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COMMENT: Great start for Koeman
It’s about as good a start as Ronald Koeman could possibly have wished for.
The unveiling of the 2014/15 fixture list has dealt Saints exactly the kind of hand they would have been hoping for.
Last season everybody was saying that a decent opening ten fixtures gave Saints the perfect platform to push for their aim of European football.
The team took full advantage of a kind set of fixtures and stuck on the board a huge mass of points that played a large part in helping them to a historic season and an eighth placed Premier League finish.
Koeman, in what will be his first season in charge of Saints, would have been hoping for the same opportunity when the fixtures were released.
Granted the season gets off to a tricky start with an away game at Liverpool, though some would argue the opening day can be the best team to play such sides, but only one of the next 11 fixtures is against a team that finished above Saints last season.
And, with all due respect, that is only Tottenham, and there will be extra motivation anyway as Saints face up to former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
The other fixtures in that opening run provide a marvellous opportunity for Koeman to really establish himself and his style of football and to get off to a flyer.
It will be exactly what he needs to galvanise the players and fans behind him as Saints enter a new and exciting era under the Dutch legend.
He will certainly be hoping to take full advantage as from the end of November until midway through January is very tricky.
In the space of just nine games Saints face Arsenal twice, Manchester United twice, Manchester City and Chelsea. Even that run is bookended by away trips to Aston Villa and Newcastle, which are never easy, contains away trips to Burnley and Crystal Palace, and features a home game against Everton.
That nightmare spell though does get a lot of the tougher fixtures out of the way in one hit before a relatively kind run in.
Saints will hope there is not too much resting on the final day however as they travel to Manchester City for what could be a title decider.
Overall though Koeman will surely be pleased.
It’s about as good as he could have hoped.
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