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Can the Saints go marching into the top 10? – Football Betting News

Article, Editorial, English Football, Featured, Free Bets, News, Trading | Article posted on February 15th, 2013

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Can the Saints go marching into the top 10?



Can Saints Go Top 10?


Every week, bookmaker and former Racing Post chief sports betting writer Mark Worwood tackles one of football’s hottest topics from a punting perspective.


Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese copped a lot of flak when he sacked Nigel Adkins, the manager who had led the Saints to back-to-back promotions and a place back in the promised land of the English Premier League, when the side with the youngest team in the top flight was outside the drop zone and winning plaudits for its brand of football.


There is no arguing that Adkins was incredibly unlucky to lose his job and one can understand why England’s League Managers Association leapt to the defence of the former Bangor, Tranmere and Wigan goalkeeper, as did Southampton legends Matthew Le Tissier and Lawrie McMenemy.


But Cortese, who hired Mauricio Pochettino to fill the shoes of Adkins, is showing signs that he is one of a rare breed: a successful businessman whose street smarts do not abandon him whenever he makes football-related decisions. Never does it cease to me amaze how self-made millionaires appoint well known duds to manage the football club of which they are the owner, something that they would not dream of doing in their business lives. Football does silly things to some people.

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Cortese did not believe that Alan Pardew was the man to get the Saints back into the English elite so he showed the door to Pardew, the boss of the first Southampton side to win a trophy in 34 years, and lured Adkins from Scunthorpe. The Saints chairman’s judgement was proven to be more than sound, with Adkins steering Southampton to consecutive second-place finishes and automatic promotions.


Last month, Cortese demonstrated that he felt that Adkins had taken the Saints as far as he could, sacking him just two days after Southampton had drawn 2-2 versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge because he thought that there was a better boss available and interested in accepting the challenge.


Not particularly well known outside of his native Argentina and Spain, the country in which he excelled as both a player and a coach, Pochettino’s appointment to the Saints job drew criticism from the likes of Le Tissier and McMenemy. Maybe they should have done some research before getting stuck into Cortese who, after all, probably deserved the benefit of the doubt after hiring Adkins out of the blue in 2010.


Managing Espanyol – the second biggest team in Barcelona after you know who – is a thankless task but Pochettino performed it with considerable aplomb for three and a half seasons before, as it often does, the wheels began to fall off. He inherited an Espanyol side heading out of Spain’s top flight and lifted it to a 10th-place finish and then oversaw full campaigns in which it came eighth, 11th and 14th, regularly flirting with European qualification.


Pochettino’s Espanyol was one of the few Spanish La Liga teams to match it with Barcelona – the Budgies more than held their own in the various league derbies – and the former Espanyol defender brought through a lot of good, young players – upwards of 10 – during his tenure as its coach. That is something that Cortese would have factored into his call to sack Adkins and hire Pochettino because Southampton has one of England’s top youth academies.


The Saints are out to odds of around 11-2 to be relegated from the English Premier League this season following their 3-1 home win over Manchester City – the ninth time that a promoted side has beaten the reigning champion since the English elite was reconstructed in the summer of 1992.


Southampton is six points adrift of the 10th-placed team in the English Premier League after most of the sides have played 26 matches. Could the Saints represent a bit of value at odds of around 6-1 to finish in the top 10? They have a kind run in and they should be unbeaten under Pochettino instead of having one win, one draw and one loss.

Was Cortese right to sack Adkins and hire Pochettino? In which spot will Southampton finish? Send me your comments.




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