Same Start For Saints As Last Year ! Now Is The Crucial Point.
Monday, 19th Oct 2020 11:45
Saints fans are pleased with our solid start to the season after a couple of early defeats, but we should all note that at this stage last year we had the same points total, it is all about what happens next !
After 5 games last season we sat on 7 points as we do now, a look back shows tat the results show a very similar pattern as this season, two straight defeats, one a rout and then two wins and a draw.
It all changed in the 6th game when despite 65% possession against Bournemouth at St Mary's and 17 shots compared to their 4, we lost 3-1, the Cherries scoring with 3 of their 4 shots and the only 3 they got on target, catching us on the break.
That led to a run of results that was a low point not just of last season, but to be blunt any season I have seen in my near half a century of watching Saints.
The Bournemouth game was the start of an 8 game run in the Premier League that saw us lose 6 and gain only 2 points, it saw us concede 25 goals including the infamous 9 goal drubbing against Leicester, in all honesty if we had lost only 1-0 to the Foxes, 16 goals conceded in 8 games is still far too many at an average of 2 per game, a stat that if achieved over the course of a season would have made us the worst defence in the Premier League even without those 9 goals.
A look back at our worst season in recent times 2017/18 when we went to the last day shows that amazingly under Mauricio Pellegrino we had a better start than these two seasons, only 1 defeat in the opening 5 games and two wins and two draws saw us on 8 points.
This shows that we need to avoid the complacency as perhaps happened last season, so far the pattern has been similar, a good end to the season before, followed by a solid start albeit with warning signs.
Now is the point where we need to break the mould, we need to go out and have a run of games that sees us firmly in the middle of the table come December, that 8 game run cost us dearly last season, but not as we thought it might on that horrible Friday night of 25th October, it actually cost us a top 10 finish and that fact is remarkable in itself.
Three more points to give us 5 from 8 would still have been worse than relegation form at the time, but those 4 points would have seen us end the season in 9th, if we had just got one more draw out of the first 7 of that run and ended the 8th game by hanging on at Arsenal instead of a soft 95th minute equaliser conceded then we would have leapfrogged the Gunners into 8th.
Now I know that is now all in the past, but what it does illustrate is that take that awful run of a year ago out of it and we were a decent side, albeit one that kept conceding stupid late goals from individual errors, that extra draw should have come at Man City until the keeper flapped at a cross in the final minutes.
So a look back at last season shows us the warning signs and as I keep banging on we still haven't heeded them, but it also shows us what we can achieve, we are a better all round team and indeed squad than we were a year ago, there is no reason why we should not repeat and indeed go one better than last season and end this one in the top 10.
In truth it should be higher, in midfield and going forward we are a top 8 side, defensively we are Championship.
But if we are to do all this as I have just illustrated, we need to get a good return from the next 8 games, there are some toughies, Man Utd at home and Arsenal away, but there are also some very winnable games, if we have aspirations of a top 10 finish then we have to look to games like Everton, Wolves and Sheffield United at home as well as Newcastle, Aston Villa and Brighton away.
These are the six games that will decide where we finish in the table come the end of the season, at the top end we have Everton who will be looking for a top six finish themselves and at the bottom Brighton who will be happy to match their 15th spot and 41 points.
If we can get through these six games with a good points return on the board, 10 points or more out of the 18, then we will be well set up for the second half of the season, less than a point a game and we will be looking over our shoulders.
The game against Everton this weekend will be a key marker, they have had a good start, but they showed flaws against Liverpool at the weekend and we can exploit them.
We have done some good work since the start of the season, both on and off the pitch, it will count for nothing if we dont continue it on now !
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #18 by wessex_exile
Trump has finally conceded defeat, albeit in a childlike, begrudging and typically ungracious manner, but at least things are moving on now, and hopefully the beginning of a new, less adversarial era in world affairs. There was an interesting article on one of the news websites this morning looking at how the transition for other administrations have gone – none as poorly (so far) as this, but still some amusing anecdotes nevertheless. Apparently, ahead of George W Bush taking up residence, the departing Clinton team went around the White House removing all the W’s from keyboards – very childish, but quite funny too…
Letters from Wiltshire #17 by wessex_exile
So I never actually imagined more than two weeks after the event that Trump and his attack-dog “Hot Mess” Giuliani would still be refusing to acknowledge that Biden has won the US Presidential election, but there you have it. Closer to home, we are just past halfway through our circuit-breaker 4-week lockdown, and most of the graphs suggest things are slowly improving, but nowhere near a rate that would see figures return to the pre-October levels. Much closer to home, Alfie has been in self-isolation for the last 14 days because one of his teachers tested positive – delighted to say we have both passed through that period without developing symptoms…and without killing each other either 😊
Letters from Wiltshire #16 by wessex_exile
Good morning everyone. Outside the football bubble, and across the pond, we have the soon to be ex-President of the United States walled up in his White House bunker, inexorably going through the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief…and in a particularly undignified and un-statesman like manner. Clearly we’ve had Denial by the bucket-load, Anger as he lashes out firing those he perceives as disloyal, Bargaining as his legal team try and force recounts of perfectly valid election results, and no doubt a huge amount of Depression as he sulked in silence for the best part of a week. Now perhaps, as he nearly slips up when eventually breaking radio silence to address the press, we see the beginnings of Acceptance. If I’m honest, I’d be quite happy for Trump to keep this up and make the transition as embarrassing as possible for himself and his supporters – and if the police could eventually drag him out of the White House in hand-cuffs, all the better.
Letters from Wiltshire #15 by wessex_exile
Well, there’s a turn up for the books, the mighty U’s unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by lowly Marine AFC, four tiers below us in the league pyramid. These things happen, and we’ve done it to others on more than a few occasions, but the manner of the result on Saturday is what rankles the most. Virtually our strongest line-up available, but the complete lack of any urgency right from the outset was dreadful to see. Even as we reached squeaky bum time into the 2nd half, having drawn level, still we ponderously passed aimless triangles in midfield for far too long. Someone has to pay for that debacle, so let’s hope it’s the auld enemy Southend tonight in the Pointless Trophy…
Letters from Wiltshire #14 by wessex_exile
Welcome to Lockdown #2, and as I write this blog, an as yet uncertain future with the orange loon threatening to refuse to hand over the keys to the White House and calling on all his white supremacist mates to rise up in arms. Moving on swiftly from chump to champ, Chairman Robbie has again addressed the U’s faithful, with another clear, concise statement on the current situation and how it may or may not affect Colchester United. I know in the past he hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think an awful lot of people are warming to him because of the leadership he has shown through this crisis, and long may it last!
[ Vote here ]