Martin Keown believes that it will be easier to judge where Southampton will end up this season after their next four fixtures.
The Saints have had a brilliant start to the season and currently occupy second spot in the table, but they face a tough run of fixtures in the next few weeks.
Ronald Koeman's men have a match against Aston Villa on Monday night, where they will be expected to pick up a victory, before they face a run of games which will see them take on Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
It would be a daunting prospect for most teams, but Southampton are full of confidence and Keown thinks if they can pick up a respectable amount of points from those matches then they will consolidate their place in the upper echelons of the league.
"They face the Manchester teams at home and they have already beaten Arsenal away [in the League Cup]," he said in the Daily Mail. "There are nine points on offer and if they got four or five then they would be right on course."
"They have to continue to play at this same level and the big question mark is can they keep up that level of consistency. Some of these players might have moved on at this stage in their careers if they had been more consistent in their careers.
"Will they do it? It’s probably unlikely but if they do well in those three games then the wheels would have to come off massively for them not to have a good season."
Southampton currently have put seven points between themselves and fifth place, but they will realise that this run is their toughest test to date.
So far, the Saints have won a number of admirers for their style of football which has seen them score plenty of goals whilst remaining secure at the back.
The South Coast club have the best defensive record in the Premier League at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how they manage to cope against some of the best attacks in the division.
First, though, their attention will be firmly focused on ensuring that they get the three points against Aston Villa.
The Midlands side have been terribly off-form recently, failing to win any of their last seven matches, but Southampton will be determined to avoid any complacency in the match so they go into their tough run of games with the maximum number of points possible.