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How helpful will Saints’ 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Lincoln City be for preparation here? Saints’ setup in the cup had echoes of Jones’s Luton Town team: back three, dual strikers and long, raking balls played out from the central centre-back (Lyanco) to begin moves, aimed either at Ché Adams or the wing-backs. It felt a step away from the 4-4-2-ish shape used against Liverpool back in November and a step towards a Jones system. That feels like a positive, as it means he’s putting his stamp on the team ahead of a very different second half of the season. What was also positive was both Samuel Edozie and Theo Walcott’s impact off the bench – albeit the latter’s was short-lived.
He needs a fast start at Southampton and he needs a goalscorer to stand tall. Captain James Ward-Prowse has had a poor season so far (hence his omission from the England squad) needs to regain his best form if Saints are to drag themselves up the table. Che Adams, Adam Armstrong and Sekou Mara also need to start finishing chances. It will be intriguing to see how many changes Jones makes. Brighton will push for European qualification and they’ve had some big wins already this season against Chelsea and Man United and they dumped Arsenal out of the League Cup too. This is a seriously talented squad which hasn’t really missed Graham Potter since he departed for Chelsea.
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After Ralph Hasenhuttl’s departure after almost four years in charge, Jones is tasked with keeping this talented young squad in the Premier League. Getting off to a winning start in his first home league game in charge against Brighton (the team he used to play) is essential. They sit in 19th place but are just two points from safety with a favorable run of games coming up.
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Sunday, 14 March, 2021All matchesLatest matches SouthamptonEngland. League Cup. Tuesday, 20 December, 2022Premier League. Saturday, 12 November, 2022England. Wednesday, 9 November, 2022Premier League. Sunday, 6 November, 2022Premier League. Saturday, 29 October, 2022Latest matches Brighton and Hove AlbionEngland. Wednesday, 21 December, 2022Club Friendlies. Thursday, 8 December, 2022Premier League. Sunday, 13 November, 2022England.
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He no longer manages the clearly dominant team in every encounter, so he’s had to adapt his approach to the opposition, rather than utilise a more one-size-fits-all approach. The underlying principles of his football, though, remain: he wants the ball, he wants to build from the back, he’ll encourage his players to circulate the ball in deeper areas to bait the opponent’s press – and then play through it quickly and launch attacks. How can Southampton hurt them? Circulating possession deep is risky.
Still, they sit in seventh place and are just eight points off the top four and have a game in-hand over fourth-place Tottenham. A European push is certainly on the cards. [ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA] Here’s everything you need to know for Southampton vs Brighton. How to watch Southampton vs Brighton live, stream link and start time Kick off: 10am ET, Monday (December 26) TV Channel: Peacock Online: Stream via Peacock Premium Key storylines Nathan Jones was hired from Luton because he is a motivator and he can get the best out of young players.
De Zerbi knows now is the time for him to kick on as Seagulls boss and the last few months will have helped him to settle in. Brighton finally seem to have solved their issue of scoring goals and they are more clinical than in previous seasons. In-form players to keep an eye on Saints’ best player of the season so far has been Romeo Lavia and the 18-year-old is back after his injury and his driving runs from midfield should be a key factor in this game, and for the rest of the season for Saints.
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Tactical Watch: Lyanco's distribution key to initiating attacks | Southampton FCTactics writer Sam Tighe previews Southampton's return to Premier League action after six weeks away, as Saints host Brighton on Boxing Day. How did Brighton & Hove Albion spend the World Cup break? Brighton chose to jet off for a warm-weather training camp in Dubai while domestic football paused for the World Cup. Manager Roberto De Zerbi only took charge in mid-September, stepping in for Graham Potter, so will surely have welcomed the chance to zero in on some strong tactical and training work with his new squad – a bit like Nathan Jones did here at Southampton.
Their narrow 2-1 win against third-tier Lincoln City to reach the League Cup quarterfinals didn’t inspire much confidence of a quick turnaround, though. Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi has had a little longer in charge and the Seagulls are very capable of dismantling a Saints side which is low in confidence. Given that Alexis Mac Allister will be flying high after playing in the World Cup final for Argentina, plus their trio of Ecuadorian players starring in Qatar, that showcases the talent in this Brighton side. They have only won one of their last five games on the road and their early season consistency has given way to a bit of a rollercoaster of results in recent months.
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It invites pressure in risky areas, and while the pay-off can be taking five opposing players out of the game, it can cost you dearly if it goes wrong. Even De Zerbi himself has labelled it a “gamble” in the past. We could well be in store for a game of chicken: Brighton trying to coax Saints out to engage their centre-backs with the ball; Saints sitting in a mid-block and trying to sense when the right moment to step out is. There’s no doubt that you can catch them cold – Villa did exactly this in the last Premier League round, robbing Alexis Mac Alister on the edge of his own box, then feeding Danny Ings to score – but there’s also the lingering risk that if your pressure doesn’t tell, you’ll get caught cold instead.
The Seagulls played one friendly out there against Aston Villa, drawing 2-2, and De Zerbi got a good look at the depths of the squad, given they were missing seven World Cup attendees. What has De Zerbi’s first three months at Brighton shown us? From a human perspective, he’s been warmly embraced by the fans. Potter was a very popular figure and replacing him felt a tough task, but Brighton supporters see a lot of Potter’s good traits in De Zerbi and are right behind him – they even circulate a giant flag with his face on ahead of kick-off. World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, a key cog in the Brighton midfield, is unlikely to feature From a tactical perspective, De Zerbi has, understandably, had to tweak a few things from his last job at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mohammed Salisu had a fine World Cup with Ghana and Saints went away to Spain to work with their team over the break and they had pretty much everyone available to work with Nathan Jones. Brighton have a host of players who were great before and during the World Cup. Mitoma was excellent before the break and for Japan in Qatar, while Moises Caicedo and Pervis Estupinan both excelled for Ecuador at the World Cup. Leandro Trossard, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck are all having fine campaigns too.