West Brom vs. Southampton: Saints in desperate need of a win in massive Baggies clash

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Sofiane Boufal of Southampton celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Sofiane Boufal of Southampton celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /
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Southampton travel to the Hawthorns in look of their first win in 13 Premier League games, the last time being against Everton in November.

Following Wednesday’s night draw with fellow relegation candidates Brighton, attention turns to another big game for Saints in West Brom.

Despite having put a somewhat positive run of results in Mauricio Pellegrino’s eyes, three draws in their last three League games, he is in desperate need of a win Saturday.

Failure to do so will only mount more pressure from fans on the Argentine’s dismissal, on what is currently a united front opinion. To say that the fan base would be in their right, would be an understatement, given questionable performances and tactics that have been on show through out the season so far.

What has made the situation more difficult for Pellegrino, is the lack of activity in the most recent transfer window, and how the squad is arguably weaker. With no replacement of Virgil van Dijk, and having lost out on a much needed creative player in Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes, Saints are a lot less explosive on paper.

Going into this game against The Baggies, Pellegrino will need to ensure that his players are up for a battle, as it is easily a six pointer.

Since their loss to Southampton at St. Mary’s back in November, their has been much change at the Hawthorns.

Ex-Saints boss Alan Pardew took control of the ship after Tony Pulis’ departure, having been out of a job since December 2016. It was in the hope of turning fortunes around, and though the Albion have dropped to the foot of the table, performances in general have been more positive and expansive.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 21: Mauricio Pellegrino manager / head coach of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 21: Mauricio Pellegrino manager / head coach of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Why Southampton Will Win

There is too much riding on this game, not just for Pellegrino, but for the Southampton hierarchy, with pressure to achieve on and off the pitch, the Argentine should be pulling out all the stops.

To add, new arrival Guido Carrillo will be looking to make his mark in a Southampton shirt, having recently been surplus to requirements at Monaco.

The Argentinian striker looked lively against Brighton when introduced at half time to help try claw back the game.

Players such as James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jack Stephens have lead the way in showing their comiment and passion to the cause with their recent performances. Versus Brighton they helped to run the game, doing the same against West Brom could help in achieving a much needed win.

Why West Brom Will Win

Players such as Solomon Rondon and former-Saints striker Jay Rodriguez have looked a lot more rejuvenated since Pardew’s arrival. Plus with the arrival of the experienced Danny Sturridge on loan, will give Alan Pardew many attacking options to his disposal.

With this game giving Pardew the chance to get the midlands club off the bottom of the table, it’ll be no surprise that his players will be fired up. Depending on how Saints set-up, this could be quite the feisty encounter that has a massive say on whether West Brom are relegated come end of the season, therefore a win is a must.

Predicted Line-ups

Southampton

Goalkeeper: Alex McCarthy

Defenders: Cedric, Jack Stephens, Wesley Hoedt, Ryan Bertrand

Midfielders: Oriol Romeu, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mario Lemina, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal

Strikers: Guido Carrillo

West Browich Albion

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster

Defenders: Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Ahmed Hegazi, Allan Nyom

Midfielders: Claudio Yacob, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jay Rodriguez, James McClean

Strikers: Danny Sturridge, Solomon Rondon

Prediction

Southampton 1-1 West Brom