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Norwich can catch Saints cold as they look to emulate their recent success

30 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Norwich can catch Saints cold as they look to emulate their recent success

Southampton may struggle to kick start their season against a Norwich side whose renaissance has been equally impressive

Southampton fans will no doubt wish that their first European adventure in more than a decade had seen the Saints go marching on to some slightly more illustrious locations before being cut short in Denmark on Thursday.

Yet having been eliminated by FC Midtjylland before the Europa League group stages, now would be a good time for the South Coast club to reflect on just how far they have come.

After all, it was not that long ago that Southampton were welcoming Norwich – their opponents on Sunday – to St Mary’s for a fixture in League One.

Even after their triumphant return to the top flight, many tipped them to struggle once the core of the side that carried them up through the Football League had moved on.

Instead, they defied all expectations to finish seventh last season – their highest league finish since 2003.

Most encouraging of all is that Southampton’s success seems to be entirely sustainable

Such is the infrastructure in place at the club – with a formidable scouting network, a youth system that is the envy of every other club in the country and a forward-thinking hierarchy – it would be a safe bet to assume that they will soon get another chance to see a little more of Europe.

Besides, perhaps an early elimination this time around is no bad thing.

The exertions of Thursday night games had already started to show during a frustrating start to the season, with both midweek matches being followed up with draws in the Premier League – a trend they are 5/2 to continue on Sunday.

With just one win in their last five, the Saints will be sure to face stiff opposition in Norwich – another club whose stable foundations mean that they are no strangers to recovering from setbacks and returning even stronger.

Like Southampton, Norwich were able to first arrest, and then reverse their slide on the slippery slope that follows relegation from the Premier League – returning to the top flight two years after finding themselves in the third tier.

Even more impressive was Alex Neil’s achievement in guiding them back to the Premier League at the first time of asking – something less than a quarter of relegated clubs have managed to pull off.

Incredibly, they are still yet to lose a game on the road under Neil who took over at the start of January – a record stretching back for 14 games.

The fluid attacking and pace on the counter is certainly conducive to threatening away from home, proven by the fact that they have scored first in all of their last seven away matches.

Winger Nathan Redmond is also in a fine run of form having scored two goals in three – and is priced at 22/1 to score the first in a Norwich win on Sunday.

With one of the brightest young managers in the country and a side who have made a confident start to their reintroduction to Premier League life, the Canaries now look set to soar alongside the likes of Southampton among England’s elite.

Indeed, it might just be the perfect time to play them because as the Saints have shown throughout own their rise during the last few years – their hangovers do not tend to last long.

Southampton v Norwich match betting