Saints out to be Premier League dream-wreckers

Daily Echo: MAURICIO POCHETTINO MAURICIO POCHETTINO

Saints have an opportunity to be one of the Premier League’s big dream-wreckers during the run-in.

There is not a huge amount left for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to play for in terms of league position this season.

But, in their final six games, the club will be facing a number of teams who have a lot still to fight for.

That begins with this weekend’s trip to title favourites Manchester City...

Man City (a) - Tomorrow

Manuel Pellegrini’s team might enter this weekend in third place, but they remain favourites for the title, with two games in hand over both Chelsea and leaders Liverpool. A slip-up at home to Saints, however, would be a huge blow to their chances of winning the league, and would likely make the Reds the shortest odds to finish top. City have only failed to win one league match at the Etihad Stadium this season – a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in February.

But they will take on a Saints side who nearly shocked them on the opening day of the previous campaign, before losing 3-2. Pochettino’s men also boast one of the best away defences in the top-flight and could pose a significant test.

Cardiff City (h) - April 12

Cardiff are in desperate need of points if they are to avoid falling straight back down into the Championship. The Welsh club are currently 18th, but are three points adrift of safety and with many of the teams around them possessing games in hand. A defeat at Saints would further reduce their chances of remaining in the Premier League, and fans of the club are unlikely to be too optimistic as they head to the south coast, with their team having won just one game away from home all season. Saints’ thumped Cardiff 3-0 in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.

Aston Villa (a) - April 19

Villa have edged towards safety and, with an eight-point cushion to the bottom three, this might be one game where the result won’t have any serious implications.

Everton (h) - April 26

Everton start the weekend in fifth place, four points behind Arsenal and with a game in hand. There will likely be little room for error, however, if the Toffees are to grab the last of the Champions League places, and a victory at Saints will probably be vital for them.

Everton will also have to be somewhat wary of the sides below them in order to make sure they at least hold on to a Europa League spot. The teams played out a 0-0 draw at St Mary’s last season, in what was Pochettino’s first match in charge of Saints.

Swansea (a) - May 3

Swansea should avoid relegation, with a seven-point gap currently exisiting to the bottom three. However, with only one win in their last seven matches, they won’t be breathing easy just yet. This match represents the penultimate game of the season for both teams, and Swansea will want to make sure their Premier League status is secure by this stage.

Otherwise they could be facing a nervy trip to face relegation-threatened Sunderland on the final day.

Man United (h) - May 11

The great hope for Saints is that they can manoeuvre themselves into a position whereby a victory here would lift them above United. That would be another humiliation in what has been a miserable season for the defending champions and their beleaguered manager, David Moyes. This game could have a lot more riding on it for them than just that, however. A top-four place is almost certainly out of reach, but United are still outside the Europa League places and, while that is not a competition they really want any part of, it would be some embarrassment to miss out on that. For Moyes alone, the final day of the campaign could be important. A poor result might just be the last straw for the United board when it comes to considering his future.

Comments (1)

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1:33pm Fri 4 Apr 14

justaSaintsfan says...

The only team I have at heart is Saints!

So come on Saints, onward and upward, the Southampton way!!!

Progress is being made for Saints as surely as each day passes. Progress makes perfect!!!

Happy days!!!
The only team I have at heart is Saints! So come on Saints, onward and upward, the Southampton way!!! Progress is being made for Saints as surely as each day passes. Progress makes perfect!!! Happy days!!! justaSaintsfan
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