The Southampton fans are feeling nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of a huge clash against Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Although very few supporters would have predicted the current scenario at the beginning of the season, Southampton currently find themselves in the bottom-three with just 7 fixtures left to save their season. Much to the dismay of the Saints faithful propping up our bar, their club’s final fixtures hardly read for pleasant viewing, as they have today’s opponents Arsenal as well as Chelsea, Man City and Leicester still to play.
It certainly won’t be an easy few weeks for the club, but if they are to drag themselves out of the bottom-three and secure their survival there is no doubt they will need to grab at least one unexpected victory. Sunday’s clash against Arsenal could represent the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track, as the Gunners could be suffering from a European hangover after playing CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening.
Considering the extent of Southampton’s decline in recent months, there is very little hope for the supporters to cling on to, but the return of Charlie Austin to first-team action last weekend could eventually prove to be the difference between relegation and survival this season.
Austin (valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt) is Southampton’s top-goalscorer this season with 6 strikes in the Premier League, despite the fact he hadn’t featured in a single minute of competitive action since the 23rd of December prior to this return last weekend.
Southampton have certainly been lacking a competitive edge and genuine quality throughout the squad all season long, but those are two things Austin has the potential to inject back into the struggling Saints during the final weeks of the season.
Although Austin is not the most technically gifted player in the squad, he possesses determination in abundance and a natural eye for the back of the net, and his poacher’s instinct combined with his willingness to fight for the cause will prove invaluable in the final weeks of the season.
The importance of momentum in football cannot be expressed highly enough, so it’s crucial that Hughes collects his first win as Southampton manager as quickly as possible.
Arsenal will undoubtedly have some tired legs on the pitch on Sunday afternoon, and Wenger might even be tempted to field a weakened eleven ahead of their trip to Moscow on Thursday, so Austin must take advantage of that and rediscover his goal-scoring form to resurrect his side’s survival hopes this weekend.
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