Work to do for Saints to survive

Friday 8th March 2013 19:58

Mauricio Pochettino: Looking to keep Southampton up

Mauricio Pochettino: Looking to keep Southampton up

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FanZone's Southampton blogger Ben Stanfield has called on his side to get back to winning ways as they look to survive in the Premier League.

I don't know what it is about Saints but for as long as I can remember (I've supported them 28 years now!) they have always been a side that seem to rise to the occasion when taking on the bigger clubs of English football yet go out with a whimper against sides that, on paper, they should be beating.

Of course no game is a given, and you can only beat what's put in front of you, but it's become a very frustrating problem over the years meaning that when you turn up as a fan to watch Saints you just don't know what to expect!

Since the turn of the year they've already been repeating their Jekyll and Hyde approach. Playing Manchester United off the park in the second half at Old Trafford (albeit eventually losing), coming back from 2-0 down at half-time to draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and then of course becoming one of the very few sides to beat Manchester City this season, in the league game at St. Mary's.

But on the flip side, in the last couple of weeks they have played three sides also struggling in and around them (Wigan, Newcastle and QPR) and have only come away with one solitary point.

The thing about British football is that it is loved around the world for its reputation for any team in any league being able to beat another on a given day. That's what makes us as punters turn up and pay the money we do to sit and watch it.

Sure journalists and pundits try to predict the scores each week but the truth is every dog has its day!

Unfortunately for us, QPR, with just two league wins under their belts all season, turned up at St. Mary's and had their day! Unfortunately for us as well the infamous Harry Redknapp also had his day! I guess it was bound to happen really. Redknapp is someone who has always seemed to worm his way out of any situation and somehow come out smelling of roses!

Whether it was down to lack of motivation from the manager, a sense of already feeling 'safe' or just one of those days where too many players were below par, it didn't matter - Saints didn't perform. That now means, having also lost the Newcastle away game, that we are right back looking over our shoulders again.

To be fair you can't defend like Saints have in their last two games and expect to win games. They need to be more clinical and ruthless at the back.

As it now stands the bottom half of the Premier League is tighter than it has been for a long time. Win two games in a row and you feel like you are almost safe, lose two, like Saints have, and you find yourselves again trying to swim against the tide.

So after an "easier" period, the fixture list now sees us with three very tough games - Norwich at Carrow Road this weekend followed by Liverpool and Chelsea at home. The thing about Saints is you just don't know how they will perform against these sides.

A fair bit of work is still needed to really close in on survival in the Premier League so surely that means they're going to have to pick up some points from these three games. How many though? I'm not sure if any Saints fan could predict! If they raise their game like I know they can then anything is possible. Just ask Manchester City!

But forget performances, with ten games to go its now purely about points on the board!

By Ben Stanfield, FanZone's Southampton blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @benstanners - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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