After 11 games in the Premier League this season, Southampton look odds-on for relegation and the pressure on Mark Hughes has increased significantly following Sunday’s drubbing at the hands of Manchester City.
Being swept aside by the Citizens is not surprising or cause for too much concern but it’s the latest in a long line of worrying results for the Saints so far this season – and the worry is they still have to face half of last season’s top-six.
The remaining two games in November are crucial for Hughes and his side, starting with this weekend’s hosting of Watford before clashing with fellow strugglers Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Eighth in the Premier League, just a single point behind Manchester United, Javi Garcia’s Watford will provide a stern test, with the north London club favoured in EPL predictions this weekend, but Southampton will be thankful that Newcastle heaped a defeat on the Hornets at the weekend.
That result, Newcastle’s first win of the season, shows that Southampton have hope despite the odds being stacked against them – and the reality is that Hughes may have to pack his bags if a win is not secured.
Only Huddersfield have scored fewer goals in the league than Southampton this season, who have managed just seven, and Danny Ings‘ consolation penalty against City is the only goal the Saints have netted in their last five matches.
Defensively the picture is slightly better, with Southampton’s record of 20 conceded being the second-best out of the division’s bottom five, behind only Newcastle, and the fact six of these came against the Citizens is promising.
With three conceded in the defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea, it means just eight have been conceded against sides outside of last season’s top six. Although not great, it does at least provide a platform to build upon.
Watford, the lowest scorers in the Premier League’s top ten, are a side that Southampton are able to keep at arm’s length, but a massive improvement is needed in the final third as the Saints have only found the net in four of their 11 matches.
Javi Garcia’s side only have three clean sheets to their name this season though and Danny Ings in particular should be confident of finding the net this weekend.