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Saints Hit 40 Points For First Time In 3 Years
Monday, 29th Jun 2020 09:29

After two poor seasons, the win against Watford saw Saints hit the 40 points total for the first time since the 2016/17 season, can they now go on and better the total they achieved that year under Claude Puel.

The last two seasons have been poor, no one can deny that, but last season things started to change for the better with the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl and real progress has been made the fruits of which we are now starting to see now as Saints hit the 40 point mark with 6 games still left to play.

Last season we ended the season comfortably in 16th position with 39 points and after 32 games played we had totalled 32 points, trailing off in the last run of fixtures to finish 16th, it would have been tough to have caught Bournemouth in 14th on 45, but we really should have overtaken Burnley a point ahead of us.

It was the 2017/18 season that saw us in real trouble, in truth it didn't start too badly, after 15 games we were 11th on 17 points , but then we started to slide, after 9 more games we had amassed only 5 extra points and were now firmly in a relegation battle, at the same stage as now back then we were 3rd from bottom on 28 points, 3 points adrift of 4th from bottom although we had a game in hand.

Mark Hughes didn't so much as lead us to safety, it was more about Swansea being abysmal, but we ended the season safe on 36 points.

Now we have hit 40 points we are now all but safe from any lingering thoughts of relegation, Norwich with 7 games left can only get 42 points, double their current total and one more defeat would put us out of reach.

Likewise if Aston Villa won 4 and drew the remaining 2 of their 6 games left that would only give them 41 points and that is a similar situation for Bournemouth & West Ham although they have a game more to play, Watford are outside of the drop zone but after yesterday's defeat you feel that they could be in real trouble.

So we can look up the table, as I said in the build up to the games against both Arsenal & Watford, we have issues that are still there and need to be addressed, sometimes we get away with them and at others punished, so having hit 40 points we need to just keep going and see what might occur.

Our first target has to be the 46 points that was achieved in Claude Puel's year in which we finished 8th, that points total is highly achievable, especially when you consider that after 32 games we also had 40 points and identical situation to now.

But 46 points is not likely to get us another 8th finish or indeed even top 10, so we have to aim a little higher than that.

In the last six games I would say that we have 4 that we can reasonably expect to get points from, the two exceptions being Manchester City and their neighbours United who have both started well after the break, the hope is that City with nothing really to play for in the League will take their foot off the gas and that United with a league game against Palace later in the week and then an FA Cup semi final at the weekend will also have their eyes elsewhere.

But we are capable of winning the other four and if we are honest capable of losing them as well, we should be targeting 50 points by the end of the season. that is a fair target and if we did so then we would not be far off 10th place.

But I still think to hit that top 10 we would need a little more than 50 points, but I cannot see us realistically getting more than that total, if we did so then we would only be 6 points short of the total Mauricio Pochettino achieved in his full season at the club and that shows you just how much good work Ralph Hasenhuttl has put in to drag us out of the mire.

Ultimately I think this season will be a little bit of if only, in fact it already is, if we had beaten Arsenal then today we would be 9th on 43 points and poised to challenge for 8th, but those 3 points were thrown away and we can look at many more where we were not outplayed but presented the opposition with goals that cost us points.

So I think this season will see us have a few regrets, but overall it has been a positive one, we have a manager who is committed to the cause and building foundations at the club and we have a good squad that with the addition of a defender or two could genuinely be a top 10 side.

We cannot change the past, the last two seasons have been awful at times, but a short period aside earlier this season, since Ralph Hasenhuttl's arrival it has mainly been positive, we need to build on that positivity and stop banging on about selling players under a completely different regime in the past, only when we have done that can we move forward.

Photo: Action Images

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halftimeorange added 10:23 - Jun 29
This season has shown that Saints are at best inconsistent and before we get carried away with the Watford result which, in my opinion, saw the best team performance from us this year, we have to recognise that they had key players absent, probably causing upset and disharmony in their ranks. I maintain that class is not abundant in our squad and the club must strengthen when the opportunity arises, although only a couple of additions are needed provided Danny Ings maintains his form and fitness. We do have some promising youngsters in addition to Smallbone, who should be blooded now we're safe and I, too, would like Adams to be given a run in the side in place of Redmond, who consistently flatters to deceive. I also think that Armstrong makes Saints a better side.

