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Southampton At West Ham United The Preview
Sunday, 23rd May 2021 09:21

Saints head up to the London Stadium to face West Ham United on the final day of the Premier League season playing for nothing else other than pride and £8 million in prize money depending on where they end the day.

This will be our fifth visit to what was the 2012 Olympic games stadium, our first back in September 2016 saw a 3-0 victory, but since then it has been all downhill with three straight defeats with the Hammers also hitting 3 goals in each game, so will the winners this afternoon keep up that tradition of score 3 and you win the game.

But that side being Saints doesn't look likely based on the season both sides have had, West Ham start the day in 6th place and a win will keep them there, but a defeat could see them slip to 8th, although to be honest it would need a big win for Saints and Everton to get a big win at Manchester City for the toffees to turn around a 12 goal difference deficit.

From a Saints perspective they are guaranteed not to finish in 17th, but they could end up anywhere between 16th and 12th, will we be able to pull a last day performance out to finish the season with a flourish.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has a few decisions to make and it will be interesting to see who gets the nod and who doesn't will Fraser Forster return in goal and will Oriol Romeu play or not risked for what is essentially a meaningless game apart from the money at stake.

This has been a disappointing season in the way it had so much promise for the first half and then completely fell away, but if we could hit 12th then although it would not feel like it , actually it will have been a decent one, 12th is just about where Saints lie as a club in the terms of size in the Premier League and throw in an FA Cup semi final, then if we had been told last summer that this would be the season we would have then we would have all been satisfied.

But it has not been a consistent season it has been boom and bust, but there is enough foundation in the squad to suggest that we can continue to progress and lets be blunt we have progressed from where we where this time three years ago when we went into the last day not 100% sure of safety.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has been in charge for 98 games going into this one, he has 35 wins, 20 draws and 43 losses, that equals 1.37 points per game average, over a season that would give us 52 points.

Compare that with the 98 games before he arrived, a period spread over 3 managers, Mark Hughes, Mauricio Pellegrino & Claude Puel, that saw only 22 wins, 33 draws and 43 losses.

Ralph's side has scored 131 goals as opposed to 98 under the other 3 managers, so it is clear we now play a more entertaining attacking game with the only downside that we have conceded more goals under Ralph, 161 against 141.

But overall we have moved forward, our issues this season were mainly due to problems before our control, injuries being a big issue and poor refereeing another.

So there is plenty of use for optimism going forward, this is the modern game throwing money around looks good, but unless you finish in the top four or perhaps the top seven then perhaps you have just wasted most of it.

We need to stop focusing on the things that have not yet happened and focus on what we can do, what would be progress next season for instance, a little more luck and consistency and we could push for a top 10 place and perhaps another cup semi final.

So let's just enjoy this final day for what it is, another season where we have achieved survival fairly early in the season and we have competed for a place in the cup final, lets get real that is more than half the club's in this division have achieved.

Some would say that this is not very ambitious, maybe not but it is realistic and that is where we need to start from next season, look to do what is realistic and achievable.


Photo: Action Images



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IanRC added 10:07 - May 23
Fingers crossed that we can sign off with a win and others play their part to maximise our prize money. That said can’t believe we have wasted money on Walcott’s salary and it looks like we are going to try to waste more on the light weight Minamo
2

underweststand added 11:07 - May 23
With talk concentrating on a finish between 12th and 16th spot, this game is probably important to the half-dozen players in "grey zone" between being a regular starter and those spending half-a-season on the bench with 10 minute cameos at the end of games.

It doesn't need my list of those who blow hot-and-cold in games, and yet never really convince us they are "the real thing". I expect Ralph to start with the "usual suspects" and make final decisions on who he wants to keep, or let go before next season.

With more than a dozen new names being floated as potential signings, those who are OOC, or free , will save us money on transfer fees, (like the lucky club who will eventually secure Ryan Bertrand's services), Saints may yet find a diamond in the rough.. from some more unlikely location during the close season.

A win over Wham is long overdue. For their part the Hammers have more to play for with a Euro League spot for the taking - to the detriment of their " big clubs " neighbours like Spurs and Arsenal who by their standards - have both had very disappointing seasons.

These sort of London games against Palace and Wham are always a good indicator as to our progress -or otherwise - and If we can convert more of the chances we create, and avoid the mistakes that give away goals, we might well come away with a good result.

