Southampton's key remaining fixtures in 2013

St Marys Southampton

The Saints have had an incredible start to the season and are contenders for a top six finish, but who will try and put a stop to that before the new year?

After Nigel Adkins masterminded back-to-back promotions to get Southampton back to the Premier League, his dismissal was greeted with outrage by the supporters of the club as well as pundits and general football fans.

Almost a year on and it all seems to be forgotten about. Replacement Mauricio Pochettino has led the club to an opening 12 games that has seen them pick up 22 points and let the fans dream of European football at St Mary's next season.

There are seven games left before an unbelievable 2013 ends for the south coast club, so here's a look at the key five games for the Saints.

Aston Villa (H) 4th December – After a visit to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea, Pochettino’s side host the Villans who are having a solid mid-table season so far. This Saints side should prove too strong for Paul Lambert’s visitors.

Manchester City (H) 7th December – After beating Roberto Mancini’s side last season at St Mary’s, they have nothing to fear against Manuel Pellegrini’s men who have only picked up one win on their travels so far this season.

Newcastle (A) 14th December – The Magpies are in great form at the moment but will they still be when Saints travel to St James’ Park? Another great opportunity to pick up points on the road.

Tottenham (H) 22nd December – Pochettino’s men are unbeaten at home at the moment and will fancy their chances of keeping that record going when Spurs visit in the last game before Christmas. Andre Villas Boas’ side are keeping it tight at the back but not scoring many themselves so a tight game is in store here.

Cardiff (A) 26th December – It’s a trip to Wales on Boxing Day for Saints to take on the newly-promoted side. Malky Mackay will be hoping his side can be as successful as the visitors since their promotion the year before but they may suffer defeat to them on this occasion.

image: © mischatuffield

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