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May 4, 2014

Record-breaking Saints set for season finale

If anything was going to decide a contest like Southampton's 1-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday it was going to be a goal like the one Rickie Lambert scored in stoppage time.

This was as poor a match as you will have seen all season, and the "shouldered in" finish after a ridiculously sliced clearance from Ashley Williams was a fitting winner.

Both Southampton and their hosts went into the game with little to play for and the carnival atmosphere fuelled in the main by the player masks and free scarves handed out to the travelling fans was the only thing that kept it from being a matter of going through the motions. Both sides had chances but it never felt like either Artur Boruc or Michel Vorm's clean sheet was in any real danger of being sullied.

It had every hallmark of a stalemate and a final score of 0-0 was just about the perfect end to a classic end of season dead rubber. Pretty much everyone in the Liberty Stadium had accepted it as such when Lambert pounced, proving once again you should never give up on a lost cause. Comical though it was, that 93rd minute strike ensured Saints go into their last home game of the season against Manchester United as record breakers. Their haul of 55 points represents the best ever Premier League haul for the south coast club including seasons played over 42 games.

This should prompt a celebratory end to the campaign this Sunday with no pressure on the players to break the record they so desperately wanted to.

Though the game was pretty toothless, it was another chance for Victor Wanyama to prove some of his doubters wrong. Three starts since his return and three clean sheets cannot be coincidence. Southampton's form certainly tailed off when the Kenyan was laid off and the goals against column with him in the team in comparison with his absence is pretty staggering. It makes me wonder what might have been for the club this season had Wanyama stayed fit. If he can stay injury free in the next campaign I am certain he will prove a crucial part of the team.

To finish eighth in their second season back in the Premier League is certainly impressive and Mauricio Pochettino's work cannot be ignored. From a Southampton point of view they have earned their most ever Premier League points, secured their most ever Premier League wins, most ever Premier League away wins, scored their most ever Premier League goals, equalled their most ever Premier League clean sheets and currently have their best ever Premier League goal difference.

Hopefully the atmosphere will be rocking at St. Mary's next weekend for what should be a celebration of a great season. Beating Manchester United would simply be the icing on the cake.