Lallana masterclass

Adam Lallana explains how Southampton will attempt to open up West Ham on Sunday.

Last Updated: 09/05/14 at 08:29

In a cagey fixture between two similar sides, chances to score can be limited. Creating and taking those opportunities when they come along is therefore vital.

Southampton will of course be aware of that importance ahead of Sunday, when - live on Sky Sports 1HD - they host a West Ham United side with whom they sit level on points after three matches in this campaign's Premier League.

Not only that but just five points separated the two clubs in last season's table, while the corresponding fixture in 2012/13 resulted in a hard-earned 1-1 draw. It suggests another even contest could develop this weekend. West Ham, who did comfortably win 4-1 in last season's game at Upton Park, will certainly not be an easy opponent for Southampton to break down.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has his team typically well organised and they have conceded just one league goal so far in 2013/14 although they have a poor away record and have won only one of their last 15 on the road. That conceded goal came in the defeat by Stoke City in their last outing before the international break but they have otherwise been proving very difficult to open up.

Centre-back pairing James Collins and Winston Reid have been an integral part of that successful defence in front of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who last season performed the most saves in the Premier League - 164.

Cardiff did not do enough to push West Ham's James Collins back inside his own penalty area

It will subsequently be vital for Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton, who like to win possession in high areas of the pitch when they are at home, to push West Ham deep and disrupt Reid and Collins. Against Cardiff City on the opening day of the season, the latter was allowed a comfortable game and was hardly forced to drop back into his own penalty area.

If Southampton are more successful than Cardiff in pushing West Ham deep, it will then come down to that imperative element of creating the space in the box and forcing the room to shoot.

As they did against Sunderland, Southampton try to win the ball in high areas when at St Mary's

Adam Lallana will be a key part of that attacking strategy and the Southampton captain will be aiming to cause problems, as he explains: "The key for me as a striker/winger is to gain half a yard inside the box and then, preferably, face up my defender.

"To create the space, I look to lean on my defender and then come into the space. Once I am in the area, I shout to receive the ball. I want to take it on my back foot, drop the shoulder and then, hopefully, you lose the defender.

"Then I will spring inside off the back foot, create half a yard and bend the ball in the top corner."

Lallana demonstrated this technique perfectly when scoring Southampton's goal in their defeat at Upton Park last season. After receiving the ball from Jay Rodriguez with his back to goal, Lallana turned and powered a shot into the roof of the net.

Lallana's goal v West Ham (l) last season and movement v Newcastle (r)

Another example of Lallana's effectiveness also came in Southampton's 2-0 win over Newcastle United last November, when he scored and also showed plenty of intent to burst into the penalty area and threaten the goal.

Lallana's quick feet and clever movement will as a result be vital in trying to break down West Ham and upset the probable centre-back pairing of Collins and Reid. Whether Southampton can produce this strategy remains to be seen but it promises to be an intriguing game.

Adam Lallana wears the ultra-light PUMA evoSPEED 1.2, available now from ProDirectSoccer.com. Head to facebook.com/PUMAfootball #PUMAFC.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

A

ll very well selling all midfield and strikers but unless we bring anyone in that is better than what we had then it will be a terrible transfer window in my view. Sorted out the defense but our midfield and striker options look very light.

bigo
Spurs Halfway To The Perfect Summer

L

ove it when Jose accuses others of being defensive, cynical and playing to win. If I was Wenger, I'd get that quote laminated and framed - surely the biggest compliment he's ever received from Mourinho. You've got him riled Arsene - you're relevant again!

suarez_blind
Jose rues pitch and weather after defeat

I

t's wrong to be making a joke out of Bender's name at the expense of gay people. It's the kind of childish, uncivilised thing that Football365 would deride and ridicule if it was another media outlet saying. Why is there a need for jokes like this? Does it make your writers feel like men? F365 might suggest that I 'lighten up', but it is genuinely traumatic for people who have been oppressed all their lives to be the butt of jokes, and to be told...

anamsport
The Beeriod Gossip

Footer 365

Di Maria joining bigger club - Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva believes Angel Di Maria is joining a club in Paris Saint-Germain that are bigger than any apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Wenger: 'Nothing happening' with Benzema

Arsene Wenger has dismissed speculation linking Arsenal with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Lambert waiting to spill Liverpool beans

West Brom new boy Rickie Lambert says he has "a lot of feelings" about his time at Liverpool but is keeping his powder dry - for now.

Mail Box

Not Just A Friendly. This Had Meaning...

Arsenal fans are very excited about beating Chelsea (don't remind them about last year), while there is criticism for BT and a football fan tired of being screwed by TV...

Neville Has It Wrong On Chelsea...

One Mailboxer says that the Neviller has it slightly wrong on Chelsea. Plus thoughts on sexy Saints, pre-season reviews, Connor Wickham and televised analysis...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company