This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
In his Premier League predictions for this weekend’s round of fixtures, Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has tipped Southampton to struggle against Sheffield United.
The Saints have gathered four points from their opening four matches, including a win over Brighton and a draw against Manchester United, although they suffered a 3-0 loss to Burnley on the opening weekend of fixtures.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have been far from convincing – it should be noted that their only win came against a Brighton side who had Florin Andone sent off in the first half – but one line from Nicholas’ prediction seems harsh.
Nicholas said: “Chris Wilder is a man of substance when it comes to his players not doing the job. He does not take fools. He has no loyalty to the players who will not do the job. If you are doing well, you are in the team, and if not then you are not fulfilling the duties that he wants.
“It is similar to Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton, but if Nathan Redmond is not fit on Saturday, I don’t think they have enough of a threat up front.”
Admittedly, Redmond is probably the Saints’ best attacker and has already scored once in three league outings this term, after hitting six and grabbing four assists last term – however, he is not the only danger-man Southampton have.
In Danny Ings, Hasenhuttl has a £20m forward of decent pedigree who has turned out for Liverpool and England – the 27-year-old scored seven goals last season and has been involved in two goals so far this term.
You may argue that the 23-year-old’s goals came outside the top-flight, but Nicholas can’t really say Adams won’t be a threat against the Blades seeing as the newly-promoted side effectively have the same backline that they had in the second-tier – the division where Adams was so prolific.
Of course, Hasenhuttl would presumably prefer to have Redmond fit, although you can’t deny there are still some dangerous attackers up top without the former Norwich man available.
Nicholas’ words, then, seem overly harsh ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.