firing to save Southampton
#1
Chelsea and Tottenham meet in a London derby on Sunday to battle it out for fourth place place and the capital also hosts the big relegation clash of the weekend on Saturday, when Southampton travel to West Ham. The two sides sit either side of the dreaded dotted line, with Saints able to leapfrog their opponents and escape the relegation zone if they pick up all three points. [Image: canucks_029.jpg]This game is about more than points though. It is also West Ham’s first match since fans invaded the pitch to protest during their 3-0 defeat to Burnley – and it is Mark Hughes’ first league game in charge of Southampton. Hughes, now in charge of his sixth Premier League club, may be pleased he can follow up Southampton’s 2-0 win at Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-finals with an away game. The atmosphere at the London Stadium is likely to turn sour very quickly if West Ham make a poor start – and Southampton have been woeful at St Mary’s of late, failing to win any of their last eight home fixtures in the league – their worst winless streak at home in Premier League history. Southampton’s slide this season has almost gone under the radar. They finished eighth in the league last season and were still in the top half of the table after 13 matches of this campaign. They haven’t lost more than two games in a row all season, which is quite remarkable for a side in the bottom three in spring, but they have only won five of their 30 games – and only one of their last 17 (against bottom club West Brom). They have picked up more draws than any other side in the league (13), which shows they can still hold their own at this level but, with just eight matches to go, Hughes needs to find a way of turning those stalemates into victories. It will not be easy; six of Southampton’s eight remaining fixtures are against sides in the top half of the table, including the visit of Manchester City on the final day of the season. Southampton have lost just three times since the turn of http://www.officialpadreshop.com/authentic-1-ozzie-smith-jersey.html the year, yet there was still a sense of impending doom with Mauricio Pellegrino in charge. He failed to galvanise a spirit among the squad or establish a playing style of any note. Hughes has six weeks – and an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea – to forge an ethos in his team. That lack of identity is perhaps why Southampton find themselves in this position: their ordinariness has backfired on the board, who did not pull the trigger http://www.officialfootballfalconstore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_TANI_TUPOU_JERSEY.htmlsoon enough on Pellegrino because the team kept on picking Da'Norris Searcy Authentic Jersey up the odd point here and there. That won’t be enough to avoid the drop, so Hughes needs to Brandon Phillips Jersey recognise the strengths of his players to find a system that suits them. A look at the statistics for the season backs up the idea that Southampton have been aimless. They are middling in virtually every department, ranking between seventh and 14th for possession, pass accuracy, shots, shots on target, dribbles, tackles, interceptions, aerial duels won, shots conceded, goals conceded and even goals scored. Find the net has been a real problem and it is not a new one. Their chance conversion rate of 7.7% is the third worst in the league this season and that is actually an improvement on the 7.1% they recorded under Claude Puel last season, which was the worst in the division. Given these woes, Charlie Austin’s return to fitness could not have come at a better time for the club. The 28-year-old has had rotten luck with injuries since joining Southampton in January 2016. He has started just 18 of a possible 85 Premier League games, with his latest hamstring problem ruling him out of their last 19 matches in all competitions. That injury came just as Austin had begun to hit his first decent stretch of form for Southampton, scoring five goals in seven games before Christmas.http://friendsmaker.dk/member/blog_post_view.php?postId=134295
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