Every year the usual ‘top 5’ teams have to deal with an uninvited guest. You know the kind, the annoying friend who shows up on the door step and invites their way in as you desperately turn to your significant other with a despairing look of ‘why are they here, did you invite them, and how do we get rid of them’?
This year’s uninvited guest is Southampton. Southampton is thought of fondly by most people. They are normally either being relegated or fighting relegation. They are the team that neutral supports feel sorry for, wishing they could do better and the team where managers of other teams know they can go on a trip to the seaside and come back with 3 points.
This season however, something has changed. Southampton is fifth and it looks like they will not be leaving anytime soon. In fact they have taken off their coats, put on their favorite tv show and have found a comfortable spot on the sofa.
At this point in the season last year (after nine games) Southampton found themselves in 19th with the following record:
W: 1 D: 1 L: 7 – points total = 4.
Goals scored:14; Goals conceded: 26 = goal difference -12
During the 2013/14 season (after nine games) things are rather different. Southampton find themselves in 5th place with the following record:
W: 5 D: 3 L: 1 – points total = 18.
Goals scored:10; Goals conceded: 3 = goal difference +7
The difference is staggering, in particular the number of goals they have conceded – only 3 this season, compared to a massive 26 last season. Another contributing factor is new Manager Mauricio Pochettino – he joined the club in January 2013 and has had an instant impact. So much so, before this weekends match with Stoke he is talking about his ‘selection headache’. Last season the team sheet was a done deal with the same players playing nearly every game.
Whether Southampton can continue to stay in the top five remains to be seen, they have so far played only two of the so called ‘big teams’ which resulted in a 1-0 win over Liverpool and a 1-1 against Manchester Utd. And at some point their limited squad will start to feel the effects of a long Premier League Season.
But for now Southampton are having fun and the top five teams will have to think of another way to remove their uninvited guest from their table, for Southampton are about to get comfortable and have another slice of cake.