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Saints Come Through Non Playing Weekend Unscathed
Monday, 20th Dec 2021 09:09

When Saints game against Brentford was postponed due to Covid 19 in the West London club's camp, it gave a couple of other clubs in the bottom third the opportunity to gain ground, but the 4 fixtures played saw no damage to Southampton.

With 6 of the 10 Premier League fixtures scheduled for the weekend falling foul to Covid that left 2 of the 4 games played with the potential to see both Leeds United and Newcastle make up ground on Saints who started the weekend in 15th position.

The first of these Leeds United V Arsenal would see the Yorkshire club take on Arsenal at Elland Road and a win for the home side would see them leap two points above Saints.

But the Gunners would continue their good form and 3-0 up by half time saw them well in command and they went on to register a 4-1 win, meaning Leeds stayed a point below us on 16 points and almost as importantly at this stage at least, their goal difference took another battering meaning that at -18 it is 8 worse than our own poor showing in this department.

That started the weekend nicely as although it was likely Arsenal would get at least a draw and probably a win, they are still far from the finished article and as they showed in their defeat at Everton, they are prone to the odd shock result.

Sunday's game was not one that had many betting that Newcastle would overcome Manchester City even at home and that proved to be the case with City not needing to get out of first gear to cruise to a 4-0 win, perhaps a foregone conclusion from the start, never the less games still have to be won.

Newcastle are now in a precarious position on only 10 points from 18 games played and the Xmas programme is going to be very important to them, their next three games are Manchester United at home, Everton at Goodison Park followed by their trip to St Mary's.

It is early in the season to say do or die, but should they fail to win any of them then they would leave themselves a hard task in the New Year.

But for Saints it was a satisfactory weekend for once, it was only a small step but without playing we held our 15th place and two of the clubs below us have now played a game more.

Personally I think we are better than our League position suggests, but we have thrown away silly points and are paying the price for that, but with everyone back from injury and perhaps a solid goalkeeper in the side whether that be from those who are currently at the club or brought in, we can move up the table.

17 points from 17 games is not as good as we would have hoped or as stated what we should actually have, but it is a solid foundation of a point a game and that is something to build on, if we beat that average in the second half of the season we stay up and in our current position given the ownership issues etc that is the first target in every season, stay out of the relegation battle and then see what we can then achieve.

Some would say that is not a positive attitude, but we have to set out our stall for the tools we currently have to hand, perhaps that will change, but if you look above us in the table, perhaps only Brentford could be said to have less resources and income than us and that is the task we face.

Photo: Action Images

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JoeEgg added 14:45 - Dec 20
You fail to point out (surprise surprise) that Leeds had virtually a reserve team out against Arsenal , and both Leeds and Newcastle will be very different propositions in the New Year benefiting from both the break in games and the transfer market. I went home after the recent Villa game convinced that we were lucky to hold on to all three points and I think our current points tally is just about a fair reflection on our overall performance so far this season. Every team considers they have thrown away points - you Nick can only see the points you consider Saints have thrown away. And 17 points from 17 games is a poor tally and is not just the result of disappointing individuals errors, but primarily the result of poor team selections, tactics and substitutions. Of course some players need to up their game, that is almost always the case, but of far greater importanc, e in my view, is that our Manager ups his game.

beynali73 added 09:24 - Dec 21
When was the last weeknd we kept a clean sheet - this is progress.

The manager needs to take responsibility for losses as he does for victories. 99% on contributors on this site have at one point highlighted selection or sub errors by Ralph therefore its strange that any criticism of him gets voted down. Its uncomfortably cultish.

I like Ralph and I genuinely want him to succeed with us, even if that means losing him to a bigger team, but the same scenarios repeat themselves with Ralph i.e. high press first half of games and run out of steam second half and, probably due to his high press tactic, an increasing injury list into the new year. I think we can agree with these footballing facts - the new year slump happened in season 19-20 when covid intervened and we hit the ground running when the season belatedly returned, it happened again last season and it is happening again this season. This is down to the managers tactic.

A club like Saints are never going to have the option of two sets of a strong starting 11 therefore the manager needs to find a way to pace the team both in games and over the season. Guess where the responsibility for this lies?

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