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Yoshida: Saints can rule Britannia
7:10am Saturday 29th December 2012 in Sport
Maya Yoshida is confident Saints can end Stoke’s long unbeaten home record this afternoon.
Tony Pulis’ side are unbeaten in 16 league games at the Britannia Stadium following their 3-1 defeat of Liverpool on Boxing Day.
Stoke’s last home loss was a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland back on February 4.
“It will be a really, really tough game,” the Japan international, left, said.
“Stoke have not lost a home game this season.
“They have many, many tall guys so it will be a more physical game.
“We have to give away less free kicks, corner kicks and deep throw-ins otherwise they will put many, many long balls in the box.
“We have to think about this.
“Of course every time I want to win a game but this time it would be really nice because they haven’t lost a home game (for a long time).”
Today will prove an interesting test for a Saints defence that has shown signs of improvements recently.
After conceding 28 goals in their first ten games back in the Premier League, they have conceded just six in their last eight matches.
“The big reason is playing with the same players and for a long time,” Yoshida said.
“The first time I played when I came here was in September so I had not enough time to make good communication.
“Jos Hooiveld had an injury and also many, many left and right-backs had injuries.
“But now we play the same team and we play the same members for a long time. That is important, that continuity.”
Yoshida has formed an impressive centre-back partnership with Jose Fonte since arriving from Dutch side VVV-Venlo in the summer.
The defender has settled quickly and has thanked countryman and teammate Tadanari Lee for his help.
Unlike Yoshida, though, the forward has been on the periphery of the first team this campaign.
Lee, who helped Saints secure promotion last term, struggled with injury at the start of the season and has so far been unable to find a way back into the starting line-up.
“I often talk to him and I know now is a very difficult moment for him because he hasn’t played many games,” Yoshida said.
“Sometimes he is in the squad, sometimes not, but we are professional footballers.
“I can help him but he has to do his best, although I know we have a lot of good strikers.
“It is really, really difficult but I hope we will stand on the pitch together one day as soon as possible.”
Ex-Saints Kenwyne Jones and Peter Crouch are battling to start against Yoshida.
Jones has started the last four league games following Crouch’s facial injury suffered at Newcastle late last month.
Prior to that, the Trinidadian had only made one Premier League start all season with Crouch preferred instead.
Crouch has made 14 starts in 2012/13 with four as a sub – all the latter coming in the last four matches.
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