The Stats Lie For Saints
The biggest difference to last year's performances has been the lack of a solid defence. Not surprising really when you consider that four out of five of last year's rearguard have either left the club, or remain injured.
The new look at the back will hopefully gel sooner, rather than later, so that Saints can press forward safe in the knowledge that should an attack break down they won't be left exposed at the back.
I'm not sure that Koeman knows his best team yet as the jury is still out on the performances of some of the new faces in the Saints dressing room. Hopefully, given a run in the team the new faces will show us why Ron and Les pride themselves in their transfer market dealings.
On the plus side, Pelle and Mane are continuing their fine form from last season and as Rodriguez has more game time he will soon be back to his old self.
Wanyama is also doing his thing effectively in midfield along with the unsung hero, Davis. For Ward-Prowse this is a make or break season. He needs to kick on and prove to his doubters that he deserves his place in a team that boasts an array of midfield talent in the squad. His dead ball delivery prowess is undisputed, but he needs to improve his goal scoring and start spraying the ball around in quarterback style. If he doesn't step up this year, I can see his days at St. Mary's being limited.
Having just watched the entire 90 minutes of the Man. United game, I am left both encouraged and dispirited.
At times Saints ran United ragged and if they had been able to convert their initial superiority into goals then the game would have been over by half time. On the downside, defensive frailties once again reared their ugly head and Saints were duly punished. On the balance of play, I think most neutrals would agree with my assessment that Saints deserved a draw.
The next month of games is critical in determining the shape of Saints season. A few wins and the league table will look a lot healthier. More defeats and it could be a long and challenging season.
I feel very hopeful that when injured players start returning to the team and the new players start to gel, Saints can start to replicate last seasons performances. They will never win the league, but long cup runs can do wonders to fans expectations and let's hope Koeman continues to use his policy of fielding his strongest team in the cups to give them the best chance of a day out at Wembley.
Up the Saints!
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