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Season Changing Weekend For Southampton
Friday, 5th Mar 2021 08:55

The dreadful run of defeats means that Saints go into this weekend knowing that depending on how results go both at Bramall Lane and elsewhere, this could truly be a weekend that determines whether we will be looking over our shoulders or upwards at glory.

When Saints beat Liverpool two months ago, there wasn't a Saints supporter alive who would have envisaged what the next 9 games in the Premier League would hold, a combination of a horrific injury list and poor decisions and bad luck leaving us virtually static in the points totals.

But things in football can change fast and the important thing is to keep sight of the long term goal, shame on those who have taken to social media to demand that Ralph Hasenhuttl be sacked without any thought of just who would replace him, I'm sure he would love a plan B sometimes, but you have to have the players to implement it rather than just having to throw a few kids on in the hope they work out.

But it cannot be denied that we now sit at a crossroads for the season and this weekend more than any other will define the path the final few months will take.

It can be the start of the revival, beat Sheffield United and we are within sight of the safety mark in the Premier League and with a very winnable FA Cup quarter final against Bournemouth looming, it still has the potential to be the greatest season in the club's history and there aren't many times that can be said to be the case at this stage.

But it could also leave us looking over our shoulders, we have a great chance to beat the Blades and pull out of trouble, but if we don't do that we are looking over our shoulders.

Last night saw some relief in that respect with Fulham losing at home to Tottenham Hotspur and in truth we need a few results in our favour this weekend if we are to dispel the doom and gloom and start to move forward again.

The first game tomorrow could bring us some respite, Burnley tackle Arsenal at Turf Moor, a draw would bring them level on points with us, a win leapfrog them above us, first thoughts would be an Arsenal win, but that would take the Gunners who start the day in 10th to 40 points and that would be a big gap to catch up, if we still harbour hopes of a late run.

I don't think Burnley will ultimately get in relegation struggle so I would prefer a draw, but failing that a Burnley win would suit us better.

The 5.30pm game is Aston Villa V Wolves, again a draw would be best in that one.

The first crucial game in regard to the relegation battle is on at 8pm, Brighton take on Leicester City, if it goes to form then Leicester will take all three points and at worst a draw, but Brighton have battles of late and they know they need the three points, if they get them they are only a point behind us.

Sunday brings the two crucial games at the bottom, it will take a minor miracle for either Sheffield United or West Brom to drag themselves out of the bottom three by the end of the season and this weekend is probably last chance saloon for both, if we can do our bit on Saturday then we can watch the three clubs in real danger of claiming that third from bottom spot with a little bit of relief from stress.

First game is West Bromwich Albion V Newcastle, probably a win for the Baggies would be best for us, it would leave the Toon four points behind us, possibly more depending on our result and in truth it wouldn't leave West Brom with much more chance of catching us.

Then at 2pm on Sunday comes the important one, Liverpool V Fulham, the defeat to Chelsea last night meant they had lost 5 consecutive home games at Anfield, we do not want them to make it six, hopefully they won't and will take all three points.

Final game of Sunday is Spurs V Crystal Palace, it pains me to say it but a Spurs win would be good for us, I don't think we can catch Spurs now, they are 12 points ahead of us and that would be a big ask with 12 games to go, but we can finish above Palace, so a defeat for them would be best.

Monday finishes with Chelsea V Everton, no real concern for us and then West Ham United V Leeds, again we are not going to catch West Ham, but Leeds start the weekend only 5 points above us, we could make it 2 if they lose are hammered by the Hammers and we blunt the blades.

So this weekend could end with us either looking up the table and only 4 points off the top ten and relegation fears eroding away being 10 points ahead of Fulham in the final relegation spot.

Or it could end with us looking over our shoulders with Brighton a point behind us, Newcastle a point behind us and Fulham suddenly looming in the rear view mirror and just 4 points behind.

The good news is that our injury list is getting better and should virtually be back to normal by the end of the month with only Oriol Romeu being a vital player missing for the rest of the season.

Good teams don't become bad teams overnight, with a virtual full squad we can get back on track and win that FA Cup quarter final, we are capable of a win at Bramall Lane, we just have to show the form of the second half at Everton for 90 minutes at Sheffield, ensuring at one end we cut out the errors and at the other we start putting away our chances.

Even if this weekend doesn't go well, we still have 11 games to put things right, I worry about a 4 point gap when there are 2 games to go, not 11, it might be hard at the moment to see where the next win is coming from, but when we get one we will get more and we need just 2 maybe 3 to see us safe, I would rather be in our position than Fulham's by the end of the weekend, whatever that position may be

Photo: Action Images

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redwight added 10:12 - Mar 5
It was good to see Lamina paying back some of that part of his wages which we are still funding. Handball aside, he seemed to have a good game. What a wasted talent.

sandywelsh added 10:28 - Mar 5
Ralph Hasenhuttl reveals Southampton transfer promise as he plans major squad summer revamp

SaintPaulVW added 11:07 - Mar 5
Fingers crossed we win or at least take steps forward ie create better chances and convert those into goals and no more injuries. I still refuse to see SU as a 6 pointer or a season defining game!

So looking forward if Ralph really wants a bigger squad surely you bring back the experienced players Hoedt, Eli and Lemina that are sat out on loan. That's a very cheap way of getting 3 extra players to cover any gaps at Center Back, Winger and Center Mid. You sign Bertrand, and one of Walcott and Minamino. You then need should need only 2 additional players, plus replacements for leavers, a striker and a full back. If you need to flog Ings for say £25 million in these covid affected times that should cover a lot of it.

Allardyce, even with his faults, with his relegation saving expertise always seems able to undertake a very quick squad makeover for not a lot. With our long term scouting there must be lots of targets that we don't even enquire about. I can't see a huge problem in giving Ralph a squad to work with. It may not be perfect but it will at least give him something to work with.


TimSaint added 11:50 - Mar 5
Honestly, it's got to the stage now, where I don't really care about the other teams. If X wins or X loses, then we can go up a place etc just doesn't interest me any more.

All we need to worry about is getting 3 wins as quickly as possible, then we can relax a bit and start playing some decent football in the remaining games.

All the early season hard work has been ruined with this awful run - which incidentally stretches back to the middle of December. I know there are plenty of excuses we can all use, but that seems to be the issue. We are in a blame culture society and our players are blaming the footballing gods, rather than putting a shift in to change things. It is about time we stood up to be counted and put in a performance for the club and us, the fans.

We will have a few players back and that will be the difference. Saints to win in 2-1 or 3-1. COYS !!


SanMarco added 13:33 - Mar 5
Weren't Nicks 'what we want in weekend matches' so much nicer in the autumn? I am sure I am not the only one annoyed that I can't cheer on the likes of Fulham and Brighton when they play the Liverpools and Manures of this world!!

I think the idea of a late charge up the table can wait until we have won a couple. The good thing is that two wins from two winnable upcoming games and suddenly we are as good as safe. Fingers crossed...

TimSaint added 15:03 - Mar 5
A target of 5 points every 3 games has turned into 8 or 9 points over the next 12 games !!

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