OptiNews - Friday 10 to Thursday 16 February 2017

All news is good news

Sourced from The Independent article

Everything you need to know about Sunderland vs Southampton

Show/hide article…

​Last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace has given David Moyes new cause for optimism. With Claude Puel’s side struggling for league form and without their key defender, Virgil Van Dijk, who is out through injury, Moyes will fancy his chances. Sunderland, at one point, looked destined for the drop but if they get a win against the Saints and results go their way, we could see them soar out of the relegation zone.

Despite presenting Southampton with the opportunity to win their first trophy since 1976, by booking a place in the EFL Cup final, Claude Puel hasn’t tasted similar success in the league. The Saints have lost four out of their last five league games and are desperate for form. This for them is a very winnable game and they’ll need to take advantage of this opportunity to get back to winning ways.

Sunderland vs Southampton kicks off at 15:00pm

Highlights will be shown on match of the day at 22:30pm on BBC One.

The 28-year-old is Sunderland’s rock at the back and he’ll need to be on top of his game to suppress Southampton’s attacking talent. He was linked with a move to Everton at the beginning of the season but Kone seems to have realised his duty to Sunderland and will be hopeful of building on the clean sheet he secured away at Palace last weekend.

Southampton inflicted The Black Cat’ biggest ever league defeat with an 8-0 win at St Mary’s in October 2014

Craig Gardner scored this stunning strike to knock Southampton out of the FA Cup in 2014.

The 25-year-old Italian striker will definitely pose a huge threat to Sunderland’s defence. He helped himself to a debut goal on the weekend against West Ham and looked a fine talent. He seems to have slotted nicely into this Southampton side and with his pace and physical presence along with Dusan Tadic’s creativity he’s sure to get his fair share of chances.

Go to the original article…

...evasively given rise to by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 10/02/2017 00:39:21

| | Rumour Mill: Arsenal ‘win starlet race’; duo want De Gea - TEAMtalk | Latest Football News & Transfer RumoursTEAMTALK |
| | Rumour Mill: Arsenal ‘win starlet race’; duo want De Gea - TEAMtalk | Latest Football News & Transfer RumoursTEAMTALK |

...disgracefully carved by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Southampton FC - Official Site article

Press conference (part two): Puel on Sunderland

Show/hide article…

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are consenting to their use. View cookie policy.

Go to the original article…

...discretely produced by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from ESPN FC article

Claude Puel: ‘Angry’ Southampton must show character at Sunderland

Show/hide article…

Southampton manager Claude Puel is expecting a reaction from his “angry” players when they visit rock-bottom Sunderland on Saturday.

Yet the Frenchman, whose side’s 3-1 home defeat to West Ham last weekend was their sixth loss in seven Premier League games, is also wary Sunderland’s improved form means they pose an increasing threat.

The Black Cats’ survival hopes have significantly improved after they held Tottenham to a 0-0 draw before winning 4-0 at Crystal Palace, when their squad had been strengthened by new signings and players returning from the African Nations Cup.

Puel knows his team’s poor recent form means Sunderland will again be confident of another positive result, but he said at his prematch news conference: "The squad is angry with the last results.

"We have to correct this and give a good answer. We have to keep a good ambition. We cannot accept this position and the last results. It’s not us.

"I saw all of this week a good level. For the first time in a long time, we had a whole week to prepare for the game. [Sunderland] have confidence from their last result. We will need to show strong character.

“The best way to prepare for the EFL Cup final (against Manchester United on February 26) is with a good result this weekend against Sunderland.”

Puel remains without Sofiane Boufal, Southampton’s club record signing, because of an ankle injury that could yet rule him out of the EFL Cup final.

The 55-year-old said: "Sofiane is not available for this game and we will see for the final, for his recovery and his work. I don’t know for the moment. But against Sunderland he is not available.

“We have long-term injuries, but no other new injuries. We are lacking Sofiane Boufal, who is an important player for us, and that is it.”

Puel was also asked about the club’s reported interest in Uruguay defender Martin Caceres, a free agent, and said: "For the moment it is difficult for me to comment on this because he has not signed for Southampton.

