Cardiff vs Southampton preview: A classic six-pointer in December


Cardiff City welcome a Southampton side under new management to the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday. The represents a chance for both sides to enhance their survival credentials.

A first win for new Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl could lift his team above Saturday’s hosts into 16th place. A win for Neil Warnock would put further distance between his side and the trapdoor, and possibly leapfrog Newcastle United into 14th.

Both teams are coming off 3-1 defeats. For Southampton they fell to an efficient Tottenham side whereas their Welsh opposition fell to West Ham United by the same scoreline.

Hasenhuttl spoke confidently in his introductory press conference about the south coast side’s chances of staying up. He said,

“The first target is to get out of the relegation zone. The focus for the near future has to be to move as quickly as we can up the table,” said the 51-year-old, “It is tough but I am not frightened.”

At the top of the list of priorities for the new Saints manager will be to tighten up a leaky defence. The 29 goals they have conceded is fourth worst in the league. Coupled with their inability to find the net, – with just the 13 goals in 15 games so far – and Mark Hughes left the team with a goal difference of -16. Good enough for joint third worst in the Premier League.

Warnock will also be concerned about his team’s defending and highlighted his disappointment after the away loss to West Ham. He said,

“The defending for the goals that we’ve conceded so far this season have been appalling really in comparison to how we’ve done and how we know we can do,

“So we have got to work really hard on that and on the training ground to try and eliminate some of these things.”

Both Ryan Bertrand and Danny Ings are expected to be fit for Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge at the weekend. Ings has been battling a hamstring problem while Bertrand has a back injury. Both will be late decisions as kick-off approaches. One player who will be unavailable is Shane Long as he fights an ankle problem.

Kenneth Zohore and Greg Cunningham are doubtful for the hosts as they are battling various knocks.

The game figures to be a tense and tight one with so much at stake for both teams. The hosts have developed a habit of keeping games close with all of their games throughout November being separated by a single goal.

Southampton have been more erratic. They threw away a two-goal lead against Manchester United at the start of December to draw 2-2 and squandered an early advantage against Fulham in late November to ultimately be gunned down 3-2.

A defeat for either side could be one they look back on in May with great regret once the final standings are confirmed.



About Author

Comments are closed.