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All Saints Eyes On Fulham V Burnley Tonight But There Is A Dilemma
Monday, 10th May 2021 09:38

It's been a roller coaster season for Southampton FC and tonight could see both another high and another low at the same time as Fulham take on Burnley knowing this is the first of four last chance saloons for them.

If Fulham fail to beat Burnley at Craven Cottage this evening then that will all but confirm their relegation back to the Championship, they start today on 27 points with 4 games left and can only get a total of 39 if they win each of their final four games.

A draw will see them only be able to manage 37 points and that will be the total that the three clubs directly above them Burnley , Saints & Brighton will sit on if that is the result.

But although that draw will all but see Saints safe it will also see Burnley overtake us goal difference and we will drop to 17th only a place above Fulham.

Burnley for their part know that if they beat the Cottagers this evening then not only are they safe but so will Saints and Brighton be and for that matter Newcastle on 39 points, as that win will see Fulham only be able to get 36 points and they will be down with 3 games left to play and join Sheffield United and West Brom who themselves saw their fate confirmed after defeat at Arsenal yesterday.

But for Saints fans there is a dilemma, do we want to trade absolute safety with a Burnley victory tonight against League position.

There is now a mini league between Crystal Palace in 13th place on 41 points going down to Burnley at time of writing in 17th on 36 points.

With four games left we should really be backing ourselves to hit that 13th spot come the end of the season, we have four winnable games and with the next two against Fulham and Palace it is all in our own hands.

It is not just the league looking a bit better in terms of position, it is also about the money, there is £8 million to play for, in financial terms for those that have a glass half empty viewpoint it covers three months of the current losses made in this pandemic, for those with a more optimistic outlook it will boost our transfer kitty by £8 million and for a club our size that amount is not significant.

So there is a school of thought that says that Burnley losing tonight might be better from a Saints perspective, it will still leave us sweating on mathematical safety, but will leave Burnley still below us in the League and give us a head start on the race for 13th.

Weighing things up I am of the mind that a draw will be the best result, it leaves Fulham no room in their last three games and we could indeed put them to bed on Saturday at St Mary's and it leaves us with a level playing field for the final 3 games.

Some will disagree but if we finish 13th that is the par score for us, there would be few clubs above us who when you weight all things up including size of support etc on paper should be below us.

We as a club are about good management and overachieving, if we hit 13th we hit par score which although is a disappointment is where we should be as a minimum, indeed you could argue par is actually 14th given the size of Newcastle as a club.

So a dilemma tonight, where do you stand on the result, win lose of draw for either side ?

Photo: Action Images

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saint22 added 09:56 - May 10
overachieving?? that's hardly right this season
When did we last get a win? I wouldn't say our next 4 are winnable, one of them is maybe but the rest we would be happy with a draw the way we are performing

SanMarco added 10:22 - May 10
Mini-leagues? Come off it - we need Burnley to win. If we want to go up the 'mini-league' then we can by the rather novel idea of winning some games. If Fulham win tonight and we lose tomorrow (a perfectly likely scenario) then Fulham becomes a very big 'must-not-lose' match - my nerves have had enough. End it tonight Burnley - please...

Oh and by the way: Nothing roller-coaster about this season. No ups and downs, an early up (to, fingers-crossed, a just high enough peak) and then down hill all the way. 4th from bottom would be a suitable epitaph for this awful season...

beynali73 added 10:26 - May 10
Win for Burnley please.

Nick I admire your positivity over thelast 4 months and can understnd it as you do not want to write a blog which is doom and gloom. Put aside the injuries, the bad var decisions, which have been devastating at times (Villa and Man U spring to mind but Leicester last week could have followed that pattern) Saints have failed too often to put in a performance since January.

I like to think I am positive and realistic (I'm a glass as full or empty as it appears type) but this season is another where we stay up due to other teams incompetance being worst than ours.

I'll be surprised if we get 2 points from the next 4 games and that will probably mean keeping two clean sheets - but I'd be happy with that return which is a reflection of how bad we have been since January.

As I have mentioned on a previous pot there is an existential crisis going on at the club and signing a new left back and the GK from Bristol City will not fix it.

dirk_doone added 11:18 - May 10
We are about overachieving???? We are the most underachieving club in the country. No other club with a fanbase as big as ours has only won one trophy in its entire history. Most have won at least 4 or 5.


felly1 added 11:19 - May 10
There's clearly something wrong with our club. Unless we have a drastic improvement in the next 4 games or the first stage of next season ( assuming we are still in the Prem).
The fans gave a right to question what the hell is going on with our club.
Our history and status and size of support would suggest a club that should be a comfortable Premier League mid table with an occasional bad season or two where we will face possible relegation mixed with a few top 8 finishes here and there.
We have been overtaken by the likes of Palace, Brighton, Leeds, Villa, Wolves and so on.
Its surely a mix of lack of investment in the club allied to poor player recruitment over the last 4 years and a manager who only wants to play one style of football rather than than a more pragmatic approach required in certain games to make it harder for the opposition to score.
We clearly need new players and fast and to give Ralph the opportunity to make it work but time is running out.

