How Southampton Has Turned Into This Season’s Surprise Team

Southampton has become the biggest surprise of this Premier League season. After being promoted just last year, they have catapulted themselves into third place after the first 11 matches. Even more amazing, they have the chance to go top of the league this Saturday if results go their way between Liverpool-Everton, and against Arsenal.

In looking back over last season, Southampton finished in a respectable 14th place with 41 points. Their -11 goal difference came from allowing 60 goals and scoring 49. What is interesting is that when they sacked Nigel Adkins they were in 15th place with a 5-7-10 record and 22 points. With Mauricio Pochettino in charge they finished the season going 4-7-5. This included finishing the season through April and May going 1-4-2. It didn’t look like much of a difference at the time.

I bring all of this up because the trend in Southampton seemed to be leading to them dwelling in lower table mediocrity. The Saints looked like a team that could possibly build into a middle of the table side in a few years, but probably a team that would need to fight to stay in the Premier League for another season or two.

Now that the 2013-14 season is 11/38 in, Southampton has shocked us all. My own preseason EPL predictions had them finishing in the bottom half and spending at least part of the season worrying about relegation.

In looking over statistics (thanks to WhoScored? as well as Barclays Premier League official website) the team isn’t dominating any particular area (except defensively), but seems to have put together a quality squad that knows how to play as a team and get results.

As a comparison between last season and this, we can look at the results they managed from the same set of eleven teams they have faced so far this year. Since Crystal Palace and Hull City are newly promoted sides, I used QPR and Reading as similar teams from last season (with both being promoted last year along with Southampton).

2012-13 Match-ups
Home

Score

Away

2013-14

West Brom

2 – 0

Southampton

0 – 1

Southampton

0 – 1

Sunderland

1 – 1

Norwich City

0 – 0

Southampton

1 – 0

Southampton

1 – 1

West Ham

0 – 0

Liverpool

1 – 0

Southampton

0 – 1

Southampton

1 – 2

QPR

2 – 0 (Crystal Palace)

Southampton

1 – 1

Swansea City

2 – 0

Man United

2 – 1

Southampton

1 – 1

Southampton

2 – 2

Fulham

2 – 0

Stoke City

3 – 3

Southampton

1 – 1

Southampton

1 – 0

Reading

4 – 1 (Hull City)

As you can see, they went 1-5-5 while scoring 10 goals and allowing 15, along with two clean sheets. In this same set of fixtures this season they are now 6-4-1 scoring 15 and allowing five, with six clean sheets.

Pages 1 2 3 4

9 Comments

  1. Bishopville Red November 20, 2013
    • Todd Shenk November 20, 2013
  2. Justin Rodway November 20, 2013
    • Todd Shenk November 20, 2013
  3. abdirahman November 20, 2013
    • Todd Shenk November 20, 2013
      • Kerry G November 22, 2013
  4. Kerry G November 20, 2013
    • Saint George November 21, 2013

Leave a Reply