West Brom-Southampton Preview
The Premier League is filled with highs and lows, and right now Southampton find themselves in a bit of a low. They host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday hoping to stop the rot of a three-match winless streak (0-1-2).
Mauricio Pellegrino's club went unbeaten in August, but things have taken a bit of a sour turn as the club is winless in four of their last five Premier League matches. The lone victory came on Sept. 16 in a 1-0 result over Crystal Palace.
Last time out, the Saints (2-3-3) claimed a point in a 2-2 draw against Newcastle United, but Pellegrino will be hoping for a better performance this week as his boys mustered just two shots on target and needed a 75th-minute equalising penalty from Manolo Gabbiadini to take a point at home.
The attacking talent is there for the Saints, with Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic leading the charge, but they have yet to fire on all cylinders. Tadic is hoping his side can up their game this weekend.
"We like to play in front of the home crowd, although we haven't taken as many points as we'd like at home this season," Tadic said. "But we'll try to change that and try to make our fans happy.
"It is too early to think about the league table, every club is close to each other. But as the season goes on there is more emphasis on the table, and then we'll look at where we stand and where we want to be."
Tadic has been directly involved in a goal in each of his last three Premier League appearances against the Baggies (one goal, two assists).
On the injury front, Pellegrino said his squad is fully healthy, with the sole exception of defender Jeremy Pied.
The Baggies (2-4-2) find themselves in a similar rut as Southampton as Tony Pulis' side are winless in their last six Premier League matches (0-4-2). West Brom, and specifically a Pulis-managed side, has long been known as a defense-first club, but that philosophy has been lost a bit in the last two games.
Against Watford on Sept. 30, West Brom conceded a 95th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw, while they allowed an 80th-minute tying goal to Riyad Mahrez in Monday's 1-1 draw against Leicester City.
Certainly Pulis will need the defense to be better if his club are to take anything at St Mary's.
Who starts between the sticks for West Brom is to be determined as Ben Foster missed Monday's game with a knee injury, while backup Boaz Myhill suffered a leg injury after a collision with Jamie Vardy but finished the match.
"It's an absolute joy to play Premier League football, and having been out of it for 18 months I was never going to come off," Myhill said. "They would have had to have dragged me off. Before the game the gaffer told me, as he always does, to enjoy it and that's exactly the right attitude.
"It's brilliant to play Premier League football and now I want to keep Ben out of the team."
Southampton have won two of their last three Premier League matches against West Brom, as many as they had in their previous nine against them. Gabbiadini scored with both of his shots against Newcastle after needing a period of 16 appearances and 27 shots to score his previous two goals.
Updated October 19, 2017