Category Archives: Southampton

Two positive cases in latest round of PL Coronavirus Testing

The Premier League confirmed on Saturday that two more people had tested positive for the Coronavirus from the latest round of 1,200 tests to take place on Thursday and Friday.

An unnamed Norwich player was one of them, and the Canaries announced that the player will self-isolate for seven days. He will therefore miss their first game of the restart against Southampton on Friday 19th June.

The player featured in Daniel Farke’s side’s 2-1 friendly victory over Tottenham on Friday , but Spurs have stated that they have no positive cases as the Norwich player had ‘no close contact’ with their squad. As a result, no Tottenham player or member of staff will have to self isolate ahead of their game against Manchester United next Friday.

In a club statement to the BBC, Spurs explained that:

“Close contact has been defined by the Government as being within two meters of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more. The Norwich player in question confirmed he had no close contacts with our team, and our squad also verified this.

Our testing has continued to return only negative results for Covid-19 since one positive reading was confirmed almost two weeks ago.”

There have now been a total of 16 positive cases from 8,678 tests conducted as the Premier League gears up for it’s return on Wednesday, with Arsenal hosting Manchester City and Sheffield United travelling to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa.

Premier League – who will escape the drop?

With the resumption of the Premier League season on the horizon, it’s looking increasingly more likely that clubs in the lower reaches of the table will have to face up to the danger of relegation. 

Despite the caveat of having no fans, a full season of Premier League fixtures are set to be played leaving little argument against relegation for three teams. So with the danger of the drop still present, which teams are in the most trouble? 

Norwich, of course, are currently the most threatened side. They sit bottom of the table with 21 points, six points adrift of 17th. It’s a large gap, but one that is still just about bridgeable. Despite facing Chelsea and Manchester City towards the end of the campaign, the Canaries’ run-in overall makes more positive reading. 

They face Southampton, Brighton, Watford and West Ham during their first six games back. Positive results in these matches could well turn the relegation battle on its head, and a recent victory against Leicester shortly before the lockdown will give Norwich hope of conjuring some form. 

In 19th, four points above Norwich, sit fellow promoted side Aston Villa. Since reaching the League Cup final, the Villains have lost all four of their Premier League matches – most recently 4-0 against Leicester.

Villa have a game in hand against Sheffield United, which is scheduled to be the first fixture back for the Premier League. A win would see Villa move up to 16th, but this will be a tough task against an excellent Sheffield United side who dispatched the Villains 2-0 earlier in the season. 

The run-in for Villa doesn’t gave any easier after that either, with matches against Chelsea, Wolves, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal to follow. Their season then finishes with what could well end up being a final day relegation decider against West Ham. 

Bournemouth lie in 18th with 27 points, joint with Watford and West Ham above them. The Cherries arguably face the toughest run of fixtures, with Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City all on the horizon. 

In fact, Bournemouth will not be facing any teams below them in the table. The lowest placed sides they face are Southampton and Newcastle – seven and eight points respectively ahead of the Cherries and both look to be clear of any real relegation trouble. 

The Cherries not only face difficult opposition, but have no opportunity to directly gain any ground on their relegation rivals. 

Watford and West Ham – the two other teams on 27 points – face each other in a relegation crunch match scheduled for mid July. The Hammers also have another key match scheduled a few days earlier against Norwich, as well as their final day showdown with Aston Villa.

Results in games against their relegation rivals could well see the Hammers safe. Add to this the fact that David Moyes seems to have struck upon a cohesive and powerful combination up front with Sebastian Haller, Michael Antonio and Jarrod Bowen (they were very unfortunate not to get a result against Arsenal before the lockdown), and things are looking relatively positive for West Ham.

Watford, meanwhile, face some tricky fixtures against Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester City before Arsenal on the final day of the season. Their run in, however, doesn’t quite match the desolate landscape of Bournemouth’s with opportunities to gain points against their relegation rivals still available to the Hornets. 

Brighton sit in 15th with 29 points and despite a two point cushion above the relegation zone, they are by no means out of the woods. Like Bournemouth, they lack matches against sides in the relegation battle. The only team below them Albion face is Norwich who are already eight points adrift of Brighton, so it’s possible the match could be of little direct consequence. 

