We spoke with ESPNFC Southampton blogger Chris Rann, who also runs the Saints blog georgeweahscousin, ahead of Sunday's game between Everton and Southampton.
RBM - The Saints have faltered lately, taking some of the gloss off a fine start. How would you describe the season so far, and what are your expectations for the end of the season?
CR - I think it has probably gone pretty much as it should have. We had a fantastic start obviously, and the negative side effect of that is that expectations become a little higher than they should be. As soon as we picked up a few injuries, which coincided with a difficult run of games, the form was always going to drop off. We will finish in the top 10, I'm pretty sure of that, which in terms of progression is great.
RBM - How is Mauricio Pocchetino perceived by the fanbase? Is he going to be around a while, especially now that the Spurs rumours should have died down?
CR - He is very popular. I hope he will be here for some time. We seem to struggle to keep managers for too long and it would be nice if Pochettino could use our ever successful youth system to create a dynasty. The club had big ambitions though, and he will need to keep delivering progression which is the key, otherwise the chairman has shown he will happily make changes.
RBM - Southampton's goal difference when away from St. Mary's is only zero. What is Pocchetino's side doing differently on the road?
CR - It's strange, because we don't really do anything differently. We have beaten Liverpool and drawn with Manchester United on the road by going at them, but I guess some teams will punish you if you do it in their ground. At home we have looked utterly dominant in all games with the exception of the recent defeat by Spurs. We are certainly a lot better on the road than we have been and a 0 goal difference is an improvement!
RBM - How is the youth setup at Southampton looking? Are there any young players already featuring for the senior squad, or anyone who will breakthrough soon?
CR - It's the best in the country, and I genuinely mean that. Luke Shaw is already a household name, and will be a full international by the end of the season, and for me, a decent outside bet to be in the World Cup squad. James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers are already first team regulars, and recently Harrison Reed and Sam Gallagher have been regulars on the bench. These players are coming through ready made, and have no fear whatsoever. The manager has no qualms whatsoever about picking them and it puts Saints in a very nice position.
RBM - Who have the Saints been linked with for this upcoming January transfer window? What are the areas of need?
CR - Diego from Wolfsburg linked himself to us which is nice, but also a little odd. The bigger issue for Saints is who our players are linked with. As is now tradition, a successful window for Saints is keeping hold of our top players.
RBM - Finally, how about a score prediction for Sunday's game? Who do you think will shine for either side?
I hate predicting Saints games, but I will go for an entertaining 2-2 draw. Adam Lallana is on fire for us, so he will be key and it is Saints tradition that goalkeepers have blinders against us, so maybe Joel Robles for you, but in honesty Romelu Lukaku ripped us a new one for West Bromwich Albion last season, so probably him.