Thursday, 6 September 2012

Saints to struggle

A difficult start has left Southampton bottom of the Premier League heading into the first international break. Narrow and morale deflating defeats against both Manchester sides have shown they can compete; however sandwiched between these games was a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to perennial strugglers Wigan.

When Nigel Adkins took over the reins at Southampton, the club were in the League One relegation zone (all be it at an early stage in the season), but in just two years he has overseen back-to-back promotions meaning the club are back in the Premier League for the first time since 2005. A positive transfer window was headlined when they beat the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool to the services of the Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez. The addition of Emmanuel Mayuka, who starred for Zambia in their 2012 African Nations success, could also prove to be a shrewd piece of business.

Adkins has done a brilliant job with Southampton

Under Adkins Southampton have always had a positive approach to the game, scoring more goals than any other side on their way to promotion from the Championship last year, and on the evidence of their first three games, they aren’t going to alter their mentality despite promotion. For all the positives in their attacking play, I do worry for Southampton defensively. Admittedly two of their opening three fixtures have been against the very best of what the Premier League can offer; however I worry if the likes of Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld are good enough.

Key player – Adam Lallana. A crowd favourite having stayed at the club even when they stooped as low as League One, Lallana is certainly reaping the rewards now and is one of the first names of the Southampton team sheet. Over the last few seasons Lallana has added more goals and if he can get anywhere near double figures then he could help steer Southampton away from the drop.

Prediction – 19th. What Adkins has done with Southampton is brilliant; however I think they’ll struggle to survive. Much pressure is on the likes of Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez to score the goals; however neither have Premier League experience and reaching double figures will be a struggle.

Two in three Premier League games is a top start for Lambert

View from a fan - Matt Wall @MattBWall

What would be a perfect season?
A perfect season would be comfortably avoiding relegation and enjoying a decent cup run.

What would be a nightmare season?
Would be finishing bottom with the lowest points tally in Premier League history, god forbid!

Do you have the right man in charge?
Without a doubt Nigel Adkins is the right man in charge, he achieved our back to back promotions and I like the way he emphasises on team spirit.

Given the choice, which Premier League player would you sign?
That’s a difficult one, but one that could’ve happened was Theo Walcott, he would rediscover his form with us!

Is Ricky Lambert good enough for the Premier League?
Although time isn’t on his side, I do think ‘Super Rickie’ has what it takes! Very similar scenario to Grant Holt who was very good last year.

Does the squad need players with more top flight experience or are you happy with the transfer additions?
It's encouraging looking at other sides like Norwich and Swansea who've done very well without much Premier League experience and it's also great for the future the way we are signing young British players, that's combined with our brilliant academy! We also added Ramirez, beating off bigger sides which is quite the coup!

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