Can Saints End Up South Coast Top Dogs
Monday, 15th Apr 2019 10:20
It might be a tall order but it is not impossible, but can Saints restore their position as the highest team on the South Coast in terms of League position.
As we head into the final four weeks of the season, suddenly we are looking upwards and not behind us for the first time in two seasons, our win over Wolves aligned with Brighton's defeat to Bournemouth saw us go above the Seagull's in the South Coast pecking order, a few months ago finishing above Bournemouth looked very unlikely but as the Cherries have dropped like a stone and we have surged forward then that final position is now looking a little more likely, still a tough ask but achievable.
Saints still sit five points behind Bournemouth, but with a game in hand and the Cherries still to visit St Mary's that gap is not as big as it looks on paper essentially we have to win the game in hand, beat them at St Mary's and then match them for the other results.
The odds are still in their favour but we have a good chance of changing that.
We have five games left
If we look at that run of games if we win both of the home games and perhaps take 3/4 points out of the 3 on the road then we would finish on 45/46 points, in fairness this total is a little above Ralph Hasenhuttl's current points per game ratio, but not massively and we are now heading into perhaps our easiest run of games on paper.
Bournemouth in contrast have four games left.
I can see them beating Fulham and getting a point at Palace at best with two defeats inbetween, that would leave them on 44/45 points, not a lot different to us.
This shows just how tight it could be come the final day of the season and how the task is not beyond us.
I think it will be difficult for us to go above them when they visit St Mary's on the 27th but again not impossible, if we could manage that then I think the odds would be in our favour.
The advantage we have though is that we are a team in the ascendancy, we are playing with confidence and as a team, their result at Brighton was impressive and they were 2-0 up before the home side had a player sent off, but they played a team truly in freefall and still rocked by the disappointment of a FA Cup semi defeat.
It halted a run of nine games when apart from a win over Huddersfield they had lost six and drawn only two, we will find out against Fulham whether they are back on form or just got lucky at Brighton.
This weekend will go a long way to deciding how tough the run in will be for both clubs, they should beat Fulham, on paper it's their only good chance of three points in their final four games, if they fail to get them then it could be advantage Saints.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is methodic he sets his sides targets and quite rightly he has highlighted 40 points as the safety mark, but he will hopefully need to rethink that shortly and when he does then perhaps 45 is a more realistic aim, if he maintains his 1.5 points a game average then we hit 43/44 and that probably won't be enough to overhaul Bournemouth and it could go down to goal difference.
But if we can repeat our form of the last 5 games and get 9 points then I think we might just be able to do enough to end the season above the Cherries and in doing so we could perhaps finish as high as 12th.
It is a tough task, but targets have to be stretching and achievable and this is both.
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