It has been a very difficult start to the season for Southampton on their return to the Premier League. Despite showing the world that they can compete with England's elite, Nigel Adkins' men have three points from their first six games.
Last week, the Saints travelled to in-form Everton where they fell to a 3-1 defeat. even though. Saints took an early lead through Gastón Ramírez. The majority of the media have already written Southampton's chances of survival before the season started. But as every supporter will know, home form is vital in the top flight. The players will be looking to secure their second home win of the season when Fulham come to town on Sunday afternoon.
With Southampton having played 4 top quality sides in their first six games, every Saints fan would that it would be an uphill task. There are no easy games in the Premier League. However, the next six fixtures for the Saints look more appealing. As previously mentioned, Fulham are the next visitors to St. Mary's, who have made a solid start under manager Martin Jol. The main priority for Southampton is to get a win on Sunday in terms of improving their points tally but also going into the international break on a high.
As you can see from the image on the left, Southampton's next two home fixtures after Sunday's match are against Tottenham and Swansea. The next three home matches are a fantastic chance for the Saints to get at least six points from nine. As long as everybody can unite together as one, then Southampton can create a good run from these fixtures and improve confidence among the squad. Away wins are a massive bonus and if you look at the next three away games, they are also give the Saints a good chance of getting some points.
Apart from the Wigan match, the Saints have performed really well at St. Mary's especially in their last home game against Aston Villa. It's essential that the team replicate their home form of last season which secured the club's second consecutive promotion. Southampton almost went the entire of 2011 unbeaten at home in the league until bogey team Bristol City ended that run last December. Before the match with the Robins, Southampton had been on a 23-match unbeaten run which included 21 wins and 2 draws. The only other club to manage a unbeaten home record in 2011 were current Premier League champions Manchester City. It is amazing statistic that will stay with the Saints for many years to come, although, the time is right to bring back the form that virtually won the club back-to-back promotions.
Nigel Adkins and the players know that they will have to make the most of their home matches to get as many points as they can at St. Mary's. Southampton have a pretty strong record at home in the past and the fans have definitely played their part. They will need to continue their terrific support and the belief among everybody at the club will also be essential. "Players respond to the supporters", is a phrase that I've said to many Saints fans over the past couple of years. The fact is that it is true! A great example is when Saints concede a goal, the fans get up on their feet and immediately get behind the players.
My message to all Saints fans is this: "We have had a difficult start to our return to the Premier League however with your support, you can play your part in leading the team onto victory as the chant goes. There is no need to panic just yet. There are 32 league games to go and we can still have a good season! Just remember how far we have come!"