Is this the start of something really special for Southampton?

Originally posted on Metro:

Southampton’s players celebrate after scoring against QPR (Picture: Getty Images)

I’d love to say I’m not disgustingly smug at Southampton’s ‘crisis’ which sees us second in the Premier League, having won six games on the trot and just having got one over on, not one, but two ex-managers.

But it would be a lie.

I’m almost unbearable.

It feels like we have hit the cusp now, tilting on the peak of having proved a lot of people wrong before tipping over the edge and the inevitable slump that separates us from being a genuine top four contender. But Saints fans are going to enjoy this while it lasts, and why not?

Right now it feels like this could go on forever, but realistically we know it can’t. The eagle eyed pundit is starting to notice though that, while Saints best 11 might not be as good as last season’s, the squad…

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Southampton v QPR: EA PPI Preview

The Saints are going into this one on the back of a 1-0 win away at Swansea, midfielder Victor Wanyama scored late on to become the first Kenyan to score in the Premier League. Southampton lead the head to head record, with Koeman’s side winning 26 out of the 69 matches, QPR winning 24 and 19 draws.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will be hoping Morgan Schneiderlin can continue his incredible run of form this season. Schneiderlin has covered a staggering 62 km in his five games this season for Southampton, the most of any Premier League player. The French midfielder has an average speed of 7.9 km/h and has scored three goals. Schneiderlin is also in the top five for accurate passes this season with 328, 177 of which were in the opposition half. The French international has also been strong defensively for his side, and has won 23 tackles as well as making six clearances and seven interceptions.

Portuguese defender Jose Fonte has an impressive defensive record for Southampton this season, having won nine tackles, seventeen clearances and nineteen interceptions.  Fonte also has 301 accurate passes and has played every minute for his side this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Saints have two top scorers, the aforementioned Morgan Schneiderlin, and Italian striker Graziano Pellè who has notched three goals for his new club. Pellè has had eight attempts on target, which is the second highest in the league, behind top scorer Diego Costa. Pellè also has covered 50 km and has completed 152 accurate passes, with one assist.

Joey Barton has completed the most tackles in the QPR squad. The midfielder has managed sixteen tackles so far this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The next closest challenger is Rio Ferdinand with eleven successful tackles.

Ferdinand has also managed the most clearances in the entire QPR squad. As well as this, he is also in the top fifteen in the league, having cleared his lines 38 times thus far in the league, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

This protection from Ferdinand will be much appreciated by his goalkeeper, Rob Green. Green has made the third most saves in the Premier League according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with seventeen, and the former England goalkeeper has been in impressive form – despite the number of goals conceded.

Southampton’s victory over ‘cheating’ Arsenal has turned the tide of opinion in the media

Originally posted on Metro:

Glorious goal: Nathaniel Clyne (second right) celebrates the winner (Picture: Reuters)

It would appear the tide has turned in the world of the football pundit.

The solemn faced ‘Ides of March’ style warnings that ‘Southampton are in meltdown’ and ‘will really struggle this season’ have been replaced by the patronising tones of someone stood with legs slightly bent, hands on their knees, saying, ‘Wow! We didn’t see this one coming did we boys and girls? WELL DONE SOUTHAMPTON!’

This swing in opinion has come after Saints registered their fifth win on the bounce last night, away at Arsenal no less, and it was no fluke.

Ronald Koeman has got his side playing nice football, with a passion and intensity that is causing every team they face problems, and the new signings are seeing the memories of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren et al become ever more distant.

Two more new faces made their full…

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Swansea City v Southampton: EA Sports PPI Preview

Swansea and Southampton currently both occupy Champions League positions in the league table and both clubs will be hoping to retain their positions high up the table. Southampton will be full of confidence after the 4-0 win over Newcastle, whereas Swansea will be keen to ensure defeat to Chelsea doesn’t have a massive impact on their impressive early season form.

Swansea defender Ashley Williams still tops the charts in terms of clearances. The Welshman has cleared his lines 48 times so far this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Williams made thirteen of his total clearances in the recent game against Chelsea.

Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has also recorded some impressive statistics this season. The midfielder, more renowned for his attacking ability has made the most successful tackles out of any Swansea player, dispossessing the opposition ten times in the first four games according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Arguably Swansea’s most impressive player this season has been Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic midfielder has recorded four assists in as many games, and has an 86.5% pass completion rate, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Sigurdsson has also covered the most ground of any player in the Premier League, running a total of 50.06km, averaging out at 12.52km per game.

The player closest to Sigurdsson in terms of distance covered is Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. The French international has managed to run 49.84km in the Premier League, which is on average only 60m less per game than Sigurdsson, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Schneiderlin has three goals so far this season and is 6/1 to score with 888sport. An interesting battle looks set to occur this weekend when these two come head to head.

Dusan Tadic has delivered the most successful number of crosses out of anyone in the top tier of English football. The winger has supplied some dangerous balls in, mainly towards the target man Graziano Pellè and with eight successful crosses so far this season the Serbian winger could be a major threat this weekend if his EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics are anything to go by.

Tadic’s partnership with Pellè looks to be working, as the striker has not only recorded the second greatest number of shots on target in the Premier League (six) this season, but also scored three goals in his first four games in English football. He will certainly be one to watch for the Swansea defence this weekend.

