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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