Thrashing By Leicester Has Been Catalyst For Saints Good Form

Ahead of the visit of Southampton, we had a quick catch up with our friends at St Marys Musings on their good run of form, this match up and plenty more. 

Q. What did you make of the game at St Mary’s last month?

It seemed fair. I don’t think either team was particularly up to their best in the congestion of festive fixtures. I’m expecting much of the same on Tuesday when both teams will be on short rest again. Saints got lucky twice – the VAR decision and then Martin Kelly gifting us a goal, but you have to take any point you can get.

Q. The point for Palace seemed like two dropped at the time but the run you have been on suggests otherwise?

Yeah, I think Palace were a bit unlucky to be on the wrong end of a VAR decision, but I’m not complaining when everyone has been on both the good and bad side of replay reviews. It was good to see us fight for the point when we’re so used to crumbling when falling behind.

Q. When we last spoke, the pressure was on Ralph Hasenhuttl by fans but with the recent run of form, has that view changed at all?

The pressure was definitely on Hasenhuttl from a large portion of fans and rightly so, considering we shipped nine goals to Leicester. That’s worthy of a sacking, but the board was never going to make a move. They’re committed to him and I think fans, whether they believe it or not, are also tied to him. We wouldn’t have gotten better at that stage.

Q. What has been the catalyst for this run – has there been a change in tactics of formation?

The 9-0 shelling was a good eye-opener for how dreadful the team was playing at the time and a good reflection of how dire the situation actually was. The switch – finally – to a 4-4-2 has been a large contributor and I know I questioned why we played three centre backs from the outset when that’s been our weakest position. Maybe the thought process was if we play three, two might turn up. Our home form has still been terrible so thankfully we’ll be at Selhurst Park.

Q. Have the Saints made any additions during the transfer window and any further expected incomings?

No business so far and I never expect any in January. But the club are saying they’re looking at centre backs, which is definitely needed. Jack Stephens has been competent, but if we can get better then by all means.

Q. You told us last time that last season was akin to the failed Apollo 13 space mission – how would you describe the season so far and its potential with 16 games left to play?

I think the Premier League is that bad that if we catch a run of a few games between now and the end of the year we could crack the top 10, which would be an amazing feat considering where we were just over a month ago. At the moment, I would describe the season as inconsistent – we’ll make the moon, but the flight is going to be bumpy.

Q. Who will finish top four and bottom three this season?

Top four will be Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester City and Chelsea. Bottom three will be Norwich, Bournemouth and Villa.

Q. Where do you see Palace and Southampton finishing?

Comfortably away from the relegation zone. I think both Saints and Palace have the ability to get on a run and at least solidify a place in the top half of the table – Palace more so – and that’s the product really of a poor league outside of the top four.

Q. Name one player from each side that will be the ones to watch in this fixture?

He’s been getting a lot of burn from the bench, but with the short week is likely in contention for a start and that’s Moussa Djenepo. A real pacey winger that likes to take on his defender and has been exciting to watch when he’s been on the pitch.

I’m going to say Wilfred Zaha again. I think mainly from a Saints standpoint that we like to see how he’ll react to the play of James Ward-Prowse who has sort of become his nemesis.

Your prediction?

I like our away form so I’ll go for a 2-1 victory to Saints.

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