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Marching On To Europe

Marching On To Europe
So another season is drawing to an end. Some loose ends need to be tied up at the top end of the table with Saints still vying for a place at the European table. Simply a win against Palace won't be enough in itself, it's a case of radios to ears as West Ham, Liverpool and even Man. Utd results have a bearing on Saints final league position. Even if the worst happens and Saints efforts on the final day are not enough, they can look back on a positive season. Yes, as Leicester proved, it could have been a lot better, but the pessimist in me can also see it could have been a lot worse. Another top ten finish is already secured, thus establishing themselves as a team that challenges at the top end of the Premier League and all the positive worldwide publicity that ensues.

Many pluses this season. Notably, the great play of Shane Long and Virgil Van Dyke, as well as another consistent season for Steven Davis and Jose Fonte. Another positive has been the return of Forster and Rodriguez which have bolstered Saints first team squad. The only downside I would relate here is the lack of an emergence of new blood from the academy. Hopefully, more will emerge next season.

The Premier League aside, Saints performances in the three cup competitions they entered was very disappointing. Early exits in the FA cup and Europa League were followed up by an ember asking home thrashing by Liverpool. Unlike Pocchetino, Koeman has emphasized the importance of the cups to a team like Southampton by selecting full strength sides. Alas, all to no avail. Let's all hope for a good cup run next season.

The above comments were all written before knowing the final Sunday's results so I will pause here and wrap up this article when the season itself has wrapped up.

Later...Ok, so we all know Saints are assured a Europa League berth after Saints winning and the Hammers losing their games respectively. Even better, of course, would be for the Cherries to win at Old Trafford thus giving Saints a highly commendable final placing of fifth. More as likely United will at least secure a draw and push Saints down to sixth.

In conclusion, Saints and Ronald Koeman can be very proud of their efforts this season. Football has always been a game of 'ifs' and in Saints case if it had not been for a dreadful run around Christmas, a Champions League spot would have certainly been ours. Let's hope they can again continue their upwards direction and finally secure a top four finish to gain access to the holy grail, otherwise known as the Champions League.

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Writer:Graham Copp
Date:Tuesday May 17 2016
Time: 7:41AM

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