After a disappointing start to their league campaign and then finding their feet a bit, Southampton aren’t in the glamorous end of the Premier League table, currently sat in 10th only four points above the relegation zone.
However, what hasn’t been disappointing is Southampton’s campaigns in the Europa League and EFL Cup.
Sat 2nd in Group K with two games to go, Saints look quite certain of advancing through to the Europa League knockout stages, the phase of the competition that Southampton can qualify for if they gain more points than Hapoel on the 24th.
Also, after two home wins over Premier League opposition, Saints have qualified for the League Cup quarter-final for the third consecutive year. However, they still haven’t got past this stage yet despite two previous attempts.
Drawn with a trip to Arsenal, Southampton won’t be seen as favourites for the fixture, however they can beat anyone on their day and who knows who Arsenal will play…
If they can get past Arsenal, there is no reason why they can’t advance to the final itself and possibly provide a shock-win of the tournament.
Assuming they qualify, Southampton will have the time of their life in the knockout stages of the Europa League, with some Champions League sides entering the competition.
A benefit for them is that there is no pressure to do much in this part of the competition. Some teams will have the pressure to win the competition, however Saints will just be able to enjoy the ride.
Look at Wales in this Summer’s Euros for example. They weren’t expected to do much in the tournament but without pressure they managed to reach the semi-finals.
My point isn’t that we should attempt to win the Europa League or League Cup (even though we’re in with a shout) but it is whether the league is important this year with the competition levels as high as ever and if Southampton should be focusing more on adding to their cobwebbed trophy cabinet than attempting and likely to fail achieving a top six position.