Premier League Final Position: 7th
It’s hard to know where to start with describing how impressive Southampton’s season has been. From the incredible management by Ronald Koeman to the destruction of Sunderland at St Mary’s combined with the fantastic defensive solidity are just a few of the many highlights to draw upon. The Saints came into this campaign as potential relegation candidates after a summer exodus saw a number of key players departing. But you cannot praise enough just how well they’ve performed, and if Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final, a place in the Europa League awaits, and it’s nothing less than they deserve.Embed from Getty Images
Back-to-back wins against Arsenal and Manchester United – Southampton convincingly swept the Gunners aside at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic. Ten days later, they put in an impressive, steely performance at Old Trafford and secured a 1-0 win with another goal from Tadic marking a truly excellent stage of the Saints’ season as they showed they can compete with top sides home and away. Those two games also came after a well-earned draw at home to Chelsea.
The 1-0 defeat at home to Swansea at the beginning of February – Southampton were still clinging on to a Champions League spot in the table heading into that game. A draw would’ve kept them a point ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, but a late Jonjo Shelvey strike sunk Saints hearts and left them level with the Gunners. It was the first moment in the season that they let the chasing pack in through the back door and it was also the game that began their dip in form.
Player of the YearEmbed from Getty Images
Jose Fonte – The skipper has consistently been a rock at the back with 37 appearances and was a key figure in orchestrating strong defensive performances. Southampton boast the second best defensive record this season, conceding just 33 goals – only Chelsea conceded fewer (32).
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland (Oct 10, 2014)
Southampton 0-3 Manchester City (Nov 30, 2014)
What to improve for the 2015/16 season…
Southampton’s form in the last third of the season wasn’t great, and away from home in particular they suffered massively. Koeman’s side won just five of their last 16 games (D3, L8). They also failed to win any of their last seven Premier League away fixtures (D1, L6), scoring just three goals and conceding 11. Performances in the latter stages of the season will be an area that needs addressing.
With the potential added commitment of the Europa League next season, they will need to learn quickly how to deal with a congested fixture list.