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[Archived] Southampton 3 - 2 Rovers


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Southampton vs Rovers Match Preview by Pete (ihateburnley)

Well, after a truly excellent first preview for the opening game against WBA, I face the daunting task of following Scotty with my preview for Rovers' first away game of the 2004/05 season - Southampton.

Southampton, like ourselves, are seen by many as a side comfortably established as an average Premier League outfit, without exactly inspiring the imagination. They have never won the Championship, although that statement could mean anything following the re-branding of the English football leagues. Southampton's honours list comprises of the following:

League Honours

Level 1 (Premiership, First Division, Football League) Runners-up 1983/1984

Level 2 (Championship, League Division One, Second Division) Runners-up 1965/1966, 1977/1978

Level 3 (League One, League Division Two, Third Division) Champions 1959/1960 Runners-up 1920/1921

Level 3 (Third Division (South)) Champions 1921/1922

Club Records

Victory: 9-3 v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Div 2, 18th September 1965

Defeat: 0-8 v Tottenham Hotspur, Div 2, 28th March 1936

Attendance: 31973 v Newcastle 11th May 2002

As I said, they don't exactly inspire the imagination. However, the club has seen a gradual transformation over recent years. They were once regarded as a club who just made up the numbers in the Premier League - their laughable excuse for a top-flight stadium for one, leading us all to categorise them along with teams such as Wimbledon, Coventry City and Norwich City. Indeed, we have seen supposedly big clubs with obvious potential such as Sunderland, Wolves and Crystal Palace all come and then go within a couple of years. Sheffield Wednesday - remember them? Massive ground and a large support base - but you need more than that to stay in the top-flight. Southampton's new ground, St Mary's, a 33,000 all-seater stadium stands as a blatant beacon of a brighter future and better things to come both on the field, and off it.

I emailed Southampton fan Ken Sharp to see how he rates us. Just a regular Southampton fan with no say in the running of his football club other than the few hundred quid he throws at the ticket office every season. It's only a short one - wouldn't want to use up unneccessary amounts of space on the messageboard tongue.gif Can I once again thank Ken for his time in helping me.

Questions

1) How do you rate the Rovers squad as individuals?

Brad Friedel - Top keeper. Doesn't seem to be living up to his form of two seasons ago, but still one of the best goalkeepers in this division.

Dominic Matteo - Big scary ugly bugger. In other words the ideal centre-half. Good signing.

Lorenzo Amoruso - Not sure about him. Seems a slow and unpredictable player, but then again we have plenty of those.

Lucas Neill - From what I've seen he's a very aggressive defender who likes to get stuck in - not sure he's Premiership quality.

Michael Gray - Always liked Michael's style of play. Excellent player for Sunderland and would have liked to seen him get his chance in the England squad on the left maybe.

David Thompson - Again like Michael Gray, he's one of those players that you love to watch. Would definitely like to see him down here.

Brett Emerton - Seems to be a major flop. There were some big teams after him, I think we even went after him at one point. Can understand why we didn't actually bid for him now!

Garry Flitcroft - Never thought he was Premiership quality and I can't begin to wonder why you would play him with the other players you have.

Barry Ferguson - Thought Barry was a quality buy. He's going to get better and better and I wonder if you're going to hold on to him. Be patient with him.

Tugay - Tugay is sheer class, reminds me a lot of good old Eyal Berkovic. His goal against us last season (or was it the year before) from a free-kick was great.

Javier De Pedro - Never seen him play, and if I'm being honest, I've never even heard of him!

Jonathon Douglas - See above! Sorry.

Jon Stead - Seems overrated if you ask me. I think he was in a sort of honeymoon period last season and I don't think he will live up to your expectations. Still young though at least.

Paul Dickov - He's one of those players that if he plays for you you love him - unfortunately we hate him. Always seems to play well against us.

Paul Gallacher - Only saw him play against Newcastle last season, and he looked an excellent prospect. Definitely one for the future.

Matt Jansen - Shame what's happened to him - he looked a very good First Division player. Not sure if he was ever going to cut it in the Prem anyway. Thought you'd sold him.

Dwight Yorke - I thought he was on his way out, but he looked good against WBA on the Premiership. I thought Cole was better too but maybe Dwight will prove me wrong.

2) And as a team? I think us, Blackburn and Everton are so close in terms of quality, we are developing a small breakaway league. We are pretty average sides, and while I don't think any of us will be relegated, I doubt we will finish above mid-table.

3) Do Southampton fans ever wake up in the night with a cold sweat, wondering if YOU could have won the Premiership with Shearer, or indeed the Champions League with Kevin Davies? - Obviously we were sad to see Shearer leave as he was one of our better players, but none of us thought he would go on to achieve what he has. I know he's only won one trophy but he has become a cult figure in modern day football, and we take pride in the fact that we helped him develop into the player he is today.

