Struggling Southampton will host Marco Silva and his Fulham come the Premier League weekend, and both the teams still have ample to play for deep into the season. Ruben Selles has tried to change fortunes at the Saint Mary’s but not alot has worked and they be in a position where a loss tomorrow and they will confirm a relegation from the Premier League after an 11-season stay.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: 13th May 2023.
Time: 3:00 PM GMT.
Venue: Saint Mary’s Stadium.
Referee: Thomas Bramall.
Assistants: Derek Eaton, Steve Meredith.
Fourth official: Gavin Ward.
VAR: Tony Harrington.
Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton.
SCRAMBLE AT SAINT MARY’S
Southampton’s recent defeat against Nottingham Forest has extended their winless run to ten games, leaving them eight points away from safety with only three games remaining. The team has had a disastrous season, which started with a strong preseason but quickly fell apart as they struggled to win matches. The club has remained stuck in the relegation zone since early November, and three different managers have been unable to turn things around.
The lack of success can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of goalscoring and a poor defense. The team has scored only 31 goals in the league this season, and they have conceded 64 goals in the process. This record is the worst of any team in the league, and it has led to their current predicament. And things at not gloomy at Staplewood as well…
The club’s fans are understandably concerned about their team’s future and the possibility of relegation to the Championship. The team’s players must dig deep and find the motivation and form needed to win their remaining matches if they hope to stay in the Premier League. Failure to do so will result in the club facing a new set of challenges as they attempt to return to the top flight in the future.
Protest banners were hung at Staplewood, the training ground of Southampton, in an attempt to convey a message to the team’s staff and players before and following their defeat against Nottingham Forest. While many fans have been unhappy with the club’s owners, Sport Republic, who spent heavily and oversaw one of Southampton’s worst seasons in recent history, these banners seem to have been aimed at the team’s tactics and the limited use of striker Paul Onuachu.
The first banner read, “Attack both bylines. Cross back to the penalty spot for Onuachu. Let the laws of physics take effect.” The smaller accompanying sign read, “No long balls needed.” Onuachu was a clear example of Sport Republic’s failed recruitment this season, with the towering forward arriving in January for a fee of around £18m but making almost no impact since.
After starting three of the first four games following his signing, Onuachu has failed to make the starting lineup for Southampton since even as Che Adams missed time due to an injury. The Nigerian striker is yet to score a goal for the Saints.
Though their strategy to invest in high ceiling youngsters means future is bright. The legs need head to back the game-play and it has been clear how they have struggled to keep at it despite impressive numbers severally at times.
NO MORE YO-YO FOR FULHAM
Fulham has served as the perfect example of how a relegation can prove beneficial for squad development, with Marco Silva working a technical apt team to not only negate relegation threats but pulling ropes to a fight to a probable Europe place.
Fulham, under the leadership of Marco Silva, has demonstrated a remarkable ability to execute the fundamental principles of possession play with precision and clarity. The London-based club has showcased an impressive ability to create scoring opportunities through a variety of movements. These include supporting the ball, creating angles of progression, timing movements, and offering non-verbal communication. The opposition has found it challenging to regain possession owing to the players’ off-ball movements, rendering the team a formidable opponent. Should Fulham maintain their current principles, they could potentially become a formidable team in the future.
To start with the hosts – Armel Bella-Kotchap has confirmed that his season has come to an end following sustaining a hamstring injury against Nottingham Forest, the 21-year-old was replaced in the 38th minute of the 4-3 loss at the City Ground. Southampton manager, Ruben Selles, stated that the extent of Bella-Kotchap’s injury would have to be assessed with only three Premier League games remaining this season. Bella-Kotchap has made 27 appearances for Southampton this season, including a call-up to the Germany senior squad, due to his exceptional performances at the start of the season. In his absence, one of Lyanco or Duje Caleta-Car is expected to start alongside Jan Bednarek in central defence, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kyle Walker-Peters will continue as full-backs.
After being sidelined for 13 months due to an ACL injury, right-back Valentino Livramento has returned to first-team training, but won’t be involved in the weekend game. Che Adams, the top scorer, is doubtful and will undergo an assessment before the game. Adam Armstrong, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Paul Onuachu will be competing for a starting spot in the attack, with one of them set to replace Adams if he is not fit to start.
On the other hand, Fulham will be welcoming back Mitrovic from an eight-game suspension, and the Serbian is expected to be included in the first XI, with Vinicius likely to be left out. Unfortunately, Fulham will be without injured players Pereira and Tim Ream for the rest of the season, while Daniel James and Layvin Kurzawa are in the process of recovering from thigh and knee injuries, respectively. Neeskens Kebano, who has made four brief substitute appearances since recovering from a long-term Achilles injury, will be pushing to start over Harry Wilson on Saturday.
Southampton: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Lyanco, Bednarek, Maitland-Niles; Lavia, Ward-Prowse; Walcott, Alcaraz, S. Armstrong; A. Armstrong
Fulham: Leno, Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson, Palhinha, Reed, Cairney, Wilson, Willian, Mitrovic