Opposing View: Southampton
Vital Southampton editor Vital Saint helps us preview Saturday's clash...
What are your hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
Simply survival for me and I don't care how we achieve it.
The main thing for Southampton is to be able to continue to grow and develop with the riches the Premier League brings, so we don't have to worry about a relegation and the squad being dismantled because of it.
Stay in the league by a point or goal difference, and we can continue to build on what is a pretty decent core of players now we have found our feet and have started picking up points.Nigel Adkins is emphatically the right man for the job, no?
He's earned the chance to try and manage in the top league, he's made mistakes, but he's learning as he goes and he'll be the better for it in time. If the worst happens and we do unfortunately go down, he's already proven he can take us up in any case.In the last month or more Saints have gone from relegation certs to a really bright, entertaining side who just about keep out goals long enough to win games - what`s changed?
I think a lot of it has been down to players starting to bed in and us playing with a more settled defence recently.
The individual errors have been cut down and we are playing more as a unit now and we've got that fighting determination back about ourselves that had seemed to have disappeared somewhat after our very bright start - performance wise.
I think bringing ourselves out of the bottom three has been pyschologically good for us as well, as it's relieved some of the pressure off the players, so we aren't as nervous in defence or attack. Jack Cork coming back into midfield has also obviously been a boost for us.Explain the goalkeeping situation - we`re confused!
To be fair Davis probably deserved dropping given the results, and Gazzaniga kept his place on merit for the most part and in my opinion did well, although obviously issues of experience or lack thereof did show themselves.
Boruc was a weird one as it's all gone quiet there.Who will be your key man on Saturday?
Lambert, just too big a player to not get selected on this question.One Southampton player you`d drive to his next club & why?
Nope, not at the moment. We need everyone fit and firing as best we can, only if we strengthen in January should anybody even be considered for leaving.One Sunderland player you`d snare & why?
Craig Gardner, would add some good steel and an eye for a shot to our midfield and give us a different type of option than Lallana/Steve Davis etc.Any injury or suspension worries?
You'll be pleased to hear Adam Lallana is out injured given your own words about him!
Unless I've missed anything obvious, he's our main concern so the team should be pretty much like our last one.Match prediction?
I think given your current run, we may come out 1-0 winners but it'll be tight I think.Cheers Vital Saint - a first vote ever for Craig Gardner I think! Remember to check out my answers to Vital's questions on Vital Southampton.