Southampton Season Preview
Whilst most Saints fans are realistic enough to know that we'll be fighting for our lives this season, the performances last time around of Norwich and especially Swansea, show that you can survive by getting the ball down on the deck and playing good football.
August 22nd, 2012
In football, a lot can happen in a very short amount of time. One minute you’re languishing at the bottom of the Championship on the brink of administration, the next you start your League One campaign with -10 points, then you win some silverware and top the whole lot off with back-to-back promotions. Thank you very much. From heartache to pure elation in no time at all, it feels like our feet have hardly touched the floor!
The reality of it all didn’t sink in until the fixture list was released: City, United and Arsenal in our opening four games – “Welcome back to the big time! Lots of love, The Premier League xxx”.
Southampton never moved outside of the top two last season, pulling teams apart by playing attractive football and scoring goals for fun. Whilst most Saints fans are realistic enough to know that we’ll be fighting for our lives this season, the performances last time around of Norwich and especially Swansea, show that you can survive by getting the ball down on the deck and playing good football. The question remains however, do Southampton have the players capable of doing it at this level?
Steven Davis (Rangers), Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace), Paolo Gazzaniga (Gillingham) and Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) have all been added to the squad so far this summer, but Saints fans are concerned that no signings have yet been made to strengthen the central defensive positions of the team. Quality and pace is needed to improve on what we already have at the back and to add some much needed depth there too.
So, can Southampton survive this season? Of course they can. My head and my heart both say it’s achievable – but, it’s not going to be easy. An encouraging opening game against defending champions Manchester City did a lot for my confidence. Yes, we spent long periods of the match without the ball, but that’s not going to happen every week. We still tried to get the ball down and play football when we did have it and our best spells came when the game opened up.
At the tender age of 17, academy graduate James Ward-Prowse coped well with being thrown in at the deep end. Rickie Lambert took 4 minutes to open his Premier League account and Nathaniel Clyne looked right at home at this level.
Southampton have the ability to score goals, but unless we add more quality in defence our difficulty will be stopping them going in at the other end. If we can do this before the transfer window shuts, then our squad should be capable of avoiding the drop this season.
Words by Ben from GoMarchingIn.co.uk