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Season Defining Period Begins
Thursday, 22nd Feb 2018 10:00

Saints begin a five week period when by the end of it they could be on the cusp of their best season ever, or in the depths of despair.

Saints travel to Burnley on Saturday knowing that by the end of March things will be getting very hot, but will it be in a positive way or will the knives be out for Mauricio Pellegrino whose career at the club depends on the 5 games played in this period (6 if the Swansea fixture is resceduled in this period).

By 31st March at the top end of the scale Saints could be well clear of relegation trouble and preparing for a Wembley FA Cup semi final, or they could be bemoaning going out of the Cup to a League One side and in chaos.

Which path is yet not clear, but it has to be said that their fate is in their own hands, despite 4 of these 5 games being away from home, it could be said that the team is better set up for away games than at home and that trips to Burnley, Wigan, Newcastle and West Ham are not the toughest they will face this season.

The key game though will be Stoke City at home, that has to be won, the away tie up in the Potteries ended with Saints conceding an injury time winner to Stoke and that ne goal alone would have changed the Premier League table drastically, Soke would be 4 points adrift of safety, instead of just 1 behind Saints and we would have risen up the table up to 15th.

That has been the story of the season though, sloppy late goals conceded that have cost us dearly and that is why Saints season is on a knife edge and can go either way.

On the plus side we have a good team and with the addition of Guido Carrillo and the imminent return of Charlie Austin we should have the goal power lacking for so long not only this season but last.

Add to that the emergence of the summer signings Lemina & Hoedt to finally get regular places then all that is left is for one to win games because of the manager and not in spite of him.

Saints have kept faith with Pellegrino despite the fact that he has shown little to suggest that he has either what it takes or is learning fast to remedy that, Krueger & Reed will hope that he will now repay their faith with a month and a run of wins that will banish relegation and see us appear at Wembley in an FA Cup semi final and perhaps a little more.

But they must also surely be considering that the current situation cannot go on and if by the final whistle at West Ham on 31st March Saints are still in the relegation zone and out of the cup, then drastic measures must be taken, with only seven games left then there will be only one option and that is a change of manager.

But in the meantime we all need to be positive, this season has been one that has not seen us hammered very often, the second half against Liverpool has seen some fans slate the players for a lack of effort, but in truth that accusation cannot be levelled very often, mostly it's been a lack of leadership and tactics that has cost us dearly along with a lot of sloppy goals conceded and basic errors.

The fact is though is that if Mauricio Pellegrino can win three of the four League games or even two and draw the rest and add to that beating Wigan then things will look rosier and for those that want omens, Lawrie McMenemy whose season he could well eclipse as the best in the clubs history was more villified than even Pellegrino for the first 2 years of his time hear, can history repeat itself ?

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steve73 added 10:23 - Feb 22
How many season defining periods is that now?

SaintNick added 10:30 - Feb 22
Far too many, we need to get the season defined and move on

AirFlorida added 10:44 - Feb 22
For me, season defining would be when our strikers realise they have to do what they're paid to do.. 😉

A_Saint_in_Stoke added 11:01 - Feb 22
Whatever the results by the end of March - One thing I am certain ..... It will NOT BE DOWN TO WHAT Pellegrino does or says ( Because it is down to him who he selects PLUS who he brings on, and in what positions, as well as timings - let me see how about the 88'th minute that will be sensible when we are already 2 down ) if by a miracle Saints do avoid the drop it will only be down to the professionalism of our squad - the quicker Pellegrino is moved on the better - he is way out of his depth, and does not have any POSITIVE ATTACKING IDEA'S WHATSOEVER.

SonicBoom added 11:12 - Feb 22
Hmm. Sometimes it's easy to say that good players are making basic errors. Or you could say that the players cannot do the basics. Either way it has to stop.
This team should win games. They are good enough. But we need 3 or 4 wins in 11 when we've only won 5 in 25 so far.

