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Saints Need To Come Through Festive Period With Heads Above Water
Tuesday, 24th Dec 2019 10:03

Saints have three tricky games over the Christmas and New Year period, if we are to avoid relegation we need to come through them in good shape.

The win over Aston Villa bought us some relief from the relegation battle and the psychological advantage of being out of the bottom three on Christmas Day, but the run of matches during the festive period usually goes a long way to sorting out the wheat from the chafe and this year may be no different.

Saints probably have a tougher trio of games than the rest of their rivals and if they are to keep their heads above water then they need to pick up some points as they not only need to keep Aston Villa below them, but also not only make sure the bottom two don't make up ground as well as try and keep the teams above us in sight.

Those predicting doom and gloom a few weeks ago have seen three wins in the last five games have pulled us up and out of the relegation zone and we need to make sure that we are still in a healthy position come the end of New Years Day.

Last year saw us boosted with two straight wins before Xmas before losing twice and drawing at Chelsea put us back into trouble.

But after that we picked up and stormed up the table and we need to make sure we have a better platform to build on than a year ago.

I still maintain that we are a good team, we just have a poor defence and the hope is that if we can be out of the relegation zone after a very poor first half of the season, then we can surge forward if we can sign a decent central defender.

The reality is that even without a new signing we are stronger than we were a year ago, we have the same squad boosted by an in form Danny Ings, plus the addition of Moussa Djenepo and Che Adams as well as the return of Sofiane Boufal.

Of course we have problems no one is denying that, but we now seem to be acknowledging those problems exist and we are dealing with them, hopefully with success and that means we can have a good second half of the season.

But first we have to get through the next three games and none will be easy for various reasons, that being the case I would suggest that a return of three points would be if not great satisfactory, although probably a par score would be 4 points and achievable.

Ralph Hasenhuttl seems to have had to deal with issues in his squad, that can be the only conclusion for the absence of Yan Valery and Kevin Danso, but he seems to be dealing with the issues behind the scenes and they must have had a negative affect on results.

So the Xmas period will be tough and perhaps we will like last year not have a great time, but I think we are better placed than others around us to start to pull clear in the New Year, we have come through a bad period stronger than before.

The Southampton Way is often spoken about, but that is not just on the pitch it is off it as well, Saints fans in the past had a reputation for getting behind their team when the going got tough, even when there where issues in the boardroom, we supported the club as an entity and the team as it's representation.

Owners players and managers come and go, the Club and it's supporters are the constant, the modern era has changed a lot in supporting football clubs, but essentially it is still the same, get behind the team.

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1970 added 10:47 - Dec 24
If we are a good side we wouldn't be fighting relegation every season, even with a quality centre back we would be no better than palace in 12th so we will still in effect be fighting to beat the drop every year,
a lot of our players think that they are better than they are and given the chance would jump at the chance to leave we need to make some successful signings even if its just for team moral but its obvious as you say we need players ,
the longer it goes without reinforcements the more players we need,
when the window comes will we buy some-one immediately like Sh**epool have or will we wait as usual until the end and fight for the dross,
I cant see us beating Chelsea or spuds and there is little reason to suggest we will beat palace except for the stats that say we cant always lose at home and play like schoolboys so we're see I hope for at least 3 points coyr
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1970 added 10:47 - Dec 24
If we are a good side we wouldn't be fighting relegation every season, even with a quality centre back we would be no better than palace in 12th so we will still in effect be fighting to beat the drop every year,
a lot of our players think that they are better than they are and given the chance would jump at the chance to leave we need to make some successful signings even if its just for team moral but its obvious as you say we need players ,
the longer it goes without reinforcements the more players we need,
when the window comes will we buy some-one immediately like Sh**epool have or will we wait as usual until the end and fight for the dross,
I cant see us beating Chelsea or spuds and there is little reason to suggest we will beat palace except for the stats that say we cant always lose at home and play like schoolboys so we're see I hope for at least 3 points coyr
-2

highfield49 added 11:10 - Dec 24
The biggest concern at present is that Ings gets injured or the owners can't resist a big money offer from Everton, as is being touted around some pundit outlets. Also, despite their lack of much game time, I'm concerned about how little impact Obafemi, Boufal and Adams have off the bench. They are all gap fillers for those who have run themselves out of energy but pose little or no threat to the opposition in terms of goal scoring ability. When you saw the likes of Crouch, Carroll or Giroud stripping for action on the sidelines you knew there was a threat in the last part of the game but, from our opposition perspective, they must be almost unconcerned by our subs. Perhaps it's time for Sims to get a bit of action again?
-1

A1079 added 11:47 - Dec 24
It is difficult to see us getting anything against Chelsea and Spurs. I did think we might have an outside chance of a point at Chelsea but if we let Willian play like he did against Spurs, we can forget it. Arguably our best hope is Palace, but our home form is dreadful and St Marys seems to be a millstone around our necks, whereas the old Dell was, more often than not, our friend and 12th man. Palace are also stubborn and hard to break down, something we have struggled with for a long time, not just under Ralph.

