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Saints Target For Second Half Of The Season Is Realistic And Achievable.
Monday, 30th Dec 2019 09:27

After a great end to 2019, Saints can go into 2020 knowing that if they are to avoid relegation then the task ahead is both realistic & achievable.

The mathematics are simple for Saints, if they are to hit the normal points target to avoid relegation of 40, then they have to average exactly a point a game from the remaining 18 games.

The computations are many, but in simple terms if Saints can win 5 games then they should be capable of at least another 3 draws.

Indeed the points total of 22 from the first 18 games is a ratio of 1.1 per game, so repeat that and we would end up on 42 points.

But of course 40 points is not guaranteed to keep a side up it's merely the normal benchmark, so it is important to get there or thereabouts as quickly as possible.

Other clubs supporters will be looking at the League Table and doing similar equations and with the resurgence of Watford of late, the relegation battle is not going to be as clear cut as other years and it could be any 3 out of 8 clubs starting from Burnley on 24 points and going downwards.

It is not going to be easy and at times we will have setbacks, but we can now be clear at the size of the task and how we can measure it.

As long as we keep our points total above the number of games we have played then we should be fine, we start the New Year with 5 clubs below us and a 4 point gap between us and relegation, the longer we can keep that situation the same or hopefully improve on it than the quicker we reach our goal.

The main advantage we have is that we have a specific area we are weak in and that even a slight improvement there by a signing or two in January will be a big improvement and boost, whereas with other teams their problem areas are harder to pinpoint.

Against Crystal Palace the goal we conceded was not an obvious error, but it was still one that we should not have let in, we really should have been marking tighter and not allowing an opponent a free header in that area, we tighten up on this type of goal and we will see an immediate improvement throughout the side.

So December has shown that we do have a good side and one capable of a lot better than it has shown so far if it gets in a player or two in key positions we are weak in.

The key now is to stay strong and stay calm, every defeat is not a crisis just as much as every win does not mean that things are all totally OK again.

In football splashing the cash is only the answer if you are so rich you can buy the best, the Premier League is littered with £30 million flops at clubs outside of the Big Six, the key is getting the right players not just buying the dearest you can afford.

I have said this many times, a club like Saints can but a £30 million player just as Everton can buy a £50 million one, but paying £50 million does not mean you get a £50 million player very often it means that you get an average player at an inflated price.

On the field this season Saints have had their problems, but we have come through them stronger and now we need to move forwards again.

Photo: Action Images

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saintlee added 09:46 - Dec 30
If our recruitment is going to be anything like it has been over the last 3 years then I dont hold out much hope for getting a top class centre half. We have no cover in the full back areas so this needs to be strengthened.
I saw a massive improvement in Saturdays game. They weren't half as nervous as previous home games. What a difference a couple of wins makes.
Che Adsms worked his socks off and he just needs a chance similar to the one Danny Ings got for his goal. The crowd were fantastic, getting behind the team and spurring them on against a very well organised Palace side. Reading some fans pages, just goes to show that a lot of Saints fans have no idea what they're talking about. Complaining about how we didn't win and certain players not worth their wages. This was a good performance and should be treated as such.
Good result Ssints. Well done !!!

TripleNiemi added 11:07 - Dec 30
Is the recent uplift in results a good or bad thing?

Don't get me wrong staying up is pivotal to our future, but will the club take a punt and now try to hold out until summer to bring a centre half in? Decent players are hard enough to find let alone decent centre backs, but at a premium in January also when we are skint will Gao want to spend any funds we might have when relegation remains a huge possibility?

IWOZTHERE added 13:18 - Dec 30
I still think Ralph's 'youth obsession' is the problem here. It has been clear since his arrival that we needed an organiser in this position. WE got 20 yr old Danso..... Given that we are 'strapped for cash' our only option was and still is an older player nearing the end of his contract. High wages yes, but little or no fee. Has he learnt?

1970 added 13:54 - Dec 30
As you say there are a whole host of teams in the brown stuff including us, but looking at the way we played against bum-muth and where they are now is proof this battle is wide open
I think saints will only buy a full back and try and sell cedric then make excuses about not getting a CB so the season will be full of if 's and buts coyr

SaintPaulVW added 13:57 - Dec 30
I just don't see us buying anyone for a big fee in January. The uptick in results over the past few games will justify not doing that. Plus, every side in the EPL seems to want a commanding CB, which suggests it's a common obsession. We were lucky to have 2 outstanding ones. However, other teams also did well without having such standout players in that position.

