Following Southampton’s incredible 8-0 win over Sunderland at St Mary’s on Saturday, their record win in the Premier League, the sky is the limit for the Saints.
[RELATED: Watch full match replays]
But does that mean a top four finish?
Even the most optimistic of Saints fans would laugh at your for suggesting Champions League soccer is on the horizon, but why not?
Ronald Koeman’s men have now won five of their first eight games and sit in third spot behind Chelsea and Man City. They are the first team in the PL to register 50 shots on goal. Saints have the best defense in the PL with just five conceded. They have the reigning PL manager of the month (Koeman) and player of the month (Graziano Pelle) plus Dusan Tadic added four assists in the same game vs. Sunderland.
Quite simply, the Saints are flying.
With that huge summer of exodus of Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and many other, plus manager Mauricio Pochettino leaving, everyone thought Saints were relegation fodder. With Koeman’s shrewd buys and expansive play, we are still yet to see the best of Saints. Okay, so a top four finish may be a stretch but it looks like they will have a right good go at it.
[VIDEO: Premier League highlights, here]
Saints showed against Sunderland that they are capable of breezing past the midtable and lower level teams in the PL. However the next step for Koeman’s men is to beat some of the big boys.
Saints have lost twice this season, 2-1 to Liverpool away and 1-0 to Tottenham away. If they want to be scrapping with Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton for a top four spot in the final few months of the season (let’s assume Chelsea and Man City are well clear of the chasing pack by then) they must beat some of these top teams. United are in transition, while Everton, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool have all had slow starts. Southampton have certainly had an easy start in terms of opponents, so by the time December rolls around we will have a much better idea as to how good they really are.
With a wonderful summer of transfer dealings, Saints have hit the ground running and look so strong across the pitch. Pelle has seven goals so far, Tadic has been a revelation, Fraser Forster a rock in goal and the list goes on and on. Add to that the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte and Morgan Schneiderlin stepping their game up to the next level, you start to understand why Southampton are ripping teams apart. Over the international break they sent 17 players away with countries such as France, Portugal, England, Serbia, Romania, Senegal and Italy.
[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]
After surprising everyone with a top eight finish last season, nobody expected Saints to replicate that this term. Now, is a top six or even top four spot out of the question? I’m asking you… what do you think?
We saw with their shellacking of Sunderland what the Saints are capable of, and if you watch the video below their manager Ronald Koeman wasn’t at all happy with their first half display on Saturday. Seriously. That suggests more is to come from the Saints, as they aim to shock everyone once again and jostle for a top four spot. It won’t be easy, but it will be a fun ride and a season ticket at St Mary’s will be among the best value for money in the PL this season.
Around St Mary’s banners everywhere state the slogan: “We March On” after their summer of turmoil. Surely Koeman, his players and Saints fans’ can’t march into the top four… can they?