West Brom v Southampton - Match preview

Prove you are good enough to win back-to-back games in the Premier League.

Those are the words Sam Allardyce will say to Albion’s players just before they run out to face Southampton tonight.

It’s been a rollercoaster few days for everybody connected with the club.

The 5-2 demolition of Chelsea last weekend produced feelings of shock and euphoria.

It was so spectacular that even the most pessimistic supporter couldn’t help dare to dream.

And when Wolves scored a last-minute winner against Fulham on Friday, that hope grew a little bit more.

But yesterday it was ripped away in cruel fashion when Newcastle secured a 2-1 victory at Burnley.

Had they lost, Albion would have entered tonight’s game knowing a win would leave them four points from safety.

Instead, they are 11 points behind Steve Bruce’s side with eight games remaining.

Once again it feels like Albion have too much to do.

But they have to keep to fighting because – as the Chelsea matched proved – who knows what is around the corner?

For Albion’s players the challenge of winning back-to-back games in the top flight is a massive one.

Beating Southampton would be a huge milestone off their backs. And it will also ensure there is still an air of positivity surrounding the club despite relegation looking almost certain.

“We destroyed Chelsea,” Allardyce said.

“We showed them what we are and we tore them apart.

“The quality of our football, the quality of our finishing and our quality defending showed them up.

“You can see how well they recovered, they secured fantastic results against Porto and Crystal Palace.

“Now I want to see my players do what they have not done this season and win back-to-back games.

“Our responsibility is to continue where we left off and go and beat Southampton.

“It won’t be an easy task but it is one we have to achieve if we are to continue our hope of staying in this division.”

Allardyce faces a dilemma over how to line-up his Albion side tonight. The boss struggled to settle on a formation in the first few months of his tenure.

But Albion became much more defensively secure after sticking to 4-3-3 system.

Allardyce sprung a surprise at Stamford Bridge, though, and switched to a back three. He then shifted again to a 4-2-3-1 when the Blues had Thiago Silva sent off.

And speaking at his pre-Southampton press conference on Thursday, the boss admitted he hadn’t made up his mind on how to line up his side against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men.

“We changed our system from the 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 and then again to a 4-2-3-1 against Chelsea,” Allardyce said.

“Southampton will have to think about how we are going to start but at the moment I’m not sure myself.

“We started well with a back three against Chelsea. But we changed to a back four when they had 10 men and got better and better.

“Probably the 4-2-3-1 was the best in terms of chances created.

“But certainly the basis of us getting there was a back three.”

Southampton arrive at The Hawthorns having won just one of their last eight away games in the Premier League.

Hasenhüttl’s men started the season on fire and were briefly top of the table in November.

But over the last 12 games they sit bottom of the form table with just two wins.

“They had a lot of injuries but they have overcome that now.” Allardyce added.

“They have had a lot of results that they wouldn’t have expected after such a great start to the season.

But (Danny) Ings is back. The front line is very strong. (Che) Adams, (Theo) Walcott – they have got some very experienced Premier League players back who are a big threat.

“But if we nullify that – like we have been doing very well recently – and then we continue to play the quality of football we are playing – I think we have got a great chance of winning.”

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