JoeEgg added 11:19 - May 10
The discussion above just about sums up this awful season. If this season is 'par' for us then I had better look for another team to support. Since Christmas we have had the worst record by far in this League and right now Saints are at rock bottom.
There is only one result we should be looking for tonight,and that is the win for Burnley that makes us safe for another season. Then we can start looking for all those excuses as to why we cant get rid of the enormous amount of dross still holding us back- players we bought but cant sell and nobody wants - while the summer transfer market will prove way too expensive with the usual resulkt - same again folks and start hoping for another 'best ever season'!

DorsetIan added 11:43 - May 10
A Fulham win for me please. I don't like Burnley and I have been impressed by the way Scott Parker has got as much as he has out of this team.

A Fulham win will put a bit more pressure on us for the Palace game and also for the game against Fulham next week. I'd like to see if we can actually put in a performance when there is a bit of jeopardy involved.

And let's face it Fulham are not going to overtake take us. Even if they beat Burnley and us, they've sill got to get a win at Old Trafford and beat Newcastle on the final day. They've only won 5 all season. It's not going to happen.

And my guess is that we're also going to finish 17th whatever happens. Which is no more that we deserve after a truly pathetic set of results since January.

SaintPaulVW added 12:37 - May 10
Fulham aren't going to catch us. So tonight's result doesn't really matter. We just need to concentrate on getting as many points as possible from our last few games.

Think our season was more of a base jump than a roller coaster!

Big_T added 12:44 - May 10
I really can't see us getting anything in our last 4 games !
So where does that leave us ? In the hands of others !
This is the price for playing "stupid" football , by that I mean not closing out games not stopping an opposition from playing however they want and not reacting to opposition changes !!! ( Oh look they've changed formation and brought fresh players on, they are getting a lot of ground behind our full backs and getting dangerous balls into the box...........I know let's carry on doing exactly the same thing, they haven't scored yet !)
Poor performances poor effort poor tactics and poor reading of the game have undone what could have been a mid table season.
At Christmas ALL of the media outlets did an in depth review and breakdown of how Saints were playing and being successful, obviously our coaches were the only ones in the league NOT watching, because everyone else took that analysis and disassembled our tactics. Everyone does the same thing against us , wait untill the energy level starts to drop, draw us on, put the ball behind our kamikaze full backs and attack the gap in front of our back four ..... result goal ! yet we do nothing about it .
Ralph needs help from his staff his team and from himself. I like him but....is he good enough ? I don't know :'-(

Colburn added 12:59 - May 10
Four winnable games... Is this based on fact or hope? I'm not sure we will win any of them as we have a manager who repeats the same mistakes and can't see the reason we lose nearly every game. The truth is, we are in free fall again and the machine doesn't work with one cog missing as Ralph has hinted, we need everyone important fit and playing for it to work.. Well how is he going to avoid injuries and suspensions? He needs a different machine then, clearly, as these missing cogs are unavoidable in this sport and this league. He said he was happy with his squad, 2 players for each position, yet we have one full back for each side, including obe who doesn't want to be here and he has failed to bring through the big signings we made which included our only cdm back up as he won't trust the superb Jankewitz. I really don't think he knows what he's doing anymore and he has to go, along with Walcott and the other two pretenders Redmond and Minawasteofspace. I see a story today about Ralph looking at Walcott joining at the end of the season.. Utterly disgraceful..

TimSaint added 13:26 - May 10
We haven't won many games this year, so why would the last 4 suddenly be winnable ?
Winning breeds confidence, something we had up until December last year, but since then, we have been in free fall.
We have a chance for points against Palace and Fulham, but Leeds really are on form and were very good against Spurs (fans won't make a difference) and West Ham have done a job on us for the last what, 5 games in a row ?

We are not going down, but we will be lucky to finish on 43 points.

Oh for those days earlier in the season when we were breaking games down into groups of 3 and looking to take 5 points from each group, when European qualification was a target, when Top 8 was a distinct possibility and when we fancied ourselves in the Cup !!

wibbersda added 13:31 - May 10
I am seriously concerned for next season. We just never score enough and the least said about the CB's the better.

AirFlorida added 13:45 - May 10
FFS, who cares if we finish 17th or 15th?What does it matter if we finish above Burnley?! It's not going to make up for the shower of sh!te we've had to put up with most the season. What's a couple of million in league placement going to do? Buy us a new defence. So of course we want Burnley to win so we can shut down this appalling season. Oh but we were top and got to a semi I hear some cry. Did the fans have a day out at Wembley? No. Did we finish in the top 8? No. The table doesn't lie. I'm fed up of all the spin and excuses pumped out. In Ralph I do not trust but we're stuck with him 😠

Centurion added 13:49 - May 10
Burnley win please! 17th is then our guarantee and we can still move up a few places if we beat Palace and Fulham.
To me it's a no brainer.

