Football

Southampton proving grass isn't always greener

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Southampton's start to the season has proved that leaving the club is not always the best way to progress.

The summer saw a number of high-profile departures who went on to try their luck at a bigger club. However none of them currently sit above their former employers in the Premier League table.

Although it was not predicted that the Saints' start under Ronald Koeman would be so impressive, and many of the staff who have left would surely not have thought they would be left trailing at this stage of the season.

Although it was not predicted that the Saints' start under Ronald Koeman would be so impressive, and many of the staff who have left would surely not have thought they would be left trailing at this stage of the season.

Managerial changeover

Mauricio Pochettino achieved great success at Southampton, leading them to eighth in the Premier League last season where they earned many plaudits for the style of play he developed.

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This led to the Argentine eventually leaving to join Tottenham Hotspur, a move considered to be an upgrade on his former club.

Following a difficult start to the season however, Pochettino is starting to come under fire somewhat from the Tottenham faithful. His new side sit 11th in the Premier League, although their Europa League commitments have left him stretched in places.

He was unable to bring Morgan Schneiderlin with him in the summer, a man who is pivotal in the type of game Pochettino likes to play. That being said, it is credit to Koeman and his team that they deserve to be second in the league at the moment, nine places higher than their former boss.

Player exodus

As well as the managerial departure this summer, a host of Southampton's key players all left to pastures new. Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all joined Liverpool, Luke Shaw joined Manchester United and Calum Chambers moved to Arsenal.

Lallana has had a more promising start than his two Anfield teammates, with Lambert regularly a substitute and Lovren coming under criticism early in his Liverpool career.

Shaw has recently returned from injury to the Manchester United side and looks set to be their first-choice left-back for the foreseeable future. The youngster is undoubtedly set to become one of the brightest English talents around, however his team have yet to gel completely and sit in eighth.

Chambers has had the best start to the season of the lot with Arsenal, making his Champions League debut early on and earning a call-up to the full England squad for the first time. However it remains to be seen if he is first-choice when the rest of the defence is fit, and if not, he could yet face some time on the subs bench in the coming months.

Saints alive

On the other hand, Southampton have gone to a new level under Ronald Koeman. They sit second behind only Chelsea in the Barclay's Premier League and have the scalp of Arsenal in the Capital One Cup under their belt.

Toby Alderweireld and Ryan Bertrand have helped the Saints become the tightest defence in the top four English divisions, conceding just five, especially with England's Fraser Forster behind them.

Going forwards though, is where Koeman has found his crowning glory so far. Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have taken the English game by storm. Tadic has eight assists and two goals in his first 11 matches, whilst Pelle has seven goals, also in 11.

Koeman has proved that despite many of the negative predictions made about his side this summer, the squad has gone from strength-to-strength which must be making their former staff wonder what might have been had they stayed at Southampton after all.

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Topics:
Ronaldo Koeman
Premier League
Southampton
Football

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