Journalist Tom Barclay expects Southampton to be involved in a relegation battle this season.
The Saints finished 15 points above the drop zone last term, but Barclay appears to think they will be looking over their shoulders a little more this time around.
How have Southampton started this season?
Ralph Hasenhuttl's men failed to win any of their seven league games at the start of the season, although they did manage to pick up four draws in these matches, including against both Manchester clubs.
They finally got their first victory of the campaign on Saturday when they edged past Leeds United 1-0 thanks to a second half strike from Armando Broja.
This lifted the team to 15th place, four points clear of the bottom three.
What has Barclay said about Southampton?
Barclay has acknowledged that Southampton have delivered some positive displays this season.
He still thinks they will be hovering around the relegation zone at the end of the campaign, though, especially as they are now without their talismanic striker Danny Ings, who joined Aston Villa in August.
When asked if he expected Southampton to ease away from the bottom three, Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “No matter how encouraging some of the performances have been this season, not all of them but some of them, I’d be surprised. I thought before the start of the season started, particularly Danny Ings leaving, they’ll be in a relegation fight. I’ve seen nothing so far to suggest that it won’t be the case.”
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Will Southampton be in a relegation scrap this season?
There are still 30 games to go, so it is a little too early to know exactly which clubs will be involved in a relegation battle over the coming months.
With just one win from their eight matches to date, things don't look great for Southampton. Furthermore, there has just been a major takeover at one of their main rivals for relegation, Newcastle, who many will now expect to climb the table. The change of ownership on Tyneside appears to increase Southampton's chances of going down.
Still, we have also seen Wolves lose their opening three games, and then bounce back to win four of their last five, highlighting how teams who start slowly can begin to put a run together to move up towards mid-table.
Southampton may believe that they can string some results together at some point as well, and can then aim for more than simply avoiding relegation.
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