Massive Two Weeks Coming Up In Southampton's Season
Wednesday, 3rd Mar 2021 14:12
Forget the last two months and the various defeats that have blighted it, all that matters now is the next two weeks, a fortnight's worth of games that will define whether this season will be a potential disaster or perhaps one of the greatest in Saints history.
No one can argue that the last two month's haven't been a bit of a disaster, a club record number of straight defeats, as well as equalling our worst defeat. But no ne can argue either that there have been plenty of mitigating circumstances including our worst injury run ever, some awful refereeing and VAR decisions, some bad individual errors and some just plain old bad luck.
But it will not be the last two weeks that will define this season, the real work starts on Saturday at Sheffield United and this game will be the first of four in a fortnight that at the end of it will either see Saints fans looking over their shoulders or contemplating perhaps the best ever season in the club's history
The first 3 games are all about securing our Premier League safety, a win at Sheffield United will go a long way towards doing that and although a trip to Manchester City looks to have only one outcome, the visit to St Mary's of Brighton is another game that Saints really need to win in.
So a best case scenario of two Saints wins would see relegation worries banished, whereas a worst case scenario of 3 defeats whilst not terminal would be a big worry.
But going into these fixtures we need to be positive, we could really do with some of the injured returning for the trip to Bramall Lane, but we showed enough at Everton to suggest we have enough to get all three points without anyone being ready for a comeback, however it would be a bonus if 1 or 2 could make a return.
But the likelihood is that be the time Brighton visit on Sunday 14th March we will be back to something like a full squad with the only real regulars being still out Oriol Romeu & Theo Walcott, the latter pencilled in for a late March return to action.
If we can get just 4 points out of these two fixtures it will see us just a win and a draw from safety and with 9 games left we would be in exactly the same position we were at that point last season, that being the time the season was suspended.
By getting those points we would then be able to focus on what would be the real objective of the season and indeed in any season our most realistic opportunity for not only glory, but European qualification.
We have a great chance of beating Bournemouth in the FA Cup quarter finals and in doing so a trip to Wembley for a semi final, sadly none of us will be able to go to that game , but I would rather we reach an FA Cup semi final with a chance of a Final, that not have that chance, whether fans can go or not.
The FA Cup Final will be played and to be blunt if I have to watch it on telly I would rather watch Saints in it than two other teams.
So at time of writing we stand at the crossroads, the next fortnight's fixtures could see us potentially on the cusp of our greatest season ever and whatever the last two months have given us, there haven't been that many seasons in our history where we have gone into the last couple of months of the season being able to achieve that.
Since we won the FA Cup in 1976 we have been in contention for either a trophy at the semi final stage or European qualification just 12 times since, ironically 4 of those occasions have been in the last 6 seasons where Ronald Koeman took us to Europe twice, Claude Puel took us to the League Cup final and then Pellegrino/Hughes to the FA Cup semi final 3 years ago.
So although it perhaps hasn't seemed like it, the last 7 years have been the most consistent period of competitivity we have had and that will continue if we beat Bournemouth.
So we should not write off this season just yet, the past two months are now in our past, but our future is yet unwritten and from this perspective it is about the next two weeks not the last two months.
It is each game at a time though, the first job is at Sheffield United and we have to take on that task and win.
For me supporting Saints has always been about hope, history tells us that sadly it is rarely about glory and we are certainly not alone there, the modern game has polarised the leagues and for all the bluster about top four finishes and cup wins, few clubs outside of the big six have actually achieved either in the last 25 years.
But this season we once again have some hope, for me the glass is half full not half empty, I support the team not the CEO or the Chairman, but the manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and his players, I want them to win, it hurts e when we lose and it hurts me when I see so called Saints supporters rubbishing the team for cheap laughs on social media .
We need something to rally us all to the flag, something to stop the negativity and restore our pride in the club and an FA Cup semi final would be a start, an FA Cup final a bonus and an FA Cup win a dream come true, I have not been able to say this too many times in the last 45 years, perhaps this will be our year at last, but even if it isn't Southampton Football Club march on and I do so with it
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #40 by wessex_exile
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