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Big Night In Premier League Relegation Battle
Wednesday, 11th May 2022 08:46

Those Saints fan nervously looking over their shoulders at the bottom 3 will either be sweating profusely or feeling a little silly after Wednesday evening's Premier League fixtures, which will be crucial as we head towards the last week of fixtures.

Some Southampton fans have been predicting doom and gloom for their team after the defeat at Brentford and this evening they will find out whether they were right to be worried.

The two fixtures that Saints supporters will be looking at are Leeds home game against Chelsea and Everton's trip to Watford.

The important one for Saints though is up at Elland Road, Leeds start the game on 34 points, 6 points behind Saints on 40.

If Leeds were to lose the game then it would be highly unlikely that Leeds would be able to overhaul Saints, they would only be able to match the 40 points Saints sit on should they win their final two games, but they start this evening with a goal difference 15 less that ourselves, with this increasing by at least one that would be virtually game over and Saints safe.

For their part Chelsea still need to win this game to ensure that they finish in 3rd place in the table, they are not in great form having won only once and drawn two of their last 5 Premier League fixtures and of course they will also be looking at their FA Cup final appearance on Saturday, but they do need to ensure that they secure that third spot and don't have to worry that Spurs and Arsenal could overhaul them and push them back to 5th.

Everton at Watford is perhaps less crucial for us, they start the day on 35 points, but they still have 4 games left going into this one, a defeat for the Toffee's would be preferable for us, but a Leeds one truly a relief.

Burnley don't play midweek, they are also 6 points adrift of Saints, but they have a tough 3 game run it, travelling to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, then to Aston Villa on the following Thursday and end the season at home to Newcastle.

Photo: Action Images



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Colburn added 09:13 - May 11
We're not mathematically safe with 3 games left for most of those around us. This should be a concern for all Saints fans as history will tell us, Leeds and Burnley are not down even if Leeds lose. Its not unfair to suggest that the goal difference could be a lot closer after we play Liverpool. Sure if Leeds get hammered tonight, we look safe but I'm very surprised at the complacency of so many regarding our position of 'comfort'. Didn't we once win our last 3 to scrape survival? None of them have City or Liverpool to play so all games are winnable as one offs. Everton will finish above us anyway, it's the other two we have to pray that they fail in their next game. Not a great position to be in for a team who are supposed to have made progress over the last 3 years. Anny positive moves have been quickly undermined by poor and strange management decisions which have left most scratching their heads.. Fingers crossed Chelsea do the business tonight but its sad to be relying on others to help us out. Since our decent run where we had a go at tougher teams towards the top, we've lost to the likes of Newcastle, Palace and Watford at home, Villa, Burnley and Brentford on the road, scraping draws (thanks to the skipper) at Leeds and Brighton.. This does not bode well for next season, let alone the trouble it has put us in this term! There is no excuse for such a woeful set of results and the weird team selections chosen for them. Where is the knee jerk reaction and short sightedness of these results, because for me this shows a consistency of similar failures and there is one man who virtually decides everything within our club and the structure and the buck must stop with him. The fact this article has been written speaks volumes.
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Colburn added 09:15 - May 11
Again, our good run of form coincided with the new ownership beginning and they all wanted to impress the new owners. Since then we've been like a rudderless ship.
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highfield49 added 09:59 - May 11
Thank you Colburn, you just saved me several minutes of valuable time writing a very similar post. Nick, for whatever reason I can only presume that you are either utterly deluded and/ or complacent if you're not concerned by the fact that we have to rely on other team's results to avoid relegation. Supporters don't deserve to be served up week after week of capitulation to average opponents, something has to change.
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SaintNick added 10:36 - May 11
Actually Highfield we dont have to rely on other clubs results to avoid relegation, we win our last one more game and we are safe.

Results didn't pick up after the owners arrived, they continued in the same vein in the main, when we lost at Villa on March 5th we had lost just twice in 3 months & 13 Premier League games.

Players dont care who owns a club, they just care about getting paid and bonuses when they win.

But a lethargy has set in over the past two months, possibly because a lot of people both on the coaching staff and playing squad realise that they are surplus to requirements and things will change in the summer .

Of course Ralph lost a game 9-0 last season, how could he possibly survive that I hear the baying crowd rant, well firstly he only followed in a grand tradition of Saints managers getting walloped.

Ted Bates got beaten 8-0 at Everton and 7-0 at Leeds in the same season.

Lawrie McMenemy has a string of routs against his name, 7-0 at Ipswich in his first season, 6-2 at Charlton in 76/77 , 7-1 at second division Watford just after kevin Keegan arrived

Chris Nicholl was not short of a few neither was ian Branfoot or David Jones, Glen Hoddle 7-2 at Spurs, the list is endless.

