Southampton surprise: The Saints go marching on

The international break gives us time to take an in-depth look at the club that has taken the league by storm this season: Southampton

Shane Long has scored two goals for the Saints so far. Will there be more to come from the Ireland international? Photo: Herbert Kratky / Shutterstock.com
Shane Long has scored two goals for the Saints so far. Will there be more to come from the Ireland international?
Photo: Herbert Kratky / Shutterstock.com

After 11 rounds of matches, Chelsea leads at the top of the table, Liverpool looks like a shadow of its former self, Arsenal cannot live without
Alexis Sanchez, Manchester City is struggling to keep pace with the top teams while city rival Manchester United is still finding its feet under new manager Louis van Gaal.

Surprise Rise

But the biggest story of all is Southampton’s meteoric rise to 2nd place in the Premier League table. Who would’ve ever expected that?

The Saints have risen from the dead and have played some scintillating football to win eight out of their 11 matches so far this season.

Remember not too long ago when they were the laughing stock of the league?

Remarkable Recovery & Ascent

Southampton lost practically everything: its brain (Mauricio Pochettino), head (Adam Lallana), heart (Rickie Lambert), muscle (Dejan Lovren) and future (Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers). But somehow its body has regenerated, and to a highly-surprising extent.

Former Dutch star Ronald Koeman entered the fray as manager, after supposedly being overlooked for the Dutch national team job. One team’s loss is another’s blessing as the Dutchman wasted no time in securing the likes of Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane, who have all been nothing short of brilliant so far. Even £12 million signing Shane Long has gotten on the score sheet.

The Saints continue their march under the leadership of Ronald Koeman who has brought a new sense of belief to the club Photo: EPA
The Saints continue their march under the leadership of Ronald Koeman who has brought a new sense of belief to the club
Photo: EPA

Saints in Fighting Form

Southampton, once ripped apart, has miraculously regenerated into something even more formidable than before, with five wins and one draw from six home matches. The Saints have also only had two defeats away from home – a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool (1st game of the season) and a narrow 1-0 lost at the hands of former manager Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur.

The Saints have also proven that their league form is no accident, such as when they beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates stadium in the Capital One Cup recently.

Rock-steady at the Back

While the attack gets all the attention and glory, it is worth noting that Southampton’s success so far stems from its defensive solidity too, having amazingly conceded only five goals so far (Chelsea and Swansea are next closest, each having conceded 11 goals). Look at any other team in Europe and tell me if they’ve conceded as few goals as the Saints!

However, all good things must somehow come to an end, and with tougher fixtures against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United coming up after the international break, the Saints will have their work cut out for them.

They might not be able to replicate such impressive form as they’ve shown so far but they should be strong enough to secure a place in Europe at the very least. May the Saints come marching in in glory at the end of the season.

By Ahmad Khan

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#96_ent_Ahmad_ProfilePhoto_Cropped(5cmx5cm_300dpi)About Ahmad Khan

Ahmad Khan (@AhmadKhan12) is a presenter for Red Card Sports Radio. He has the potty idea that football makes the world go round and is convinced that the beautiful game forges greater bonds than the United Nations.

Call 6281 1898 and join him in his rant about football every weekday from 6pm-8pm, on #RedCardDRIVETIME, and every weekend just before the EPL matches on #RedCardLIVE.

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