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Southampton - Opposition Views


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SaintMike from Southampton World was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of our clash with Saints on Saturday. Here's what he had to say:

-Let’s start with the relegation battle. You’re currently four points clear but still very much in the mix. How do you rate your chances of survival?
Until it is mathematically safe I always worry although I believe we should be safe. When we did this early this year I suggested QPR, Wigan and West Ham for the drop; my views haven't changed too much since then except I fear Reading are more likely to go down (sorry Nigel)......so its QPR, Reading and West Ham.
-Some tough and other crucial fixtures in the remaining eight matches you have. How many points do you reckon you should get to stay up?
I've a feeling the target needs to be high this year. I'd feel safer on 43 points.
-What was your take on the sacking of Adkins and the hiring of Pochettino?
There are two ways of looking at this: 1. Nigel had been doing a good job (although maybe some team substitutions were a little weird) and he did not deserve to lose his job. 2. Maybe it was doubtful whether Nigel was capable of lifting the team to be a regular top-half side. I hope Tino may prove to be capable of this. Overall maybe a replacement made sense, but the timing was wrong and it would have been fairer to wait till the end of the season.
-The Saints have been in a weird form lately beating Man City and Liverpool but losing to QPR and Newcastle. Why do you think that is?
I don't think our form has changed much between the games. Tino's 'in-your-face' tactics cause more problems for teams that like to play possession-based passing football than those who prefer to take a more direct approach.
-The reserve fixture at the Bridge was a crazy affair in which you managed to snatch a point you probably deserved. What did you make of that match?
Our boys kept plugging away while Chelsea, maybe, sat back thinking the game was won. Unfortunately I think it is unlikely to happen again.
-With your reputation of beating the big boys and the point you got at the bridge, will you be fancying your chances on Saturday?
I expect Saints to have a real go at it and I think it may be close. But, realistically, I think we will lose what could be quite a high scoring game, maybe 2-3. Saints fans will also know that historically we are unlikely to be able to pull off back-to-back wins against two high-riding teams like Liverpool and Chelsea!!
-Luke Shaw has been making some headlines with his performances this season. But who do you think has been your best player?
I think a lot of our better results have been due to Cork and Schneiderlin in midfield. As he has also started to become dangerous in attack in recent games, I nominate Morgan Schneiderlin.
-If you could have one player from Chelsea at Southampton, who would it be and why?
I didn't know the answer to this last time you asked and I still don't know. There are so many who, on their day, are more than capable of winning a match against the best sides.
-What line-up and formation will you likely use on Saturday?
Probably a flexible 4-4-2. Not too sure if there are any injury problems but maybe.......
Artur Boruc in goal...Clyne, Maya, Fonte and Shaw (if fit) at the back.......Jack Cork and Schneiderlin central midfield......Lallana and Ramirez wide....Rodriguez and Lambert up front. Puncheon might replace Ramirez or Rodriguez at some time. And I don't know whether Tino might decide this is the right match to let Forren, our so-far untried January signing, show what he can do for our defence.
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