Ahead of Saturday's match with
Southampton, we speak to Saints' fan Louis James who offers his views on the
game, Rickie Lambert, the Baggies and much more. You can follow Louis on Twitter
fairly poor start, and a surprise change of manager, you eventually finished in
a respectable 14th position last season. It must have been a far better placing
than most Saints’ fans were expecting?
Yes and no. I think we all knew we could and should stay up.
We had the momentum of two consecutive promotions, enough quality to survive and
a real hunger to push on. There was a real sense that we belonged in the Prem
and we were desperate to prove it. That said, I'm not the only one who would've
taken 17th at the start of the season (and even more so after the first 6 or 7
games)! I'm definitely happy with 14th, although we could have finished higher
with a stronger end to our season.
of last season?
Beating Man City 3-1 at St.
Mary's. Everything that the team had been working on and displaying in previous
games finally fell into place. Our pressing style completely stunned City, and
for a team filled with possession footballers, they struggled to keep the ball
and create chances. And it wasn't just a one off: Fergie commented how we were
the best side to play at Old Trafford last season. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2271035/Manchester-United-lucky-beat-Southampton-admits-Sir-Alex-Ferguson.html
of last season?
Sacking Adkins. At the time, I thought he could have kept us
up (although, in hindsight, it was the right decision to replace him with Poch).
The manner in which the chairman, Nicola Cortese, sacked him, however, was
incredibly cold. Adkins was much loved on the
South Coast and had done an
incredible job with back-to-back promotions. His departure was announced on the
back of news Pochettino had been appointed, with as little as two sentences
written about Nigel and no thanks.
Schneiderlin. Whilst Rickie was the top English goal scorer
and had another cracking season, the Frenchman was behind everything positive
with our football. He topped the list for most interceptions, most tackles and
most ground covered throughout
Europe's top 5 leagues, as well as scoring 5 goals and an 85% pass
accuracy. I would be very surprised if he wasn't in the
France squad soon.
There were a few at the start of the campaign. We shipped in
a lot of goals so fingers were pointed at the likes of Jos Hooiveld and Danny
Fox. Hooiveld scored 4 own goals last season and Fox looked very uncomfortable
at left back (although, he did improve when he was covering for Shaw later on).
Kelvin Davis had a few howlers too, shipping in six at the Emirates.
Whilst not a villain, Gaston Ramírez didn't always live up to
his £12m price tag, and looked lost in several games, so he has a big season
ahead of him with a lot to prove.
What do you
make of Saints’ boss Mauricio Pochettino? What’s his favoured style and
He excites me a lot. His style of football isn't too
dissimilar to the one we were playing before - it's just a lot faster and more
attacking. There's a big focus on winning the ball and keeping possession. It's
a style that's suited to bigger opposition (we beat City,
Chelsea and Liverpool at home),
but we still seem to come unstuck against the teams below us...
the club’s transfer dealings been like this summer and are you happy with them?
Dejan Lovren, a Croatian centre back , signed from
Lyon for around £8.5m and Victor
Wanyama came in from Celtic for a club record £12.5m came in at the start of the
season, who should help to strengthen our defensive issues. We've been linked
with lots of big names in
Europe (Roma's £15m-rated striker Pablo Osvaldo's name keeps
popping up), but we are still short of a winger and a striker.
the club’s pre-season form been like?
Rather entertaining. The squad went to
Spain and then Austria, playing
games against the likes of Schalke, Beşiktaş and Celta Vigo, before a home game
against Real Sociedad. We won four, and lost two (one of which was on
penalties), scoring 17 goals and conceding 7!
UE Llagostera 1-2 Saints; Palamós CF 0-8 Saints; FC Schalke
04 2-0 Saints; Beşiktaş 1-3 Saints; Celta Vigo 0-0 Saints (4-1 on penalties);
Saints 4-3 Real Sociedad
watch this season?
Jay Rodriguez. He had a quiet start to the season, struggling
to get a consistent run of games until February, but he has been a bit of a
revelation under Pochettino. He is an all-round centre forward, someone
comfortable on the ball who doesn't mind taking players on with a bit of pace, a
good first touch and the ability to score goals. He's been playing out on the
wing a lot, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing centrally a lot more.
It won't be long before he's in contention for an
England call-up and I wouldn't
be too surprised if he overtakes Lambert as our top scorer next season.
Saints’ striker Rickie Lambert made his first
England debut in mid-week, is he
genuinely good enough for international football?
Yes. I know I'm going to have an element of bias towards my
opinion, but he's the type of player
England have been crying out
for. Aside from his typical "centre forward physique" (he's strong, can head a
ball, and has a fierce shot), he's naturally gifted with footballing ability. He
started his career off as a midfielder, so has a very intelligent and creative
footballing brain - his passing, crossing and first touch are that of a
playmaker. In fact, he pulled off more key passes last season (75) than Messi
and Xavi combined (68). That "fairytale" goal certainly wasn't a fluke...
A definite improvement on 14th. Perhaps 10th (although a top
8 finish isn't too unrealistic)...
Lukaku was the best player I saw at St. Mary's last season so
I think his departure will leave a huge hole in
Albion's team, even with Anelka
signing. There are certainly worse teams than you in the league, so I don't
expect you to finish anywhere near the drop, but I don't think you'll have as
good a season as last's. 12th
Hull, Palace and Stoke
for Saturday’s game?
A close one, but I think Saints will win 2-1. Thank goodness
it won't be another freezing cold Monday night game! ;)