With six draws and only four defeats since the start of 2020, Brighton are proving tough to beat but are also massively struggling to carve out wins. They are winless since the 28th December 2019 and will need to be picking up all three points when they can to avoid slipping further into the relegation battle. 

One thing that should also be considered is the lack of fans, and how this might affect results. It was previously a topic open to debate but the fact that home advantage seems to have gone out the window in the Bundesliga seems to indicate it does have a large influence. 

Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter even commented the other week saying:

“teams with a high level of technical quality in particular are less dependent on support”, while also noting how a lack of fans can adversely affects sides lower in the division. 

At a glance, Aston Villa look to benefit the most from having a crowd behind them with a swing of 0.78 points per game (PPG) more at home than away. This would make sense given the raucous reputation of Villa Park and the Holt End. Villa’s home PPG swing is the third highest in the division behind Manchester United (0.79) and Everton (0.99). 

While Villa’s is the most stark, all the teams in the midst of the relegation fight have a swing of at least 0.5 PPG more at home barring West Ham with 0.27. This also makes sense given their questionable choice of new stadium. 

This would indicate that West Ham are less reliant on home support, so are less likely to be as affected by the lack of fans. Given this along with their bolstered frontline, the Hammers stand a good chance of staying up. 

Things don’t look so good for the Villains though, with a lack of fans looking like it could possibly be more of an issue for them. This coupled with their tough run of games could spell trouble for Villa.

Bournemouth also face a tricky run of fixtures but more importantly, do not face any teams around them so have little chance to make up ground on their rivals. They could also be set to slip further into the relegation quagmire. 

Watford will hope to draw upon Nigel Pearson’s experience from his great escape with Leicester in 2015, as well as looking to talented players such as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr. Gerard Deulofeu, however, is still likely to be out for the remaining fixtures. 

Brighton and Norwich are both tricky to predict. Brighton have had a long and slow slide down the table, and it’s difficult to see where it might stop or how far down it will take them. 

Norwich look like they might be dead and buried, but a good run of results in the games they have against their rivals could seriously shake things up for the Canaries.

What is certain is that there is still much to play for at the bottom of the Premier League. 

Southampton concede nine on home turf!

Have you ever played one of your ‘non-football’ friends on FIFA..?

Leicester ran riot in the torrential rain last night as the Foxes put nine past Southampton at the St Mary’s stadium, sending shockwaves through the world of social media.

Southampton have one of the leakiest defences in the Premier League, and after last night’s mauling they’ve conceded twenty-five goals this season. That dreadful defence was exposed to the full as Leicester’s exiting, attacking football tore the Saints defence to shreds.

Southampton started with a 3-5-2 formation which turned into a 5-4-1 almost instantly. It was clear from the first whistle that the home team’s game plan was to defend, aiming to get a vital point. However, Leicester had no trouble breaking down Southampton’s defence.

Leicester’s quick one touch football, which has been refined to perfection under Brendon Rogers, dominated the game, not letting Saints venture out their own half.

From the kick off, the Foxes were straight on the attack with Tielemans on the edge of the box. The Belgian tried to win a free kick but referee Andre Marrinner saw nothing and Leicester were away with the ball.

Not long after, Leicester scored their first through the unlikely source of Chillwell. After Bertrand lost the ball to Perez, Ndidi picked the ball up and played it square to the eighteen yard box to Maddison who let it run to Chillwell. The left back fired the ball in from the edge of the box to Barnes who shot but Gunn saved. The keeper parried the ball right into the path of Chillwell who had an open goal.

The goal also saw VAR executed to perfection for one of the first times this season. Bertrand put in a static tackle with his studs going straight into the side of Perez’s leg. It was undoubtedly a red card and a quick check later, the red card was shown. Quick and the right outcome without debate – finally it appears that the Premier League have sorted VAR ou…lets try not to speak too soon.

Seven minutes later, Tielemans hammered home the nights second after super play on the wing by Barnes. The young winger put a ball in most likely intended for Maddison but Valery intercepted but the ball landed at the feet of Teilmans and from fifteen yards out, he wasn’t going to miss, and didn’t.