I suspect that all we will see in January will be a fullback and one other seemingly random choice depending on who becomes available. However, if we can shift a few out that will set us up for the summer. Selling Cedric, who is leaving soon anyway and a couple on loan would be steps in the right direction imo.


underweststand added 15:53 - Dec 30
CB's ?.although we still concede the odd goal or two, Ralph has decided that Bednarek and Stephens are the best combination (after trying 4 other pairings) . Vestergaard ought to get a loan out - for everyone sake, but in the case of injuries/suspensions we only have Yoshida as experienced covering man. Either Danso will get some outings and prove himself or we buy yet another CB.
Cedric WILL go and so we may get Maehle as n RB a replacement, but no-one points out that we still lack proper cover for Bertrand at LB. (!)

We have enough midfielders to go around, and may still see gametime for Slattery and a debut Smallbone before too long.
IMHO ....our biggest vulnerability is our dependance on Danny Ings success. Of the others.. Long, Boufal -no goals ...so far. Redmond and Djenepo 2 each...but what do we do with Che Adams?. He has to prove himself before the end of January, otherwise it will be a wasted season. If he goes back down to Championship, he will surely regain his goal power, but a.t.m. the Prem. seems a bit beyond him - unless he can start to get goals in the 5 games that remain before end of January.

For my choice... an RB. ...and YET another CB (if we loan out Vestergaard), and an aggressive MF / striker ( if Adams gets loaned out), but then expect a total overhaul at the end of the season - regardless of our final placement.
Survival is essential, but we can't have a third season like this.

BoondockSaint added 16:51 - Dec 30
Glad we are doing well. But I must admit, i am sort of worried: Seeing how our 5-plan (or whatever it is called now) seems to be doing just enough to stay in the league, that means Saints recent run of success will result in no new players coming in the next window.

Hope i am wrong We still need an experienced defender-not only for his skills, but to teach the youngsters.

bstokesaint added 20:37 - Dec 30
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by our recent upturn in success, but as others have said would be beyond despair if we used this as an excuse to skimp again. The old ‘Southampton Way’ is flawed. By creating a selling culture players mentalities change and all the good work is undone. We need to bring in more talent and keep hold of it. I’ll keep on saying it, but just look at Leicester. They’ve smashed the “glass ceiling” nonsense. Spend the cash Gao or hand over to someone who will. An injury to Ings would leave us in dire trouble.

SanMarco added 23:19 - Dec 30
I have that concern too Boondock and bstoke. A couple of decent results does not a good defence make. And Ings is known for being injury-prone...

underweststand added 06:45 - Dec 31
Undoubtedly, we have been had major failings in the transfer market in recent years (you only have to look at the £100 million-worth we have who are out on loan). In truth we have more success in bringing on our own youngsters than those big money failures that we've taken onboard in recent seasons.

Adapting to the Prem. is a huge challenge and it isn't only Saints fans who see this. A quick look at others show many clubs have £30/40 even £50 million players who can't get off their bench.

I don't agree that the Southampton Way has failed. It isn't every year that we have a new Shaw, Targett, Lallana, JWP, and Stephens and it still takes time for them to develop.
A look back at those born 1994/5 also shows an impressive list. We could also add; Gallagher, Chambers, McQueen, Hesketh and Reed. It isn't just down to coaching and there has to be determination to succeed - even if they don't all make it in the Prem. Most of those mentioned are still under 25, and it's wrong to say we've failed - it just takes time, but even recent promoted sides like Huddersfield, Fulham, Cardiff found it hard to survive, as Villa and Norwich have done so this season despite having spent a fortune on players who just aren't upto it.


Colburn added 15:18 - Dec 31
I understand the need for a new centre back, as i don't feel Vestergaard or Yoshida have room for improvement. Bednarek and Stephens however have promise and it takes time to make a partnership gel. I am more concerned by our situation at full back especially right side. Neither Cedric nor Valery seem to be strong enough defensively to play in a back 4, they are wing backs and Cedric wants to be gone by summer. Maybe Danso will come good next season but until then I'm not sure Ralph will bring in another CB. Loks like we will try to revert back to defending high up the pitch and hopefully this will help our results. I also wonder if the zonal marking is a bigger problem than the personnel at the back. Anyway, if we continue with the same courage as the last few games we'll be ok. Che will get his goal aoon and he is learning all the time. Obafemi will also get goals if he stays fit and listens.. Djenepo should be fairly fresh for the second half and there's goals in him too.

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