“In the next few days we see if he can bring something for the squad and if he signs. For the moment it is just speculation and we don’t know. He is an international player and his quality and his spirit can be interesting.”

Go to the original article…

...seekingly cast by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Star article

Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand admits playing central defence is ‘high risk’

Show/hide article…

Left-back Bertrand is ready to step in for injured captain Virgil van Dijk in the middle to help Saints avoid being dragged into the Premier League relegation scrap. With Van Dijk sidelined with an ankle problem, former skipper Jose Fonte sold to West Ham and new signing Martin Caceres awaiting a work permit, Saints are short of options. England man Bertrand said: “Playing in the middle comes naturally. It’s the same defensive principles, but there are different requirements of the job. “There is no more running forwards as much and there’s a bit more discipline. It’s a bit more of a high risk position.

“Class is permanent and he’s arguably one of the best in the league at what he does” “It’s nice to play new positions. It’s good to learn and succeeding in a new position is good for your career. If I have to play there, then I’ll play there.” If Bertrand does make the switch he will be up against in-form Defoe, who has banged in 14 goals for struggling Sunderland this season. Former Chelsea ace Bertrand said: “Class is permanent and he’s arguably one of the best in the league at what he does. “He’s come back and he’s playing – with all due respect – in a lesser side, according to the table at least, but still producing the goals.

“He fully deserves everything and deserves more recognition. “He’s very professional in his approach to football and that’s continued, proving again that age is just a number and, at the end of it, 14 goals in the Premier League is no small feat.” Southampton’s EFL Cup final preparations have suffered another injury blow after manager Claude Puel admitted record signing Sofiane Boufal is in danger of joining van Dijk on the sidelines. Boufal is definitely out of tomorrow’s trip to Sunderland after suffering an ankle problem in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at home to West Ham.

Go to the original article…

...gracefully modelled by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Mail article

EXCLUSIVE: Van Dijk may have played his last game for Southampton

Show/hide article…

Virgil van Dijk may have played his last game for Southampton as the defender fears he will not return from injury before the end of the season.

Van Dijk hurt his left ankle in a clash with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy on January 22 and has not played since.

He has already been ruled out of the EFL Cup final against Manchester United on February 26, but Sportsmail understands he has told friends that it is unlikely he will be fit to play again this campaign.

Van Dijk’s foot remains in a protective boot, which will be removed next week, and further assessments will be made by the club’s medical staff.

The Dutchman is still expected to be coveted in the summer transfer window. Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona are among clubs considering moves for the defender.

Some Southampton players are understood to be bewildered by the club’s transfer policy in January, when defender Jose Fonte was sold to West Ham without a replacement being signed.

Fonte forced through the £7million transfer after Southampton were unable to agree terms on a new contract. The Portugal Euro 2016 winner was club captain and his departure has left a vacuum of leadership in the dressing room and experience in the centre of defence.

Southampton are now closing on a deal for free agent Martin Caceres, the 29-year-old former Juventus and Barcelona defender.

The Saints have lost six of their last seven league games and were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal in the FA Cup, but Claude Puel expects a reaction on Saturday at Sunderland.

‘The squad is angry with the last results,’ said the manager. ‘We have to correct this and give a good answer.

'We cannot accept this position and the recent results. It’s not us. I saw all of this week a good level. For the first time in a long time, we had a whole week to prepare for the game.

‘Sunderland have confidence from their last result (4-0 at Crystal Palace). We will need to show strong character. The best way to prepare for the EFL Cup final is with a good result this weekend.’

Go to the original article…

...intransigently formed by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Mail article

Southampton may have found a new defensive mainstay in Alfie Jones

Show/hide article…

Our scout is a top football expert who attends matches each week searching for the next star.

He brings you his verdict in Sportsmail.

This week it is Southampton’s rising starlet Alfie Jones under the microscope…

WHAT HAS HE GOT?

Southampton have long proved to be an outstanding producer of talent.

They have had some quality central defenders, too, including Toby Alderweireld, Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren. That trio have since departed and recently the impressive Virgil van Dijk has been injured, though Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens held the fort in the League Cup win over Liverpool.