A1079 added 11:23 - Jun 29
Totally agree with halftimeorange. Need to stop getting carried away with results against the likes of Norwich and Watford because we are just as likely to have a bad game next - especially if at home. We are too inconsistent. What I will say though, we are entertaining.

Whether we advance beyond 40 points will depend largely whether the team etc are motivated to get more points. I am not so sure. We weren't last season.

We have the makings of a good team and a better season next, but that hinges heavily of dealing with our well documented problem areas in the next couple of months! Time will tell.

SaintNick added 11:41 - Jun 29
No one is getting carried away after these two results, all this article did was point out the progress we have made over the last three years. We know what we need to do, but we need to be positive rather than negative

SaintPaulVW added 12:30 - Jun 29
Having won 2 games against teams in the bottom 6 it will be interesting to see how we go over the next 3 games. Against Arsenal we looked disjointed in attack, couple that with some goalkeeping errors and we were done for.

If we can get 4 points from the next 3 games I will be pleased.

I can't see us getting above mid table this year.

Hopefully we can finish the season injury free and with a good appraisal of our loan players and given some of the young players some game time.

davepid added 12:38 - Jun 29
In any discussion about how the team or individuals played or how they’ve been managed has to include analysing the different home and away performances. We seem two different teams and although this has been obvious since early season I’ve yet to see a convincing explanation as to why.
Also Mc Carthy . Ok he had a bad game with Arsenal and yet after Ings is the highest placed player in terms of UI performance rating, a full 1.5 points above Gunn.

WestSussexSaint added 13:22 - Jun 29
I believe Saints should push for as many points as possible in the remaining 6 matches rather than ease off now as “job done” and experiment too much with the squad. Not because of harbouring the need to be top 10 or even the remote chance of European football, but because it will give the squad momentum for the new season. It is likely to be a short “offseason” before the new season starts so hitting the ground running will make a huge difference to how the next season plays out. We saw this under Poch and RK as a quick start immediately eases the pressure for a young squad and they play with more freedom which in turn produces better results.

underweststand added 13:24 - Jun 29
If Danny Ings hadn't given a 10/10 performance, I think Jannick Vestergaard might have been in the running for MoM. His height came to full advantage against a very physical side desperate for points who weren't afraid to put the boot in. Might alos have said the same for Bednarek, who just managed to be in the right place at the wrong time .
Will Smallbone not afraid to get stuck in also provided a perfect assist for Ings' first goal.
Once again KWP looked a class above Yan Valery and showed composure and skill.

For those who still see Ward-Prowse as an overgrown teenager hardly worthy of a place in the side, might consider that being captain doesn't always mean you have to have the loudest voice on the pitch. He popped up all over the place and slotted home another free kick speciality which suddenly put him just one behind MLT's club record...which might say something for his reputation ..plus that he has scored all his penalties so far.

Noted a bit of media hype ..when Ings was interviewed and asked about winning the Golden Boot, he didn't seem aware (or interested ) but just said he enjoyed scoring goals. Since when (amateur) several sites have gone out almost suggesting that he has some sort of revenge campaign against the other contenders....he said no such thing ....IMHO
that's very poor journalism.

40 points up and a chance to see what Ralph will come up with for team squads in the remaining games. I also noted Alexander Jankewitz on the bench, a very promising (Swiss-born) Academy lad who we might see more of quite soon.


TimSaint added 13:33 - Jun 29
Where is the Player Ratings Thread for the Watford game ?

A1079 added 17:25 - Jun 29
Good points Underweststand. I have to admit, I do not know anything about Alexander Jankewitz though I feel I should. Also WestSussex - totally agree - momentum is important and too often we have started seasons with a lack of it.

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