Sunday, June 4, 2023

Predicted Southampton Lineup Vs Man United: Puel To Persist With The 4-1-3-2 Formation?

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Southampton face Manchester United on Friday in what will be one of their most difficult assignments this season. Claude Puel’s troops will be making the journey to Old Trafford after a somewhat anti-climactic match against Watford. The Saints were pegged back early on by a surprise Capoue goal as the defence was slow to react to the former Tottenham Hotspur man’s shot. The first half was disjointed with both the teams trying to come to grips with the new formations and tactics under their managers. Both Claude Puel and Walter Mazzarri were overseeing their first matches in the English Premier League and it was evident from the initial display that a fair amount of work was still needed to be done.

After a half-time talk Southampton looked much more fluent and their co-ordination improved. And they duly capitalised on their statistical advantage as Nathan Redmond, their new summer signing volleyed home after the ball fell kindly to him from the keeper’s weak punch. And after Watson received his marching orders for pulling down Shane Long who would have through on goal, it seemed Southampton would eventually collect the first three points of the season. But it was not to be as Watford dug deep and the high work rate and commitment from the players paid off as they secured a draw which would was a positive result at the end. Mazzarri was happy with the determination shown by his team and was optimistic of better things to come. Claude Puel too pointed out to the marked change in his team’s performance in the two halves.

 “I spoke with all my players at half time,”

“It was a collective problem not just one player. In the second half all the players wanted the ball and we had a solution. We aren’t as physical as other teams but we have good technique and we have to use this.”

Puel has torn up Ronald Koeman’s 4-2-3-1 blueprint and has implemented a midfield diamond with two up-front. While the transition will take time, it is expected the manager will stick with the formation devotedly. But the jury is out on whether he should persist with the formation against United as well.

We think he might back his tactics in the beginning and then react accordingly.

With the relatively short period of time between the matches, Bertrand might not be fully fit come Friday. But Southampton will hope Fonte is fit as he will be needed to deal with the likes of Ibrahimović.

Predicted Line-Up (4-1-3-2)

Forster- Soares, Van Dijk, Fonte, Targett- Romeu- Davis, Ward-Prowse- Tadic- Redmond, Long

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