On Saturday afternoon, the Saints return to action for the last time before the March international break, beating Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s.
Always an important match, given the time before the two-week break, Ruben Selles and his team’s need for improvement was highlighted by a soft loss to Brentford on Wednesday night.
Armed with real momentum after last Sunday’s stalemate at Old Trafford, the Saints struggled to break a tenacious Brentford defense en route to a crushing 2-0 defeat.
Luckily, they didn’t have to lick their wounds for long, as they had less than 72 hours to prepare for Antonio Conte’s visit to Spurs.
When the two teams met on the opening day of the season, it was a completely different Saints team, managed by Ralph Hasenhuttle, who lost 4-1 in North London.
Now a tougher test lies ahead – at least defensively – the Saints are hoping to disappoint Harry Kane and company, and with four points against Chelsea and Manchester United under Selles, there’s reason to believe they can do the unthinkable.
Selles, keen to keep the faith, is unlikely to have a big rotation, but he surprised Saints fans with his two substitutions ahead of the midweek game against Brentford, and there could be some surprises this time as well.
This is how we predict the Saints will play the Spurs…
One of the few positive things about missing for the bees, Gavin Bazunu continued to pick up form, despite the last goal line.
The calm and confident Ireland international made two superb saves – one in each half – and will continue to play between the posts for the Saints.
Selles and Saints fans were smitten in the middle of the second half on Wednesday. Kyle Walker Peters had to cling to the hamstring. Luckily, it was taken as a hit rather than something heavier, and he wants to start on Saturday – and he has to.
In addition to Walker-Peters, it’s entirely possible that Selles will opt for a permanent back four. Jan Bednarek AND Armel Bella Kotchap save your seats.
With Ainsley Maitland-Niles back in shape and available again, Selles could move Walker-Peters to the left and put the Arsenal mercenary on the other side, but we’re holding on to that. Roman Perrault in this squad.
Wednesday night’s big team selection surprise came Romeo Lavias The place on the couch was replaced by Ibrahim Diallo. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off and Lavia, who was called up to the Belgian national team for the first time on Friday, simply has to face Conte’s side.
Besides Lavia, James Ward Prowse keeps playing every minute until Charlie Alcaraz should complete the trio in midfield. It is possible that Selles will switch to a 4-2-2-2 formation, which will allow Stuart Armstrong to replace Alcaraz.
On Wednesday, many Saints fans are demanding a radical change in offense, but Selles is unlikely to fulfill this desire.
We’re leaving with a change of attack in the middle of the week, Theo Walcott Return to the team instead of Moi Elyounoussi as Che Adams AND Kamaldin Sulemana to keep his place next to the graduate of the Academy of the Saints.
Fully Predictable Team:
Author: Benji Nurik