Southampton have enjoyed a cracking turnaround in form, having bounced back from consecutive defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham at the start of the season. to register 13 points from their following five matches.
Sunday’s 4-3 win at Aston Villa briefly rocketed the Saints up to 3rd in the table, before Tottenham’s victory over Brighton saw them finish the weekend in 4th.
However, Saints now have the chance to leap up to top spot on Friday when they host Newcastle at St Mary’s.
Then fans really will be in dreamland.
To think that this time last season they were in the middle of an eight game winless run, which included a certain defeat to Leicester City.
As is so often the case with Southampton, when they start doing well, other clubs stand-up and take notice.
In the past, a cluster of their star players have been lured over to the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham, while it’s also been a similar theme on the managerial front.
After leading Southampton to 6th, Ronald Koeman left for Everton in 2016. Prior to that a successful 18 months on the south coast saw Mauricio Pochettino dart off to Tottenham in 2014, a path which was also made by Glenn Hoddle back in 2001.
Southampton’s form since June’s restart has been simply superb. The club has taken 2.07 points-per-game - second only to Man City - while Sunday’s triumph at Villa means they’ve now won a whopping 14 of their 34 Premier League games under Ralph Hasenhuttl; the club’s joint-highest managerial tally under one boss in the competition (along with Koeman).
This, coupled with Man Utd’s defeat at Arsenal over the weekend, has seen some serious movement in the next Man Utd manager market; after Hasenhuttl was slashed from 100/1 to just 9/1 to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, should the Norweigen vacate his post.
Solskjaer has shone in the Champions League this season, but has failed to replicate this form in the Premier League, with the loss at home to Arsenal leaving his troops three places above the relegation zone.
Leaders Liverpool already have more than double United’s points tally, while Solskjaer’s measly total of seven points from six games is the worst return of a Man Utd manager at this stage of a season since David Moyes.
We all know how that one panned out.
Solskjaer has since been cut from 10/1 to 5/1 to become the first Premier League manager to leave, and if this does come to fruition, Saints supporters will desperately be hoping that United’s gaze is focused on Mauricio Pochettino or Max Allegri, and not their own managerial marvel.
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