We continue our stumbling, lurching and drunken progress towards 2014 this weekend at the St Mary’s Stadium Southampton with yet another Sunday lunchtime kick off.
It’s been a chastening week but nothing a few decent results, in this game and against Stoke and the Baggies, wouldn’t rescue. The early part of the week was dominated by shock amongst the supporters and breast beating in the media as they celebrated getting their man. The last couple of days haven’t salved the wounds – inconsequential as getting knocked out of the League Cup is in the greater scheme of things, it did serve to highlight how much repair work is needed. A lot of that work is already underway however and there is light at the end of the tunnel. If nothing else Wednesday’s match served one purpose in getting rid of Dawson’s suspension; I’m not his biggest fan but he’s the best we’ve currently available at centre-back. The fact that Rose made it through an hour against the Hamsters hopefully means that he too should play meaning that for the first time for a very long time we’ll have a back four made up of people who actually play in those positions. Woo-hoo! It’s still not the best back four in the Premiership but we’re in a position where we need to count our blessings, no matter how small.
The return of Dawson will allow Capoue a return to midfield where he’ll provide much needed cover in the absence of Sandro and Paulinho. He’ll hopefully be alongside Dembele but who else will be in there is a bit of a punt. Townsend’s injury creates an opening on the wing that Chadli is probably best placed to fill but Lamela will be hoping for a nod in his direction. Lennon will probably start on the right. Up front we have two strikers who can only score in the Europa League and one who has probably spent most of the last week giggling to himself. Adebayor will start if he’s not ruptured himself, who he’ll partner though (if anyone) is guesswork. Where does 442 leave Eriksen and Holtby? Not kicking their heels I hope, we need the imagination and energy these two provide.
The Saints have had a most enjoyable season so far with a string of good defensive performances being bolstered by some fine attacking play elsewhere in the side. Their early season form has faltered of late, just one win in their last eight games; they can probably thank Roy Hodgson for that. That doesn’t mean they’re there for the taking of course, there’s a game to be won. We are a team very much living on its nerves at present despite winning our last two away games, how we could do with a confidence boost.
Chris Foy is in charge so expect a nonsense decision or seven. COYS.
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