Jesus_02 added 13:50 - May 10
@felly1,,, pretty much spot on. I'm afraid player recruitment has been the major issue. We still have a great chunk of our wage budget going to players like Hoedt. While we have players like him Lamina and Elyounoussi still at the club we cant even compete with free transfers.

Jesus_02 added 13:58 - May 10
Vallary 25
Shane Long 62
Mo Elyounoussi 60
Angus Gunn 40
Hoedt 60
Lamina 65

If we could shift these guys then we could free 312K year.. That 2/3 very decent players

SanMarco added 15:19 - May 10
As that is not their ages or IQs I am assuming it must be pounds per week Jesus. What a thoroughly annoying and depressing set of statistics. I can only dream of earning 60 grand in a YEAR and Wesley fecken Hoedt gets it in a WEEK even though he is totally useless...

davidargyll added 15:46 - May 10
Christ what a load of loaning minnies!
Why on earth is no one apart from Nick in the least bit REALISTIC?,
Yes we have had disappointments but then so have numerous other teams.
The end of last season and the beginning of this were really good for us and we were a joy to watch. Then we have had (an overly long) blip and gone south. But I reckon that we do have some good young players coming through and that next season will play lot better because they will all be more experienced. And maybe with an influx of a couple of players, who knows?
But look what all the pundits were saying about Liverpool after winning the PL last season. “They will win it for years to come”. Well we all know what happened to to that prediction!
And yes similar predictions were made for us:“we can really March on and press for a European place”. Rubbish again!
As I said, get real peeps! We all want to be entertained and win some matches. And so we have. Ok it hasn’t ended too well but we are still in there fighting. And let’s thank God we are not a yo-yo team like the Baggies or Fulham. Or the Blades who after all did really well last season and now they’re dead and buried.
I’m really happy to be a Saints fan and will take the rough with the smooth, ok it’s often not comfortable but I reckon the (maybe not enough) highs are still worth all the lows and more.

saintmark1976 added 16:39 - May 10
A really good and thoughtful post Colburn, with which I for one fully agree.

Ralph is no longer part of the solution, in fact he’s a considerable part of the problem. Yes, we have had injuries, loss of form and bad refereeing decisions but so has every other club in the division. Put simply, it goes with the territory. Good managers find a method of coping. Since just before Christmas our points obtained record has proven that Ralph can’t. It’s time for him to go.

As for signing Walcott permanently, frankly words fail me.

DorsetIan added 16:48 - May 10

'Blips' we can cope with. This is long term underinvestment, long term squad weakening and, this season, long term serious under achievement.

I can take the rough with the smooth with the best of them, but 3 wins per every 13 losses is a pretty hard slog for anyone!

underweststand added 17:03 - May 10
Every club goes through generational shifts and Saints are about to hit the peak of theirs.
The majority of those Koeman squads have gone and, (as a Jesus 02 points out above) their replacements added nothing to the club except a raft of exorbitant fees and huge salaries on long contracts.

Now we have to clear the decks and prepare for a revamped squad for next season in the hope we can find a few diamonds in the rough, and hope that the Obafemi's and Tella's can graduate out of the Academy world and establish themselves in the first team squad.

Although much of the criticism (above and in other threads) rightly points out the shortcomings of some in the team, it must be remembered that every week they are coming up against established internationals and even world-class players whose fees and salaries alone would be a transfer windfall for most of the bottom half of this very unbalanced league.
Although we all rightly condemned the proposed ESL, it clearly highlighted that those who " threw their hats in the ring " were in another league, where even a top six finish is regarded as failure.

For the rest of us who don't have their own " sugar -daddy " - survival is vital every season with the possibility of a little success that takes us past semi-finals and just maybe - a bit of glory at the end of it.


stmichael added 17:33 - May 10
We have 6 points less than any other team in 2021.
There is zero expectation to win any game hence there is very little dissapointment when we lose which is most weeks.
I think we just need Burnley to win.
We are finishing 16th or 17th and that’s it...

schatfield added 19:05 - May 10
win for fulham please, because I would still prefer we go down and get out of this depressing league. Much rather play in the championship and not this inflated ego league where only the top 6 teams are ever talked about

SaintStu7 added 21:00 - May 10
We just need to get our act together, get some points and not worry about others team. I’m still in two minds about the manager and the players. Over the last 2 seasons we have had a season of top 4 standard and a season of being absolutely rock bottom of the league. Luckily they have been split across the 2 seasons or we would have been relegated with perhaps the lowest ever points. What’s next... who knows. Maybe somewhere in between would be nice!

SanMarco added 21:57 - May 10
We have our answer. Altogether now: Staying up, staying up, staying up...etc

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