Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sothampton Game An Acid Test For Allardyce

After the excellent draw at Liverpool, today's game against Southampton will be an interesting acid test for Allardyce. His supporters argue he has done a superb job, keeping the club just above the relegation pack, but Southampton have climbed above us in the table, and should we lose today, will pull clear and confirm their presence in the Prem next season.

For much of the season, Southampton have struggled and it was a massive feather in Allardyce's cap that he had negotiated a safe route through the first season up, whilst the two other promoted teams looked likely to return to the Championship. I was angered by the replacement of Adkins, but subsequent events seem to be proving the Southampton Board right. The Saints look a much more fluent team going forward and are tighter at the back, whilst Reading don't seem to have gained anything by replacing Nice Guy Brian with Nice Guy Nigel.

However, Southampton's recent run, and our struggles since December have put things into context. We still need three points to guarantee safety, and whilst relegation is unlikely, it is not impossible. If we lose today, and then get stuffed by Manchester United, there may yet be a few anxious glances over the shoulder. Victory for Southampton, in contrast, would confirm a wonderful revival.

And of course, if we stay up, our troubles are not yet over. Carroll needs to be replaced and that won't be easy. Southampton, on the other hand, have a young team that is growing in confidence and should be stronger for their experiences this season. After half a dozen games, they looked dead and buried but our hammering of them at Upton Park now seems a long, long time ago.

Can we win? It's a bit depressing that we even find ourselves asking that question. Remember, Southampton were in the third tier of English football two seasons ago. The climb has been nothing short of breath taking. But we can win but I don't expect us to unless Carroll has an absolute stormer. And there's the rub. Without Andy, we were toothless up front at Anfield - if we lose him for the run in, it could yet get hairy!


Anonymous said...

Morning....Saints fan here looking forward to the game. Think you may be a tad pessimistic about the Hammers, I'm sure you will be fine even though you will probably lose today!

Just wanted to make a few observations about our managerial change. I would firstly say I was as surprised as anyone when Adkins was sacked, and it certainly could have been handled better in terms of giving due credit for the job he did, but with the benefit of hindsight it makes perfect sense. Cortese gets a fair amount of stick at times, but when you consider we were at the bottom of League 1 when he took over, he hasn't got an awful lot wrong, and the wider football community still does not get just how ambitious this guy is! Usually, a manager is sacked in desperation. In this case, Cortese (along with his advisors in the management structure) identified that Pochettino had become available, and considered him better....simple as! Cue hysteria in he media, 'never heard of him,' 'does'nt even speak English' etc...but English teams have been getting stuffed by loads of managers we have'nt heard of recently!

Belatedly, here is the West Ham connection. I can't help noticing a huge difference in mindset between Allardyce and Pochettino. BFS constantly talks about points targets, targeting certain games, not expecting to win some games, or even having much possession. Our man simply says every game offers 3 points, and never targets points totals or mentions relegation. So, whilst our tactics have changed, the main difference has been a massive injection of positivity and confidence. Adkins was also positive to a point, but you always suspected that he regarded finishing 17th as success....not good enough for me, this man means business!

Anyway, sorry to ramble, and good luck for the rest of the season after today

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to another crushing defeat for Wet Spam, relegation beckons.

Anonymous said...

Well you fucked that up didn't you wrong'un... Get back in your hole.

Anonymous said...