Southampton host Spurs this weekend after an ultimately disappointing loss to Manchester United last weekend and, if the Saints can’t get the results, their ever-improving performance standards will be irrelevant.
Ex-Portsmouth player and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has had his say on the upcoming clash, and what he said might surprise some Saints fans.
Well, writing in his weekly predictions feature, Merson said:
“Tottenham had a great result in midweek in the Champions League and I thought they were fortunate against Arsenal. Southampton are a funny team – they go to Old Trafford and should have got a point and did well.
“If Cardiff end up beating West Ham and go above Southampton, they’ve then got some hard games coming up. Cardiff need to go above Southampton to make them panic but if they are always in front of them, it is just another hard game gone by, but I think Southampton will stay up.”
Southampton currently sit just two points above the drop with Cardiff, who host West Ham United in Wales on Saturday, waiting eagerly below to escape the bottom three.
There is no such thing as an easy run-in in the Premier League, especially for a team in the St Mary’s outfit’s position – visits from Liverpool and Tottenham, in particular, could push Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to the limit.
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Obviously, the key for them is to try and remain above Cardiff for the remainder of the season because, although it ultimately wouldn’t matter if they finish 17th in the standings, they avoid having to chase points to get back into a safe position then.
As Merson says, the south coast outfit were unfortunate not to get a point from Old Trafford, having recorded one of their best performances since Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge – the victory over Arsenal in December.
They will need to do that week-in, week-out though if they are to renew acquaintances with the top flight next season.