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Southampton’s woeful form in the Premier League going unnoticed

Tuesday 7th February 2017
Which Premier League side have picked up the fewest points in their last half a dozen games? The answer is very surprising – Southampton. The South Coast club are enduring the worst run of form in the top-flight and are dropping down the table in speedy fashion as a result.

Claude Puel's men looked to have overcome a previous dip in form after winning four of five games in January, but things have turned and it sees them closer to the drop zone than the top-eight.

Southampton's defence in tatters

West Ham United enjoyed a 3-1 win against Southampton at St Mary's over the weekend – the second time in seven days that Puel's men had shipped three or more goals in a game. The Saints defence was praised earlier in the season when Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk formed a resilient partnership at the back. But Fonte has since been sold to West Ham United and Van Dijk is currently injured. It leaves the side thin on viable options, meaning their problems at the defensive part of the field could get worse before they get better.

In their last three games in all competitions, the Saints have shipped 10 goals for their troubles – (FA Cup) Southampton 0-5 Arsenal, (Premier League) Swansea City 2-1 Southampton, (Premier League) Southampton 1-3 West Ham United. Given they're missing their two ever-present centre-backs, it's not hard to see why they're struggling. But with the transfer window shut, they're forced to make do with what they have in the squad.

Lack of goals at the other end

And while Southampton has had a problem keeping goals out, they are struggling to put the ball in the net in the final third. The South Coast club has scored just two goals in their previous three in all competitions, registering one or less in seven of their last eight. Their top scorer this season is striker Charlie Austin with six goals.

He's made only 10 league starts so his return is respectable. Jay Rodriguez has scored four goals in seven starts. But Nathan Redmond has just three in 23 games this season. The likes of Shane Long has just two to his name and it's clear to see where Southampton's problems lie.

Their scoring woes are surprising given they have averaged more shots per game than Premier League leaders Chelsea, but their accuracy ratio is less than 33% which suggests poor finishing is a cause of the lack of goals. Southampton have netted only 24 goals in as many games this season, the joint-third lowest return in the division. Puel needs to get the side firing again to ensure they don't keep dropping down the table.

Southampton have won just four games in their last 12 in all competitions, suffering seven defeats. 13th in the Premier League with 27 points, the Saints are closer to the relegation zone than they are to eighth-placed West Bromwich Albion. A win in their next league game could put them level on points with the top-half, but can the Southampton boss turn things around?
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 318

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