According to reports in The Mirror, Southampton will sack manager Mark Hughes if the Premier League strugglers fail to beat Watford at St Mary’s on Saturday, and Sam Allardyce and David Moyes are the two frontrunners to succeed the Welshman.
While neither of those would be an ideal replacement for Saints supporters, there are a lot of reasons why the 64-year-old Allardyce is better suited to the job than Moyes should the axe fall on the 55-year-old this weekend.
Much of Southampton’s success as they secured four consecutive top-eight finishes in the Premier League before last season’s disastrous campaign came when they utilised a 4-2-3-1 system.
While it didn’t prove to be successful under Mauricio Pellegrino – who to be fair couldn’t make anything work – there is a feeling that it is still the right one to get the best out of the players they have now, especially after their summer business.
Hughes’ experiments with 3-5-2, 3-4-2-1 – the system Moyes preferred at West Ham – and 4-4-2 formations haven’t worked well at all given they have yielded one win in 11 top flight matches this term, and Allardyce has proved in the past – most recently during the previous campaign at Everton – that he can get results using the 4-2-3-1.
That is something Southampton need right now given their perilous position, and a return to it would be great news for Stuart Armstrong, who has found first-team minutes hard to come by this season but would be one of the most likely players to feature in the centre of the attacking midfield three.
While his style of football may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is no doubt that Allardyce knows how to pick up results on his side’s own patch which would improve the mood of Saints fans.
That is something Southampton desperately need right now as they have won just one league game in total at St Mary’s in 2018, with Leicester City and Chelsea winning more top flight fixtures there than they have in the previous 11 months.
The 64-year-old picked up 22 points at Goodison Park between the start of December and the end of the campaign last season, and a similar return with Saints would surely keep them in the division.