Big Weekend For Southampton In The Premier League
Thursday, 23rd Sep 2021 10:39
A start of four out of five games unbeaten in the Premier League is solid, but the fact that there hasn't been one win in those games is something that has to change, having done the spadework Saints now need to build on the foundations.
The opening 8 games of the Premier League this season were on paper one of the toughest starts that we could have asked for, indeed in the corresponding fixtures last season we managed just two points out of 24.
The fact that with 3 games of the 8 remaining we already have 4 points on the board shows that we have made progress from last term, but although 4 points from 5 games gives us a very respectable 15th position at the moment, 4 points from 8 games would almost certainly see us in the bottom 3 and our start would change from solid to poor.
This weekend therefore is a big one for Southampton FC and with Wolverhampton Wanderers a team one place and one point behind us in the table the visitors the game at St Mary's on Sunday isn't hard to pinpoint as a vital one in our opening 8 fixtures.
A win against Wolves would relieve a lot of pressure, but defeat would pile it all on and could see us drop into the bottom 3 if results elsewhere also went against us..
So where could we end up come Monday evening when the last game of the weekend is played.
The weekend's fixtures start on Saturday with two lunchtime kick offs, Chelsea V Manchester City a game that won't really have a baring on us either way and also Manchester United V Aston Villa, a game that could have.
If Villa lose heavily to United then we could feasibly jump above them on goal difference should we despatch their near neighbours at St Mary's , we start the weekend having to overturn a 3 goal deficit in those figures so a 2-0 defeat for Villa plus a 2-0 win for us would be satisfying in that we could jump above Villa.
There are 4 games at 3pm on Saturday, Everton V Norwich which looks a home banker and in terms of looking over our shoulders a home win would be best, if the Canaries won then they would only be a point behind us. Personally I think a draw would be best as it would keep the Toffee's within our sights if we won on Sunday.
Leeds United V West Ham United is another that affects us directly, a draw for Leeds would put them level with us on 4 points but with a worse goal difference, so for me that would be the best result as it would keep West Ham like Everton within our sights.
A Leeds win would of course drop us down a place and push us within danger of being in the top 3 come 5pm on Saturday, yes it would need a big turn in goal difference from both Burnley who are at Leicester City and would need to win 4-0, but it would be possible.
Newcastle are at Watford in the final 3pm kick off and again another draw would be good.
Finally on Saturday and Brentford host Liverpool in the 5.30pm kick off, it may gall Saints fans to want Liverpool to win, but the reality is that Brentford are the club we will be jostling for position with this season not Liverpool, a Brentford defeat would mean a win for us Sunday would leave us only a point behind.
On Sunday the other game is Arsenal V Tottenham Hotspur, again a draw would be good, it would keep Spurs way off the pace at the top and also mean we could leapfrog Arsenal on goal difference by beating Wolves.
On Monday night Crystal Palace host Brighton and again both are clubs who we will jostle with in the table, with danger of repeating myself a draw here would be best, a win for Brighton would see them on 15 points and way out of our reach, whereas a draw would leave them out in front, but not only can we leapfrog Palace with a win, we can stay within 6 points of the Seagulls.
So this weekend is the one that starts to sort out the wheat from the chafe, starts to show who can sustain a good start and who is going to struggle, by Monday evening we could be as low as 19th, we could be as high as 11th.
The most important thing of the weekend though is to keep things in our own hands, we can't rely on other results, we have to get our own points on the table, a first Premier League win of the season against Wolves would make it a solid start, would mean we could not end the weekend lower than the 15th we start in, but could end it higher and more importantly for the first step of the season would likely leave us with a clear gap between us and the bottom 3.
This time last season we really started to soar and it gave us high hopes of challenging for Europe and at least a top 8 finish, the reason that we fell apart was down to injuries and no depth in the squad, this season we have that depth.
Yes the loss of Danny Ings is a big blow, but we now have 3 strikers instead of two to spread the workload up front and the hope is that the depth of the squad will compensate for the loss of Ings.
