By: Drew Pilewski
Leicester City is attracting most of the attention for being the surprise team of the still very young season. They are led by English Premier League leading goal scorer Jamie Vardy, who is attracting all of the headlines this year. They are the soccer hipster team of choice this season, but where is last season’s hipster team of choice, Southampton? They are currently sitting steadily in 7th and are only four points off a Champions League spot.
Where did the football hipster support for Southampton go? Did they all move on to the Leicesters and Swanseas of the world and forget about the Saints? This is my plea for the football media and the football world in general to not forget about their love affair with the Saints.
Southampton has been cruising lately and are showing fantastic form. The dynamic attacking forces of Graziano Pellé and Saido Mané coupled with the defensive consistency of Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk has helped Southampton to a strong start to the season. The Saints are undefeated in their last seven games in all competitions and are recovering to their mediocre start to the season.
Many thought that it was time for the Saints reckoning the past month with a tough run of games against the defending champion Chelsea, the newly coached Liverpool, the in-form Swansea, and the on-fire Leicester. They took all of the games in stride. They scored three against Swansea at home, then were the first team to score three against a Jose Mourinho Chelsea team at Stamford Bridge in either of his stint there. They finished this tough month of games with draws against Leicester and Liverpool.
If another team of Southampton’s size put together that type of form, the media would be all over them, but they are not. The form Southampton are in is even more impressive given they have been purged of their best players the last two seasons. They have lost Chambers, Shaw, Lovren, Lambert, Clyne, and Schneiderlin these last two years and are still playing the best football the club has ever seen. One of the reasons is that we have been through this before with Southampton. We have seen them surge forward in the table at the beginning of the year before falling off towards the end. It may be this anticipation that is holding the media back from reporting them the same way as they have the last two years.
The coverage of Southampton (or lack thereof) may be indicative of another trend however. This may be the sign that Southampton have finally arrived as a football power in England. They are now expected to achieve these heights every year, and it is not a surprise when they have a seven game unbeaten streak and play other good teams well.
If the trend continues, Southampton will lose their best two or three players this summer in the transfer window and they will still have the same lofty expectations as this year. They have elite expectations, but until they have the financial clout to keep their top players, they will never reach the heights of the teams like Man City and Arsenal.