Predicting Southampton’s League Campaign – Where Will The Saints Finish This Season?
Southampton recorded a narrow 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, owing to a spectacular goal from Sofiane Boufal. The Saints have not made the best of starts under Mauricio Pellegrino thus far, but there’s a lot of time left for the season to get over. They may have started slow but Pellegrino’s men do have a good chance to turn things around. Their win against West Brom may not have been too convincing but with a few tweaks, the team can certainly hope to do better as the season progresses.
Last season, Southampton faded badly after their 3-2 EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United and took just six points from their final eight Premier League games, winning only once. The run ultimately cost Claude Puel his job. Under Pellegrino so far, Southampton are yet to make a strong impact.
The team, however, seems to be good enough. Manolo Gabbiadini has proven to be quite influential after last season was a bit interrupted with injury, and he has linked up well with Charlie Austin on occasions.
As far as the defence goes, star central defender Virgil van Dijk continues to be strong. Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens have also proven to be strong at the back but something is not working out. Nine games into the Premier League season and the Saints are gracing the 10th spot with 12 points on the board. They are tied with Huddersfield Town and are one spot ahead of them only in terms of goal difference.
From what we have seen so far, Southampton’s strengths lie in the way they keep possession of the ball. However, more often than not, they end up losing control of possession, which allows the opposition to capitalise – especially in the final third.
Thus, to advance further, the Saints could do well to use possession to penetrate the opposition better. They are technically sound, and with an adventurous manager like Pellegrino at the helm, they should be doing a lot better. Moreover, teams often struggle when they do not have the right players but that is certainly not the case for the Saints.
After considering everything, it could be incredibly tough for Southampton to break into the top-6, especially since clubs like Watford, Burnley and Newcastle United are doing so well. Hence, with the amount of resources they have in hand and the way they’ve been performing so far, Southampton might acheive an 8th-placed finish.