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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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skiptonsaint added 11:42 - May 10
If either us or Stoke score first I will enjoy the afternoon

Slightly concerned what sort of side Stoke will play and how up for it they will be.

We played well against City away and Arsenal and Chelsea recently though and shouldn’t be as afraid of top 6 teams after our recent results.

sidsaint added 11:43 - May 10
Even Saints with the season we have had should be ok. If Huddersfield can get a point at City then a point will do it for us at SMS. However City rested a few last night against Brighton and could bring all their main guns on Sunday. Unity between fans and players and coaches will do the job.

saintsaintsaint added 11:51 - May 10
After reading Charlie Adams comments earlier this week, and seeing the kind of guy Paul Lambert is, i can't see Swansea smashing Stoke. Stoke might even surprise the Swans.
Even in our 'darker days' earlier in the season we only lost 2-0 at home to the best attack in the league (Liverpool).
I think we will give City a game and it will be close.

freq1 added 12:03 - May 10
Stokes players are in the shop window so will be wanting to impress. 2-0 Swansea 🤣

highfield49 added 12:22 - May 10
If it was a three or four goal margin I might be somewhat more nervous but there are lots of positives to look at before we start fearing the worst. Firstly, Stoke are arguably a better team than Swansea, they have players capable of upping their performance and going out on a high. As has been said, Lambert is going to give his team a message about having pride in themselves and giving their supporters something to cheer. Equally so Hughes is looking towards a new contract and he'll want the same level of intensity that has been shown in recent matches. Any player who thinks it is job done and believes they can coast through the game on Sunday is more than likely looking not even going to be sitting on the bench. The likes of Boufal who think they are bigger than the club and better than their team mates are highly unlikely to wear the shirt again whilst Hughes is around. Crouchy to score the winner at Swansea and a draw for us with Gabbi knocking in a late equaliser for me. Fingers crossed.

Blue added 12:33 - May 10
Nick, Stoke 'only score 13 per game?!'

As for saintsaintsaint's comment about the best attack in the league, I think you'll find that's City, mate.

SanMarco added 12:40 - May 10
Our odds for the drop are now 100 to 1. While I could see us losing by a few I dont really see Swansea winning by more than 3. So as long as we avoid a 7 goal defeat we should be alright. We may also score one or two. Having said all that I will still be nervous...

jacksk1 added 13:05 - May 10
100/1. Stick a tenner on and if the worst does somehow happen you'll have enough to pay for next years season ticket!! :)

schatfield added 13:26 - May 10
City will be gunning for the 100 points mark to end the season and to be honest, I cant see us stopping that. I also believe Stoke would love to send Mark Hughes down given what he did for them in the first half of the year, but I cant see the 10 goal swing being achieved either way.

DorsetIan added 13:32 - May 10
Good try Nick, but you're not going to convince me.
We are playing well and City will struggle to break us down. Swansea do not look like they are going to thump anybody.
100-1 is a bit tight if you ask me.

BoondockSaint added 14:39 - May 10
As I mentioned in a previous post: It depends how much the Stoke players hate Hughes. If they let in more than 5 you know the fix is in.

As crap as the refs are, I doubt any major calls in these games because they know it would look like they were trying to influence the outcomes.

As for the Saints: Just park the double-decker, 11 at the back, take yellows as needed (3 subs = 3 more yellows available), and (in hockey terms) just ice the puck for the whole game. Boring yes, but we've seen a lot of boring games this year. Just grind this one out-the end justifies the means.

AirFlorida added 14:41 - May 10
My worry is the sense of relief of job done (as Austin said on sky) and that despite everyone saying it's not job done yet, they actually think it is and turn up in beach mode this Sunday. Hopefully Hughes will be on top of this now Huddersfield are safe and all eyes are on us and Swansea now.

petedoors1 added 19:14 - May 10
I think Manolo Gabbiadini should start as he is faster than Austin and after the goal he got the other night he deserves it. I hope Jan Bednarek is fit to start because I think Jack Stephens gets to wound up and is an accident waiting to happen.

leighsaint added 19:15 - May 10
Don’t forget most City players are in the World Cup. They won’t want to risk injury just for 100 points. A few hard but fair tackles early on let them know your on to them might make them think. The World Cup puts them in the limelight 100 points for something they have all ready won not so much.

Jesus_02 added 10:44 - May 11
I think City would need to score a couple for Swansea as well

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