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No Room For Error In Southampton Promotion Push
Monday, 25th Mar 2024 08:58

Saints return after the International break and in the final 5 weeks of the season have no leeway, they have to win most of their games, especially the trips to the three clubs who start the run in ahead of them.

A quick glance at the Championship table is not good reading, at least not at the moment, but the gap can be shortened if we win our games in hand, although the first of those is not until 9th April when we entertain Coventry City at St Mary's.

But before then we have 3 tough games, on Good Friday we see Middlesbrough come to the South Coast, they have hit a run of form and have won 3 and drawn 1 of their last 4 games, this still leaves them 7 points off the final play off spot and they too cannot afford anything less than a win when they visit us.

Then it is the first of the 3 big games, we travel to Portman Road and take on Ipswich, after stuttering back in January they too have hit a run of good form, but in truth we are not far behind them over the last 5 games, so if we beat Boro we should go there without fear.

After that comes the first of those games in hand, Coventry themselves harbour promotion hopes of their own and start this weekend just 4 points off the play offs, but they will arrive at St Mary's hopefully with a win under their belt from beating Leeds a few days earlier, but also hopefully with one eye on Wembley and their FA cup semi final against Manchester United only 12 days later.

Now the games are coming thick and fast, Saturday & Tuesday up to the final week of the season, Watford at home on the Saturday, Preston at home on the Tuesday, Cardiff on the Saturday, then another big one Leicester away on the Tuesday and Stoke at home on the Saturday followed by the first week's rest in 5 weeks ahead of the trip to Leeds United.

As the headline said, there is no room for error, we just have to try to close up the gap and hope that those above us lose a game or two.

But our destiny is in our own hands, if Leeds who are currently top of the league win all their games up to the final one, they end on 103 points, if we win our final 10 culminating in a win at Elland Road we end up on 103 points, it has to be said though we need to a few big victories to close the goal difference gap, likewise Leicester can only reach 109 points, so we would need to beat them and hope they slip up and Ipswich can only reach 105.

So we are now into the make or break part of the season, we have little room for error, some would say no room for error, but we do have a big squad and with our rivals playing only slightly less games, this could be crucial.

Whatever happens in the next 5 weeks, we should be in the play offs, as it stands Hull & Coventry sit on 58 & 57 points respectively from 37 games, both just outside the play offs, they can only get 85 & 84 points apiece, although as they still have to play each other that isn't strictly true.

That being the case we could actually virtually guarantee a play off place if we win our next two games and they both lose theirs over the Easter weekend, given our goal difference is so superior and would indeed have widened with those results.

So we have to go into the final five weeks ready for battle, we will have the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters back from injury and hopefully Ryan Fraser at some point, we have the firepower going forward, we just have to shore things up at the back, play our best team in every game and make the right substitutions when needed.

It's been a roller coaster season lets hope that come the end of it we will have achieved our goals.

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IanRC added 09:25 - Mar 25
We need to hope our manager gets his tactics right for a start. HB and JB need to be undisturbed as our centre back pairing. Sulemana needs more than a token 10 minutes and our strikers need to make sure they have their scoring boots on. Hopefully Bree and KWP will complete the back four and if fit Flynn Downes is nailed on for a place with Stu alongside him.


DellBoyWally added 11:41 - Mar 25
I think it's too late worrying about errors. They've already happened:-
PNE Away 2 points given away
RU Home 2 points given away
HT Home 2 points given away
Mill 3 points given away
9 points and minimum 5 gd. Would see us right in the mix for automatic promotion rather than hoping for others to drop points.
Realistically we are facing the lottery of the playoffs. May 12 @ 12.30pm if we finish 3rd. May13 @ 8pm if 4th

SaintNick added 11:42 - Mar 25
As I said win our games in hand and we are only 3 points off the top spot so still a lot to play for

saintmark1976 added 11:45 - Mar 25
Hope springs eternal Nick but realistically the two consecutive home defeats against Hull and Millwall have killed off our chances of automatic promotion.

If we don’t make the playoffs from here it will be one of the biggest chokes in the Club’s history.

saint901 added 11:50 - Mar 25
It's much simpler than the above.

Given the slip ups in the past, we need to win EVERYTHING and hope others don't.

DellBoyWally added 12:18 - Mar 25
Nick, in amongst that are the three away games against teams above us. We only have one game in hand over Leicester who, if they win their game, would still be 6 points ahead of us.
We need to win our games at Leeds and Ipswich but they have lost only one game between them all season! Anything less effectively puts us out of the automatic places.
The mistakes have already happened. We blew it donating points to the two worst teams in the division. RU have 4 away points all season, one of which we gave them!
I like your positive attitude but I think reality needs to come into it!!

highfield49 added 13:00 - Mar 25
Like many supporters I'm trying to be optimistic whilst also being realistic. My gut feeling is that we've shot ourselves in the foot too many times with those glaring dropped points against opponents who exploited our tactical failings.
I think that we'll certainly make the play off places with games to spare though so, if automatic promotion becomes unachievable, should players be rested pending the post season lottery? Personally I don't care if we're supposed to put out our strongest team at Leeds or wherever just for the benefit of Leicester or Ipswich in their quest for glory.
In a situation whereby Leicester and Ipswich have already secured promotion why would we and Leeds put out our strongest teams and risk injuries in the final game just for bragging rights? Or, will the tv puppet masters be seriously miffed if they have to show Leeds v Southampton U21s?
Hopefully, we'll never know the answer to those questions because we'll win every game and our rivals will drop points making us all very, very happy to avoid the play off bun fight. Still hoping my optimism comfortably beats my realism!

darthvader added 16:18 - Mar 25
There will still be twists and turns in this thats for sure ,lets hope its in our favour

kenchilds70 added 16:37 - Mar 25
I think our run is really down to RM. He needs to decide if he wishes to shoehorn in his favouites or play the best 11. Then make his substitutions both timely and effectiveley. If a player is having a bad first half hook him at 45mins dont wait until 75th when its too late.
I think Russell will be happy with plyoffs and not offend his mates

mascott514 added 22:37 - Mar 25
Its probably a bit of a stretch to make the automatics, but 10 games or so to go.
I feel we are chasing Leicester- They've been so far clear all season , this is the first time they have been drawn intuit least a whiff of a battle.
Be lovely to go into the last day within 3 points of Leeds for the automatics. Not sure my heart can take this!

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