#Southampton 8 - 0 #Sunderland
Southampton trounced Gus Poyet's hapless Sunderland side by 8 goals to nil at St Mary's on Saturday as the Black Cats played more like nervous kittens, and even contributed two own goals to their opponents' total. Just about everything that hit the target for the Saints seemed to go in as a relatively even contest percentage wise was anything but on the scoreboard.
The match was already well won by half time as Southampton led by three goals to nil, after a comical volleyed own goal by Santiago Vergini and one apiece for Graziano Pelle and Jack Cork, but manager of the month Ronald Koeman has instilled a strong work ethic in his side and they clearly wanted more after the break. They continued to search for further goals in the second period and were rewarded with five more through another own goal by Liam Bridcutt, plus additional strikes for Pelle (again), Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane. The heavy defeat ensured a particularly long and miserable return for the team and their fans back to Wearside.
After a busy transfer window for the south coast club, in which many of their supposedly star players such as Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and even their manager, Mauricio Pochettino left for pastures new, many feared for their chances this season and even suggested that they may flirt with relegation. The reality has been far different as they harbour hopes of European football next term and maybe even the excesses that come with a Champions League place, as they have reached the lofty heights of third in the early #Premier League
standings. To the neutral football fan that would seem to be just reward for a club that has helped to nurture many of England's leading talents, with an Academy that has been the envy of the country over the years, helping to develop such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and of course the World's most expensive player, Real Madrid's Galactico Gareth Bale.
The "reality" is likely to be closer to a top eight finish, but with a bit of luck on the injury front and in some of the matches against the supposed "bigger teams", who knows what they might achieve? An European spot would bring in extra revenue and then maybe they could keep some of their more saleable players in future seasons as they dangle the carrot of challenging the best across the continent.
That they have managed to integrate fresh faces such as Pelle who has now contributed seven goals for his new club, whilst retaining the services of several other players tipped for moving on such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne, speaks volumes for the skills of the new manager and the set up at Southampton.
In the meantime, spare a thought for poor Gus who deserves much more from his players than the return they gave him yesterday. One only hopes that his chairman gives him time to turn their fortunes around after a solid season last year where they reached the League Cup final.