Southampton are struggling in the Premier League this season and have appeared to be timorous in their endeavours. They have garnered merely 22 points from 24 games and are currently placed at the 18th spot in the league table.
However, they must have taken a lot of encouragement from their 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the league fixture last weekend. On Saturday, their attention shifts to the FA Cup once again as the Saints are due to face Watford in the 4th round of the FA Cup at St. Mary’s Stadium after having defeated Fulham in the 3rd round.
Here is how we expect Mauricio Pellegrino to roll out his starting line-up against the Golden Boys.
Alex McCarthy is expected to be stationed between the sticks for Southampton once again. Ahead of the custodian, we expect to see a four-man defensive wall, with Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt at the heart of their defensive line. Maya Yoshida is unlikely to be forced into the upcoming fixture as he has just returned from his hamstring injury.
Although Jan Bednarek was used in the right-back position against Fulham, we anticipate seeing Jeremy Pied at the aforesaid position this weekend as he is understood to be fit now. From the left-back position, we expect Pellegrino to station Ryan Bertrand to showcase his industry once again.
Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are likely to operate from the central midfield. They would have to shoulder the responsibility of not only cushioning the backline but to also knit the side together with their passes and push the team forward to score goals.
Steven Davis is likely to play the no.10 role for the home side. He is more than capable of creating chances and should be able to offer some spark in the final third.
Charlie Austin is out with a hamstring injury and is far from a return. In his absence, Shane Long would be one of the first players to find a place in the starting line-up. He hasn’t been prolific this season and will really be keen to find his name on the score sheet when he laces up against Javi Gracia’s men.
James Ward-Prowse’s goal in the first-half against the Cottagers ensured Southampton’s progress to the 4th round of the FA Cup and he is likely to be given the nod to start from the right wing. On the other flank, Dusan Tadic should be able to offer a creative spark and is likely to start.