Football

Southampton chasing Champions League dream

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Recent years have had more twists and turns than the plots of most soap operas, with Southampton dropping through the leagues, prized assets such as Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale being sold off and the club allegedly being a few hours away from going out of business permanently. For Saints fans, our darkest days have been made to seem bleaker by the success of bitter rivals Portsmouth.

Fast forward a few years and everything has changed. Southampton are riding high in the Premier League, with players and manager Mauricio Pochettino talking about Southampton one day playing in the greatest club football competition on the planet: the Champions League.

While talk of Champions League football was originally rubbished by TV pundits, this season, Saints are proving to be tough competitors with the best defensive record in the Premier League. Indeed their defensive record is the second best in Europe, with the Saints having only conceded three goals in nine games.

Impressive performances away to Liverpool and Manchester United have drawn praise from pundits and press alike, but on Saturday against Fulham, the Saints showed everyone watching a new side to the team.

To say that their performance was totally dominant wouldn't tell the whole picture. Fulham lacked any kind of cohesion and offered no threat. They seemed totally unable to cope with the Saints and while the result says this was a 2-0 victory, the 28,000 strong crowd would be able to tell you that this was more of a mauling. Had this been a boxing match it would have been stopped early on.

The general consensus regarding Saints these days is that they have a good side, defensively well organised and playing a high-pressing style of football. However, the general feeling among Saints fans is that they lack a little cutting edge required to break down many of the weaker teams in the Premier League - stubborn sides that come to St Mary's to sit deep and defend.

The game against Fulham showed that Southampton are starting to develop the skills required to unlock these stubborn teams. Saints have a history of getting results against the 'big' teams over the years - and last year was no exception with Saints taking points from the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea - but could it be that they've found the key to unlock teams that like to 'park their bus'?

What is certain is that there is a huge amount of confidence among the ranks of the Saints players and perhaps the Fulham result is a sign of things to come. It's certainly early days in the Pochettino revolution, but if they can maintain this style of attacking football breaking down teams that set out to defend, then they'll certainly win more games than not.

Indeed, with the consistency shown by the Saints so far this year, it may well be that Champions League football isn't such a 'pipe-dream after' all.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Southampton

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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