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

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

Footer 365

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger won't be drawn on rumoured interest in Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on his rumoured interest in signing Raheem Sterling from Liverpool.

England boss Roy Hodgson plays down Harry Kane burnout fears

England boss Roy Hodgson says Harry Kane will have to get used to the demands of playing regularly for club and country.

'Win some medals', blasts Merson

Paul Merson challenged Andros Townsend to "win some medals" before calling him out after the Tottenham winger poked fun at him for questioning his England credentials.

Mail Box

Liverpool Can't Satisfy Sterling's Ambition

Sterling's ambition is understandable, according to one Liverpool fan. Also in the Mailbox: plenty more on great players becoming managers, and who needs Pogba when Fellaini's flying?

Is This The End Of Ex-Players As Managers?

Do massive wages and cushty TV numbers signal the end of the ex-high-profile player turned manager? Plus Liverpool fans don't actually say the 'next year' thing...

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