At last, there is something to shout about for our resident Saints fans in the Transfer Tavern following the news that they will be travelling to Wembley at the end of the month.
Although their league form has been majorly inconsistent, our Landlord has especially been impressed by Claude Puel’s management, especially considering Southampton is his first job in English football. Despite the fact he endured a tricky festive period – the Frenchman can be happy with his performance thus far. Now, what he will be looking for from his squad is a bit of momentum in order to achieve that top half finish craved by the club at the start of the season.
Saints fans were treated to the last minute signing on deadline day with the arrival of Italian forward, Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli for a fee believed to have an overall value of a reported £14million. The arrival of the forward is massive for a struggling Saints attack currently hampered by Charlie Austin’s long injury lay off. Although, Jay Rodriguez is expected to have recovered from the knock he received in the EFL semi-final win at Liverpool in time for this fixture.
It is widely expected that Gabbiadini will make his debut against a West Ham side that may well consist of a meeting with former Saints’ skipper, Jose Fonte, who left the club in the January transfer window and, with the game being held at St Mary’s, our Landlord expects Fonte to get a hostile reception from the home fans.
The last time these two sides met saw Southampton complete a 3-0 route at the London Stadium with Charlie Austin, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse compiling the misery on the Hammers who may well benefit from playing this fixture away from home.
Our Landlord begs to differ with that viewpoint and he believes this XI will surely beat West Ham…