Not even two minutes later, Perez netted for the first time in a Leicester shirt. After a quick one two with Tielemans, the Spaniard shot low to Gunn’s left and despite the keeper getting a touch, it ended in the back off the net. The game was beyond Southampton after just twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes later, Perez grabbed his second of the game. He found himself unmarked at the back post and he could hardly miss after a beautiful cross by England left back Chillwell.

The Foxes weren’t even finished for the first half yet though. Leicester aren’t going to get a hat full of goals without Vardy joining the party. The cross came in from Chillwell, again, and Romeu headed the ball right to the feet of Vardy who after some pretty footwork, beat Gunn easily.

Hassenhuttl’s men were having a nightmare losing 5-0 at half time. The Saints manager could have shut up shop and stopped it from being a mauling but he stayed with the same system and it definitely didn’t work.

With a half empty stadium at the kick off of the second half (mainly due to people leaving, not missing kick off due to queues at the food kiosks) Leicester were in the mood to make this a night to remember.

It only took ten minutes of the second half for Perez to bag the match ball. Poor defending from Yoshida keeping the run of Perez on side, Perez has the six yard box to himself to pick his spot and he did just that.

Less than a minute later, number seven came. Who else but Chillwell crossed straight to the head of Vardy who bagged his second of the night.

It was starting to get boring for neutrals, but not for the Leicester fans who were celebrating every goal like their first. Empty seats outnumbered the the occupied ones by this point in the home end. The game was getting beyond embarrassing.

After a time without the Foxes finding the net, Maddison got the pick of the bunch. A free kick from twenty yards out buried top corner. Gunn didn’t even get close.

One more for the Foxes to equal the record for the biggest Premier League win and Vardy grabbed it. After a brilliant through ball, Vardy was through and looked certain to make the record. He was brought down in the box – penalty. And we all know Vardy doesn’t miss penalties – he became the second to grab a hat trick.

It ended 9-0, a Brendon Rogers masterclass. You could call it pathetic fallacy for Southampton – a poor performance on a horrible night. A big job for Hasenhuttle to turn this poor form around as the Saints currently sit in the bottom three on goal difference.

A poignant night for Leicester as it marked the one year anniversary of the death late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Foxes are now firmly resting in the UCL qualification places, and quickly found themselves in second place before Manchester City defeated Aston Villa.

(Photo – Planet Football)

Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4 …

The eagerly awaited South Coast Derby eventually came last night, as league 1 Portsmouth took on Premier League Southampton. It was the first derby between the two teams since 2012, and predictably enough, went the way of Southampton.

The scoreline might seem a tad harsh on Portsmouth, who fielded a strong side last night. The side bore close resemblance to the team that narrowly missed out on Promotion from League 1 Last season.

Southampton for their part were fresh, following being beaten in another South Coast Derby on Friday night against Bournemouth. That game saw them on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline, so last nights game was always going to be a tall order for Portsmouth

However…

Portsmouth more than held their own for 30 minutes, before making two sloppy mistakes by their standards. These defensive errors, which led to Danny Ings Scoring two goals.

Ward-Prowse called up by England as Delph, Stones and Loftus-Cheek withdraw

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has been called up into the England Squad for the Euro 2020 Qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro respectively following injuries to three players.

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek alongwith Manchester City duo John Stones and Fabian Delph have all pulled out after picking up injuries during the weekends games for their club sides.

Ward-Prowse has only featured once for the senior side back in March 2017 when he featured alongside teammate Nathan Redmond during England’s 1-0 friendly defeat against Germany when the Saints play maker replaced Jake Livermore in the 82nd minute.

Ward-Prowse wasn’t included in Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate’s original squad for the qualifiers which left some pundits and journalists wonder how he’d been omitted from the squad after a string of impressive performances for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in the Premier League this campaign.

It’s also good to see Tom Heaton in the squad for the first time since preparations for last summer’s FIFA World Cup in what was one of the best England performances out in Russia.

West Ham’s Declan Rice gets his first call-up after he recently switched allegiancies from Republic of Ireland to the Three Lions.

England’s Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign begins on Friday 22nd March when Czech Republic come to Wembley Stadium before Southgate and the Three Lions travel to Podgorica to face Montenegro just three days later.

Here is the England squad in full for the Qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Dele (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)