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Saints 2021/22 Fixtures - The Toughest Start Possible Historically
Wednesday, 16th Jun 2021 10:01

The opening day fixture that we now know is against Everton at Goodison Park was the first date that everyone looked for, a tough game in a tough start, here we look at that and the other key dates in the 2021/22 Premier League season for Saints.

Traditionally Goodison Park is a ground where even a draw is a cause for celebration, we have not won there in the league since 1997 and aside from our win there in 1992, we have not won since we were relegated in 1974 in the top flight.

It is a ground that few Saints fans have seen a win on, that 1992 game was a midweek fixture with few Saints fans making the trip and even the 1997 game was a tv fixture on a Sunday so a reduced away following made the trip. We have better records at Manchester united and Liverpool than Everton, only perhaps our record at Arsenal is as bad.

Kevin Davies scored a wonder goal in that 2-0 win back in 1992, can we repeat that in August.

After travelling to Goodison Park, a ground that we have not won on in the Premier League for approaching 25 years, we then face one of the biggest home fixtures in the season as Manchester United arrive at St Mary's.

We follow that up with a visit to Newcastle United, West Ham at home and then perhaps the toughest trip of the season the trip to Manchester City.

So it is certainly a tough opening 5 games for Saints, but a programme that sees 5 games that we traditionally get little out of out of the way early doors, indeed from these 5 fixtures in 20/21 season we got just 1 point out of 15 , that being a 0-0 home draw with West Ham, the previous season was little better with only 2 points from these games.

In fact if you add the solitary point we got from the same run of fixtures in 2018/19 then out of a total of 45 points on offer in the past three seasons out of 15 games we failed to win a single game and gained just 4 points, these are all our bogey games thrown in at the start of the season.

In 2017/18 those fixtures saw 4 points gleaned, almost an excuse for an open topped bus tour, but it hardly improves the stats much 8 points out of 60.

From this perspective it is a good round of opening games, if we get more than 2 points then we will have done well and from an optimistic viewpoint we are surely due a win or two against these team.

Other games to look out for are Liverpool away on 27th November, the first South Coast derby on 4th December when Brighton come to St Mary's.

The Xmas programme start with Boxing Day when we travel to West Ham United, then Spurs at home on the 28th and Newcastle at home on New Years Day, surely the fixture compilers know nothing about geography giving Newcastle their longest away trip on this day.

February is a tough month with the first two fixtures being a midweek trip to Spurs followed by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

April is the busiest month outside of December and sees the London trio of Chelsea, Arsenal & Crystal Palace at St Mary's alongside a visit to Elland Road and the short trip along the South Coast to Brighton on 23rd April, which if played on that day will be exactly 11 years to the day of that glorious 2-1 win at the Withdean when a late comeback saw us win 2-1 and ensure that we got that second automatic promotion spot behind the Seagulls who went up as Champions.

For those who follow Saints away, Jose Fonte's match winning header in the final minute followed by the sheer adrenalin rush and wild celebrations both in the awful temporary stand and the running track rank right up there in the greatest away games.

The final month sees just three fixtures, the first is one that all of our regular travelling fans have been looking forward to, the trip to Brentford and their new ground, but it is a tough final two fixtures, Liverpool at home and then a trip to Leicester City.

So now we know what fixtures are when, well perhaps not the exact date and kick off times, but at least the weekend they will be played on.

As I said a tough start, but it is in essence a free hit, we never get much from those five fixtures, so if we were to lose 4 games it would be not much worse than any of the previous four seasons points wise.

So lets start looking forward to the new campaign, hopefully with two months to go we will have battened down the Covid 19 issues and will be able to return to football grounds in large numbers for the first time in what will be 18 months,

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 10:33 - Jun 16
It is on paper a tough start but as things currently stand and unless something significant changes between now and the start of the season (in terms of the depth and quality of the squad) I see the whole of next season as being tough and at present it is difficult to look beyond anything other than a relegation battle. Still, it will be what it will be.

At least no one will be able to accuse Saints fans expectations of being unrealistic.

highfield49 added 11:22 - Jun 16
I can't recall any previous year when the fixtures have been released and I've felt that we haven't even got a team in place. Normally I'd be looking at the best eleven from last season and hoping to replace one or two with better players. Now I'm looking at two indifferent goalkeepers, no left back, a central defender possibly on the transfer hunt this summer, a forward similarly undecided on his future and a couple of midfielders, at least, who don't step up for ninety minutes. The squad is thin on quality and lacks competitive muscle, hoping for the best and fearing the worst at present. Fingers crossed that Jankewitz can fulfil his potential, Tella carries on improving and the likes of Diallo and Salisu are up and running as regular starters. Other than that, please no 9-0 thrashings or worse.

beynali73 added 11:46 - Jun 16
Only the most optimistic overdosed on serotonin and ecstasy manically crazy Saints fan could be optimistic about next season after the majority of the past 4-5 season.

The issues which have been a problem of late are still there (a sleeping owner, thin squad, senior players not signing contracts, little money available) and this will not be addressed quickly.

