It’s a huge weekend for… Pochettino, excitement, QPR and Arsenal
When Mauricio Pochettino first took over, his appointment was viewed cynically. However, with Southampton’s initial impressive performances (including a victory over Manchester City) the common opinion was that Pochettino looked the proverbial dog’s balls.
However, that now remains the Saints’ only victory since the Spaniard’s appointment. They have six points from seven games, and that is very much relegation form. The home defeat to QPR and draw with Norwich (which could so easily have been defeat) leaves them still six points from the relegation zone, but Wigan have a game in hand.
Given that they travel to Stamford Bridge in their next fixture, a home game against in form Liverpool almost needs to be seen as ‘must not lose’. They turned up for their last home game against top opposition, and must strive to ensure that they same occurs again.
Premier League excitement
With the title race all but wrapped up (and don’t listen to Sky’s claims that it isn’t over until it’s over) and the battle for a Champions League place not that invigorating, the real point of interest in the Premier League is the relegation battle.
The potential for excitement towards the denouement of the league season can be summed up by this statistic: If Wigan beat Newcastle this weekend at home, it is perfectly possible that tenth position in the league could be just six points ahead of the dropzone. That’s Fulham, Stoke, West Ham, Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa and Wigan all covered by six points with eight games to play.
Same old Arsenal really. Get themselves into a situation that is pretty much lost, only to come back gloriously but come up just short. In fact, they merely extended their recent Premier League form of only starting to play at half time over a two-legged tie.
Having lost their European place, they must now move heaven and earth to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Having been given a lifeline by Spurs’ defeat last weekend and Chelsea’s difficult run-in, Arsenal still have a chance, but this must start with a win in South Wales.
Old Arsenal meeting New Arsenal?
As long as the run continues, the more opportunity there is for the Great Escape. QPR have now won consecutive games against teams around them, and Saturday’s game against Aston Villa is the final game of a nice run.
Redknapp’s men can count themselves quite unlucky to still be four points away from safety after two wins, but that is largely due to the form of Aston Villa recently. The result at Villa Park on Saturday will go a long way to determine just how far QPR have come.