So the game against Wolves is our biggest of the season so far, it is time for everyone to step up to the plate and push in the same direction, the team have shown they have potential they now have to start turning that good promise into winning games, to do that they need a positive atmosphere in St Mary's and this year so far the supporters who have gone to the two home games have been magnificent.
I'm not going to whinge on about empty seats, I just want supporters that are positive going, the fans were definitely the 12th man against both Manchester United and West Ham, let's keep it that way, I would rather have silent empty seats than someone sat in them who only opens their mouth to hurl abuse at our own team and players.
The last 18 months should remind us why we follow football and support our team, it is about enjoyment, no one likes losing games, but it is a fact of life and one if you lose a game it is not the end of the World.
Get behind your team and you may just find that it spurs them on to victory and you leave the stadium with a smile on your face after seeing them earn 3 points.
I'm not slagging off our fans here, I'm praising the ones that went to the opening two home games, those that gave such great support at Everton, Newport, Newcastle & Sheffield United, brilliant support that never faltered and that is the way it should be, if you were one of those fans then you understand what I mean, if you weren't, well you missed out on something !
Photo: Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #9 by wessex_exile
After the complete horror-show that was U’s v Salford last Saturday, we find ourselves desperately clinging on to our away form like a drowning man to a lifebuoy…and I have no doubt Tranmere will be seriously stamping on our fingers in that regard. As a Friday night kick-off, I can look forward to the live match stream, which I was fortunately spared for the Salford game (it sounded bad enough). Swings and roundabouts though, if this hadn’t been rearranged to a Friday night, I may well have joined my Tranmere mate Chris and his family for the weekend – Prenton Park is always a good visit for an awayday, so safe travelling and good luck to Durham and the rest of the U’s faithful who make the trip.
When Saturday Comes #8 by wessex_exile
I’ve gone back through my archive, and the last football match I attended before last Saturday at the County Ground was U’s at Cheltenham on 29th February 2020 (and covered in LfW11) – In other words a 574 day wait. Others have mentioned about finding other things to do, losing their love for live football, things like that, and certainly my bank balance has appreciated the break from costly awaydays for the best (worst) part of 18 months. If I’m honest, I was slightly worried that I would go the same way, that the attraction would fade after so long, but I needn’t have been. As a result, it’ll be a slightly different format to this When Saturday Comes blog.
When Saturday Comes #7 by wessex_exile
Well that didn’t go as planned at all – after a stirring battling performance full of grit, character and togetherness with the small band of travelling supporters at Barrow, the U’s then finally returned back to the JobServe and completely failed to turn up against bogey side Crawley. They weren’t the only ones either, Hayden Mullins was absent as well, and we have since learned he has Covid-19 and will also miss tomorrow’s game at Swindon too – I know we all wish Hayden a speedy recovery. Fortunately, I won’t be missing the match, with tickets arriving last weekend – first live game for best part of 18 months, and I can’t bloody wait!
When Saturday Comes #6 by wessex_exile
After over a month of absence, the U’s finally make a welcome return to the JobServe for a home league fixture. Sutton seem to have quickly got over their Covid-19/ injury crisis/ international call-up woes, fielding a team the following Tuesday that was strong enough to push Cardiff City hard in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Championship side. But enough of that, I haven’t seen the outcome of the EFL investigation, but I don’t doubt the decision has either already been or will be rubber-stamped. Gamesmanship – maybe, but I hope at least the EFL are now a bit more alert to the fact that some might think they can treat them like chumps when it suits their purpose? Still – it’s great to be back home isn’t it!
When Saturday Comes #5 by wessex_exile
“Well, I can tell u my son was stood nearer the back of the Holker Street end and although he couldn't see who was responsible, he was disgusted and was very clear in telling me that the 'N' word was used by someone stood directly behind the goal nearer the front. I'm sick of hearing this, no one but the player being abused heard anything so maybe he was mistaken crap. This shite still exists despite everything that the authorities try to do because unfortunately there are still racists in every, city, town, village and hamlet in this country. [SwearFilter] scum of the earth.”
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