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Optimus trousers posted this 04 January 2018

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Images from #SaintsFC's training session at Staplewood today, as they prepare to face #FFC in the #EmiratesFACuphttps://twitter.com/i/web/status/949030178134441984

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Optimus trousers posted this 04 January 2018

Sourced from ESPN FC article

Mauricio Pellegrino coy on Southampton-Theo Walcott tranfer links

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Though under-pressure Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino remained coy on reports linking Saints to a move for Arsenal's Theo Walcott, he said chairman Ralph Krueger has been dining with players in a bid to arrest their recent slump.

Saints have plummeted to 17th in the Premier League table following a nine-game winless streak stretching back to the end of November.

And Pellegrino would not rule out a potential return to St Mary's for Walcott, who began his professional career with Southampton before moving to Arsenal in 2006, and had words of praise for the winger.

"There are many players that we have interest in," he said. "I can't say anything because, obviously Walcott is an excellent player, but I can't confirm this.

"We are in the market ready to try to bring somebody that wants to come but I know it will be difficult. In January it is not easy to bring in players but the market is huge and I think we will have some opportunities.

"We have got a couple of targets, four, five, six targets. We have confidence that someone else can come and it will be great for us.

"We are looking for a player that can improve the level of the squad. In the market you never know until the end."

Pellegrino has faced supporter unrest at St Mary's in recent games, but earlier this week received the backing of Krueger.

He insists the former professional ice hockey coach has always been helpful and has been spending time with Saints' squad in an attempt to spark an upturn in results, starting with Saturday's FA Cup clash at Fulham.

"For me, the club and the board from the first day has been really supportive -- not [only] right now, from the first day,'' Pellegrino said. "Everybody has been really good, not with me, with everybody, with the players.

"Now the chairman is eating with the players, watching every single moment because he wants to help. Les Reed [vice-chairman of football] and Ross Wilson [director of football operations] too.

"Everybody in this club works with a unity but sometimes the results are part of life and when you play a game, you have to be ready to lose; if you're not, don't play.''

Saints last tasted success with a 4-1 win over Everton on Nov. 26. Since then they have taken just four points from a possible 27, including two from four games over the festive period, to leave them on the brink of the bottom three.

Former Alaves coach Pellegrino, appointed on a three-year deal during the summer, has consequently seen his position come under intense scrutiny.

However, he once again played down the pressure currently on him and feels he is his own worst critic.

"My higher pressure is with my own self. I am really demanding with myself," the Argentine said. "In my life I have been playing on the top, in second, in the third, in the 20th, in the 18th, in different places.

"And the equation is the same; when you lose, you have to win, when you draw, you have to win, when you win, you have to win again. It's always more or less the same."

Information from Press Association Sport was used in this report.

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Optimus trousers posted this 04 January 2018

Sourced from Sky Sports article

Charlie Nicholas' FA Cup predictions: Which Premier League teams face upsets?

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Charlie Nicholas provides us with his predictions for the FA Cup third round and explains which Premier League clubs are likely to suffer losses.

Charlie does not see any of this season's favourites crashing out of the competition at the first hurdle, but he is anticipating struggles for several top-flight sides, while tipping a Sky Bet League One side to cause an upset.

Here is what the Soccer Saturday pundit is predicting for some of the weekend's tighter ties, plus his bankers of the round...

After a great result at Stoke I'm expecting Rafael Benitez to make changes given it has only put Newcastle two points above the drop zone. He's not got a big squad and they don't score a lot of goals, so the idea of a comfortable afternoon is foreign for the St James' Park faithful.

In contrast all we hear with Luton is they're scoring four or five. They also have their problems defensively and will come to attack so I'm going for them to get a replay here in what is a really awkward one for Newcastle right now.

I'm not surprised Wolves are favourites here. Carlos Carvalhal doesn't really know his players and he's been brought in with the directive of fighting relegation, so I would expect him to mix things up.

Wolves have got bags of goals in them and are that far clear in the Sky Bet Championship that they can have a real go here, so I'm backing them to win this one comfortably.

I think this could be the final game for Mauricio Pellegrino. The only player he's lost is Virgil van Dijk so there are no real excuses for how disappointing Southampton have been.

Manolo Gabbiadini doesn't look like he knows what the manager wants from him and I think they'd take Ronald Koeman back in a heartbeat, although I'm not sure the fans would be happy with that.

Carlisle will be smelling blood here as Sheffield Wednesday just look like they've gone into meltdown.

Their players collapsed when they lost the derby, they've never recovered from it and they have no idea who is in their best XI. It will be cold and windy and Keith Curle will have the Cumbrians pumped up for it.

Coventry could certainly do with the finances from winning this, but I just think with the anger within Mark Hughes he won't be letting anybody rest.

He made his changes at Chelsea, which backfired, and I think if he does that again and they lose here that will be him done. The FA Cup has never been a priority for them but suddenly it is a huge game and I think they'll grind out a win.

This is difficult for West Ham because this is the last thing they need after their back-to-back games and the lack of numbers David Moyes is down to.

It could be a troubling day for them and you worry whether they'll able to match their hosts' energy after tough games on Tuesday and Thursday.

I am concerned about Arsenal here. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette won't play but the real concern is that defence. Per Mertesacker will come back in because Calum Chambers is absolutely broken.

I'd still expect Arsenal to progress with Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott good enough and experienced enough to get them through what looks a very awkward clash.

Liverpool struggled to break down Everton without Philippe Coutinho last time they met in the Premier League - and they're also going to be without leading scorer Mohamed Salah.

However, Sam Allardyce will make changes and I think, other than his two key men missing, Jurgen Klopp will play a strong side so I don't see the match panning out the same.

These are two clubs in similar positions in their respective leagues with very different levels of interest in this competition. Jose Mourinho's hunger for trophies is irrepressible and he knows if he lands a couple more then nobody can have a go at him.

Derby might not want to lose momentum by getting a thumping here but promotion is the solitary objective for them this season and they'll be more interested in next weekend's trip to Birmingham.

Burnley made just one change to their team over the New Year and that last-gasp defeat to Liverpool must have knocked the stuffing out of them, so the last thing they need is a trip Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola can rotate again and still have enough quality, so I can only see the juggernaut rolling on here.

One of Tottenham's biggest problems this season is opposition sides raising their levels for the trip to Wembley but, while it will be a great away day for the fans, it is one hell of a bridge to gap for a side sitting just outside the Sky Bet League One relegation places.

Mauricio Pochettino will make changes but has options to do so with several players coming back from injuries and they've certainly had their critics for the way they crashed out of the Carabao Cup, so I can't see anything other than an emphatic home win here.

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Optimus trousers posted this 04 January 2018

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 04/01/2018 22:40:00

Pellegrino responds when asked if Southampton are interested in signing Arsenal's Theo Walcott HEREISTHECITY

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