Ronald Koeman and Garry Monk go head-to-head as Southampton take on Swansea

Originally posted on Metro:

Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side take on Swansea (Picture: Getty Images)

I don’t like to read too much into statistics, but with 50 per cent of the current Premier League top four clubs being managed by ginger former centre-halves I can’t help thinking there might be something in it. After all that is 100 per cent of ginger former centre-half managers (I haven’t checked) occupying places in elite positions of English football.

Something has to give though and Ronald Koeman and Garry Monk come face to face this weekend which could result in one (or both) of them dropping out of the Champions League places.

The tale of the tape:-

Shade of Ginger:- Koeman –  Asian Sunset. Monk – Strawberry Blonde.

Education:- Koeman – Groningen Academy. Monk – Academy of Football (Southampton).

Honours (Playing):- Koeman – Eredivisie (4), Dutch Cup (3), La Liga (4), Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup (3)…

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Southampton fans should enjoy struggles of Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren at Liverpool while it lasts

Originally posted on Metro:

Adam Lallana’s Liverpool career has got off to a slow start (Picture: Getty Images)

As a Saints fan it is difficult not to take a little pleasure in watching Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana struggle in the early days of their Liverpool careers.

Unfortunately for the two Saints’ departees, who left the club this summer without an ounce of professionalism, they now play for a club whose games are pretty much all televised, meaning the world is tuning in to watch them stink up the place as they struggle to adapt.

Liverpool have had a laborious start to the season, which possibly to be expected after both losing Luis Suarez and performing above themselves in the previous campaign. However, after a home defeat to Aston Villa and then an undeserved victory over Ludogorets on their return to the Champions League last night (not to mention the unconvincing win over us…

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New-look Southampton come out blazing vs Newcastle, showing transfer window wasn’t so bad after all

Originally posted on Metro:

Morgan Schneiderlin curls in Southampton’s fourth goal against Newcastle United (Picture: Getty)

Saturday was the annual Southampton FC funday – a day when supporters young and old can enjoy games and sideshows in and around St Mary’s before settling down in their seats to watch the big match.

There were two non-scheduled sideshows that took the biscuit though – Ronald Koeman’s death-defying daredevils and Alan Pardew’s calamitous circus of clowns. This wasn’t men against boys, this was Barcelona against the Dog and Duck.

Saints were 2-0 up within 20 minutes and never looked back, and they could have been further in front after Shane Long was cruelly denied a clear penalty, the challenge of which left him concussed.

It was a performance by the home side that wasn’t only dominant but completely without fear and, dare I say it, with the addition of the missing ruthlessness that they often lacked under Mauricio Pochettino.

Koeman’s…

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Southampton would not want under-fire Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew back at the club

Originally posted on Metro:

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew’s side face Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

Saints’ visitors this weekend come in the form of Newcastle United, and their fanbase are less than happy with still having former St. Mary’s boss Alan Pardew at the helm.

Saints fans themselves have an odd, perhaps uncomfortable relationship with Pardew, and one that can only be filed under ‘he did alright on the pitch’. When he was dismissed by then chairman Nicola Cortese the fans reacted badly, because there could be little complaint as to the achievements of the side from a playing point of view, but little was spoke about the reasons why he went, though plenty of rumours followed.

It seems pretty popular opinion that while Pardew is a competent enough football manager, he perhaps isn’t the most likeable of people. With other incidents at other clubs and very few former club’s fans really talking about him…

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Southampton are doing everything they can to sort replica kit issue, so why make a ‘story’ out of it?

Originally posted on Metro:

Morgan Schneiderlin sports the Southampton shirt which has caused a few issues for fans (Picture: Getty Images)

If there is one thing that bothers me it is ‘not news’, especially when it is regards my football club.

The media is a powerful tool, and can with the right words be used to create ill feeling where none whatsoever is necessary.

After a ‘turbulent summer’ (this is now the most used Southampton related cliché since ‘meltdown’ and ‘firesale’), Saints fans might have been forgive for thinking they might get some respite from negative media attention now that it all seems to have turned out okay.

But no. Yesterday a local radio outlet, BBC Radio Solent, was dedicating a section of their show to the fact that the new Saints replica shirt was prone to the odd glitch and people were having to take them back. But what’s the story here?

Are the…

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Former Southampton defender Francis Benali’s toughest challenge yet

Originally posted on Metro:

SOUTHAMPTON V DERBY FOOTBALL PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH. PIC DAVE SHOPLAND. FRANCIS BENALI WAS SENT OFF FOR THE 11TH TIME IN HIS CAREER ***FINAL SCORE SOUTHAMPTON 0 DERBY COUNTY 2***

Francis Benali (Picture: Dave Shopland)

Football supporters love a player who shows commitment, passion and drive for the shirt, and Saints fans would find it hard to argue a case for anyone more committed to the Southampton cause than Francis Benali.

Benali was a hard working, industrious, tough tackling defender who made over 300 appearances for his home town club, and while his output was never spectacular his love of his team and his undoubted desire for the cause made him a cult hero amongst those on the terraces.

Famed for putting in some big challenges, Benali now faces his biggest one yet, running 1,000 miles, taking in every Premier League ground from St. James’ Park to St. Mary’s over three weeks, without any rest days. A staggering feat of human endeavour, and all in the name of cancer research.

Franny started in Newcastle on Sunday August 24 and…

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