What Do Saints Need To Do To Finish The Job On Sunday !
Thursday, 10th May 2018 11:32
Perhaps it's the paranoia of being a Saints supporter, but there is that nagging doubt that the job is not quite finished and like countless games this season when we have conceded a last minute goal, It Aint Over Till It's Over !
Huddersfield's surprise points against both Manchester City and Chelsea mean that they are now safe and the only thing to be mathematically decided at the foot of the table is whether it is Swansea or Saints who fill that final relegation spot.
On the face of it, Swansea look doomed, we are now three points ahead of them with a goal difference that is 9 better, if they are to stay up then they need to win and win well and hope that Manchester City drub us.
So although 9 goals is a big gap to turn around, it is not completely unassailable especially given that we face the League Champions at St Mary's whilst Swansea face the already relegated and bottom club Stoke City.
The good news though is that the turnaround needed for Swansea is not going to be 9 goals but 10, should both us and the Swans finish on exactly the same goal difference then it would go to goals scored and at the moment we have scored 37 and the Swans only 27.
In simple terms there is no permutation where Swansea can overhaul us with a 9 goal turnaround, if we lost 1-0 and they won 8-0 then it would be level pegging on goal difference but they would still have scored less goals than us so would go down.
But although it has to be said that it is unlikely that 10 goals can be turned around, it is not beyond the realms of possibility given the amount of bad luck we have had in a season of punched in goals, last minute lapses in concentration, poor refereeing and not to mention our own defensive frailties.
From a Swansea point of view they are the joint worst attacking team at home along with Huddersfield, they have scored only 16 goals and now they are likely to need to score almost a third of that number to stand any chance of staying up when they have averaged only .89 per game at the Liberty Stadium.
Stoke though are the second worst defence away from home conceding 38 on their travels at a rate of 2.05 per game on average. Their ability to score is just as bad having managed only 13 per game.
If the game goes to the stats then this is heading for 1-0 to Swansea or double that at best and Saints fans would take that.
However as I said this is a season of strangeness, Swansea will go for it big time, we have to hope that Stoke can not only stand firm, but perhaps catch them on the break.
Good news is that we as one of the worst defences away from home kept Swansea at bay, so hopefully Stoke can do the same.
At St Mary's we have scored 20 goals at a rate of 1.11 per game whilst conceding 25 at 1.39 per game.
Manchester City have for obvious reasons the best away record in the Premier League, winning 15, drawing 2 and losing only 1, they have scored 44 goals at 2.44 per game and conceded only 13 at .72 per game.
These stats are very daunting and point to an away victory and this is where it can get scary, on the face of it a 3-0 goal defeat is the most likely score when taking statistics into account and again we would probably be happy with that given that Swansea would need to win by 7 to send us down, but if City get above 4 goals then it could get worrying.
On another day you would hope that City are already on the beach and certainly the fact that Huddersfield went there and got a 0-0 draw offers us hope, but ironically that draw means that City are three points off of the magical 100, they are already now the holders of the the Premier League record on 97, but im sure that Pep Guardiola will want that magical ton up.
Indeed he commented after last nights 3-1 win against Brighton
"Ninety-seven points, a lot of goals, a lot of wins, that is a consequence of the season we have done,"
"We want 100 points to finish this almost perfect season in the Premier League."
So he will want the win, he will play if not quite his best team but a strong one.
So Saints task is simple, we need to close up shop, battle for every ball and like at Swansea treat this as a do or die game where every tackle, every clearance and every goal counts.
City always have a lot of possession and a lot of shots, but not as many as you think on target, against Brighton last night 19 shots only 6 on target and 3 goals, they rely a lot on build up play when they should go for the jugular more we have to make sure they don't find ours too often.
We can't give Swansea any cause for hope, if we can keep things tight and be holding City at half time then that will start to demoralise the Swans.
The problem for Mark Hughes is who will he play at the back, certainly Yoshida and Hoedt will play and we will have to wait to see if Jan Bednarek is fit to play after his head injury on Tuesday night to see whether Jack Stephens stays in the side or not.
I would hope the manager sticks with the formation that has served us well, although up front I would not be surprised if he switched Austin with Long and started the Irishman up front in order to stop City building from the back.
So what do Saints need to get the job done ? Quite simple the fight and battle that has been present in the team for the past few weeks, if we give the same application that we have done in these games then we should be fine.
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