3 points over Christmas will at least keep us in the mix. Where we cannot win or draw we need to avoid heavy defeats. We can ill afford it with our goal difference.

Alot of fellow fans are putting alot of emphasis on January. For January to be successful, we need to know now who we want, done the preparation and sign them early - experience suggests, we won't do that! I actually don't think we will get much out of the window, I never did.

Recent performances, on the whole have given me some hope (though the West Ham game nearly extinguished those hopes), but you are not quite sure which Saints team will turn up. Villa was a good performance and result and thoroughly enjoyable, but all we have beaten are the 3 that are now below us and I for one, don't think we are suddenly a good team on the same basis that one bad game does not make you a bad team. There are still alot of concerns, not just with the defence - lose Ings and where do our goals come from, look how many chances we miss - some of them easy, our midfield can be static at times?

A plus for me is the sense that since the Leicester game, rather than the team and the support fall apart, I have seen the real fans again and the real support which I used to see when we were in the lower divisions (though the West Ham home game performance by the players nearly put paid to that).
2

legod7 added 11:58 - Dec 24
I thought Danso was out injured and Valery is out with a virus.
0

SaintPaulVW added 13:00 - Dec 24
I have faith that it's the Premier League and any result can happen on any weekend. We played well last game and if we can keep that up we have a chance against anyone.

I'd like to think we can get three points somehow or other out of the next 3 games. Can't really predict from which games though atm.

I just hope a bit of experience arrives in January, not 2 20 year old £5 million fullbacks.

COYS

2

bstokesaint added 13:16 - Dec 24
We are not currently a “good team”. We are average at best until we can source 2-3 quality replacements to strengthen the team’s core. At least with Ings, provided he stays fit, we have goals. It’s too much to put on one player though. Long is great support, but if we could find someone to create and finish that would help. We need something more in midfield and we need one central defender at least. Those positions filled would go some way towards making us a good team. It still frustrates me when people say the Southampton Way works if the right players are recruited. I couldn’t disagree more. The whole concept changes players’ mindsets and how other clubs view us. And I’ll keep saying it we should be looking at Leicester’s success. That’s where we could be.

I’ll take 3 points over Christmas. Anything else would be a bonus.
1

davidargyll added 13:28 - Dec 24
Yep three points would be great from the next three games.
But Danny getting injured is a worry. However I think it’s rubbish about him going to Everton. One so called pundit says they should bid for him and suddenly it’s gospel.
At the back of my mind though there is something odd going on with the squad. And judging by other comments on here others think the same.
Of course managing a club on your own - which is basically what RH has been doing - is hard bloody work: there’s a helluva lot more to it than deciding who’s going to be on the team sheet each game, so perhaps it’s not surprising that some decisions he’s made look a bit eccentric.
I freely admit I didn’t think he was the guy to pull us out of this mess but now I am having a bit more faith especially because of the way he’s got for example Jack Stephens to play.
But we do have to be honest with ourselves here. There is no way that we are going to deliver the goods on a regular basis because it’s only the top clubs that can and we are not a top club.
For those who didn’t see him, at the West Ham game Gao was there. I read that as a good sign for him opening his cheque book, maybe not a lot but a bit.
So maybe just maybe, with the present team playing more to its potential, more back room staff coming in and a couple of signings we just might be on the way back.
Ok so then I woke up but I can at least dream. Father Christmas is real after all isn’t he?
1

Alehouse added 08:46 - Dec 25
Either we're a good team or we're a team with a bad defence, we can't be both!!
-1

underweststand added 10:54 - Dec 25
I go along with some comments above. If we have shown any sort of revival / recovery in recent weeks, then we can expect a good fight -even if we don't get loads of points.
BUT at least one win is required... and anything more than that will be the icing on the cake.
(topical quote).
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