wrong, both in terms of the games he has rotated it in and the players he has rotated.

The defeat to Hull City was a prime example of this, he left the likes of Ryan Fraser on the bench and also at 2-0 down in the second half, you do not take off your leading scorer and indeed one of the division's leading scorers in Adam Armstrong.

Suddenly we have dropped out of the top two and simply cannot afford to lose this game or for that matter even draw it and God forbid lose.

Our winning streak was about keeping doing what we do best and with the team having a strong spine and foundation week in week out, what was needed was the odd tweak here and there, but what we got was tinkering for tinkering's sake.

The good news is that Russell Martin has usually learned from his mistakes and hopefully the last fortnight has been a lesson learned.

It has to be our top guns out their against Millwall and hopefully that will include Flynn Downes whose absence has shown what an important player to the side he is.

I have always maintained that good sides don't become bad sides overnight and this is the case with Saints at the moment, sides have got a little wise to the way we play and have exploited it and caught us napping in 3 of the last 4 games, we have to get back to the controlled displays we put in during that long unbeaten run.

Millwall arrive at St Mary's smack bang in the middle of a run of defeats with just 1 draw in the League since beating Bristol City on New Years Day, since then they have played 7 times in the Championship and taken just 1 point, in a draw at home to Preston.

This has seen them drop to 4th from bottom and they could drop in into the relegation zone if they lose at St Mary's and QPR get at least a point at home to Rotherham.

So they will be up for this one and looking to fire on all cylinders, in truth their away record is better than their home form, they have won 4 games apiece home and away, but they have drawn 5 on the road as opposed to just 4 at home.

Away from home they have scored just 17 goals, however to put it in perspective that is about mid table with 9 other Championship sides also getting 17 or less on the road.

Their goals against record though is impressive away from home, just 19 conceded, that is 1 less than us and indeed in total only 4 other sides have conceded less than 19 in their travels.

So this tells us they are a side who like to sit back and make it hard for the opposition to score, we are going to have to work hard to break them down and also even harder to eradicate the individual errors that have crept back into our defensive play of late.

So for my money Russell Martin has to put out his strongest side against Millwall, this is our priority, lets be honest a good cup run would be nice, but the chances of us winning the competition are remote, rest the tired and weary against Liverpool , the result ultimately isn't going to matter come the end of the season, but this game at Millwall just might.

So no tinkering from the manager, keep the spine of the side strong and play your best players, keep it simple.

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underweststand added 16:36 - Feb 23
It's Millwall. I don't know who is toughest ..the players or their fans?.

I think we should be glad if every Saints player gets off the pitch without injury,
I can't speak for the fans but I won't be there to see the game on Saturday.

Centurion added 18:52 - Feb 23
We have to win games like this if we are to maintain our dreams of a play off slot, never mind top 2.
IMO, we should have 'allowed' Watford to win when they were 1 up in the Cup.

Boris1977 added 22:13 - Feb 23
I think for those of us who are not convinced about RM the issues highlighted above are the reasons why - the lack of faith in his tactical flexibility and selection processes.

This league isn't particularly strong but by the same token the teams with better players (Leeds, Leicester and Saints) need to get team selections right 95% of the time otherwise even in the league they will be punished.

In addition to the last couple of losses the Swansea game could have gone badly wrong when RM committed the cardinal sin of an unforced change of the CB partnership. Note how Leeds demolished Swansea 4 -0 and didn't give them a chance to get back into it.

RM will tinker and made odd decisions between now and the rest of the season and that's a massive flaw in a manager of a team chasing automatic promotion.

He's done a decent job pulling together this squad into a hardworking team but his decision making at crucial times will be the difference between promotion and championship football next season.

IanRC added 17:01 - Feb 24
Martin is hopeless, Sulemana our second most creative player after Stuart Armstrong cannot get decent time on the pitch. No chance of premiership football next season if he continues in this vein.

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