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Southampton vs Liverpool


Rory Fitzgerald

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Southampton suffered a horrible start to the season, losing 8 of their opening 10 games, conceding 28 goals. If you look at the league table from this point onwards, Southampton would be 11th in the league. They also would have a better defensive record than Arsenal and the same amount of goals scored as Everton, Swansea and West Brom. So whilst the overall table says they are 16th and 4 pts off relegation, this is largely due to their start. In the 19 games since then, they have lost just 5 games. They got good draws away at Chelsea, Stoke and Fulham and at home drew with Arsenal, Everton and beat Man City.

 

 

Since Mauricio Pochettino was installed as manager, Southampton have been employing an intense pressing game. One of his players recently said, "...it does feel like you need two hearts to play like that".

 

They like to play football on the deck and are very narrow in attacking areas. When they loose the ball, they work hard to get it back and with 7 of the team below being either 24 or younger they have lots of youth to employ such an energy intensive game. 2 stats which are of interest, they have the highest average number of interceptions per game and also the highest average number of tackles per game. Given that they are generally narrow, there is less space in central areas which could lend to those stats.

 

 

Boruc

 

Clyne Yoshida Fonte Shaw

 

Schneiderlin Cork

 

Puncheon Ramirez Lallana

 

Lambert

 

 

 

 

GK

Boruc joined in September and has been their regular keeper since New Years Day when he started against Arsenal.

 

 

Defence

The center-back partnership of Yosida and Jose Fonte has only just resumed after Fonte was out for 2 months with a knee injury. Their partnership has become more effective as the season has come on but is nowhere near rock solid. Yoshida was Japan's captain at the Olympics and joined from the Dutch league. Whilst standing at 6'2 Yoshida is not dominant in the air and Fonte has been seen as the more consistent performer of the 2.

 

In the last game, Clyne was not 100% match fit so Yoshida filled in at RB with Hooiveld coming in at CB. If Clyne is fit, the defence is likely to revert to the status quo.

 

 

Full-Backs

Luke Shaw is the next big thing out of the Southampton academy. At 17, he is being tracked by Utd, Arsenal but more strongly by Chelsea who have identified him as a possible long term replacement for Ashley Cole. He is pretty fast and not shy to attack and at 6'1, is no weak link aerially. He was the lad that burst past Azpilceuta at Stamford Bridge to run 3/4 the lenght of the pitch to cross for Puncheon's equaliser in January.

 

Nathaniel Clyne is a 21yr old right back and a talented prospect going forward. Last year he turned down Utd to join Southampton from Palace. He is one of the Saints most consistent performers this season. He has formed a good partnership with Puncheon down the right and whilst an attacking threat is also an excellent tackler.

 

Note: Their defensive home record is ok conceding 17 goals in 14 games and only once conceding more than 2 at St Mary's and that was when United beat them 3-2.

 

 

Center-Midfield

Morgan Schneiderlin has been another key performer. The 23yr old workhorse has the most tackles in the league, runs more than other player in the Prem and has the most interceptions of any player in Europe's top five leagues. Schneiderlin was generally Southampton’s deepest midfielder who distributes the ball to either flank and Ramirez in the "10" position. Under Pochettino insistence on heavy pressing, and winning possession quickly & proactively, he has taken up a more proactive role in midfield and playing higher up the pitch. Also, his tenacity is reflected in his 7 bookings this season.

 

Schneiderlin's partner, Jack Cork, is also 23yr old and is a product of the Chelsea youth system. He was out injured at the start of the season and since he has come back, has reformed a very effective partnership. When Schneiderlin presses around the halfway line, Cork will mind the shop behind. Also, he averages the most passes per game in the entire Southampton team.

 

Note: Southampton have lost only 3 of the 14 games in which they have both started in central midfield; and although the team has collectively improved when defending with and without the ball, the combative duo have no doubt played their part

 

 

 

RM/RW

After Lambert, Puncheon is Southamptons next biggest goal threat with 5 league goals and works well with Clyne down that side of the pitch. He is their most subbed player and is generally replaced by Jay Rodriguez who is their most used player off the bench.

 

 

AM

Ramires has missed a few games with 2 seperate injuries that kept him out for 3-4 weeks on each occassion. In the 20 games he has played he has scored 4 goals and has 3 assists. Reports suggest that a number of clubs want to bring him back to Italy with rumours being that AC, Juve, Inter and Fiorentina are looking at him.

 

 

LM/LW

Adam Lallana is their captain at just 24. He's not speed merchant however his link up play is very good with and likes to play quick short passes to feet and has a good touch. He's a also a threat with crosses and is probably Lambert's biggest supplier from wide areas with crosses. He has their most assists.

