Match Day 5 of the English Premier League comes to a close after a thrilling 2-2 draw between South Coast rivals Southampton and Brighton at St Mary’s.
It’s not much fun being a Southampton fan these days.
Mauricio Pochettino led them to an 8th place finish in the English Premier League (EPL) back in 2013/14. Ronald Koeman went one better, driving them to a 7th place finish in 2014/15, and a 6th place finish in 2015/16. Claude Puel came in during the 2016/17 season, and also managed an 8th place finish.
What makes those heady days even more remarkable is year after year, the Southampton board kept selling their best players and losing the very managers who whipped the nobodies into shape.
And then everything went tits up.
Puel left to join Leicester. Mauricio Pellegrino came in, won eight, drew 13 and lost 13, taking the club to the brink of relegation. The club sacked him at the 11th hour, brought in Mark Hughes, and the Welshman saved them winning two of their final four games.
But the malaise continues.
Southampton has not won a home game since November 2017, and that poor run ebbed along despite taking a two-goal lead against local rivals Brighton on Monday Night.
Hughes took his Southampton side into the tie against Brighton with the record books showing they had not won a Monday Night tie in 11 attempts. However, it looked like they would rewrite history after the Saints took a two-goal lead with 35-minutes remaining, thanks to a wonder strike from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, and a tidy penalty from Liverpool loanee, Danny Ings.
Southampton came into this one on a run of two wins after a disappointing start to the season. They beat Brighton in the Caraboa Cup, and then beat Crystal Palace on the weekend.
In comparison, Brighton came into this one winless in four and had to fight back from two goals down to salvage a point against fellow relegation battlers Fulham at the Amex the last time out.
And here they were again.
Two goals down.
Away from home.
But this is a side that beat Man Utd.
They can dig in, and compete with the best of them when they need to, and they needed to.
Only two minutes had passed since Ings’ penalty when Shane Duffy headed home Anthony Knockaert’s cross and came mightily close to drawing level when Alireza Jahanbakhsh hit the post.
Then, just when it looked like Sparky’s men had held on to that decisive home victory, Anthony Taylor ruled that James Ward-Prowse had decked Shane Duffy inside the box, and Glenn Murray stepped up to score his fifth goal in six starts from the penalty spot.
Southampton has now dropped 26 points from leading positions in the Premier League since the start of last season, more than any other club.
I think it’s going to be another long season.
Next up for Southampton?