Some tough tests
Back-to-back league defeats for Southampton - conceding more than 2 goals in a game for the first time this season - and an injury to goalkeeper Artur Boruc that could see him out of action until February has left me feeling a bit gloomy.
December 4th, 2013
But when you consider that those two losses have come against Chelsea and Arsenal, it shows how far the Saints have come that I am disappointed not to have taken any points from two clubs who will be looking to win the league. Southampton have also dropped to 7th place in the Premier League. Outrageous.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Stamford Bridge was like a library for the first half of Sunday’s match, with Southampton showing why they’ve had such a good start to the season so far. Even though Chelsea ran out deserved winners, the 3-1 scoreline was a little harsh on Saints.
Mourinho, no doubt frustrated by his players’ lack of success in midfield during the first 45 minutes, opted to bypass that threat in the second half by sending on Ba to partner Torres. It paid dividends; not only did it highlight how easily the Chelsea boss could switch things to Plan B, it showed how Saints couldn’t counter that move.
Now is the time that Southampton will be tested most. A full-strength Saints side is good enough to mix it with the other teams in the top eight but now, as injuries start to creep in, a lack of quality in depth will become apparent.
At the start of the season I predicted a top ten finish for Southampton and we are well on track to achieve that. That said, there’s no telling yet how active the club plans to be in January. After a club record-breaking spend in the summer, are we in for a quiet month? Or will chairman Nicola Cortese be keen to build on the good work that has been done in the first half of the season?