No excuses for us not to go out and grab ‘all 3’ against an inconsistent side…but one who deserves respect and can be excellent ‘on their day’.
I’m out all day today and didn’t want to leave a pre-match blog posting until tomorrow so straight onto a predicted starting 11, subs and outcome…
|St. Mary's Stadium|
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
That cheeky little sod, Pep, has only flippin’-well started rotating his keepers now, as well as throwing me into a ‘tizzy’ about the left & right backs! According to our Manager, he’s going to decide on a game-by-game basis “depending” [on several factors]. That’s not usual practice for a keeper situation and I think it speaks volumes about the doubts he has but will never ‘admit to’ of course…
Willy to be called back for this one, I’d say - the other fella for home games when the ‘oppo’ suits perhaps?
Guardiola has said he has a lot of respect for The Saints’ attacking talents and the way their fullbacks also work hard and overlap and, therefore, I think he’ll want a strong defence. That being the case, I don’t think we can muster anything better than Gael, Vincent, John & Pablo from the available players we have.
Fernandinho to provide an ‘extra shield’ if / when needed and in more-attacking-mode, I think we’ll see a quartet of Leroy, David, Kevin & Raheem; a lethal foursome if they’re all ‘firing’!
All of those in support of a consistent Sergio.
Released from the bench last weekend, I think it’ll be ‘back on the side’ for “Mr Footwork”. Aleks & Nicholas provide the defensive replacement options; Fabian & Yaya the central midfield back-ups and Jesus & Kelechi the wing & forward change-options from ‘the 7’.
Notable absences: Bacary Sagna (injured), Fernando (not selected), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for rest of season), Nolito (not selected) & Gabriel Jesus (continues his comeback on the training pitch and in the gym / on his way back from injury).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
That’s about our strongest line-up possible, I’d say – I’m more than fine with that!
Result? As I’ve already indicated, our hosts can both be a real danger ‘on their day’ but also very inconsistent - a ‘last 10’ of LWLLWWLDWW is testament to that.
Further still, a record of F18 / A12 in those 10 games - and being the only team in the league with a ‘zero’ goal difference over the whole season so far - only adds to their ‘hit & miss’ nature; as they sit mid-table on 40 points from 30 games.
So…which Southampton will we get? Well I think we Pep will simply prepare his team to face strong side that can hurt you if you’re not careful but, in general, will mainly focus on how to hurt them and with that predicted line-up; I think we have many ways to do just that!
Tough, interesting game this one with goals at both ends, I think, but all things considered; I think we’ll come back from the South coast with a good away win tomorrow (5:30pm KO BST).
Expected weather conditions during the game: Slightly warmer than ‘up here’ tomorrow but still slightly disappointing at just 12C. And with little / no sun and a steady, average coastal wind of around 11MPH, it’ll feel much cooler than that I’m sure. Nothing that should affect the players in a negative way (far from it in fact) but the fans might want to take a decent coat.
In case you’ve not already noticed, I’ve finally got around to updating my, “Those were the days…” tab. Why not have a look / hope you enjoy.
More updates planned on that page in the coming days / weeks…