Southampton have had an solid start to the Premier League season, albeit not as good as last year, but they sit six points above the relegation zone as Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to take them up a level and make them a stronger force in the top flight.
TOP SCORER: Adam Armstrong, Armando Broja, James Ward-Prowse (2)
BETFRED ODDS: 11/1 to be relegated
LAST THREE RESULTS:
Won 1-0 against Aston Villa (H)
Won 1-0 against Watford (A)
Drew 2-2 with Burnley (H)
The Saints have had a much steadier start than they did last season and two of their three wins this term have come in the last three matches. This shows that they are starting to build momentum, but what is concerning is the lack of goals. If the Saints want to push further under Hasenhuttl, the likes of Armstrong and Che Adams will need to score more goals. Their defence ,however, is looking rather organised and the south coast outfit have only lost three games and conceded just 11 goals.
Jack Kitson - The Sack Race
A shambolic end to last season coupled with the summer loss of showstopper Danny Ings meant I was a tad nervous heading into the new campaign. These fears weren’t exactly eased following a seven-game winless start, although we did hold both Manchester clubs to draws and made Chelsea fight for their three points. Still, you felt the heat was on Ralph meaning the next run of games were crucial. With the pressure on he’s delivered 10 points from his following four matches; the momentum is with us and spirits have been lifted. It’s going to be a tough season but there are plenty of positives to take heading into the upcoming festive period.
VERDICT ON MANAGER:
Hasenhuttl is one of the most underrated managers in the division and he has already orchestrated some good performances so far in 2021-22. The Austrian manager has done extremely well working on a limited budget and he has found a gem in young full-back Valentino Livramento. He has helped develop Ward-Prowse’s game to get him selected for the England squad and the work he has done at Southampton will surely have put him on the radar of some bigger sides.
FANS’ VERDICT ON MANAGER:
It’s perhaps easy to say now following the u-turn in form, but Ralph has always had my full backing. That doesn’t mean you can’t criticise him: the form for the most part in 2021 has been dire, his game management and substitutions are a frequent topic of debate. However, I’m glad we’ve not copied the likes of Watford or Aston Villa and pulled the trigger when things get tough. Ralph has performed well given the budget restrictions and loss of key players. The danger is more likely to come from him attracting attention from other clubs!
C – The Saints defence has looked fairly strong in the first 11 game and they have experienced some good results in recent games, but they will need to see an increase in goals from the attackers.