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Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:46

Where is the form?

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After a rocket start of the season with 4 straight wins recorded in both and away games, Southampton seem to have lost their winning plot. Only 2 wins in 9 games, 2 draws and 5 defeats is way below expectations of both fans and club management.

The board has been asking question for some time now, ever since suspicious brow-raising lack of concentration in games against Aston Villa and Juventus, when points were lost in the closing minutes after at least solid games. It seemed the team was holding up well, until unforgivable individual mistakes turned the table (and a bit of luck too, in case of Flanny’s injury time Hooper’s goal). Some games were lost only by an inch, like against Manchester United, when end-to-end game resulted in a lone goal for the winners. Still, mishaps like that should’ve been avoided and fans expected bold promise from the manager baranello. It came promptly on the press conference, but it seems reality has been much more harsh than expected.

The supporters might have expected true outburst of excellent form, but instead Southampton served them two tight games against Lille and Gremio. French side were close to losing the game after The Saints went two up with the first goal being a marvelous strike from the free kick by club legend Elano. But again, the lack of cool head and some technical difficulties let the visitors equalize just before the end of the game. Gremio put up a hard fight from the very beginning and only Altidore’s determination let them restore the parity and secure at least one point.

Next days saw surprising transfer activity, when Altidore was sold to Parma to fans astonishment. They have never expected the big American leave the club. But they were even more amazed when signing of Soldado was announced a day after and their delight skyrocketed when The Spaniard scored 2 goals in his debut against Atalanta. Things seemed to have got back on the right track and everyone expected a bold stance in the next game against division leaders Atletico Mineiro, having holded their unbeaten record for 12 games. And what a game it was! Intense first half left the scoreline clear, but then two mistakes of the Brazilian side let Southampton jump to 2 goal lead. They responded in 86th minute with a stunning header, but it was all they could do. Street parties were thrown all around the town, and fans were certain to see their team up the table at mid-season, just before games against lower classified teams.

But the next two games deflated the hopes abruptly. First off, in the game against Barcelona everything was right until the break, but then all started to go wrong and Southampton conceded 4 goals straight, from at least two could be attributed to some supernatural activity. Fans watched in disbelief how helpless were all formations against any potential threat from Blaugrana. The only cure was to forget quickly about this shameful defeat and wash it away with a spectacular win in the next game…which was equally bad. Atletico de Rafaela started smoothly but going two up in 25th minute already and restless chase was the only option left to The Saints. But it looked like Soldado left his scoring boots at home that day and everything seemed to be in too big rush to be effective. As the result, Atletico secured their win with a 3rd goal, and the only response that came was Lucca’s goal in 92nd minute. Fans left the stadium with their heads dropping low, asking themselves numerous questions about the future.
Emergency board meeting was held the same evening: baranello was given an alternative – either the results pick up promptly, or the team will undergo a serious redecoration. If there are any hopes for catching up with the table leaders, it must be done right away. Otherwise the remaining trust from the club board and the fans will vanish.

Read 1218 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:02