Southampton’s Rough 2023 Made Better By Promising Stat

2023 won’t be remembered very fondly by Southampton fans, but their promising points-per-game ratio has given the fans something to latch onto. 

Only three games remain for Southampton in a year that has seen them go through three managers, a League Cup semi-final, a relegation, a dismal four-game losing streak, and a serious bid for automatic promotion. For better or worse, this year will live long in the memory of Saints fans, and better days look as though they’re finally on the horizon.

It’s been a year of extremes. The highs, such as beating Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-finals, were dazzling, whilst the lows, like Nathan Jones’ pitiful three-month managerial reign, were morale-destroying. Cloudy days have surrounded the south-coast club, but the superb form of Russell Martin’s men has finally delivered some sunshine back to Southampton.

Biggest low – Premier League relegation

Southampton’s 11-year stay in the Premier League ended with a damp squib as the side finished rock-bottom of the Premier League table last season. Ralph Hassenhutl was sacked in November,  Nathan Jones reigned for three months, and Ruben Selles was left to clear up the rubble.

Former Luton boss Jones delivered a memorable press conference where he hailed his old Luton side, but the Welshman was sacked just 95 days after taking charge. His spell may have been disastrous, but it did produce one of the club’s finest moments of 2023 – beating Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and denying the Citizens a historic quadruple.

Assistant Ruben Selles was unable to guide Saints to safety, and the club slipped beneath the waves after a respectable decade as a Premier League tenant.

Biggest high – EFL Championship Form

Things seemed to go from bad to worse for Southampton with the departures of club captain James Ward-Prowse, highly-rated midfielder Romeo Lavia, and prolific winger Nathan Tella.

Saints boasted a strong starting XI in their Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday, but the exodus coincided with a dreadful run of form which saw the newcomers lose four games on the bounce.

Major question marks surrounded new manager Russell Martin and his ambitious playing style, but the former Swansea coach successfully recovered and Southampton have yet to lose a league game since.

This year may have produced some farcical moments at St. Mary’s, but the club’s resolute form in the Championship has gone a long way in healing those wounds. A points-per-game ratio of 1.91 will, if it continues, keep Saints’ bid for immediate promotion thriving into 2024.

Best player  – Adam Armstrong

Scottish striker Adam Armstrong only managed four goals across two Premier League seasons on the south coast, but the 26-year-old has since become an indispensable part of Martin’s side.

The former Blackburn Rovers man has scored 12 goals and produced six assists this season and, if he maintains his form, he could be looking at a spot in the Championship Team of the Season come May.

Any doubts about the attacker have surely evaporated now, and he looks like the man who’ll take Southampton’s promotion charge by the scruff of the neck.

Writers’ View

Sport Republic’s time in charge of Southampton FC has been tumultuous, but the club finally looks to be on solid ground.

It’s been a topsy-turvy year, with the supporters booing the team on several occasions and key players departing. However, the impressive run of form the Saints are on can’t be ignored.

There’s still a lot of work to do in 2024, but it’s highly unlikely that the madness of this year will be repeated. It took Southampton seven years to come back to the Premier League after their last relegation, but Russell Martin’s side could very well achieve immediate promotion.

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