View From The Town End - Southampton

Ben Hoskins

It's hard to believe that it was only 7 months ago that Reading fans were pouring out of St Mary's jubilantly celebrating a win that all but ensured promotion to the Premier League. However things change quickly in football and it's safe to say this season hasn't quite gone to planned thus far. Saturday we head back to the South Coast to face Southampton who have also struggled upon their top flight return. Ahead of the game we are delighted to welcome back Chris Rann who blogs for ESPN and Saints blog, George Weah's Cousin.

How have you viewed Southampton's season so far?

With my hands over my eyes. Considering our opening run of games, we were playing reasonably well, though not picking up points, this then turned into playing badly, with the recurring theme of horrific defending and odd goalkeeping leading to some pretty dire performances. Recently, last week against Liverpool aside, we have looked pretty impressive, and at least shown that we are capable of dominating teams when we click. It is a little Jeckyl and Hyde at the moment. The Saints that played against Newcastle can beat anyone in the division, the Saints that played Liverpool belong in a pub league.

Has the Premier League been what you expected after a seven-year break?

Yes and no. I knew it would be tough, but I am adamant the standard of the Premier League has gradually got worse over the last 8 or 9 years. The Manchester United side today (that will be challenging for the title) is not a patch on the ones we used to face last time round. Perhaps it's sentimentality but I think the league has lost it's edge a bit. I look at teams now and think "we could get something here", there wasn't a lot of that last time round...

How have you viewed Reading's season so far?

A little similar to ours I guess, when I have seen Reading on TV, they don't seem to be playing that badly, but defensive errors and individual mistakes put paid to a positive result. I wouldn't have had either of us down as relegation battlers in the summer, but here we are...

Any fond memories of Southampton v Reading?

Not really! My memories of games against Reading are primarily away defeats and home frustrations! I enjoyed our late equaliser away last season, but we hardly deserved anything from a dire performance.

Any not so fond ones?

Last season at home. The night we conceded the title. I still think we should have won, but the ruthlessness with which you took the game from us in the second half was the mark of champions. You deserved it, and wanted it more.

Any Reading player that Saints fans are worried about?

Jason Roberts was fantastic against us last season, so I am sure we will have to keep an eye on him, other than that I like the look of Le Fondre, always did, I think he is still playing at 50% of his potential.

Who should Reading fans be worried about?

The front four. If Puncheon, Lallana, Ramirez and Lambert have a good day they are devastating up top. Ramirez is coming more into his own with each game he plays, Lallana is as good as he always is, Puncheon has been outstanding recently and Lambert is amongst the goals.

Score prediction?

I am going to be unusually confident. 3-1 Saints.

Any tips for travelling Royals?

Enjoy your last minute equaliser. ;-)

And where do you think both sides will end up?

Such a tough one. I think it is time to face facts and accept that we are both going to be in a scrap at the business end of the season. The likes of Sunderland, Villa, Wigan etc. are all going to be down there too, and it is likely to get messy. I hope we both stay up.

Thanks again to Chris and you can follow him on twitter @crstig

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