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Football News: Southampton v Brighton 17 September 2018

Southampton v Brighton 17 September 2018
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It's the return of the Premier League and a home match v Brighton for Southampton. Brighton have 4 points having beaten Manchester United and drawn with Fulham at home. On the road they lost 2-0 to Watford and 1-0 to Liverpool. Football365 did a review of their stats for the season and determined that Brighton are now tackling and intercepting much more than last year, the number of fouls they've committed has also increased. This shows they're more aggressive in defence and looking to create quick turnover where possible. But they're not just hoofing the ball clear; the number of clearances are down, meaning they are looking to keep the ball when they win it back.

It's a new approach that will take time to be consistent but we all know the problem with an aggressive press - you leave free opposition players and pockets of space if the pressure on the ball is avoided by the opposition. You have to get it right or you leave yourself exposed. Brighton have conceded 7 goals already so far this season. Yes, two of their games were against Man U and Liverpool but the others were against Watford and Fulham who both scored twice.

Brighton still play in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Glenn Murray leading the line and Pascal Groβ playing just off him. However, in their analysis, Football365 also questioned whether this higher tempo press really suits Groβ, an integral player last season. He shone in a side that played differently, creating chances and scoring when Brighton needed that little touch of magic. So far this season, he's been substituted every game for Bissouma an hour or so into the game and the new man has made more of an impact in his limited time.

From the limited number of games thus far, Brighton appear to be following their trend of last season - strong at home, weaker away. This is no doubt a chance for the Saints to get another three points on the board. So what's the problem? The international break. It remains a real hoodoo for the side and it came at just the wrong time when momentum was perhaps slowly starting to build. Will the team return with an improved performance or revert to the norm of previous seasons which has seen them look as though they're starting from scratch after the break?

Psychological issues aside, Saints have their problems too. The side remains a little imbalanced in a 4-4-2 if that's the formation MH opts for this weekend, the personnel perhaps not all perfectly suited to the system. We have conceded 4 and scored 4 which tells its own story to those who follow the Saints but we did beat Brighton a couple of weeks ago in the cup, albeit with players for both teams unlikely to feature on Monday night.

I'm expecting an even contest between the two sides and wouldn't be surprised if we finished in similar league positions come the end of the season. If we can transition between defence and attack quickly and play direct when necessary to avoid the press, we could create some good chances. I feel more comfortable having a physical centre back in Vestergaard starting and lining up against the likes of Glenn Murray.

The danger men are Much, Knockaert and Groβ who will look to create the chances so our midfield will need to work hard to ensure they maintain their defensive stability whilst supporting our attacks. It's a tall order for a two-man midfield. I have my fingers crossed Saints will get a win, but a draw is perhaps more likely. Just not a loss. Please.

Written by figodasilva September 13 2018 12:38:54


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