Big Weekend For Southampton In The Premier League
Thursday, 23rd Sep 2021 10:39
A start of four out of five games unbeaten in the Premier League is solid, but the fact that there hasn't been one win in those games is something that has to change, having done the spadework Saints now need to build on the foundations.
The opening 8 games of the Premier League this season were on paper one of the toughest starts that we could have asked for, indeed in the corresponding fixtures last season we managed just two points out of 24.
The fact that with 3 games of the 8 remaining we already have 4 points on the board shows that we have made progress from last term, but although 4 points from 5 games gives us a very respectable 15th position at the moment, 4 points from 8 games would almost certainly see us in the bottom 3 and our start would change from solid to poor.
This weekend therefore is a big one for Southampton FC and with Wolverhampton Wanderers a team one place and one point behind us in the table the visitors the game at St Mary's on Sunday isn't hard to pinpoint as a vital one in our opening 8 fixtures.
A win against Wolves would relieve a lot of pressure, but defeat would pile it all on and could see us drop into the bottom 3 if results elsewhere also went against us..
So where could we end up come Monday evening when the last game of the weekend is played.
The weekend's fixtures start on Saturday with two lunchtime kick offs, Chelsea V Manchester City a game that won't really have a baring on us either way and also Manchester United V Aston Villa, a game that could have.
If Villa lose heavily to United then we could feasibly jump above them on goal difference should we despatch their near neighbours at St Mary's , we start the weekend having to overturn a 3 goal deficit in those figures so a 2-0 defeat for Villa plus a 2-0 win for us would be satisfying in that we could jump above Villa.
There are 4 games at 3pm on Saturday, Everton V Norwich which looks a home banker and in terms of looking over our shoulders a home win would be best, if the Canaries won then they would only be a point behind us. Personally I think a draw would be best as it would keep the Toffee's within our sights if we won on Sunday.
Leeds United V West Ham United is another that affects us directly, a draw for Leeds would put them level with us on 4 points but with a worse goal difference, so for me that would be the best result as it would keep West Ham like Everton within our sights.
A Leeds win would of course drop us down a place and push us within danger of being in the top 3 come 5pm on Saturday, yes it would need a big turn in goal difference from both Burnley who are at Leicester City and would need to win 4-0, but it would be possible.
Newcastle are at Watford in the final 3pm kick off and again another draw would be good.
Finally on Saturday and Brentford host Liverpool in the 5.30pm kick off, it may gall Saints fans to want Liverpool to win, but the reality is that Brentford are the club we will be jostling for position with this season not Liverpool, a Brentford defeat would mean a win for us Sunday would leave us only a point behind.
On Sunday the other game is Arsenal V Tottenham Hotspur, again a draw would be good, it would keep Spurs way off the pace at the top and also mean we could leapfrog Arsenal on goal difference by beating Wolves.
On Monday night Crystal Palace host Brighton and again both are clubs who we will jostle with in the table, with danger of repeating myself a draw here would be best, a win for Brighton would see them on 15 points and way out of our reach, whereas a draw would leave them out in front, but not only can we leapfrog Palace with a win, we can stay within 6 points of the Seagulls.
So this weekend is the one that starts to sort out the wheat from the chafe, starts to show who can sustain a good start and who is going to struggle, by Monday evening we could be as low as 19th, we could be as high as 11th.
The most important thing of the weekend though is to keep things in our own hands, we can't rely on other results, we have to get our own points on the table, a first Premier League win of the season against Wolves would make it a solid start, would mean we could not end the weekend lower than the 15th we start in, but could end it higher and more importantly for the first step of the season would likely leave us with a clear gap between us and the bottom 3.
This time last season we really started to soar and it gave us high hopes of challenging for Europe and at least a top 8 finish, the reason that we fell apart was down to injuries and no depth in the squad, this season we have that depth.
Yes the loss of Danny Ings is a big blow, but we now have 3 strikers instead of two to spread the workload up front and the hope is that the depth of the squad will compensate for the loss of Ings.