However, I was fascinated recently to watch another young pivot they have in the pipeline.

Alfie Jones, 6ft tall at least, caught my eye in a recent game. He actually diverted a cross into his own goal early on but he still went on to play with composed maturity.

I liked the way he covered his fellow centre back when he was competing with the opposition centre forward but his biggest plus was his sensible use of the ball.

When covering his left back he showed confidence in his left foot with a clean clearance but he is a right-footed player who fed his team-mates early with consistently paced passes.

When danger threatened, he displayed toughness in the challenge against a strong physical test from two strikers in the first half.

In the second period, when his team were in the ascendancy, one of the opposing strikers was forced out wide.

Jones and his central colleague were able to maximise the two-v-one situation to give their team deep possession.

WHAT DOES HE NEED?

His pace looks satisfactory but no more than that. He competes in the air well, though, and certainly shows leadership. For a young man, he organises with calm authority.

There is not much of a critical nature to say here, even though Jones is only 19.

I really was very impressed. Often you need two or three looks at a young player — no two games are ever the same — but I was convinced this player was worth a positive report straight away.

Young and ensconced at a club who give youth a chance alongside shrewd signings, Jones looks as though he could have a good future with careful handling. A league loan lower down may be his next natural port of call.

Go to the original article…

...inexplicably generated by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

:bar_chart:

Take a look at all the key facts and numbers ahead of #SaintsFC’s trip to face #SAFC: http://sfcne.ws/SPSAFCA

Retweets: 1

Favourites: 4

...dashingly given life to by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 10/02/2017 08:41:49

| | Are Southampton inconsistent Sunderland’s ideal opponents?HEREISTHECITY |
| | Rumour Mill: Arsenal ‘win starlet race’; duo want De Gea - TEAMtalk | Latest Football News & Transfer RumoursTEAMTALK |
| | Puel hoping to finalise Caceres deal this weekFOURFOURTWOAU |
| | Puel: Southampton are hopeful of closing a deal for former Juventus defender | Outside90OUTSIDE90 |
| | Southampton hoping to finalise Martin Caceres deal this week - Claude PuelGOALDOTCOM |
| | Saints aiming to sign Caceres this week?SPORTSMOLE |

...vindictively developed by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

About 6,000 tickets remain for the #EFLCup final!

The next set of eligible #SaintsFC Official Members can now buy: http://sfcne.ws/EFLCFinalTickets

Retweets: 3

Favourites: 3

...onwardly synergised by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Optimus trousers’ RSS Feed rss feed

The Ugly Inside News for Southampton

New content from (- The Ugly Inside News for Southampton)

| Does Puel Have A Long Term Future At Saints ! Next Two Games May Decide ! | Saints simply have to go to Sunderland and get a result for several reasons not least to show their supporters that … 10-02-2017 |

Older content…

| Caceres Training With Saints ! Will He Play At Wembley !a day ago |
| The Ugly Inside Video Channel ! Opposition Preview With Wise Men Say TVa day ago |
| A Rough Guide To Sunderland2 days ago |
| Wealdstone FC Invite Saints Fans To Their Club Pre Wembley3 days ago |
| Will Members With Less Than 5 Games Get A League Cup Final Ticket ?3 days ago |
| Could Caceres Be The Man4 days ago |
| Saints V West Ham United The Verdict4 days ago |
| The Ugly Inside Video Channel ! Saints Fans Reaction "He Is An Idiot"4 days ago |
| Southampton 1-3 West Ham United - Player Ratings and Reports6 days ago |
| Book Now For The Southampton Away Travel Convoy To Wembley6 days ago |

...uncongenially fitted together by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Sky Sports article

Download the Stat Attack Podcast

Show/hide article…

Each week Max Rushden will be taking on Head of Sky Data, Harry Carr, in a Premier League prediction contest between gut instinct and hardcore statistical algorithms.

Max will also be testing Harry’s numerical nous with listeners’ questions, while a Sky Sports journalist will be popping by with insight and analysis on a recent top-flight talking point.

Here are five facts you’ll learn from tuning in…

You can get involved, too, by tweeting @MaxRushden and @harrydcarr the questions you need to know the answers to.