Jurgen Klopp somehow survived a 7-2 mauling at Aston Villa last season without the fans calling for his head.

No one is denying that things have gone wrong this season, but we need to address the problems and they run far deeper than the manager.
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Colburn added 11:29 - May 11
But Nick, the manager controls everything in the club, it's how the set up is, that's why Ralph warmed to the challenge of revamping the entire club. He hasn't wanted less power and more help, so he is completely and individually responsible for the demise and the inability to win once against 8 teams around us in the last 3 months.
Yes we ARE relying on the results of others unless you're completely deluded and think we will beat Liverpool or Leicester away when we can't beat Watford at home..2 games to go and we could still get relegated says it all. We have not progressed and the players don't look like they know what's going on. I fail to see how anyone can continue to back Ralph after the last couple of months of terrible performances and results against average teams, given the history of two 9-0 losses. We never try to finish games off and have become the most predictable team in the 4 leagues, hence how managers of teams like Brentford can sweep us aside. Weak underbelly and weak mentality within the team and this wasn't the case all season, so the only person we as fans can point the finger at is the manager, and in our club he runs the whole show.. This is not the first time under him wd have completely lost our way. It is not the players fault in my opinion, as you have said yourself they are not behaving like they are on the beach, it is the confusion created by the boss. As Cloughie said, football is a simple game complicated by idiots and for me Ralph now falls into the latter category.
I do admire your loyalty though Nick, its second to none.
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IanRC added 11:39 - May 11
Just hope Chelsea turn up tonight …….
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SaintNick added 11:42 - May 11
The manager doesn't control everything in the club, that is why we appointed Matt Crocker as director of football operations a couple of years back.

Hasenhuttl is consulted and plays a big part, but he doesn't control everything.

The issue at Saints has been a lack of money, not just for signings but wages for both playing and coaching staff, Ralph has had to make do with a coaching staff who wouldn't get a job in League One and with little qualification of experience in what they are doing.

I try to look a the bigger picture and who we could get to take over and i cant see any obvious candidates who would, the loss at Brentford on Saturday was not by any confusion by the boss, it was simply certain player not playing to the standard required and this has been the case for most of the last couple of months.

Yes I do agree he has made some baffling selections etc, but I don't feel he is getting any help from his coaching staff.

Read anything I have written over the last couple of years and it has been consistent, lack of experience in the centre of defence, lack of leadership on the pitch and lack of coaching experience, all caused by a lack of money due to the position of Gao who could not invest and further hampered by those players on high salaries not even in our first team squad.

Most of those thing will change this summer, having battled through these times and done a good job in the circumstance, he deserves the chance to show that with restrictions lifted he can continue to do a decent job

Brian Clough at Derby and Forest had the players at his disposal who had quality, when he went to Brighton he was a disaster and at Leeds, football is a simple game as long as you have the players with the ability to play consistently at the level you are playing at.

1

SonicBoom added 11:49 - May 11
Indeed Nick is a proper fan no doubt. It is admirable.
I don't think Saints fans are going to feel "silly" bout worrying about tonight's results.
Leeds have broadly been shite this season with a famously leaky defence. If Leeds win their game in hand tonight, they are three points behind us (yes and goal difference). You wouldn't bet on us getting any more points - so at best that is uncomfortably close. Burnley would be the same and Everton, who many picked to go down, would actually go above us if they win their games in hand.
OK all of the above is unlikely but Im just saying that it's a good job our plummet didn't start earlier cos we would be in big trouble. Certainly we are right to be alarmed at our position.
5

SWH1748 added 12:42 - May 11
What people forget is in both 9-0 defeats, the game plans went out of the window with very early sending offs.
I Concur with Nick in that the problem lies deeper than purely Ralph, for instance how the heck can a premier league outfit have 4 coaches on the first team staff that are goalkeepers.
Just how or who do we expect to coach our forwards to score or our defe=Nedra to defend, come to think of it why are we so bad in the goalkeeping department with all those goalkeeping coaches on the books.
Ralp does make mistakes, far too many and he makes stupid team selections and substitutions, or lack of substitutions at times, he needs help, my only concern is would he listen though.
It’s far too late in the season now to do anything so in my humble opinion, if the new owners are true to thier word, i say let Ralph have the summer to restructure his back room staff and playing staff and go again next season, and if nothing changes then we will definitely have our answer and it will be time for a change before the winter transfer window.
As for worrying about relegation this season, yes we can still go but i really do not believe all three below that can catch us will even if we dont get another point, which i expect us to get at Leicester, after all they are on just as bad a run as us.
0