Most Saints fans are realsitic about what we can achieve but I think we are going to need to lower the already low expectations.

undertoomers added 12:01 - Jun 16
After 52 season's I've decided to give up my lovely positioned seat in block 32,and it took me quite a few seasons of moving seat's to get there. Lot's of reasons e.g. VAR, the vast sums of money swishing around in the Premier League. It's just a money making machine for all involved other than the poor supporter (we're just "heritage fan's"now). I am disenfranchised. The results at home over the last five year's have been awful. The season before last we got 52 points, but we had the 2nd worst record at home. The dream for me is to see Saints play in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. We didn't have a shot on target!, we defended ok but were crap going forward. I just can't take defeat after defeat anymore. I can't bounce back after a couple of day's like I used to & look forward to the next game. For my mental well being I am going to stay away. After the last five seasons I am not going to put myself through suffering a relegation again. WE ARE SLEEP WALKING INTO RELEGATION. What more does Ralph need to do to prove it's not working. He is not motivating the player's, he's lost it. All he did in the latter half of last season was to prove that he is not up to the task of turning it around. Don't blame injury's, all clubs get injury's, it's his squad & his decisions and they're not working. The proof of this is that WE GOT JUST 14 POINTS IN THE LAST 21 League GAMES ( plus another 0-9). I can't see myself going back untill he's gone, and I forsee that to be next (2022/23) season in the second division ( I'm not into all this re-branding lark). Oh for the heady day's of Koeman, he got us playing & winning, but no one liked him though. Where as everyone loves Ralph & he has got us playing badly & losing! See you all the season after next after a big clear out and the start of another fresh begining.

JerryO added 12:39 - Jun 16
People seem to have forgotten the early part of last season and the heady day or two of topping the league. The fact is the squad lacks depth. Neither keeper is great though Forster is better than McCarthy. The latter plus Djnepo, Obafemi, Smallbone and Redmond lack consistent quality and should be shifted. We need a quality goalkeeper, a left back or maybe two, a creative midfielder and another striker. Personally I would let Ings go for big money - too injury prone and starting to look a bit slow. We can see what is needed but can the club find the money?

wibbersda added 16:25 - Jun 16
We may just catch them dry on opening day. Let us not all forget that 2020 - 2nd half of 19/20 season and 1st half of 20/21, we had an amazing haul. It is in them to produce.

Block8 added 16:52 - Jun 16
Next season will be tough unless we strengthen, with decent signings not promising youngsters. Looking àt free agents, Ben Mee & Van Aaholt are available on a free !
Bit of experience desperately needed in defence? Not sure we can take a chance on players who are not Premier league ready.
Be looking forward to home & away a bit more if we have a TEAM with sound back up. Just need time for the kids to come through 😇

YosemiteSaint added 07:17 - Jun 17
A number of times a year I think to myself, "You know, it might be more fun to willingly abandon the glitzy moneyspinning ways of the Premier League for the lure of damp, day-to-day, relatively un-money-adulterated weeknights of the Championship." Today is one of those times.

stmichael added 08:29 - Jun 17
Tough start and tough finish so better get some points in between. Not much enthusiasm for Saints at the mo which is understandable given our home record for 4/5 seasons now which is abysmal. We always used to be crap on the road but hugely entertaining at home. Now we just don't give our paying customers (that's what we are) value for their money and very little joy. This apathy does not happen overnight its over years and can take a while to reverse.

KriSaint added 15:41 - Jun 18
We will take one game at a time and I think we can get a result at Goodison, and if we do, who knows what we might be capable of in the next four tough games.
Everton have NOT outplayed us there for quite some time. We have actually been the better team in at least 3 out of or last 4-5 matches there.
Up the Saints <3

underweststand added 08:09 - Jun 20
Your headline (Nick) states " a tough start", but after a more concentrated look at the fixture list I asked myself .."where are the easy games "? .. there don't seem to be (m)any.

Ralph seems determined to get better cover in the squad (good - especially as there aren't many "stand out" names from the Academy squads at present), and so we must hope that the "new look " first team squad will gell very quickly, as we can be fairly sure that one or two of the more established names may go before the season even begins.

Back to the list ...on past form and maybe more luck ... I'd say 6 points from the first 6 games would be a good start, but it doesn't get any easier after that, BUT we were all surprised by the frenetic start to last season, so maybe we're in for a pleasant surprise.


underweststand added 08:13 - Jun 20
P.S. to above
..at present there are 4 clubs ( Palace, Wolves, Everton and Tottenham) who will start next season with new managers. Given that those clubs had good / experienced managers before, one wonders if the new men will fit quickly in - or not ?

tonyr added 09:26 - Jun 24
I feel very much like undertoomers above. It will take a lot to get me in St Marys this season. I am not renewing my season ticket or that of my son, sadly. Generally, Individuals in the FA are too comfortable enjoying their privileges and money from the game to make the radical changes needed to bring the game back to the supporters. Specifically, Our owners clearly want to off load the club and get their big payday. Any player who wishes to win trophies, with such a short career, needs to leave, as this club will not move forward for some time. The board has got us to a point where we have a paucity of talent and are in debt. A relagation battle from day one and poor home game performances will continue, as to date, none of our issues have been addressed. I hope I am wrong, but honestly, two 9-0 loses and 8 games in the league for one point, what else needs to happen? I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but what can powerless supporters do but stay away!

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