How important have the last two games been for Southampton?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 28, 2016
Southampton had gained a single point out of meetings with Chelsea, Bournemouth and Sunderland. Before playing these games supporters around the country would have expected at least 7 points from the 9 on offer. This poor spell left Saints in a poor position after a good run of results.
So, when Southampton travelled to an inform stoke side the saints faithful weren’t looking forward to the game. However, Southampton shone and had a healthy two goal lead going into half time. Although we all know it should’ve been three if Serbian winger Dusan Tadic hadn’t of decided to play a game of keep ball in Stoke’s six yard box. Shortly after the restart Marko Arnautovic finished off a low cross at point blank range to give Fraser Forster no hope. This was the only shot that really troubled the Southampton goal and Southampton breezed past European chasing rivals Stoke with relative ease.
Up next for Southampton was another tough test against Liverpool, who were also inform and still on a high from the midweek joys of beating arch rivals Manchester United on aggregate to send them into the next round of the Europa League.
The game started off well for Southampton, and in the seventh minute Saints were denied a clear penalty by referee Rodger East after ex Saint Dejan Lovren bundled over Shane Long when he was one on one with Belgian keeper’ Simon Mignolet. Around ten minutes later, against the run of play Liverpool’s Brazilian attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho hit a curling effort into the bottom right corner. Then five minutes later it was 2-0 to Liverpool after counter attack left Southampton outnumbered and sturridge used Bertrand as a screen and passed it into the bottom corner. Southampton went into the break 2-0 down after a poor 1st half. However Dutchman Ronald Koeman’s substitutions changed the game. He brought on Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama the pair added attacking impetus and a defensive shield. Even though Mane missed a penalty early on in the half he went on to score two identical goals along with a fantastic weak foot effort from Graziano Pelle which turned Saints fortunes around and meant Saints finished the game with a well deserved three points.
These six points we have gained in the last two games have been vital. Without them I believe that we would be all but out of the race for the European spots. Also you can’t forget that these points gained were points taken off direct European rivals. These results mean that in the league we have taken four points out of a possible six against Liverpool this season and Stoke and Saints have each gained three points off of each other.
Now Southampton are up to 7th and three points off Manchester United in 6th and West Ham in 5th, and four points off Manchester City who are in 4th place and with their injuries to Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Nicholas Otamendi City are in for a tough end to the season with 3 good sides breathing down their neck. All three teams have a game in hand over Southampton but they are in a really good position to challenge these teams and maybe jump above them.
After such an up and down season Saints fans are wondering where they will finish. Will we stay where we are and finish as high as we did last season or will we kick on and finish higher? Or maybe even drop down a few places, what we do know is that these last two games has boosted us up and put us in a really goodposition to try and kick on. It has also given back star players like Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle confidence they haven’t had for such a long time.
How important do you think the last two games have been for Southampton? Let me know on twitter
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