A couple of months ago, this might have been a more daunting fixture. Since a remarkable start, their form has faltered, an influential chairman has departed and the players have begun head-butting each other.
If I were part of an ambitious lower league club, I’d be studying the Southampton model intently – to the extent I’d probably loiter around their training ground with a fake moustache. What good it would do? Not much – and who has a moustache these days? People who loiter…
When people realise this – The Fake Moustache Business will be on its last legs.
After being promoted in 2012, it has taken them two years to consolidate their situation. Where as most promoted clubs gamble their winnings and hope a team falls into place just in time not to be demoted – Southampton take the forward-thinking approach.
Southampton’s success has been built on a productive academy. Producing players at minimal cost, that can be later sold on for hefty profits.
Bale the case in point here. When Southampton sold him to Spurs back in 2007, they laid a clause meaning that whatever fee Spurs sold him for, they’d receive (depending on the sources) 10-25% of it. Annoyingly for them, they needed money so sold the clause to Spurs for £2 million in 2008. Bummer.
But the point remains – a commendable model that has stabilised their position in the most unstable of leagues. It has allowed them to sell a Walcott, confident that a few years later a Chamberlain will appear. It has also allowed them to access the £15-20 million-player bracket – yielding varying results it must be said. What the future holds for Southampton will be in part, influenced by how they balance transfer expenditure with youth system investment. If they shift too readily to £15 million pound purchases, they might risk damaging what made them successful in the first place.
The team, perhaps?
Sagna Per Koz Gibbs
Cazorla Ozil Podolski
Injury news: Arteta and Vermaelen are back, which, if nothing else, gives us leadership. No news on Rosicky, but judging by a Rosicky shaped absence in the training pictures, he is still recovering from his broken nose. Wilshere is a doubt, after picking up a ankle injury against Coventry.
I watched fragments of Chelsea’s visit to St Mary’s earlier this month. The game was uneventful till the last 30 minutes, where Chelsea took the game with a well-timed burst of intensity. There is no reason why we can’t do the same. They are defensively organised and Pochettino’s style is aggressive. I read an interview with Osvaldo a while back, affectionately bemoaning how Pochettino has them “working like dogs” in training.
An early goal will be important today (something so obviously the case – I feel ridiculous even saying it.).
On the subject of stating the obvious, I’ll leave you with this absolute gem!
P.S. – Pocchetino is convinced that referees are penalising his team for being ‘young and good-looking’. Know the feeling, Mauricio…
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