Southampton should be aiming for Champions League football

Shane Long celebrates with his teammates (©GettyImages)

Southampton are flying in the Premier League under new manager Ronald Koeman; the Saints sit second in the division behind unbeaten Chelsea, but can they keep up this brilliant form all year round?

Koeman's side were victorious once again Saturday evening against relegation candidates Leicester City, continuing their brilliant run of form. The Saints were among the favourites to go down at the start of the season for many people, but they have proved their critics wrong.

Surprise Southampton

It was assumed Southampton couldn't cope with losing all their star players from last season and that Koeman would struggle to bring in talent of a similar level. However, Dusan Tadic, signed from FC Twente for just under £11 million has more than filled Adam Lallana's boots, assisting six goals and getting on the score-sheet once.

The Serbian looks like one of the most promising play-makers in the division and has plenty of time to develop at St Mary's. Another summer signing that has hit the ground running in the Premier League is Graziano Pelle. The 29-year-old has got on the score-sheet six times, netting one of the goals of the season so far in the process.

Once again, it is a signing that has improved the squad from last year; the Italian's performances have been streaks ahead of ex-Southampton striker Rickie Lambert's, who has failed to break through in the Liverpool squad.


Another summer signing was Shane Long, who was signed from Hull City just before the window closed. The Irishman's brace against Leicester won them all three points against the newly promoted side. He was a signing many people questioned, but the 27-year-old has top quality and is, most importantly, a match winner.

The strike-force Southampton hold look set to damage opposing teams in the coming games, the 8-0 victory against Sunderland proved that the side can score goals for fun and the Saints opposition will be very weary of the front-line.

Improving players

Not only have the new signings made an impact at the club, players who have come up through the ranks are starting to catch the eye of the fans. Nathaniel Clyne has been impressive in the right-back position and is part of the best defence in the league at the moment.

The 23-year-old has caught the attention of England manager Roy Hodgson and has earned a place in the national squad, along with his fellow teammate Frazier Forster, who has also made a huge impression at the Saints.

Morgan Schneiderlin reportedly wanted to leave in the summer, but the Frenchman ended up staying at St Mary's; he is rated as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league and his presence gives the more attacking players a license to power forward.

He certainly puts in a lot of effort during the games, racking up one of the most impressive work-rates in the league. Schneiderlin may not have wanted to stay at Southampton, but the decision to stay may be one of the smartest decisions in his career if the Saints carry on this form.  

True contenders?

With all these players performing at their full potential and other contenders for the top four places falling short, Southampton are in with a real shot of staying up there with the behemoths of English football.

With Liverpool currently out of the top four and United struggling to string consecutive wins together, that Champions League place is Southampton's to lose. Ronald Koeman's side may struggle to continue these amazing displays as the season rolls on, but at the moment, they can dream.  

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