There was a dry period about eight or nine years ago when midtable clubs were managed by gaffers who were on their way out. Their ways were somewhat draconian, and it felt like watching any sides outside of the original big six was a waste of time.
Now, almost every club in the Premier League is box office, and the meeting of Southampton and Brighton really shouldn’t whet appetites like it does. We owe a lot of that to Graham Potter and Ralph Hasenhuttl.
While it was commonplace for teams to sacrifice performances for results due to the incoming influx of television money, that’s no longer the case as teams have began to realise the commercial viability of possessing a ‘brand’ of football.
See folks, we might have had to deal with bad fashion and snarky attitudes for a decade, but hipster culture has finally paid off to the point where the Seagulls and the Saints is a Monday night blockbuster. How about a Same Game Multi to top it all off, anyone?
Southampton score early in games and fade away. Brighton go behind and claw games back, but can never seem them out to get three points. This just feels like a logical conclusion between two teams that could be a carbon copy of each other.
Brighton are a tough cookie to crack at home, and the fact they’ll be keeping possession doesn’t really aid Southampton, who – unlike countless other teams above them – are happy to play on the counter. This Saints unit doesn’t have tonnes of pace, but they’re deadly from set pieces and James Ward-Prowse is liable to find a through ball behind the back three at any given time.
For all their possession, they’re really struggling to test opposition goalkeepers, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Potter suggest that they let go from distance now. They’ve had three or fewer shots on target in every Premier League game they’ve been a part of since that 3-2 loss to Man United in late September. That approach really needs to be amended in training this week – particularly as Southampton are very liable to be pickpocketed in their own half. You can’t turn down those gifts.
Both of these teams take far too many risks on the ball for their not to be clear-cut opportunities. In a game where you know there’ll be chances, it’s never wise to turn down a both teams to score market – no matter what their previous results were.
Che Adams feasts against back threes because his movement in-between centre halves is what makes him so prolific. Perhaps struggling last year to find the target, there are more eyes on him this year and now everyone’s an expert all of a sudden on his movement off the ball.
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