Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Southampton Promotion Campaign Will Go To The Wire
Sunday, 18th Feb 2024 15:28

Such is the competition at the top of the Championship this season the race for automatic promotion is likely to go to the final week of the season before matters are settled with anyone of four teams taking the automatic promotion spot.

In any other season Saints might have expected to cruise to automatic promotion having just put together a 22 game unbeaten run in the League, sitting with an average of 2.09 points per game so far, if that is maintained then they would be sitting on 96 points come the end of the season and that has been enough to win the division most seasons, let alone finish in second place.

But this is not any other season, the 2023/24 season has seen the division polarised more than any other year and Southampton, Leicester City, Leeds United & Ipswich Town have been far and away better than any of the other clubs in the division.

Indeed West Brom in 5th sit a whopping 14 points off Ipswich in 2nd place, it is a four horse race for the top two places.

There was hope it might reduce to a three horse contest as Ipswich faltered over the last month, but they have since shown that they are not done yet and are hanging on in 4th and are still in with a chance.

Before the weekend most would have seen Leicester as nailed on Champions, but if we can beat Hull On Tuesday then we will be just 8 points behind them, some would say that with only 14 games left that is going to be too big a deficit to cut back, but this is not any season.

But this could well be a pivotal week in the race for the top two spots, firstly we have to do our bit by beating Hull at St Mary’s on Tuesday, that will put us back into 2nd spot, a point above Leeds and as mentioned just 8 behind the Foxes.

On Friday comes the big game in the division of the weekend, Leeds host Leicester at Elland Road, now this is going to be a dilemma, on one hand if Leicester pull off a victory it will make catching them even harder as they will have run the clock down on another game, but on the other hand should we then beat Millwall at home, we would restore a 4 point cushion between ourselves and Leeds.

Ipswich are at home to Rotherham so you would assume that is a home banker and that would see Leeds clinging on to 3rd by goal difference.

A draw might well be the preferred result for Southampton fans, if we win our two home games this week then we would still be 3 points above Leeds, but Leicester’s lead over us will be cut to 6 and that is within catching distance and they would be starting to feel the pressure.

So far the top four teams have been almost relentless over the past months, but Leicester showed that they are not unbeatable by losing to mid table Middlesbrough.

But any Saints fan thinking that the rest of the season will be easy might well be getting a shock, this one is going to go right down to the wire and we have to play all of our 3 rivals on their own patch’s.

But Saints can do this, they showed that at West Brom in the way they bounced back after the defeat at Bristol City, most of the remaining games might well go to form for the top 4, but there has been some shocks every now and then as happened to us at Bristol and Leicester at home to Middlesbrough.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

SaintPaulVW added 17:10 - Feb 18
The final game of the season being away at Leeds seems fairly ominous.

Nothing we can really do except rather obviously try to get as many points as possible from the remaining games. Although it must be difficult to stay totally focussed. I suspect this where Leeds may have an advantage as Farke has been through promotion before while Russell Martin is in new territory.


DellBoyWally added 17:53 - Feb 18
If you look at the remaining games we have the harder run in. Most of our games are against top-half teams and our record there is poor compared to the other teams. With the other 3 sides playing having an easier run-in we are going to have to improve our record against top-half teams and hpe for some upsets for the other three teams.
I don't understand Nick's obsession with catching Leicester. Our aim is to go up automatically which means Leeds especially losing as many points as possible.
We need Leicester to stuff Leeds by a convincing margin and we to win convincingly, close the goal difference.
In fact the next five games are eminently winnable. We should go into them aiming to score highly, not concede, and pick up 15 points. Forget Leicester, 2nd will suffice and that should be the first target.
We just want to be above the other 22 sides at the end and back in the PL.

grumpy added 18:34 - Feb 18
Buying a injury prone striker is going to hurt us in the end.
Armstrong has been brilliant but he needs help.

SeattleSaints added 01:37 - Feb 19
This kind of analysis is always fascinating, however most of the time nothing goes as expected. All these teams are very consistent, but as someone once said, " it's a funny ol game". As Nick says, its probably going to go to the wire! Personally, don't see Leicester being caught tho.

mascott514 added 08:31 - Feb 19
Drawing Leicester in is not impossible. Due to their brilliant start, they haven't really been under pressure. A couple more poor results and they will start to feel the heat. Having two spots to chase down would be better.

SanMarco added 11:28 - Feb 19
Leicester will be champions - yes they will drop the odd point but even if they lose to Leeds they are far enough clear and have the strongest squad.

Other than that who knows. There is more than a good chance that the Saints-Leeds contest will go to that last game as one or other would need to pull 4 points clear to prevent it. Ipswich are the joker in the pack - they may benefit from cruising along with the pressure off. again who knows.

We have three massive away games and two or three tricky home ones (starting tomorrow) - all I know is we are doing better than I expected. The best I hoped for was being roughly where WBA are now. To be already assured of the play-offs (yes we are pessimists) is not bad at all !!

WestSussexSaint added 12:46 - Feb 19
All we can do is focus on winning our own games and then see where that leads to going into the final 2 or 3 games of the season. If it remains close with Leeds for the second spot then I don’t think my nerves will cope well on the final day!

Whatsforpud added 14:13 - Feb 19
I totally agree with DellBoyWally. Forget Leicester, there are three teams trying to come second.

Monksway added 14:38 - Feb 19
I'm just really enjoying Saints winning most weeks. If we end up in the playoffs and even if we don't go up, it's still been a brilliant season as far as I'm concerned. The EPL is horrible, over hyped by the endless pundits, VAR and a miserable atmosphere as we struggle to stay up along with every club outside the top eight. Obviously I want us to win every game and be promoted but I see next year in the Prem as the price we have to pay for a great season this time around.

davidargyll added 17:16 - Feb 19
Settling for 2nd place is ludicrous. We absolutely must go all out to win the league. There will be bumps in the road for every team, including ourselves but, when every outcome is quite possible, settling at this stage for second best is just negative thinking, like aiming for the summit of Everest and settling for base camp.

clubless added 10:57 - Feb 20
I know it seems odd .... but I have loved a season without VAR ... part of me won't be too distraught if Saints stay in the Championship!

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 31 bloggers

Knees-up Mother Brown #22 by wessex_exile

Southampton Polls

Logo for 'BeGambleAware' Logo for 'BeGambleAware' Logo for 'GamStop' Gambling 18+
About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024