Southampton V West Ham at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

12 April 2013 10:24
Southampton V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Saints trio struggling for fitness

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino could be without a trio of players for the Barclays Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday.

A virus has sidelined Luke Shaw, Jason Puncheon and Jay Rodriguez and all are now doubts for the visit of the Hammers.

Other than the three players fighting illness, Pochettino has a clean bill of health as his side look for the win that would move them on to 40 points for the season.

Pochettino has refused to criticise West Ham for their perceived negative approach in some of their Premier League fixtures this season.

Following last weekend's goalless draw at Liverpool there were plenty of questions asked about the system and style of play deployed by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.

Pochettino, who has brought free-flowing and attacking football to St Mary's since replacing Nigel Adkins in January, has guided the Saints into 11th spot in the table and welcomes West Ham to the south coast on Saturday.

But the former Argentina international accepted that there are different ways of picking up vital results in the league and said he and his players must respect West Ham's approach if they are to overcome Allardyce's side.

"There are always different tastes and different points of view in football," he said.

"I think they got a result that was positive for them [against Liverpool]. Many people are interested in how you win and how you get positive results and there are some that don't care about that, both points of view are respected.

Asked how he thought Allardyce would set his team up at St Mary's, Pochettino replied: "I think West Ham are going to be very direct, very aggressive and play the long ball to try and keep us in our half.

"There were many times during the game against Liverpool when this was effective for them - we have to take into account that their players are very tall and aggressive, very physical.

"We have to try and impose our brand of football, be dynamic and keep going forward. We also need to be aware that we will suffer against them when we don't have the ball."

West Ham will have on-loan striker Andy Carroll available after he was ineligible for last weekend's goalless draw against parent club Liverpool.

Midfielder Joe Cole (hamstring) and Mark Noble (shoulder) are still sidelined.

Defenders Winston Reid (hip) and George McCartney (knee) also remain out.

Southampton's run of positive results from attacking football which has impressed Hammers boss Allardyce.

He said: "At home, we all want to use a pressing game because it creates a much more active and quicker game that fans want to see. They don't want to see us playing with a slow tempo and a slow build up in the Premier League.

"Certainly when you're the home team the emphasis is on you, so actually pressing high up the pitch is a good way to get the players on a high tempo and then of course get the fans cheering for the team."

Allardyce has to decide whether to recall Andy Carroll after the on-loan forward was not available for selection against his parent club last weekend.

The Irons boss, however, knows Southampton present plenty of attacking problems themselves.

"(Rickie) Lambert and (Jay) Rodriguez without a doubt, and (Adam) Lallana if he plays, all three of them have mastered the challenge of the Premier League brilliantly," he said.

"Lambert has been doing it right from the very start. He has scored goals in every division he has played in now, which is a magnificent achievement.

"Rodriguez, of course, having had time to settle from Burnley, has shown the sort of goalscoring form that he managed before.

"Lallana has always been a good player in my eyes so that's a very dangerous front three, so we will need to be as good defensively as were against Liverpool."

Source: PA