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Saints Have To Storm The Palace On Saturday
Wednesday, 12th Apr 2023 09:28

Saturday is a big big day for Saints, with just 8 games remaining they need to win and win well against Crystal Palace to not only get three points, but to post a notice of intent that their fight against relegation is still not over.

There can be no doubt about how important the fixture against Crystal Palace is, a week or so ago the relegation was between 9 clubs, but Palace along with Wolves, West Ham & Bournemouth have won a couple of games and turned it into a 5 club battle and that could get smaller after this weekend's fixtures.

Saints task over the next few weeks is simple, they have to beat Palace, Bournemouth & Fulham at home and probably Forest away as well as picking up a point or two elsewhere, of course this is not an exact science, but it is the minimum that we need if we are to keep our fate in our own hands and more to the point still keeping getting out of trouble a realistic proposition.

So Saints have to go out and beat Palace and preferably win well, if they do that then the Great Escape is still on, we will hopefully get nearer the 4 clubs above us and start to find our confidence.

If we fail to beat the Eagles, then mathematically we won't be relegated and there is still a chance of getting out and as I have often said, we should never give up the fight until it's over, but it will be hard to be optimistic.

Older fans will tell you about the Great Escape season of 1998/99 and it was on the same weekend back then that the tide turned for Saints, Blackburn arrived at the Dell on April 17th themselves in relegation trouble, but knowing that with 5 games left beating Saints would put them on the cusp of safety and leave Saints in big trouble.

Rovers rushed into a 2-1 lead in 25 minutes and when just after half time they made it 3-1 and Saints looked dead and buried and destined to be relegated, the Rovers players sensed this and having silenced the crowd preened around and even took the p*** out of the fans when taking throw ins etc.

This suddenly changed the mood, the crowd would not let the players give in, they started to raise the roof and Blackburn were suddenly uncomfortable, on the hour mark Mark Hughes scored and Rovers were on the ropes, with 9 minutes left new signing Marian Pahars scored and Blackburn were hanging on.

They just about managed to hold Saints frenzied end to the game, but the season had changed for Saints, we suddenly believed and the rest as they say is history.

Can Southampton supporters replicate that afternoon 24 years ago against Crystal Palace and more to the point can our team show the spirit that our side did that day, certainly Saints Director of Football designate Jason Wilcox will remember that day well, he was not only in the Blackburn Rovers side that afternoon, but he was the man who scored their third and almost put the final nail in the coffin.

On Saturday we need a united effort, make St Mary's a cauldron, get behind the team and stay behind it.

There will be the cynics who will say St Mary's isn't the Dell, but truth is we have had better League seasons and reached cup finals etc in the first two decades of St Mary's than we achieved in a similar period before we left the old ground.

A football ground is what you make it, it is about the fans, not the concrete and steel.

This cpuld well be Saints last hurrah this season, the Crystal Palace game could make or break us, we need to be focused on what the task ahead is, the Manchester City game was never going to be the defining game of the season, but this one against Palace could well be !

Photo: Action Images

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altonsaints added 10:45 - Apr 12
We couldn't defend a corner back then either!!!

Bowlercow added 10:56 - Apr 12
Miracles do happen but
I think we lost it when Jones was appointed He ha 6 week pre season and 7 matches against teams around us We won one
Watching city last Saturday and in the CLlast night the formation they used could suit our squad
3 2 4 1 gives a big. chance of winning the ball back early and high up Tall Paul could maybe be the loan striker

FrankSaint added 11:10 - Apr 12
As football fans we tend to be hopeful. Looking at the facts, Palace is a team that scored 5 away from home against a resurgent Leeds. Stopping them from scoring is going to be tough for a team like ours. And with the need to protect our defence trying to score will be even harder. Let's hope some magic is in the offing. It's now or never...

SanMarco added 11:26 - Apr 12
Haven't we already had the Blackburn game with the 1-3 Spuds recovery?

Assuming we lose at Arsenal and Newcastle (not certain of course, but highly probable) then we have to win 4 out of the other 6. Palace, Bournemouth, Fulham and Forest are the 'winnable' 4 of those so we have to up our rate of winning 'winnable' matches from not many per-cent to 100 per cent. Is it going to happen? Probably not but I will keep on hoping. Lose on Saturday though and that hope will be a very faint one - the moment that Brighton and Liverpool become 'must wins' is the moment I will give up for good...

felly1 added 12:02 - Apr 12
Can we find a way through a Roy Hodgson Palace team that normally sit back with 2 banks of 4 and invite you to try and break them down.
Then counter you with pace.
We normally struggle, run out of ideas and the sideways passing starts driving us all mad.
Let's hope Selles has a plan to counter this approach.
I'll certainly be cheering on our boys.

Jesus_02 added 12:59 - Apr 12
Watching the Champions League last night we don't look that far of Bayern! Pretty much the same result. If only we had someone (anyone) in the entire squad that could be rely on to put the ball in the back of the net. Suleman's chance typified the entire season . Great play , massive chance, no confidence or end product.

We must invest in a manager that will inspire players and have a distinct tactical personality. The fact we haven't and don't have goals in the team means we need to start planning for the championship.

davidargyll added 13:25 - Apr 12
Can anyone seriously see this bunch scoring another goal let alone getting us any more points?!
And when did we last win more than two matches on the bounce let alone three or four?
What’s that saying about the impossible and miracles…?
We are utterly screwed, no more no less…

Ifonly added 13:55 - Apr 12
I would be more confident of a great escape if Selles wasn't there giving us the same old failed tactics. Like any other PL team, if they defend deep we will just end up putting hopeful crosses in the box (if we ever get that far) which we will never win because tall Paul will be sitting on the bench. They will probably get a goal by breaking at speed with Eze, Elise and Ayew and then our heads will go down.

If we do go in front, we'll have burnt ourselves out with high pressing and fall back deeper and deeper in the second half, eventually conceding at a set piece to an unmarked player. I don't want to be negative but we've seen these things happen so many times and we just keep repeating the mistakes, so these are the things that are most likely to happen.

Even when/if we're officially down I'll still be cheering the side on, but I don't have much hope. The best hope would be if Ruben "Ralph" Selles recognised it was time for something new, but I can't see him changing his ways.

AmericanSaint added 14:30 - Apr 12
Yes this is a must win game, but with our ability to NOT score goals, there is little chance of a "win well" as you put it Nick. IF we win this game (a big doubt) then it will be a 1-0. While I am hoping for the best, I am a realist and know that we struggle in the goal scoring department, so dont hold out for much. But hey you never know.

saintpete01 added 20:21 - Apr 12
Tall Paul has to start for to us to have
Any chance for god sake give him a go

SWH1748 added 08:47 - Apr 13
Sorry Nick but if we replicate that we are down, a draw is not good enough now. We have to bet Palace, Bournemouth, Fulham and Forest just to have any hope. Oh by the way it out in our own hands anymore 🤷‍♂️

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