Here we go, reliving happy, and not so happy, memories of the season; your best/worst may be different from mine, but I hope I have covered some of them.
Take your pick from quite a few very excellent displays by Southampton – Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea at St. Mary’s; Manchester United and Manchester City away. Against these top clubs Saints scored 12 goals and conceded 9; not bad for a ‘struggling’ side.
Manchester City (H)
Apart from the winning, it was the manner of the win – dominant in all areas of the park, never giving them time to rest, aggressively chasing and winning the ball back; the other notable highlight was Gareth Barry’s excellent back pass into his own net whilst under no pressure whatsoever!
Rickie Lambert scoring against the club he supported as a youngster and his home town team; Jay Rodriguez’s super run from the half-way line at the Liverpool defence to shoot, pick up the rebound and coolly slot it home for Saints third goal.
Another shock for one of the big boys! The one-two between Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez for Saints first was made in footballing heaven, only to be eclipsed by Rickie Lambert’s stunning free-kick giving Petr Cech absolutely no chance in the Chelsea goal; the other highlight was the Chelsea fans singing ‘Championes’ in a dire effort to make themselves feel better having seen how their team was demolished.
Manchester United (A)
You can get no higher praise than Sir Alex Ferguson telling the world’s press that Southampton were the best team they had played at Old Trafford this season; a magical second half performance by Saints could not quite enable them to take at least a point which would have been thoroughly deserved, United was struggling to contain a rampant opposition and only just managed to hang on for a win – breathtaking!
What a game to welcome you back to the big time, away to the champions of the premier league; a City side pack to the rafters with talent, international stars from across the globe. Saints were in no mood to stand back and admire them, they went at them and at 2-1 up Saints fans were in dreamland, unfortunately it didn’t last and valiantly they succumbed to two late goals from City.
Another bunch to pick from – home games against Wigan, Sunderland, QPR, and West Brom come readily to mind; too many points dropped at home to quite poor opposition, it was just that despite all the possession and pressure Saints could not make the break through that would have seen them go on to win the match. Against these teams Saints scored 1 and conceded 7; a complete contrast to the games highlighted above, why?
After the euphoria of what might have been in the first game, this was utter disappointment. Southampton’s first home game back in the top division, and they lost; Saints had the upper hand, pressuring Wigan for all of the second half but they could not break through their defence; a defeat was an injustice but you must put away chances in this league.
Oh dear! How did we lose this one? Sunderland had no more intention of playing expansive football, than I had of becoming a Jedi knight! One attack, one goal, game over! Aaaaaaaarhhh!!!!
Billed as the return of the hated one (the Northam fans made themselves heard, loud and clear about that); Harry Redknapp returned to St. Mary’s for the first time since taking the club down after being relegated from the premiership. Saints looked flat in the first half and although they got back into the game with a late first half equaliser; camped in the Rangers half, and their ‘keeper having a super time in goal and having enough chances to win the match, it was not to be, then QPR nicked a second to steal all three points – Harry had the last laugh, again!
Saints had had a terrible game away to Albion earlier in the season, so, with the reverse fixture it would have been nice to have a little bit of revenge, but no! This game came after a run of six unbeaten, oh my it was bad, scored 0, conceded 3, red cards 2 (Ramirez and Fox, until this game not a red card in the last 41, and that was Fox at Birmingham); so, all-in-all it was awful! Best sent to the very back of the memory bank and forgotten for all time, end of story!