Not All Doom & Gloom For Southampton
Surely most Saints fans would have bitten off your hand to accept sixth place in the league with two thirds of the season played. Yes, the one nil reverse to West Brom further damaged Saints European aspirations, but Saints recovered magnificently from a similar run of defeats in the run up to Christmas, so I see no reason why they can't do it again.
Why are Saints in the doldrums recently?
Well, I think it is partly because opposition teams have wised up to Saints style and tactics and have realized that they can't outplay us in a football sense, but can deploy a park the bus formation to repel and frustrate Saints best attacking efforts. Also, it obviously has not helped that Pelle has hit a barren spell after such an excellent start to his Premier League career. As Koeman has stressed, it is not only down to Pelle's goal drought, the whole team is lacking in the self confidence and swagger that they started the first half of the season.
Saints recent struggles should only be met with even stronger vocal support from fans. It is outrageous and totally counter productive to get on the back of the likes of Pelle and Tadic. This is exactly when the players need our support the most.
So please, no more negative barracking and let's all get behind them as we always should. After all, are fair weather fans really fans at all?
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, I am still very positive Saints can achieve European football. With Chelsea having won the League Cup, it opens up one more place to qualify for a European place from the league. If Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool win the FA Cup and also end up in the top four, that will create another European berth from the league. How many realistic Saints fans, and so called expert football pundits would have thought we would be in the mix for a European place when the season started? Very few I think.
In my view, the only disappointment for me this season has been Saints performances in the two cup competitions. Despite Koeman fielding full strength teams, unlike Pochettino, Saints underperformed against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace. Realistically, Saints only route to silverware is a cup win which made it more painful to bow out in the way they did. Overall though, what a superbly entertaining season Saints have had so far and with a strong finish will comfortably finish with European football.
Looking ahead at Saints remaining fixtures, only the away games at Chelsea and Manchester City present very tough challenges to gain points. All the rest are very winnable and with the rub of the green Saints can finish the season with a flourish.
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