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  • "
    Positively4thStreet wrote:
    Just a clinical striker would have won us the last few games, even with the existing defence, but if you can't put the chances you make away,sooner or later,the other team will,and then its game over.
    And what does it say about England that we have two strikers in the national team?

    I do think that while Simon Carter points to a huge gulf between us and European football I do think in actual fact that Saturday proved beyond doubt that clinical strikers win you games... convincingly.

    We managed to make a lot of brilliant chances look like half chances by ballooning them over the bar or hitting lame shots.

    In my opinion, if we had one or two class strikers (one with pace who can cut in) and two more top quality centre back options, we'd be flying and have the depth of squad we need - the midfield options are pretty deep already if you consider our midfielders to be three solid hard working and skillful players from a pool of: JWP, Cork, Spider, Davis, Adam, Gaston and Wanyama.

    But we desperately need more striking options as shown on Saturday and particularly another target man and a pacey J-Rod/Sturridge style wide attacker for the other flank (Ince/Zaha or someone from Europe).

    And defensively we just don't have enough depth bar on the right side. Left back and centre back positions need to be strengthened.

    In my opinion we need: experienced (25-28 range) target man and experienced international centre back x2, young wide attacker and left back cover. Ideally I'd also like a better back-up or first choice option in goal to challenge Artur.

    Then we're looking pretty good.

    And I don't think that necessarily means spending more money than we did on Gaston and Osvaldo combined and, frankly, we may not need to spend anything if we can get a decent amount back on those two.

    So we don't actually need to spend in the summer - we just need to redistribute the money we spent on them and potentially Maya, who's been slightly lacking in the last couple of games in my opinion."
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Saints may have to spend

Saints may have to spend

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

BACK in November, Saints hit the giddy heights of third place in the Premier League.

For a brief moment, fans were able to dream.

Could this really be the season when Saints pieced together a sustained bid for a Champions League place?

Sadly not, as it’s turned out.

The dream has long gone, and the weekend defeat to Liverpool further underlined how much Saints need to improve if they are to one day challenge the country’s very best.

Though still a very impressive ninth – as I have said before, virtually the highest place they can realistically be – the stats tell their own story.

As of today, Saints are closer to the relegation places than they are to the top four.

Fifteen points clear of the drop zone, and 18 points adrift of fourth placed Manchester City - and the latter have two games in hand.

Saints have obviously made some strides forward this season – they are only two points off equalling their 2012/13 points haul and still have ten games left to play.

But last year there was some big talk from the likes of Pochettino and goalkeeper Artur Boruc of challenging for the Champions League.

Saints splashed out over £30m last summer, and have seen an improvement.

They will need to spend even more this summer if they want to make the stellar leap into the top four.

Saints, it might surprise some people to learn, are the seventh highest scorers in the Premier League this season.

They have bagged 38 goals from 28 games, which is actually one less than they had managed at the same stage of last season.

But they need a lot more goals to become a major force.

Chelsea and Arsenal both have 52 goals so far, while Liverpool and Manchester City have a staggering 73 and 69 respectively.

It is intriguing to see the table printed on this page.

It shows each Premier League club’s record against the clubs currently in the top flight’s top ten.

Saints have managed just a solitary victory in 13 games against the clubs they would like to be competing for a European place alongside.

That was the 1-0 win at Liverpool last September.

Only two clubs have scored fewer goals against the top ten this season than Saints.

That single-goal success at Anfield, meanwhile, was one of just two clean sheets in those 13 games.

So does Pochettino also need to further strengthen his back four this summer, in addition to bringing in more potent goal threats?

These are the sort of questions that need to be asked now, as attention is already starting to turn to 2014/15 already.

Saints’ record against teams in the bottom half of the table is good, and if you want to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle then you need to beat the lowly sides.

But Pochettino’s ambitions are considerably higher than staying out of the bottom three.

That is why the table printed with this article could cause alarm.

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