As ever, Sean Orrick (@seanorrick) with your True Faith match day newsletter
The biggest game of our season to date without a doubt coming up this evening as we head down South yet again, this time for the first leg of the LC semi-final. Yes, SEMI-FINAL. It’s so close now, and for all the talk of what ifs and how long it’s been we are a week away from knowing if it’ll be a trip to Wembley at the end of next month.
Confidence has been replaced by nerves, the reality of it being here has started to kick in and I bet it has for a few others. A feeling that will only build as I knock off work early and join the other 3,200 or so on the way down to St Mary’s. Hopefully the train cans will redress the balance a bit…
Paul K is on match preview duties this week and I would point towards this comprehensive take on this evening’s proceedings. ‘Make no bones about it. Anyone who tells you that this isn’t the single most important game of our season to date is talking bollocks. Anyone who tells you that finishing 4th in the league is more important than winning a trophy is talking bollocks.’ Too right! (Although like he goes on to say, I’d also take both!)
I like Southampton as an away day – there are a few decent boozers in and around Charlton Place (The Black Phoenix and the Cricketers ones we often frequent) – and although the stadium is nothing special, we always make a decent amount of noise down there and coming off the rather limited view I had at Selhurst Park on Saturday, it is at least unobstructed! It turned into a cracking day out in November as we ran away 4-1 winners. It’s easy to forget after a score line like that but they caused us a few problems early on and could have taken the lead on another day. James Ward Prowse is always a danger and after what they did to City in the last leg cannot be taken for granted.
As much as we’d all like to blow them away again there is likely to be a certain amount of caution to the early proceedings, 180 minutes of football is a long time and we’ll be more than happy going back to our place just needing a win next week, I’m sure. A tight game likely.
The lack of goals, one in the last four in the league is at least worth a discussion and being a bit more clinical in front of goal would certainly make a mockery of that tight game prediction. I thought corners were an area on Saturday we could have got more from, especially with the number of big lads in the side. But on another day, we could have comfortably won on Saturday – funny how it goes! Blending others into that first eleven is not easy but will be necessary as the season goes on. I can see the conundrum Howe has when these lads are 15 unbeaten now but they’re nice problems to have, I guess. Assume therefore it will be the same eleven again Howe is backing to get the job done with no new injury concerns reported.
Here we go for a massive week then. We’ve wanted these games for a long time and let’s fucking make sure we take the opportunity.
Further matchday reading from True Faith this week…
There are plenty of excellent articles across the site to keep you covered in the build up to kick off and some excellent post-match analysis from Selhurst Park to have you covered!
Matthew Philpotts was on Match Report duties at from Selhurst Park on Saturday – beautifully written and well worth a read if you haven’t already.
Yousef Hatem was back again with player ratings for you.
Sam Dalling has pulled together a ‘5 things we learned’ from Palace with some interesting thoughts and stats on our apparent corner conundrum.
Stephen Ord takes Thru Black & White Eyes this week – Mick will be back shortly!
John Milton gives us the lowdown on Matheus França, the Brazilian starlet linked with us earlier this week.
For any non-league fans amongst us, Sam Robson gives us the lowdown on the teams in and around the North-East.
Although we do have regular teams of people contributing to TF, it is in no way a closed shop. Anyone is welcome to contribute and if you have ideas or thoughts get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex hosted Charlotte, Si and Kyle to talk through our stalemate at Selhurst Park, discussing our attacking issues – do we need to freshen it up, and a good performance but was it a good result?
If you want more of that, including matchday content, match previews, opposition fan views and more in-depth analysis with ex pros and journalists take a look at our Patreon page.
The last week we’ve had podcasts with Keith Gillespie, Craig Hope and Adam and Pete dive into the frenetic world of January transfers to take a closer look at the players linked with us as we go into the final week of the transfer window.
Sean Orrick @seanorrick