1

JoeEgg added 12:51 - May 23
Very sad to read Nick's summary andhis idea of a satisfactory season for the Saints. No mention of what we achieved under Poch and Koemans! Those were the seasons we should be aiming to replicate, not finishing perilously close to the bottom three and reaching a Cup Semi Final. Take a look Nick at the achievements of Leicester, Leeds and West Ham and compare them with the pathetic collapse we have had to endure. Ralph is a very fortunate man in my view to be given another season. A start next year with results like those since Christmas and this will have been his last full season with us.
6

KriSaint added 13:09 - May 23
If we can play without nerves and hit the game with free floating, attacking football and - of course - play Danny Ings from the start, and Ralph gets his tactics and substitutions right, this game could become difficult for West Ham.
COYS!
If JWP plays 90 minutes today, he will achieve what no out field player has ever achieved in the Premier League era. Full playing time for 2 seasons in a row. A record which will stand for many years, I think, IF he achieves it. Would make me very proud of JWP.
1

SaintStu7 added 13:41 - May 23
JoeEgg, what exactly did we achieve under Koemen and Poch and what have Leeds and West Ham actually achieved. Just a few Prem places in reality. It just shows the fine margins we are working to and how fickle fans can be. Leicester is something to aspire to but every other club in the country is hoping for the same. Better be where we are now, a few points worst off, than a few divisions.
-2

NewburySaint added 15:38 - May 23
Aahhh, why are we starting with Redmond-what is it we need to know about him that we don’t already?

I’m more than happy to be proved wrong if he is outstanding and Saints win because, after all I want Saints to win over ‘owt else, but I ain’t expecting big things from him, let’s just put it that way!
5

allsaint54 added 15:55 - May 23
Redmond starts again, wtf .How crap does he gave to play before he gets axed?
6

ElijahK added 16:46 - May 23
I’m rally worried about relegation next season now! As the game so far today has just summed up saints for the second half of the season, where we start strong, get loads of chances.... but don’t take them! Then come to regret it when they score and take the lead! The fact is that we just don’t have a good enough squad and if Ings leaves the on,y chance we have at staying up is simply by ether investing loads in the summer (which we all know won’t happen whilst Gao invests bugger all into the club) or by teams being even worse than us! As I can see wolves struggling next season, along with Norwich and the usual lot. But whether they do worse than us is what I think will define of whether we stay up or not! As personally I think that Ralph does get a bit more stick than he should, but WHY he keeps playing certain poor players like Redmond, over young talented ones like Tella, and that he very rarely has a plan B are my main two issues with him! But it won’t matter who we have as manager next season unless things change
5

codge added 16:53 - May 23
Halftime and nothing changes Redmond what does he offer and Macarthy awful.the defense as usual at sixes and sevens for both goals, 67 goals against us so far what does that tell you.
5

sandywelsh added 17:19 - May 23
Redomnd & McCarthy should not be in the team. The 2 goals were their fault.
5

stmichael added 17:58 - May 23
Gutless pathetic shower of cheats stealing a living.
No other way to describe this bunch of players and their weak manager who they clearly have no respect for.
If Ings stays I question his state of mind.
My decision now is do I fork out £500 for a season ticket to watch a bunch of players who do not give a flying crap about me 🤔
8

sandywelsh added 20:18 - May 23
Could be a lot of players on the Deadwood Stage!
4

YosemiteSaint added 21:11 - May 23
Ralph out, Eddie Howe in, please!
3

Boris1977 added 21:48 - May 23
Thank goodness that season is done. We are so easy to beat and Ralph has not been able to stop the rot over the last few months. What will he and the board do over the summer and into next season? I can't see much changing so by September if Ralph doesn't show flexibility to change results the board may look for a plan B for a new manager.

Embarrassing, pathetic, gutless and uninspiring.
4

KriSaint added 23:01 - May 23
3 soft goals against us in a match we were far from outplayed in. Big sigh....
The players need a break but the Euros are coming up which means no break for Bednarek, Adams, Armstrong, Vestergaard, Ings & JWP. Ings may not be selected due to injury related lost playing time. The others will go to the Euros. Half our out field team will have no proper holiday.
But ok. I still trust in Ralph <3. Show your class, Ralph.
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