Michael Owen believes that Southampton can maintain their push for a top-four place, despite the defeat to Manchester City this weekend.
The Saints are currently in third position in the Premier League table, but they did suffer a deflating 3-0 defeat to City on Sunday, which has raised question marks over their credentials to claim a top-four spot.
Despite their impressive start, the Saints have one of the smallest squads out of all the European contenders and many feel that this lack of depth could harm their chances of consolidating their lofty position.
Owen, however, believes that the open nature of the Premier League this season means that an outsider could break into the top-four spots and he feels Southampton are best placed.
"I think they will finish 4th or 5th," he said during a question and answer session on SportLobster. "I don't think they'll drop off. This could be the year of a dark horse with so many of the big teams shadows of former seasons."
Southampton have fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester United in the coming week, and their potential to maintain their brilliant form should be more obvious after those two matches.
If Ronald Koeman's men are able to collect some points, they will be very well placed, but two defeats could be seriously damaging to their hopes.
The side are currently five points ahead of fifth placed West Ham United, meaning they could slip out of the Champions League qualification places if they are beaten in their next two games.
Owen clearly doesn't feel that is very likely, though, and has backed the side to maintain their impressive run of results, despite taking on a high class of opposition.
Southampton still have the best defensive record in the league and they will be looking for this to be the platform for them to build upon for the rest of the season.