In the last round against Palace, Southampton were huffing and puffing but not really looking like scoring in the second half. As the minutes left got into single figures and two goals seemed impossible I turned to my friend and said I'd rather we lost than face a midweek replay.
Since that match, saints have struggled to break down more defensive minded teams. The team has managed just one goal in three games and looks in need of a break.
Dušan Tadić and Graziano Pellè, the two most important players in the opening months, are used to having some off time in the sun at Christmas. Instead they have faced a punishing schedule of cup and league games and their form seems to have been duly affected.
Matt Targett was a revelation in the ill fated league cup run, proving himself an able deputy for Ryan Bertrand. It would have been nice to see if u21 captain Jason McCarthy could have done the same job on the right. And with Pelle's lean spell in front of goal recently, some more first team minutes for Ryan Seager might also have been beneficial.
Personally I would have preferred the Pochettino approach this season. Last year he was castigated for focusing on the league, and quite rightly so, we were in mid table limbo. At the moment our boys are fighting for a top four place. I'd love to see saints add another major honour to their current one and a trip to Wembley would be grand but a visit to Camp Nou would be far more fun.
Next Sunday we welcome Lallana, Lovren and Lambert back to St Marys and Ronald Koeman will secretly be happy the squad can have couple of days rest and more than a week to prepare. Liverpool will have played two cup games in the meantime, one of which is on a dreaded Europa league Thursday.
Nothing beats a real trophy.
Sure making the top-four is all good and well, but that doesn't equal to winning a proper silverware (take it from me, a lifelong Arsenal fan).
Of course with Southampton's exit from The FA Cup, this is now a moot point, but it might haunt the team once the season is over.
As it stands, Southampton are in fourth place but with only eight points separating them from West Ham United in eighth, their position is precarious.
Some people will go and say, "Well, that's all the more reason to focus on the league", but consider the fact that in Southampton's remaining 13 games, they will face four top-eight sides. With a home game against Liverpool and a trip to Chelsea in their next five games.
Among Southampton's other competitor for a Champions League spot, The Saints record against the top-eight teams stands at 11 points from 10 games, the second lowest after West Ham's 8 points from 10 games. Somewhat a worrying sign with a game against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur also in the offing.
Meanwhile, winning The FA Cup is far from a done deal, and again, it's a moot point now that the team is out of the cup. But winning the trophy would provide a security blanket of a spot in Europa League qualifiers.
A trophy and a spot in Europe, even if it's the Europa League, is still a very nice reward for the performance that the lads have shown. But with the team now putting all its eggs in one basket, let's hope that we still have some eggs to enjoy at the end of the season.
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