Blogs & Opinion


David Jones:

Most Popular Posts:

David Jones blogs on Southampton's winning formula

David Jones - David Jones Posted 23rd October 2013 view comments

Monday Night Football is always compelling viewing - the debate generated by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher always thought provoking - but I had to stop and rewind the show this week.

Did Jamie really compare Southampton to the great AC Milan side of Baresi, Rijkaard, Gullit and Van Basten?

Praise doesn't get much higher than that but such are the plaudits heading the way of the South Coast club right now under the development of Mauricio Pochettino.

Lovren: Southampton's late leveller at United was further proof of their strength this season

Lovren: Southampton's late leveller at United was further proof of their strength this season

They weren't able to match West Brom by winning at Old Trafford, but a late draw there on the back of victory at Anfield had Carragher purring.

Statistically their defence (which has conceded only three goals in eight games) is the second best in Europe's major leagues right now - and it's the high press helping to deliver results which is drawing all the attention.

Statistically Southampton's defence is the second best in Europe's major leagues right now.

David Jones
Quotes of the week

A comparison was made with Sunderland, who under Kevin Ball tried the same tactic to pressurise Liverpool and Manchester United at the top of the pitch, but found themselves run out of legs late in the game as a result.

Gus Poyet clearly recognised that Sunderland's intensity was working against them and so against Swansea he abandoned that frenetic approach and urged patience in his team.

It worked for the best part of an hour before awful defending cost them dear at a corner and the floodgates opened.

Blend

These Southampton players are clearly supremely fit but unlike Sunderland they now have quality in key positions: Dejan Lovren, a revelation in defence; the midfield wall Victor Wanyama; and the maverick forward Pablo Osvaldo - £35m worth of spine that would dramatically improve most Premier League teams.

Only Manchester City and Chelsea had a bigger net spend this summer, so perhaps their progress should be expected.

But in many ways they have the perfect formula - big money signings, blended with dependable European talents like Artur Boruc, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jose Fonte, and sprinkled with exciting youngsters from their prolific academy.

Mauricio Pochettino clearly deserves great credit but hopefully Nigel Adkins won't be airbrushed from history all together: he will always believe the team was improving under his guidance before the axe fell last season.

That is history, against Fulham on Saturday Night Football the Saints will be chasing their third straight home win.

But if Fulham were to reproduce one of their wonder goals from Monday night at Palace - and only Sunderland have scored at St Mary's so far - they should be confident of an upset.

For while Pochettino has transformed Southampton's defending, as yet they don't score freely: it's almost like watching Milan...

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson tips Sunday wins for Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool - but not Arsenal or Tottenham....

Phil Thompson

Ultimate #One2Eleven

Find out who did – and who didn't – make the Soccer Saturday experts' best-ever Premier League XI....

Latest News RSS feeds

Warnock sacked by Palace

Neil Warnock has been sacked as manager of Crystal Palace, with Keith Millen placed in charge for Sunday's trip to QPR.

Saturday football live

Live updates from today's Scottish football fixtures, plus Premier League previews and the latest from Crystal Palace.

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson tips Sunday wins for Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool - but not Arsenal or Tottenham.

Live transfer updates

For our live transfer blog as Celtic boss Ronny Deila claims Arsenal target Virgil van Dijk want to stay with the Scottish Premiership leaders.

Ronaldo snubbed Birmingham move

David Sullivan told Soccer AM he was offered Cristiano Ronaldo for £6million when he was Birmingham City owner.

Features

Premier League: A look at the factors that have led to Neil Warnock's sacking as manager of Crystal Palace

Premier League: A look at the factors that have led to Neil Warnock's sacking as manager of Crystal Palace

Adam Bate looks at the factors that have led to Neil Warnock becoming the first Premier League manager to lose his job so far this season following his departure from Crystal Palace…

Boxing Day stats: Facts and figures from Friday's games

Boxing Day stats: Facts and figures from Friday's games

Chelsea fans received a late Christmas present, as the Blues produced a dominant display to see off London rivals West Ham in the Sky Live lunchtime kick-off, while there was plenty of drama to follow in the 3pm starts, before 10-man Arsenal defeated QPR.

Chelsea 2-0 West Ham: Blues are leading scorers from set-pieces in Premier League

Chelsea 2-0 West Ham: Blues are leading scorers from set-pieces in Premier League

Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian all shone as Chelsea beat West Ham 2-0 - but the Blues' threat from set-pieces can not be underestimated...