The Saints aren’t coming
We’re going to their place. 3pm Saturday at St Mary’s, one of the many ground names that sounds a lot more bucolic than is actually the case (Meadow Lane, the Riverside, Craven Cottage etc), unless you take a loose interpretation of what the cows and pigs are that might be wandering around Southampton docks of an evening.
Back to life, back to reality?
Last weekend’s shocker of a result, and in particular the second half performance, came as a solid and unexpected blow to the solar plexus. The apparent outrage and anger that has ensued on antisocial media has been random and scattered as there’s been no real focus for those who absolutely must share their opinion. Team selection, lack of experience, injuries, tiredness, just-one-of-those-things, all of these have been aired as possible causes. If nothing else this weekend will narrow down the range of viable targets for those still wanting to point the finger at someone as a result of those points dropped but a return to winning ways will hopefully send the most vocal in their anti-Poch protests back to their holes.
Rope a dope
Chelsea, West Brom and now Newcastle have all taken points from us by defending deep and staying in the game. Even though it’s been successful it’s hard to imagine Southampton adopting the same tactic so hopefully we should be set for a more open game than has been the case of late.
Movement of Ron’s people
The Saints haven’t been performing to the same level as in the last couple of seasons; they experienced another summer exodus of players which Koeman’s attempts to replace weren’t quite as successful at as last time around. A couple of long term injuries haven’t helped but they currently give the impression of a side struggling to tread water whilst a few key men, Mané and Wanyama, are giving longing looks to greener pastures.
Graziano Pelle scored with two headers when we drew this equivalent game last season and, assuming he’s fit enough to play, will be a danger, as will the speed merchant Mané and the tricky Tadic. Elsewhere Southampton look workmanlike rather than dangerous – Long, Ward-Prowse, Davis – but as we learnt last week, you underestimate at your peril.
You always miss the ones you love
Rumour has it that Dembélé is back in training which if true means our midfield should get some beef back. Bentaleb may also be available so Tom Carroll may find that he’s lucky to make the bench this week after being given a starting opportunity last week. The returnees provide a physical presence and in Moussa’s case anyway, more authority and security in possession. Bentaleb’s overplaying and loose passing has been noticeable this year even though he’s only played a couple of games but it’s something that can be quickly ironed out in an intelligent player.
Give it a rest mate
Our over reliance on Kane has been well documented and the purchase of some quality support for him in January is absolutely vital. Without it, we’ll undoubtedly fade and struggle in my opinion. Until that happens though, he’s going to be asked to plug away game after game. It’s no coincidence that our run stuttered in the last couple of weeks when he stopped scoring. He’s still not just the main man in front of goal, he’s the only man.
There’s no doubt that Eriksen has been underperforming of late, whether or not he’ll be asked to sit one out though I’m not sure. I’d be tempted to play Son, Dembélé, Alli, Dier and Lamela behind Harry but there’s a good reason why I drive a desk for a living and Pochettino is in charge.
Kevin Friend is the man in charge.
COYS.Get a huge 9/1 on Spurs to beat Southampton
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