Monday, 24 September 2012

The Adkins diet finally shows results

Speculation of the manager’s future was surrounding St Mary’s, questions were pointed at the defence, and even Kelvin Davis was being quizzed over recent performances.

Despite impressive performances from their opening four games, Southampton sat solely at the foot of the Premier League with no points.

Rickie Lambert had made an account of himself, just like the rest of the Saints team as they put in impressive displays to test some of the best teams in English football.

A number of supporters began to lose faith and hold question marks up to Nigel Adkins and co. after the 6-1 thumping at Arsenal.

Kelvin Davis dropped

Kelvin Davis was beaten at his near post at the Emirates and had a pretty miserable game, but Saints fans have seen this before and Davis has kept his place in the team for years.  

Regardless, Davis was dropped for the home game against Aston Villa, which was “the start of Southampton’s season” according to Adkins.

The 35-year-old has proved he’s good enough; he may have just had a bad day at the office.
As it turned out, Adkins made a good decision. The 20-year-old had a solid game; it was a shame that Darren Bent ruined his chance of keeping a clean sheet.


New summer signings

Adkins also decided to put Maya Yoshida and Gaston Ramirez in the starting line-up, two new summer additions to the squad.

Ramirez had an outstanding game, showing others why he was worth his reported £12m price tag.
Paul Gazzaniga - Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Pre-season Friendly
Paulo Gazzaniga

Rickie Lambert showed why he is vital towards the Southampton team this season, his opening goal showed strength, agility, shot accuracy and power as he received the ball from another influential Saints player, Adam Lallana, before firing past the Villa ‘keeper.

Promising youngster Nathaniel Clyne also came up with the goods as he fired the home side into the lead five minutes after Lambert’s contribution.

Jason Puncheon has been like a new signing for the Saints this season, he was shipped out on loan the previous two seasons due to reasons we don’t know. The shifty winger caused Villa problems on Saturday and even scored (with a deflection) Southampton’s third goal.

Another new signing got involved in a goal too, Emmanuel Mayuka was played through by Lambert before Brad Guzan brought the Zambian forward down in the penalty area.

Lambert – Never in doubt

It was never in doubt that Lambert would score the spot kick, as he fired in his 26 out of 26 penalty for Saints.
Lambert (right) celebrates another converted penalty.
The Saints host Sheffield Wednesday at St Marys for a League Cup game before heading to Goodison Park to face a tough Everton side who currently sit third in the Premier League.

It will be interesting to see whether Adkins keeps Gazzaniga in goal for the trip to Merseyside whilst Davis and new signing Artur Boruc remain in contention for the bench.

The ‘dreadful’ start that some labelled on Southampton may not look so bad now that the three points gained against Villa have lifted the South coast side out of the relegation zone.

The Saints: Together as one
If Adkins’ men can’t pick up a point or three at Goodison, the home match against Fulham the following week will prove to be another vital game before heading to fellow promoted club, West ham.

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