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Southampton Made Strong Promotion Statement On Saturday
Monday, 4th Dec 2023 10:54

Two months ago some Saints supporters were not predicting a promotion push for the team after four straight defeats, but since then slowly but surely it's worked it's way back up the League and are now firmly in the list of promotion favourites.

Southampton made it 27 points out of the last 33 with 11 games unbeaten in a win over Cardiff that was far more comprehensive than the scoreline suggested and in doing so convinced a lot of Saints fans who were perhaps still a little unsure of our promotion credentials that we were the real deal.

This was the weekend when the first sign of sorting the wheat out from the chafe became clear, as we put a lot of ground between us and the 7th placed club, 9 points to be precise and also put distance between us in 4th and West Brom in 5th.

The last 5 games though have seen us make up ground on two of the clubs above us, we have made up 6 points on leaders Leicester and 3 on Ipswich, unfortunately Leeds gained the same 13 points that we did in this time.

A few weeks ago there was a suggestion in some quarters that we were lucky to be there and that a raft of last minute goals had pushed us into a false position and that our defence was suspect.

But the last few weeks have shown that we can win games and win them well, yes the late Huddersfield equaliser was a disappointment, but it wasn't a disaster, in the aforementioned last 5 games we have conceded just 2 goals and slowly but surely shown that we can defend and play possession football.

That was evident in the game against Cardiff where we had perhaps our best performance of the season, it has taken time, but now we have added confidence to our game and we are a side that has belief.

Given where we now stand in the League compared to 11 games ago, I would suggest that we are the in form side in the Championship, in that period we have gained more points than any other team in the division, Leeds & Leicester come close, they have gained 26 from 33 points compared to our 27, but the Foxes are being hunted down and have dropped 7 points out of the last 15, likewise Ipswich who in the 11 game period have taken 24 points, but in the last 5 games have shown signs of stress dropping 4 points.

The neutral observers are now taking note and see us as a real contender for automatic promotion, they see that we have the best squad in the division both in terms of size and quality and we more than any other side have the staying power over the next few months when the games come thick and fast.

All of this being said, we still have a long way to go and should not get too carried away, but it is good to be able to write some positive things about Southampton Football Club after a few years of negativity surrounding the club.

Hopefully this will now unite Saints fans behind Russell Martin and his team, the manager has shown that he can put together a team to mount a promotion challenge and he deserves to get the credit for that and the backing of all the fans to take us forward this season.

In the meantime we just have to keep winning games of football, we have achieved the first objective for this time of the season, that was putting real distance between us and 7th, now we have to build on that and work towards the next task and that is hauling back the top two and jumping over at least two of them by the end of the season, the last 11 games has shown that we can do that.

Photo: Action Images



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Centurion added 11:01 - Dec 4
More likely to be in the play offs than automatic IMO.
I do agree, by the New Year we will have a very clear idea.
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Bowlercow added 11:35 - Dec 4
Hopefully the top 2 will each have their own 4 match losing streak As for a play off place I doubt any bookie would give you odds
My only fear is an injury to AA
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saint901 added 12:59 - Dec 4
I remain of the view that RM and the team is few percent short of automatic promotion candidates.

Realistically Leicester have won the league already excepting a huge meltdown.

That leaves presently three teams (us, Ipswich, Leeds) looking at the other automatic spot.

(WBA etc being five points back now, I have discounted).

I hope/expect Ipswich to have a stutter and then it's between us and Leeds.

Perhaps it's being a Saints fan which makes me think that we will be pipped for that second automatic promotion because I think RM does not have that killer instinct which drives teams into the last five games of the season with belief in their hearts.
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SaintNick added 16:40 - Dec 4
Saint901 that is a fair assessment of the League situation, although I dont think Leicester are quite past the post yet and can be caught.

You are right being a Saints fan usually gives you that feeling of pessimism, but I think you are unfair on Russell Martin, he had the killer instinct that drove the team forward after 4 straight defeats and has turned things round and got the right balance.

Saturday saw us with belief that we can keep a clean sheet and also score goals, there was a confidence there that has been growing, this game we started to run at players rather than just pass it back again.

If we are in the running with 5 games to go then I think Martin will show he has that killer instinct
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davidargyll added 17:13 - Dec 4
Talk about over-optimism! Pur-lease stop getting carried away!
Yes, we we are doing fine, but FCS keep your football boots on the pitch.
Why?
After 19 games last season, OK the teams were closer together (8 points dividing the top 12 vs 19 now) but nonetheless the top 4 were then:
Burnley on 32 points,
QPR(!) on 30,
Blackburn(!) on 30, and
Swansea on 28.

Sheffield Utd were 5th on 26 and Luton were 12th on 24.

A lot can change and there's still one helluva long way to go, just pray for fewer injuries for us rather than the rest.

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WestSussexSaint added 19:20 - Dec 4
While Davidargyll is correct that there is a long way to go, it is none the less a positive position to be in at this stage. So why do I still read on the socials and hear in earshot at SMS so called fans still berating Russell Martin for the style of play. Some fans really need to wake up and understand that this is how the club want to move forward. They believe it is not only the most effective way to get promotion but to stay in the PL once there. RM was specifically bought in to deliver the style of play and the results that it was expected to give. Im not blind to the fact that at times it hasn’t been perfect but on the whole, so far, I would say he has delivered.
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