So the game against Wolves is our biggest of the season so far, it is time for everyone to step up to the plate and push in the same direction, the team have shown they have potential they now have to start turning that good promise into winning games, to do that they need a positive atmosphere in St Mary's and this year so far the supporters who have gone to the two home games have been magnificent.
I'm not going to whinge on about empty seats, I just want supporters that are positive going, the fans were definitely the 12th man against both Manchester United and West Ham, let's keep it that way, I would rather have silent empty seats than someone sat in them who only opens their mouth to hurl abuse at our own team and players.
The last 18 months should remind us why we follow football and support our team, it is about enjoyment, no one likes losing games, but it is a fact of life and one if you lose a game it is not the end of the World.
Get behind your team and you may just find that it spurs them on to victory and you leave the stadium with a smile on your face after seeing them earn 3 points.
I'm not slagging off our fans here, I'm praising the ones that went to the opening two home games, those that gave such great support at Everton, Newport, Newcastle & Sheffield United, brilliant support that never faltered and that is the way it should be, if you were one of those fans then you understand what I mean, if you weren't, well you missed out on something !
Photo: Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #16 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and this time instead of an international break we played yesterday evening, and now have the luxury of sitting back and seeing what’s going to happen around us in the league table. A gritty display last night saw the U’s fight back from a being a goal down, with Freddy netting his 8th of the season, helped in no small measure by an inch-perfect through ball from Alan Judge. Whisper it, but with (at least) 30 competitive matches to go to the end of the season, Freddy’s average of 0.4 goals per game would actually see him reach that mythical ’20 goals per season’ figure – not bad for an Ipswich reject 😊.
When Saturday Comes #15 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and finally the U’s return to the league programme after what seems an age as a result of our international break. The Forest Green match has been rearranged for 21st December, the last Tuesday before Xmas, and it will no doubt be a chilly night on top of the hill overlooking Nailsworth. Originally billed as a 7pm kick-off, it seems to have been pushed back to 7.45pm now – better make sure before I set off on the short drive for that one. Talking of short drives, bravo to our U18s winning 2-0 at Swindon in the FA Youth Cup midweek, to set up a mouth-watering home tie against Arsenal in the 3rd Round.
When Saturday Comes #14 by wessex_exile
This week, When Saturday Comes the U’s find themselves on an international break and a weekend off for the WAGs to get in some Christmas shopping. Just as well too, given the U’s have inconsiderately eased past AFC Sudbury to deny them the customary FA Cup Second Round break in December to do likewise. We wait to hear who our opponent will be at the JobServe – it’ll be either top of League One Wigan Athletic or Cameron Coxe’s National League parent club Solihull Moors, who replay at Damson Park on Tuesday evening. Incidentally, Solihull Moors may be part of history being made today, with their match at Meadow Lane already expected to easily top 10,000, and may break the record attendance for that league, which currently stands at 11,083 when Bristol Rovers faced Alfreton Town in 2015.
When Saturday Comes #13 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…will we still be in the FA Cup? I heard somewhere during the week that the U’s have been eliminated from the FA Cup by non-league opposition more times than any other league club! Remarkable really when you consider that many non-U’s associate Colchester United with the greatest FA Cup giant-killing of all time. Following tonight, we travel to Portman Road on Tuesday night to see if we can stay in the Pizza Slice Trophy. Regardless that it is a much-maligned competition these days, surely that’s motivation enough for our tractor boy contingent?
When Saturday Comes #12 by wessex_exile
A relegation six-pointer already, seriously! Grim news so early in a season which had such promise, but that may well turn out to be the reality when the dust settles in May. On the eve of All-Hallows Eve, I’m wondering whether the U’s will have served up Trick or Treat by 5pm this afternoon. Plenty has been written over the last week by supporters, the press, even the Chairman about the protests during and after the Sutton United rocky horror football show, and whilst everyone has the right to voice their opinion on the club’s fortunes on and off the pitch, that doesn’t give anyone (even the Chairman) the right to be abusive – it’s not big, it’s not clever, and if anything it undermines the validity of that opinion.
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