 

 

 

 

Center-forward

 

Lambert has 12 goals this season and is the highest scoring English player in the Premiership. He is strong and very good in the air but he is also a very good link man which sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit for. Whilst he can be a battering ram he is equally as good on the floor as he is in the air. His link-up play with runners from midfield, is excellent and one of their biggest threats given the players that would run off him. After Lallana, he has their most assists. He’s also more than just a‘focal-point’ as he will provide lots of movement across the whole of the front line and look to drag players out of position to create gaps for the likes of Puncheon, Ramires and Lallana.

 

Note: Only 3 teams have kept a clean sheet at their place.

 

Reina

 

Johnson Carra Agger Enrique

 

Lucas Gerrard

 

Downing Suarez Coutinho

 

Sturridge

 

  • Suarez is a nuisance for defenders when they are on the ball. I’d have him closer to Yoshida he is more liable to a mistake (bad pass, dispossessed) as he is the more adventurous with his passing and movement out of defence and could get some joy there if he Suarez is close to him to take advantage of a slip up.
     
  • When their attacks break down, we are likely to get more space out wide if we can hit early balls to the wing. With Clyne and Shaw providing width there could be lots of space between in these areas when play breaks down. In addition, their strenght at closing teams down is reduced if we can play in wider areas rather than in congested central areas.
     

 

Phil Dowd is the ref for this game. We lost at WBA in the opening game of the season and away to Spurs though we beat Sunderland when he was in charge.

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They've only won once in their last 8 games, and lost their last home game to QPR.

 

They've been unlucky in a few games of late, their play has been deserving of more points and they'll be well up for it Saturday.

 

We need to be totally focused and not making any daft mistakes at the back.

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its the sort of game 6 months ago you'd be looking at and finding all sorts of trickiness. But the way we have been hammering s**** sides recently would make me think we can and will batter these.

 

We've only been doing it at Anfield, Wigan aside, though. And QPR, I suppose, actually.

 

EDIT: Looking properly, our form (and away form in comparison) has improved dramatically. Had blocked out a lot of those early season results.

Edited by schmuckdonald
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They've been unlucky in a few games of late, their play has been deserving of more points and they'll be well up for it Saturday.

 

We need to be totally focused and not making any daft mistakes at the back.

 

Sure. It's a toughy in that all prem games (especially away) are toughies. It's also the sort of game that if we beat them everyone will say how sh*t they actually are. We control the destiny of this football match. Not them.

 

We've only been doing it at Anfield, Wigan aside, though. And QPR, I suppose, actually.

 

EDIT: Looking properly, our form (and away form in comparison) has improved dramatically. Had blocked out a lot of those early season results.

 

Yeah. We tonked Norwich, QPR and Wigan on their own grounds, and come close to winning at Everton, City and Arsenal and won at West Ham. We've only been made to look poor at West Brom (where we subsequently won in the league Cup), Stoke, and for 45 minutes at Old Trafford. We did well at Chelsea and Swansea, and could've got more from Sunderland and Spurs.

 

We've had virtually no luck away. There's a lot of points that went begging above due to fine margins.

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Too open for my liking. Reckon Allen should start with one of Coutinho or Sturridge on the bench.

 

That looks the lesson learned from the Spurs game, but he could adapt Couinho or Downing's role to get them involved more defensively infield.

 

Maybe like this :

 

---------------------------Lucas

 

---------------Gerrard--------Coutinho

 

-----Downing----------------------Suarez

 

----------------------Sturridge

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That looks the lesson learned from the Spurs game, but he could adapt Couinho or Downing's role to get them involved more defensively infield.

 

Maybe like this :

 

---------------------------Lucas

 

---------------Gerrard--------Coutinho

 

-----Downing----------------------Suarez

 

----------------------Sturridge

I don't think you can play Countinho there.

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its the sort of game 6 months ago you'd be looking at and finding all sorts of trickiness. But the way we have been hammering s**** sides recently would make me think we can and will batter these.

 

As long as we mentally turn up and put in a decent performance I would expect a comfortable win.....

Lets just hope we do not deliver another "Villa" performance.

Edited by AE
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4-3-3 them:

 

Lucas, Gerrard and Hendo in midfield.

 

Suarez, Countinho and one of Downing or Sturridge to make up the last frontman.

I'd definitely play Sturridge, and as I don't see him dropping Downing, then Coutinho moves to the bench.

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Spurs, Chelsea, City and Arsenal's best winning streak is 4 games. We can match that on Saturday if we win and would be another step in the right direction towards achieving the consistency we desire.

 

In terms of not losing, our best run was 8 games and Arsenals was 5 but both Stoke & Norwich went 10 games unbeaten so take what you want out of that stat.

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