Go to the original article…

...nationalistically generated by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Bertrand aims for league focus

Show/hide article…

RYAN Bertrand believes “subconsciously” Saints are focusing more on the League Cup final than the Premier League.

Saints are aiming to lift their first major silverware in 41 years against Manchester United in the final at Wembley on February 26, writes Peter Howard.

Despite losing six of their last seven Premier League games, Bertrand revealed the squad are still highly excited about the chance of winning a trophy.

“Subconsciously everyone is focusing on that (the League Cup) a little bit more than the main league,” he said. “The excitement has never dropped really. We’re more than looking forward to it.”

However, the 27-year-old admitted it would be “lovely” to head to Wembley off the back of a top-flight victory at Sunderland tomorrow.

“Wins change training grounds. They become a much happier place,” he said.

“It would lovely to build in to the final with a win under our belts with full confidence looking forward.”

The left-back doesn’t believe that the result of the Black Cats game will have any bearing on the mood in the Saints camp ahead of the final.

“It’s a massive game because it’s in the Premier League and we want to win, not necessarily because we want the team spirit to be up before the final,” he said.

“Going into this final it’s going to be the biggest game the club have had in a long time and the boys will be more than up for it.

“There will be no need to add to any confidence or whatever.”

David Moyes’ side, despite being bottom of the Premier League, are buoyant after a 4-0 victory at Crystal Palace last time out.

Bertrand expects Sunderland to be full of confidence and ready to “fight for their lives”.

“You think they’ve had a good result while they’re fighting for their lives,” he said. “It will be a big game at home for them.

“They will be full of confidence… as confident as you can be in their predicament.

“We just need to go there and focus on us and getting it right.

“We have to be prepared for them. They will come out fighting for their lives.

“We need the points at the moment too.”

Bertrand has also hailed the arrival of £14.5m striker Manolo Gabbiadini.

The England international hopes that the January transfer deadline day signing from Napoli will build on his sizzling debut goal in the 3-1 defeat to West Ham last weekend.

“It’s been massive to bring that quality into the squad,” he said. “It lifts everyone’s game. It shows the direction the club want to go in and hopefully he can come in and continue.

“A few more finishes like that would be nice.”

Go to the original article…

...philosophically devised by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Puel: Forget Wembley

Show/hide article…

Claude Puel has one simple message for his players as Saints try and pick up their Premier League form at bottom of the table Sunderland: ‘Forget Wembley.’

Saints are aiming to avoid a club record equalling worst ever top flight run of seven defeats in eight games as they travel to the Stadium of Light.

The match against the Black Cats is the club’s last before Saints play the League Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley on February 26.

But Puel has refused to tell his squad they are playing for starting berths in the showpiece match – because he doesn’t want to give it a second thought at this stage.

He said: “It’s not for me a choice on selection about the final. This game is important to win.

“Of course we have to play just one game every week and it is different because with less rotation for example.

“It is important all the players stay focussed about the work and to give the good answer for this game.

“The game, seriously, I don’t think anything about the final. For me it’s far and we have time to prepare this game, so it’s just to stay focussed about this game against Sunderland.

“Our fans, the squad, the staff, all deserve other things, not this last result ( against West Ham).

“I think all the players have some good concentration about this game without thinking about the final and this is very important.

“We can have one week to prepare this game and it is fantastic for us. It is a very good thing to keep our calm, to have the good analysis about the last games and to find the good solution to prepare this game.

“We talk about the absence of Virgil but with the work we can compensate, and we can find the good relationship between the play and the good solution and other players can do a little more to compensate this absence.

“It is important to keep the good balance of the team in the defence and the attack.

“I saw a good concentration, a good quality on the pitch on the week and I would like to see this on the pitch against Sunderland.

“It is a good place and a good opponent to show other things and to give pleasure and good feeling for the fans and for all the team and to prepare the final with a good spirit and calm because we know we can do good work the week before.”

Saints’ current run of six Premier League defeats in seven has pulled them nearer the drop zone.

Only twice before have the club lost seven in eight in the top flight – under Dave Jones in 1998/99 and Ted Bates back in 1971/72.

