Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday August 23 2012
This weekend the Latics travel down to the South Coast to face newly promoted Southampton for the first ever league meeting between the two sides, the season that we were promoted to the Premier League the Saints were relegated, but now they're back
Southampton's season opener was away to Champions Manchester City last Sunday, a real baptism of fire, though Nigel Adkins men gave more than a good show for themselves despite losing 3-2 at the Etihad, they look a decent outfit and it will be a tough encounter for the Latics
In the build up to the game on Saturday I've managed to grab a word with Southampton supporter Simon Peach, Simon is a lifelong Saints fan, he is currently a Press Association Sport journalist covering Premier League sides Fulham & QPR, he was also a London 2012 sailing correspondent. Anyway without further ado, let's see how our chat went:
worbo - First of all welcome to Vital Towers Simon, nice to meet up with you and secondly welcome to the Premier League, this will be your first season in the top flight for a while, are you excited or is that an understatement?
Simon - It is more of a relief than anything else. Up until seven years ago, the club was an established Premier League force and things were looking up. However, relegation did not treat us kindly and we continued to drop on and off the field. Three years ago the club was on the brink so to think we have swapped that for a season opener at champions Manchester City is quite incredible.
worbo - We have made some decent signings since the end of the last campaign, Fraser Fyvie, Ivan Ramis and Arouna Koné, plus the fact we have managed to keep hold of our gaffer Roberto Martinez who was wanted by Liverpool, how have Southampton fared in the transfer market, any potential stars brought in?
Simon - Nathaniel Clyne really impressed at right-back at the Etihad Stadium. We signed him from Crystal Palace in the summer for a cut-price fee as his deal had expired. He already looks a class act, epitomised by a fine sliding challenge on Sergio Aguero - the one that unfortunately injured the Argentine. Steven Davis from Rangers is another great deal and Jay Rodriguez should be good, although he will have a bit more to prove due to his £6million transfer fee. Bids are on the table for Bologna's Gaston Ramirez and Blackpool winger Matt Phillips as well and either of them would give the side much needed quality on the flanks.
worbo - My hopes for the Latics this season are a comfortable mid-table finish and a run in one of the cups and you know what I can see it coming off, as for Southampton I really hope you stay up, but, as you are aware no doubt, there is a big step in class from the Championship to the Premier League, so I see a tough second half of the season for the Saints, though I do feel you will survive, just.
What do you see happening for both clubs in the coming nine months?
Simon - Difficult to say, really. From what I have seen of Wigan over the years, you never make it easy. Ramis and Koné are impressive additions and if you can keep hold of Moses then I think there will be another season of survival. As for Saints, I fear we will do the thing that one promoted side seems to always do of winning a few shock games, impressing and then tailing off à la Blackpool, Hull, etc. I think, assuming we bring a few more faces in at centre-half and on the wings, we should stay up.
worbo - If I had to pick out a danger man from the Latics it would be Victor Moses, he'll rip you apart if he's on song, a superb talent, fast, direct, great control and he can shoot.
As for Southampton I am looking forward to seeing Rickie Lambert and if he can carry his form from last season through into the Premier League.
Which two danger men would you pick from the Latics and Southampton Simon?
Simon - Moses, as I mentioned, is a game changer for Wigan and James McCarthy has really impressed me since coming down from Hamilton. As for Southampton, the two men to watch - just like in League One and Championship - are Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana. The latter is one of the graduates of Saints' fabled academy and has shone, propelling us back to the big time. He can score and assist, just like Lambert - a God in most fans' eyes.
worbo - Our boss Roberto Martinez is a young forward thinking manager that is focused on building a club rather than just a team, he is the real deal without a doubt, your guy, Nigel Adkins is also highly regarded, plus he is an ex-Latic, is he a legend at St Mary's already?
Simon - Legend? I am not sure about that yet but he has found his way into the hearts of supporters. Some - myself included - were not sure if he was the right man to replace Alan Pardew and, furthermore, why he had to come in in the first place. I am happy, however, to report I am wrong and he seems to be building a bright young team that can push one over the years.
worbo - Right Simon down to business, a prediction, if we can carry last season`s form into the new I feel we will be a fair proposition this season, I am going for a closely contested game with a 1-1 draw as the outcome, how do you see it?
Simon - I see it as a 2-0 win for Southampton, building on the confidence from City last Sunday. Lambert and Rodriguez the scorers. Sorry to disappoint.
Thanks for the chat Simon and good luck for the rest of the season
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Date:Thursday August 23 2012
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