ExBaselSaint added 13:32 - May 11
Incentivising people who have the sword of Damocles dangling over their head to see out a project competently, or in this case a season is not always so easy.
Ask any managing director or CEO who has had to make these kind of tough decisions.
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NewburySaint added 13:33 - May 11
Just to play devils advocate and suggest that there isn't a Saints fan or supporter out there that expects us to get another point this season so it is now (not technically, but in all probability) out of our hands, isn't it sad we ae now relying on other teams to do us a favour despite us having a so-called better squad this season........
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dellboysaint added 14:34 - May 11
Burnley, Everton and Leeds have all changed their manager with some improvement in form. Saints have not done so and have become rather predictable and ordinary in the last few weeks.
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SanMarco added 14:42 - May 11
"this evening they will find out whether they were right to be worried". No, No, No. This evening our worries will either be over or will continue - we are/were right to worry, or at least be reasonably concerned. If Leeds even draw tonight then there is a realistic chance we will go down. Both Leeds and Burnley finish with games they may well win and we finish with games we will probably lose. Burnley also have a shot to nothing at Spuds (we won there so it is not impossible). It is unlikely that we will go down but it is possible enough, and those who are a bit worried should not to be ridiculed.
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beynali73 added 16:27 - May 11
A very loaded introductory paragraph. I think the majority of us will be relieved if Chelsea win tonight rather than feeling silly - and until we are mathematically safe I will not take our safety for granted – and for us to be mathematically safe will require those below us losing their games as I cannot see us getting any more points this season. All 3 teams below us have a better record over the last 5 games which is a very significant pointer to the next few games.

In the parlance of the tabloid press, over the past few tedious months of Ralphgate you have repeatedly looked forward to saints moving up the table in you pre match reports followed by the report on the inevitable defeat dismissed with an apologetic defence of Ralph while simultaneously pointing out the flaws that the non-Ralph cultists highlight e.g. weird selections, tactics, formations and substitutions.

I can understand it must be soul destroying to have to write the same things most weeks and you need to look at any positives where possible. But over the last few months, particularly, there just haven’t be that many, if any. To make positives up where there are none is crazy.

If Leeds lose tonight I’ll be relieved – but our club has an incredibly massive job to do if we are not to be in the same situation next season.

In the meantime the Ralph cultists remind me of the black knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail……………..
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Colburn added 17:56 - May 11
I think Beynali has hit the nail on the head Nick. You load your pieces with mockery for any who might decide to disagree with you, which actually encourages a more brutally honest response. Silly, knee jerk reactions, short sighted.. So you begin with mild insults, which are not that nerve touching to be fair, but warrant stern responses back at you. At the same time the hypocrisy follows as the unavoidable conclusions are laid out week by week, groundhog style of poor team selection, motivation, poor substitutions, etc, etc, etc. Ralph has been there 3 years and you apportion zero blame for him promoting failures of goalkeeper after goalkeeper into our first team group as trainers and we still had a woeful keeper in place for the majority of the season, and I know you are not a fan of Mccarthy either. You also knock Ralph's selection but don't blame him! Why has he not asked for more help with coaching, you can't tell me that coaches are that expensive compared to players do there is no excuse, even suggesting they wouldn't get into a league one set up.. Three years he has had to get the right support and balance under different owners and senior staff. Semmens has little input, he has made it ckear that Ralph is the main man and Ralph has made it very clear that he loves having the level of control here which he wouldn't get at any other club.. So if there is one team in the Prem who's manager should take the genuine brunt for failing, it is our team and our manager. And to be very blunt, the players do not respond to him anymore, whether by choice or out of confusion, so we are lost and are desperate for a fresh injection of ideas and man management. The treatment of some of the squad during lockdown showed a severe lack of understanding of mentality and motivation. Semmens does nothing, just a posh voice in a suit with a CV from another perennial bunch of failures, the England team.
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SanMarco added 19:03 - May 11
beynali73: I thought of that Monty Python reference in relation to Ralph but you certainly beat me to it!! "Tiz but a scratch" says Ralph after the next 9-0... Lets hope Leeds are like a limbless John Cleese after tonight.
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Boris1977 added 22:40 - May 11
'alright we'll call it draw' 😄. Let's hope we don't concede 17 goals in the next two matches. Avoid doing that we should stay up.
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sandywelsh added 14:59 - May 12
Leicester beat us 9-0 before and Liverpool need to up their goal difference so who knows how my goals we will ship?
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beynali73 added 16:11 - May 12
As many as the oppo want to score
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SanMarco added 18:24 - May 12
I think Nick could NOW write an article gently ridiculing those like me who are worrying if 18 goals is enough!! I am not really of course - or am I ?? It is Ralph after all and........
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