Southampton have made an extremely impressive start to the season under Mauricio Pochettino and could be classified as this campaign’s surprise package.
They currently sit seventh in the league, just two points off the ever-so-valuable top four places. Therefore as the new year approaches, do the Saints have realistic ambitions of pushing their way into Europe?
Just three years ago Southampton supporters were watching their beloved side battling in the third tier of English football, however after back to back promotions, the Saints are now going toe to toe with the best the Premier League has to offer.
Saints’ Chairman, Nicola Cortese was victim of a significant amount of criticism when he decided to sack Nigel Adkins and replace him with the somewhat unknown Argentinean manager.
However the appointment has turned out to be greatly successful, as Southampton appear to be going from strength to strength under the new management.
Signings such as former Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama and Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren have further improved the ranks at St Marys.
Pochettino has at his fingertips, a young and enthusiastic squad possessing an abundance of potential. Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez have all made their mark on the English game emphatically over recent months.
Rodriguez, along with Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, all received call ups by Roy Hodgson to the England senior squad were they impressed thoroughly.
The squad seems to have inherited an exceptionally hard-working attitude from 41-year-old boss Pochettino and they have achieved several impressive results so far this season.
A victory at Anfield and a draw at Old Trafford proved that Southampton can be a match for any side, and despite coming up short at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge, Pochettino’s men remained stiff opponents for Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.
No side will feel confident of gaining all three points at St. Marys and the fact that the majority of the top four regulars have to visit Pochettino’s side during the second half of the season, Southampton will be confident of gaining points on the so called “big boys” and enhancing there pledge for a Champions League spot as a result.
The traditionally chaotic Christmas period will also prove crucial if they are to achieve this ambition. Former Premier League champions Manchester City, are set to make the long trip to the South Coast this weekend. This fixture, in addition to clashes with Tottenham and Everton, will enlighten us with a much more accurate complexion of how far Southampton can truly go this season.
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