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Match Preview: Southampton vs Leeds United

wpid-Southampton-vs-Leeds-United

It is finally here, the 2011/2012 season has taken an age to come around, a long hard summer of watching swimming and tennis is over. Many Leeds fans expected Mr Grayson to bring in some big names, Smith was once again linked, but then again I think that will still be around until the day he retires. Instead we face a season of uncertainty, for now at least. Leeds have managed to keep hold of the better players, Snodgrass, Gradel and Becchio are still at Elland Road. In my opinion our first eleven is stronger than it was last year, apart from the centre of midfield. The problem at the moment is the depth within the squad, there quite simply is none. But enough of the sulking and worrying, and on to tomorrow's first game of the 2011/2012 season.

Team News:

New signing Darren O'Dea will go straight into the squad to face Southampton at St Mary's, but it remains to be seen whether he will start. Andy O'Brien is expected to start after recovering from a side strain, but there is no place in the squad for injured duo Luciano Becchio and Davide Somma who are both long term.

Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury during pre-season against West Brom. Dean Hammond missed the pre-season friendly against Yeovil, but looks set to be back in contention.

One to watch

If Chamberlain misses the game, Rickie Lambert will be a real threat to the Leeds defence. The striker is big and powerful and can score from anywhere if given the chance. If Southampton are to do anything this campaign, Lambert will play a key role.

My prediction

It is always hard to predict the outcome of a match, even harder when it is the first game of the season. Leeds will be tested at St Mary's the Southampton squad is strong, and at home they are a real force to be reckoned with. Leeds will probably field a 4-5-1 formation, and will look to show that they have improved in defence. I think the game will be a close affair, and the Whites might sneak it 2-1.

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