Theo Walcott predicts where Southampton will finish in the Championship

Despite a mediocre start to the season, former England international Theo Walcott believes Southampton will make the Championship play-offs this season.

The Saints started life in England’s second division well, winning 10 of their first 12 games, but have since won just twice in their last seven. Due to a lack of form, they have dropped to tenth place heading into the international break.

A run of four consecutive defeats in September placed manager Russell Martin under pressure, but they shocked the form book with an outstanding win over fellow Championship newcomers Leeds United at the end of last month. Then came a close victory over Stoke City, followed by a point against struggling Rotherham United at the weekend.

The former Premier League club had to deal with the departures of numerous notable players over the summer, including Tino Livramento, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Tella, and Romeo Lavia. However, their squad remains strong and capable of competing in the highest echelons of the division.


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It’s still early days, and they’re only one point outside the play-off places, despite being 13 points behind early leaders Leicester City and 11 behind second-placed Ipswich Town. An end-of-season duel at Wembley Stadium now appears to be the goal, as Walcott, who left the club at the end of last season, believes. The newly retired winger told the Daily Echo via Hampshire Live:


“You always expect the teams that go down to come back up, but it’s not straightforward. Anyone can beat anyone. Saints have a young team and a young manager who has good ideas. From what I know the players are really keen on him and are really happy. That’s what you want as a team and as players.

“As soon as you turn it can be sour, but I’m not getting any signs of that. They will be fine. I just think it’s been a lot harder than they expected. When you come to the stadium, you think this is a Premier League club.

“That’s what I see here. I think they will get back in time, but it’s not going to happen overnight. I believe they will be in the play-offs. But it’s just the luck of the draw and we will have to see.”


Following the international break, Southampton will face three clubs that are all above them in the Championship table, beginning with a trip to Hull City. After that, the south coast squad will travel to Deepdale to play Preston North End before visiting Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham City at the end of the month.

Author’s Opinion

Russell Martin must now aim for the play-offs as the distance between themselves and those in the automatic promotion positions grows bigger. There are currently only three points between fourth and eleventh place, and the three games coming up later this month could be decisive. Seven to nine points from those games would vault Southampton back into contention.

Russell Martin will be looking over his shoulder as well, but they are now unbeaten in three games and will hope that he can keep it up.

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