God knows what happened to Kevin though. I honestly believed he was going to do really really well for you. In hindsight, you could say we were very lucky to get so much for a player that has underachieved, but I was personally gutted when you bought him - I thought we had a future England star on our hands!

4) When are you giving us James Beattie back? This season or next? - You're not having him back. Ever. He's one of the best strikers around even though he maybe is slightly overrated.

5) What's your score prediction for Saturday's game? - I'm saying 2 - 0 to the Saints, and I think Peter Crouch and Kevin Phillips will get them.

6) Not a chance mate. It's going to be 1 - 0 to the Rovers with the Steadmeister pinging one in. What are Southamptons strengths and who should we look out for? - Fabrice Fernandes is a quality player and is always a goal threat with his long-range attempts. Phillips, Crouch, Beattie and Ormerod are all decent options and any combination will give your defence a hard time. Oh, and you wont get anything past Niemi, he's the best goalkeeper we've had in a long long time.

7) Thankyou for your time Ken, hope you have a lovely week, and a terrible weekend - You're very welcome, see you on Saturday!

by Pete (ihateburnley)

Edited by ihateburnley
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Well done den- the pm worked!

Excellent pre-view again. We can't all be comedic double acts but I would say Saints' Ken has made a pretty good assessment of the Rovers.

With Niemi in goal, this is going to be a big test of whether Rovers can kep on scoring goals at last season's rate.

Both clubs made dodgy starts to the new season, with dodgy first halves using dodgy tactics dreamt up by dodgy Scottish managers. Thankfully, we weren't the ones playing Villa.

Has 1-1 draw all over it but if we cannot improve on Saturday's 1 in 4 ratio of getting shots on target, Southampton will get all three points. Sticking with 1-1 whilst still feeling optimistic.

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Nice one Pete.

We'll win. Don't know by how many, but we'll win.

I'll take a guess - what the heck? 2-1. Philllips to open the scoring for The Saints in the first 5 minutes - several Rovers fans throw themselves off the top tier of the away end at this point shouting "We're doooooommmedddd!!!"

All is not lost - we begin the comeback in the 56th minute when our 8 left footed players link up well on the left wing. A sweeping cross from Gresko to Stead who is completely unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. 1-1.

de Pedro scores the winner from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute when Dickov is machine gunned down by Niemi - leaving the referee little choice but to consult his linesman before awarding a "dubious" penalty. No pressure de.

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Jon Stead - Seems overrated if you ask me. I think he was in a sort of honeymoon period last season and I don't think he will live up to your expectations. Still young though at least.

why have i had a feeling for the last 3 months that the saints fan is going to be proved correct with that statement? sad.gif

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Jon Stead - Seems overrated if you ask me. I think he was in a sort of honeymoon period last season and I don't think he will live up to your expectations. Still young though at least.

why have i had a feeling for the last 3 months that the saints fan is going to be proved correct with that statement? sad.gif

Because he did so amazingly well when we signed him it was always going to be impossible for him to live up to our over inflated expectations of him?

He will be good for us, its just a question of whether he will be great.

He has already justified his transfer fee

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I think we'll get a win. Soton, I think, are going to struggle this year. 2-1 to us (Stead and Dickov). The last two times we've been there we've had a player sent off - Cole last season, and Tugay before then. Maybe it'll be Matteos turn this time.

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cant make the game .

But im going for a hard fought scrappy 2-1 to Saints, with a dodgy freekick let in by Friedal and then a long range thunderbolt from Philips (Beatties crocked) Dickov to score our consolation goal. Rovers to have 62 penalty appeals turned down.

Souness to pick a fight with the tealady

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Rovers 2 Southampton 2

Stead Phillips (2)

Yorke

Rovers pick up where they left off in the second half against WBA, flying all over the place. Up 2-nil after 25 minutes.

Then Matteo (or whomever) will find a way to give up a penalty right before the half-time whistle. And good pressure will even the score.

This game reminds me of last season at Man City when we lost 3-2 by conceding in the 88th minute or something. I'd like to be more hopeful, but I'm just not this weekend

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Don't worry - we'll definitely win this one. Southampton are in a bit of turmoil with rumours of dressing room unrest (that's the players in the room, not the room itself) and the fans aren't keen on Luggy's (the Plymouth fans nickname for Sturrock, don't ask me why) 'direct' tactics.

And they lost pathetically against Villa.

Souness will bring Tugay in, Matteo will drop to centre half and Gresko will be binned in favour of Emerton.

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How can a Southampton fan not have heard of their long-term transfer target Javier De Pedro? And since when did Tugay score a free kick against them?

2-1 Rovers. Stead to score early. Phillips to equilise. Dickov to net the winner.

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