The ‘Opposition Opinion’ is bac with the thoughts of a Saints fan ahead of Southampton’s trip to St James’ Park this afternoon.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this weeks game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own club and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
This week we’ve been speaking to Southampton fan Andrew, with him having the following to say ahead of today’s relegation six-pointer:
Q1) What sort of form do you feel you’re in coming into this one? To say it’s a big game for both of us is an understatement!
“Our form is a strange one really. Since the new year we haven’t lost many games at all but most of our wins have come in the cup!
“We seem fairly steady at the back, but we don’t play the ball forward quickly enough to trouble teams and that results in us not getting wins.
“Hopefully we can play a bit quicker this weekend, put away form is much better than at home at the minute!”
Q2) What do you make of Newcastle’s current side and the thought of facing us on Saturday? Any NUFC players in particular who you’ll be watching out for this weekend?
“I’ve been fairly impressed with Newcastle in the games I’ve seen (Man Utd, West Ham, Bournemouth). Your win over United showed you’ve got good spirit. Unlike us it seems that you guys can get a result against some of the bigger teams!
“Speaking of players, I’ve been impressed with Kenedy and Gayle always seems to be able to pop up with a goal – I think he may score again this weekend.”
“Your weakness is you don’t score enough goals. I wonder where they’ll come through if we keep a Gayle quiet.
“Other than Lascelles, the defensive element of your team doesn’t really stand out either.”
Q3) Likewise, who are the in form/out of form players in your Southampton side at present? Keen to know your current strengths & weaknesses.
“We have finally sorted out the goalkeeper (McCarthy in for Forster) and the defence looks solid. However we don’t seem to have any speed to our play in midfield and our new striker, Carrillo, does not seem to be a goalscorer unfortunately!
“A Saints player to look out for would be Josh Sims – when he plays he is usually the best player on the pitch and is playing especially well at the moment.”
Q4) How do you see the match panning out? Score prediction?
“I believe it will actually be an open game and am expecting a 2-2 draw with Newcastle getting a late equaliser.
“Sims and Carrillo to score for Saints and Gayle (2) for Newcastle.”
Q5) With just 9 games to go, how do you see us faring in the fight for survival? Predicted league positions for us both and your THREE sides to go down..?
“I believe we will both stay up, but it will be extremely close for both of us.
“We have some winnable games and should be ok.
“Newcastle 16th, Saints 17th, Stoke 18th, Palace 19th, West Brom 20th.”
Q6) Pellegrino – Someone Rafa knows well from his time at Liverpool but a manager whose ultimately taken you from top 10 hopefuls to relegation threatened. You’re one of very few clubs at the bottom who haven’t sacked your manager, yet you’ve really underachieved this season. What do you make of him & do you have faith in him pulling a much needed result out of the bag against Rafa here?
“Pellegrino should have been sacked on December when we lost to Leicester 4-1 at home.
“He seems to set the team up not to lose and that has resulted in lots of draws. When he does make changes it is often too late to impact the game.
“99% of Southampton fans want him out but are resigned to keeping him as the board seem to be completely blind to the situation.”
Q7) Finally, if you could pick a side from both squads, what would be your chosen XI? (Be honest!)
“(4-2-3-1) McCarthy – Bertrand, Lascelles, Hoedt, Cedric – Lemina, Hojberg – Atsu, Gabbiadini, Sims – Gayle.”
One thing that we can take from this is Southampton fans are clearly not happy with Pellegrino, with it seeming clear that he sets them up not to lose and draws far too many.
Interesting that he fancies an open game with four goals (2-2 prediction) when both teams are known for decent defences but pretty ordinary attacks.
Finally, it seems young winger Josh Sims will be one to watch tomorrow if he starts for the Saints. He’s a player very few fans inside St James’ Park will know, but Andrew clearly rates him highly.
Huge game – HWTL!