That is why Puel is only focussed on the Premier League for now.

“It’s important in our profession to keep them behind us but also to come back in the first part of the table,” he insisted.

“It is important to stay on the reality and our position is not comfortable and to give a good answer for this game. It is an important game for us to see our ambition and to keep us from the other team behind us. This is very important.”

Go to the original article…

...insightfully put together by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Boufal touch and go for Wembley

Show/hide article…

Sofiane Boufal remains a major doubt for the League Cup final thanks to his ankle injury.

The club record £16m signing was forced off during the defeat to West Ham with a problem that has left him on crutches as a precaution.

Though it is believed the Moroccan international has not suffered serious damage it looks touch and go as to whether he will be ready to face Manchester United at Wembley.

Saints boss Claude Puel reported: “I don’t know for the moment. He cannot play this game (against Sunderland) because it’s a big injury and I don’t know if we can recover him or not.

“It’s not the first time we are unlucky and we lost important players and it’s important to see forward, to compensate and to work and to respect other players of the squad.

“We have different qualities on the team and if he cannot play this game we will find the solution always.”

Puel has a number of long term injury problems and while it looks like Boufal shouldn’t add to the list of stars out for months rather than days or weeks, there isn’t much other good news on the horizon.

“Sofiane Bofual cannot be available for this game with his ankle injury. Of course it’s difficult for us but all the other players without the longer injuries are available for this game,” said Puel.

“Always the same injuries with Virgil, Austin, McCarthy, Targett.

“We cannot see their comeback with one or two months for Charlie and for Virgil it is a long time also.

“It is important to keep the good concentration and the good solution around the squad.”

Go to the original article…

...odorously contrived by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Coming soon: A Game of Two Halves

Find out about @SFC_Foundation’s event and buy tickets: http://sfcne.ws/SFEventAGOTH https://grabyo.com/g/v/hChNyv74yAx

Retweets: 5

Favourites: 5

...twitchingly shaped by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

#SaintsFC boss Claude Puel has been giving us his thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s #PL clash with #SAFC: https://grabyo.com/g/v/HKQ8oynIfGz

Retweets: 2

Favourites: 5

...romantically given life to by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 10/02/2017 11:12:30

| | Saints chief cagey over stopper swoopCLUBCALL |

...foreignly given birth to by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!

Sourced from The Telegraph article

Premier League is awash with new kind of midfielder - water-carriers 2.0

Show/hide article…

Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, describes it as “quantity”. The way in which certain midfielders impose themselves on a game, almost without anyone noticing. A tackle here. An interception there. A quick springboard pass, perhaps even the odd surreptitious foul. Another way of describing it might be “omnipresence”.

Eric Cantona, of course, had a less complimentary way of putting it. “Didier Deschamps,” he once famously said, “ne sera jamais qu’un porteur d’eau.” Deschamps will never be anything but a water-carrier. “You can find players like him on every street corner,” he added with a scoff. In a strange sort of way, Cantona was right, but not in the way he intended.

Look through the Premier League, and the water-carriers are everywhere. But nobody is scoffing at them any more.

In the two decades since Deschamps graced the Premier League with Chelsea, the role of the defensive midfielder – the holder, the anchor, whatever you want to call it – has subtly shifted. The development of the two-bank midfield in the early 2000s meant players such as Claude Makélélé thrived on snuffing out attacks before quickly laying the ball off to more technical colleagues.

In recent years, however, more and more teams have employed a high-tempo front-pressing game – not a new idea in itself, of course, but new perhaps in its extent and ubiquity. Even the humble shin artist must now be skilled enough on the ball to evade a pursuer and pick a pass. And this is where the new generation of screening midfielders – Water-carrier 2.0, if you like – comes in.

Claude Puel, the Southampton manager and once a defensive midfielder himself with Monaco, recently noted the change. “I was a different generation,” he said. “I played in front of the defence and had a good recovery of the ball.

But it’s important in modern football to have a player in this position who is very technical. A good ability to work the ball and switch it wide, while anticipating the situation.”

Go to the original article…

...suspectingly bred by Optimus trousers...beta v1.9 - now with EXTRA pictures!