'Southampton's Form Is Hard To Explain'

Southampton will be eager to ensure they can match last season's Premier League finish and points tally when they take on Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Sunday, says Adam Blackmore from BBC Radio Solent.
More on this story...

- Leicester City host Southampton at King Power Stadium on Sunday (4pm BST kick-off)
- The final day clash will be covered live and for free on LCFC Radio
- BBC Radio Solent's Adam Blackmore has provided his assessment of the Saints' season
- The 1976 FA Cup winners will be disappointed not to have bettered last season's league record, he says

In the Saints' last 11 top-flight outings, Ralph Hasenhüttl's have secured just one victory – although that success did arrive against UEFA Champions League chasing Arsenal. There were two draws, against Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion, coupled with eight defeats since early March.

It's been a frustrating end to a campaign which promised so much for the south coast outfit, with Southampton now sat 15th in the standings. That's where they finished last season, with three points on their final tally, meaning Sunday's visit to Filbert Way represents an opportunity to at least match that.

"Leicester, after a long and complex season in lots of tournaments, including Europe, with lots of injuries... if I was Brendan Rodgers, I’d be delighted to finish eighth with all that’s been thrown at him for the last nine months," Blackmore told LCFC Radio. "Southampton can’t go anywhere in the table.

"They finished 15th last season on 43 points and they’re 15th at the moment on 40 points, so if getting to last season’s total is the incentive, then maybe they’ll turn up. Since the start of March, when they beat West Ham in the FA Cup, they then went to Villa and lost 4-0 and they haven’t recovered from that.

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Ralph Hasenhüttl
Ralph Hasenhüttl

Aside from a victory over Arsenal, it's been a frustrating few months for Ralph Hasenhüttl and Southampton.

"They are playing for a sense of pride, not to go backwards. We all thought they’d make progress this season, but on paper, that hasn’t been the case."

Although there is a strong sense of disappointment at St. Mary's Stadium with how the 2021/22 season has ultimately panned out, there is hope for the future. Summer investment is a real possibility for the 1976 FA Cup winners, Blackmore believes. 

He continued: "I spoke to James Ward-Prowse yesterday and he said: ‘I’m disappointed and frustrated’. I think that probably goes for the fanbase, the management, the players, and the media like me, who follow the team.

It is a big summer for Saints and I think the new ownership will spend money, not crazy amounts, but more than they’ve been able to.

Adam Blackmore BBC Radio Solent

"When you think how well they were doing, by the end of February, they won 3-2 at Spurs, got a 2-2 draw at Man Utd and were the better team… we were all talking about a top-10 finish. Since then, it’s been eight defeats in 11.

"In the only game they’ve won recently, against Arsenal, they played five at the back and sat everyone behind before getting a goal, it wasn’t Saints’ football. It’s been hard work and I think everyone will be disappointed that they’ve not been able to push on. I can’t really explain it.

"They haven’t had the injury crisis they had in the second half of last season. They had a better and bigger squad to cope with it. It is a big summer for Saints and I think the new ownership will spend money, not crazy amounts, but more than they’ve been able to.

"It will give them more chance to compete and that’s something they’ve been able to do in the transfer market."

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