Bettwsresident added 11:17 - Feb 22
This is why I support Saints...bring on the rollercoaster...It will have despair and triumph, quicken the pulse, put holes in the ceiling and see the dog sloping away in fear. Should be able to get to 2 of these games and can't wait

Bettwsresident added 11:20 - Feb 22
My prediction:
Burnley draw
Stoke win
Newcastle loss
Wigan win
West ham draw
and then on we go...


warrens76 added 11:23 - Feb 22
MuPe out of his depth, no leadership on the pitch, players played out of position, players to frightened to attack and avoiding responsibilities, FF played for far to long, VVD situation brought about by previous overselling, Reed over promoted, loss of major backroom staff, selling the strike force, the Toby debacle....what is wrong at our club will not be cured whatever the rest of season throws up...there are too many overlapping and dysfunctional areas.

A_Saint_in_Stoke added 11:36 - Feb 22
AirFlorida if our team was set up to support our players up-front - I believe THEY WOULD START SCORING - at present we play with ONE isolated forward - Liverpool play with 3 ........................... Nuff said!

All Pellegrino's IDEA'S - and he wonders WHY Saints forwards don't have any confidence without any SUPPORT or any idea's how he knows how to help them. - I do feel sorry for Gabbi as he has proven that with the correct service - he would score instead of running around like a headless chicken, needing SOMEONE to support and supply him and to actually acknowledge that he is up there by himself.!

arfurdent added 12:01 - Feb 22
boils down to the simple fact we are screwed

helpineedsomebody added 12:26 - Feb 22
it would be nice if we could cross the halfway line & it also would be very nice to see jack stephens not looking at the ball as it hits are net

bstokesaint added 13:08 - Feb 22
I'd question the "good team" statement. Yes, we have some good (and really good) players, but I think it's our lack of team ethic that sees us in this position.

Shano added 15:31 - Feb 22
Based on what I've witnessed over the course of this season, positive results will come despite MP not because of him.

pintsizedsaint added 15:31 - Feb 22
I appreciate my post is a complete random one from this article, but...

Has anybody seen the news that West Ham are about to ship out Fonte? He’s not started once under Moyes and he’s been told he’s surplus. Apparently he’s off to China for a reputed £4.8m fee.

Just worth reminding ourselves of this, given the numerous posts I see about the Board not knowing what they’re doing etc. I recall posts about that it was scandalous to see Fonte leave: he’s our captain, leader, huge gap in defence will be left etc.

Just worth pointing out that Saints signed Fonte for £1.3m in 2010. Sold him for £8.3m last year. That’s £7m profit in 7 years (£1 million annual yield).

He’s played 24 for times for West Ham. If he’s sold for £4.8m, that’s a loss of £3.5m in the space of 13 months.

That’s a smart bit of business! Similar story I reckon to the likes of Lovern and Shaw too. I wonder if VVD will also go the same way?

SaintBrock added 18:47 - Feb 22
I think like all of us now Nick you are living on your nerves from week to week. It is surely much too late now for the sacking of Pellegrino or otherwise to make much of a difference to our forward path. An all too familiar pattern has been set and no matter how many times we juggle the start XI around and use the subs the outcomes are all pretty much the same. This is how it is and this is how it will be.

People talk about individual mistakes of which there are plenty while players acknowledge that they must improve every time they go on screen but nothing changes and it is now too much to expect that they or their coaches know how to change anything. Mistakes can be ironed out by dedication, concentration and practice but somehow it seems unlikely our current bunch of players can be rrsd enough to put in the extra hours of graft needed.

If nothing changes and we match our performances this season so far then we might expect to get about another 10 points from the remaining 11 matches leaving us on 37 which might just be enough based on the averages of the past few seasons if a few other teams help us out by being particularly poor on the run-in.


halftimeorange added 20:05 - Feb 22
We can speculate all we like about MP's bizarre tactics and whether the players are either up to a fight or up for a fight. On what we have seen this season our chances of staying in the EPL are, at best, hopeful but the bookies give us more chance than I do. Either way, there will be some surprise results as usual as the season comes to an end and mid-table sides take their foot of the pedal knowing they are safe. Unfortunately, we only have fixtures against Burnley, Leicester and Everton in that category - all the others are either fighting for their EPL survival or a CL place. It's going to be very hard to watch.

BoondockSaint added 20:32 - Feb 22
The season has already been defined.

This is period will define next season.

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