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Football News: Southampton vs Chelsea 7 October 2018

Southampton vs Chelsea 7 October 2018
Image from: freelargeimages.com

This weekend's Southampton clash against Chelsea will be a stern test for our struggling side. The Blues are still getting to grips with their new manager's style and expectations of them and despite inconsistencies in their performances, they are still winning. They could be a truly intimidating sight when they fire on all cylinders. let's hope its not this weekend.

Chelsea operate in a 4-3-3 system with a fluid front three and deep attacking runners from midfield. At Napoli, Sarri's approach was to get his team to move the ball forward quickly, vertically up the pitch in the channels between defenders. Not only did this encourage rapid transition from defence to attack, it meant Napoli could attack at pace and off the shoulder which at times was nearly unplayable. If you hold your shape, they'll go through you, if you make yourself narrow, they'll play outside you, if you man mark, players like Hazard will pull you out of position and wait for you to lose concentration or let someone else fill the hole you've left. Much discipline and focus will be required to keep tabs on Chelsea's attack.

Chelsea will have played in the Europa league on Thursday but it's a home match and Sarri has already stated his intention to rotate the squad in light of them having faced too tough matches against Liverpool. Little chance of them turning up fatigued and out of sorts. Also, you can forget comparisons to last season's match at St Mary's. That was a disinterested Chelsea with Conte at the end of his tether and equally unphased. Even then, we were unable to beat them as a two goal Saints lead was turned around in the final 20 minutes by inspired substitute Olivier Giroud. A 2-0 win quickly turned into a 3-2 loss. We are more likely to see the Chelsea of the last 20 minutes who scored three against us than the shadow of a side that played the opening 70.

Saints played Everton on Tuesday night in the EFL and eventually won on penalties. Both clubs rotated their squads and MH reverted to his preferred 5-3-2/ 3-5-2 formation. Against Everton's weakened side it worked OK in the first half, albeit in a match with little quality and neither side able to open the opposition up and create good chances.

A 1-0 lead was perhaps a little flattering to Saints given how even the game was, but it gave hope. However, Marco Silva sent his side out after the break reinvigorated and sent on his big guns to save the game. By contrast, in a game that was starting to get away from us, MH did what he and the likes of Puel and Pellegrino did so often before him. He tried to sure up the game by taking off an attacking player for Steven Davis. 'Lets try and cling on to this one nil lead it screamed'. The result was the same as it has been in recent seasons. It simply invited the opposition on and finally, they equalised. The squad may take some comfort from winning the penalty shoot out, but this was not the sort of inspiring performance to turn a season round.

Saints' biggest weakness continues to be their defence and the sheer number of shots they allow opposition teams to have. This figure has soared over the last two seasons and MH seems incapable of stemming the tide. In fact, our defence has become even more open under his stewardship as he encourages more players to commit to attacks and our two man midfield gets overrun. Even if he decides to try his 5-3-2 again on Sunday to even out the numbers in midfield, its impossible to see anything other than a Chelsea win on Sunday. If Saints aren't careful, they could get a hiding.

Written by figodasilva October 04 2018 10:38:59

 

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