Why NOT finishing in the Europa League places is crucial for Southampton.

 

It happens every season. A team who usually tend to roam around the lower regions of the Premier League, find themselves much nearer to the top of the English football pyramid than they’re acclaimed to. They find themselves beating top teams, and gaining continental praise. The next step of this transition from being a lower mid-table club, to growing into an internationally renowned footballing powerhouse is an achievement, something that makes football fans everywhere sit up and take notice. Maybe a League Cup, or finishing in a European spot.  You are now in the Europa League.

The transition will now take one of two paths. Hopefully you will spend well in the summer, and end up doing impressively in Europe’s second-string cup competition, and maybe even gain a Champions League place for the following season.

This is sadly very rare and the most common product from Europa League football is a shallow squad, plagued with fatigue, leading to a poor league result way below expectations. Newcastle are the perfect example. The Toon produced a stunning 2011/12 campaign, finishing above both Liverpool and Chelsea. They just missed out on Champions League place but were delighted to end the season siting in fifth place and therefore in possession of a Europa League place. Boss Alan Pardew was rewarded with a mega eight-year deal, and 9 new players were brought in. The following season was a disaster. They finished just two places away from relegation.

This is what Southampton must avoid. Ideally they will spend big in the summer, Tie down Pochettino to a long term contract, keep hold of their young stars and bypass The Europa League for the Champions League, but is that really realistic? Will we see Bayern Munich and Barcelona at The St Mary’s stadium in just one year and a half? Both players and manager have spoken of the dream so who’s to say it’s impossible?

It definitely won’t be easy but if they perform to their maximum capabilities, then why not? They’ve shown they can beat anyone on their day.

 

 

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The Next Saint To Fall?

Picture the scene, it’s 1-1, there’s 10 minutes to go and your team is looking the more likely to go on and win the game, but then one act of madness undoes all the good work put in place by the previous 80 minutes. It could be a dodgy back pass to the keeper, a flailing leg inside the area or even a needless two footed lunge leading to a red-card, it doesn’t matter in which form it comes, it leads to a undeserved loss or a unjustified draw. This is possibly the most infuriating thing that can happen on a football pitch, “a smash and grab” as Alan Hansen would say.

What am I getting at, you ask? Well It always comes from that same breed of player, That fourth choice centre back, that winger you’ve been trying to get rid of for years, we have plenty of those at Saints. Danny Fox, Guly Do Prado or Jos Hoovield. When the ball gets anywhere near any of the listed a sharp intake of breath can be heard around The SMS, which is normally followed by a very exaggerated groan due to one of the listed making an error, it will usually lead to nothing, but us fans are a fickle bunch and we remember that error and when discussing the game after the final whistle, will bring out the same cliches, about the offending player being the weak link and so on… However if someone like Morgan, Lallana  Luke Shaw had committed a similar mistake it would be swiftly forgotten, and we’d go on to say how reliable he was or how he will one day become one of the best in the world. Six months ago one of the members of the previous lists would have been replaced by a different name. That name? Rickie Lambert.

Don’t get me wrong Rickie Lambert is Southampton royalty, the deal that took him to Saints was undoubtedly the best piece of business Southampton have ever been involved in however slowly over the past 6 months it’s clear he’s lost a yard of pace, his passing (apart from a few beautiful moments) has been somewhat sloppy, and sometimes you look at him and he just looks… well, lost? don’t get me wrong, he has Stokes of genius (See what I did there?) and will never ever be forgotten, but I pray that this is just bad-form, something that the best of us suffer from, unfortunately though I think I’m wrong. With Fox, Guly and Hoovield looking like this season may be there last in Saints colours, I desperately appeal to Saints fans not to forget the good he’s done for us, and let him become the next “fail guy” It would be almost revolting If we greeted him with groans when he has the ball at his feet, and I’m as good as convinced that, it will never get to that, but as I said, us fans. We’re a fickle bunch.

The Soscars

It’s awards season, The BAFTA’s, The BRIT Awards and Crufts all take place in the space of a few short week’s. One award however, eclipses them all. Tonight the 86th academy awards will take place at The Dolby Theatre, on Hollywood Boulevard. Some of the worlds most well known face, will gather for around 210 minutes, of red carpet interviews, dodgy acceptance speeches and that really awkward moment when the losers applaud the winners.

Here at “Oh When The Saints.org” however we felt that that we’d do something for those who were more of the footballing persuasion rather than the film buff persuasion. So here come “The Soscars” awards for best original score (best goal), best supporting actress (best WAG), and  Best foreign language (Player)..

First up however is award for (Player with) Best Makeup and Hairstyling. The nominee’s are as follows:

Gaston Ramirez

Dani Osvaldo

Adam Lallana

And the SOSCA goes to… Dani Osvaldo. Although the Italian is currently on loan at European Giants Juventus, the panel unanimously agreed that it would be rude not to give the award to the Johnny Depp lookalike. Osvaldo would not look out of shape in “Pirates Of The Caribbean” With oodles of earrings and tattoos, along with his trade mark pony-tail and beard, One thing this self proclaimed “Striker” did bring to the Saints camp was style.Osvaldo1

Secondly comes the award for best original score (best goal). The nominees’s look like this:

Dani Osvaldo Vs Manchester City

Adam Lallana Vs Hull City

Rickie Lambert Vs Stoke City

And The SOSCA goes to… Dani Osvaldo! Osvaldo picks up his second award of the evening. Admittedly he only hit the back of the net 4 times during his short time at St Mary’s however who could forget this wonder striker. Osvaldo collected the ball brilliantly, then turned Vincent Kompany, various times leaving him sat on the floor, before chipping the keeper. Exquisite!

Next up is award for best supporting actress (Or best WAG). The nominees are:

Anita Lovren (Dejan Lovren’s wife)

Freya Wood (Jack Cork’s girlfriend)

Emily Jubb (Adam Lallana’s wife)

And The SOSCA goes to… Emily Jubb! Emily agreed to tie the knot early, So, if picked, Adam could play in the world cup, as there original date was the same as England’s World Cup opener against Italy in Manaus. The two were married in a secret location in Peele, Dorset.

adamlallana1

 

And finally the last award of the evening is for Best Foreign Language (Saint). The nominee’s are:

Dani Osvaldo

Mauricio Pochettino

Gaston Ramirez

And The SOSCA goes to.. Mauricio Pochettino! The gaffer has been the butt of countless jokes from football fans, when it comes round to after the Southampton game on MOTD, and Mauricio presents his post match thoughts via a translator.

That rounds up The first ever SOSCA’s. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. COYR