Until 5pm on Saturday afternoon I was pretty desperate for Southampton to get a thorough stuffing tonight at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. With their wretched goal difference a defeat for the Saints and a draw for the Canaries against QPR would have made us pretty much safe.
Now that the threat of relegation is no longer over us I’ve had a complete change of heart. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against West Brom – I think they are the best team in the division – but I’m thinking of the greater good.
A win for the Baggies leaves only one automatic promotion place left for Hull and Stoke to fight it out for, and Southampton would need nothing less than a win against Sheffield United next Sunday to have any realistic chance of avoiding the drop. The Blades need a win to stand any chance of making the play-offs so that would then potentially be a cracking game but no, exciting a prospect as that may be for a “neutral” that’s not good enough for me.
A Southampton win would have ramifications all the way through the table.
The pressure would be on Leicester to go to Stoke and upset the applecart, who just need a point to seal promotion. Hull could potentially overtake both Stoke and the Baggies with a win at Ipswich, who themselves need a win to get into the play-offs. What better motivation for the Tigers at Portman Road than the possibility of winning the title? And how upsetting would be for all Canaries to see the Tractor Boys miss out on the play-offs?
In short, a win for Southampton tonight makes the last day of the season all the more exciting – now that we don’t need to worry.
So come on you Saints, don’t let us down!
UPDATE: Well done Southampton, you may not have managed to cling on to the win but you’ve definitely made the last game of the season more interesting for a lot of clubs. And well done West Brom as well, promoted to the Premier League barring a chain of ridiculous results on Sunday. Well deserved.