Southampton (H) | Schumacher's Preview
Last week, Argyle faced a Watford side coming into the game off the back of scoring four goal in their previous game, and the Pilgrims kept a clean sheet against the Hornets.
This week’s opponents also scored four times in their last game, although their opponents, Norwich City, bagged four of their own in a tumultuous eight-goal game at St Mary’s.
Prior to that, Saints won 2-1 at Sheffield Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, in the opening fixture of the season. With the TV cameras now being rigged at Home Park, Argyle boss Steven Schumacher has been working on the ways that his Greens can counteract Southampton, with the nation looking on.
Led by new manager Russell Martin, Saints are looking to bounce back from last season’s relegation from the Premier League, and although they have lost several players from their top-flight squad, such as England midfielder James Ward-Prowse, they still possess a plethora or quality players to implement Martin’s famed possession style of football.
“We know how important it is for us to be organised and defend really well,” said Schumacher. “We know it's going to be important that we have the ball as well, and try to be a threat for them like we were last week for Watford. We’ll go into the game with confidence again and give it our best shot.
“In their first game against Sheffield Wednesday, they dominated the game. Credit to Sheffield Wednesday, they stuck in there, stuck in the game. They got a goal back from a set piece and then Southampton, with a lovely bit of quality, scored late on.
“Last week's game against Norwich was an exciting one. Again, they dominated possession. Southampton scored some good goals, but also proved that they're not bulletproof.
“Norwich had their plan right; if we can get our plan right, then hopefully we can create some chances.
“This game on Saturday is a whole new game. It's two teams who are going to try and figure each other out. It's on Sky, so it'll be exciting. I'm looking forward to it. As long as we're organised and committed, then we'll have a good chance.
“Our shape’s got to be good. We know that the way Russell always has his team set up, they like to make loads of passes and they try and suck you in to play around your press. We know that when we are going to press, we've got to press as a unit, not go off individually, otherwise you get picked off.
“When we have the ball, we have to try to play. I think if we just accept that they're going to have the ball, it becomes a long day. We need to try and play, and work our patterns where we can, and have a plan when we transition and turn the ball over, to see if we can counter-attack and hit them. We know we've got speed at the top end of the pitch, as they will be aware. If we're on our day, then we've proved before we can score goals.”
The game will take place in front of a sold-out Home Park, where Schumacher’s Pilgrims have won 21 of their last 24 league games. No-one will need to hype up the Green Army for this game. It is the kind of game we have been waiting 13 years for.
“The Sky games always bring a little bit of added atmosphere,” said Schumacher. “I think everyone's looking forward to it. These are the games our fans wanted to watch; they wanted to see us play against the likes of Southampton, Leeds, Leicester to see where we're at.
“Our message to the players will be to play the way our fans like to see us play; play at a good tempo, be aggressive with the ball and without the ball, and see if we can get off to a good start. Hopefully their support will see us through.”