In beating Manchester United 1-0, Southampton hurdled the Red Devils into third place in the Premier League and shortened into 7/5 to for a top four finish.
As their squad was decimated in the summer, Saints relegation seemed a more plausible prospect than booking a Champions League spot, but the south coast club are firmly in the shake up.
However, following a run of five games without a win between mid-November and December, it appeared as though Ronald Koeman’s men were destined to float away from the frontrunners and focus on landing a spot in the top ten.
The final defeat of their lean streak came at Burnley, but since that 1-0 reverse they’ve strung together four league victories from five, including wins over top-four rivals Arsenal and Man Utd.
Two more wins against Everton and Crystal Palace are complemented with a draw against champions elect Chelsea, which means they’ve finished a testing five-match spell with 13 points.
The quintet that preceded it in which no spoils were snared was almost as tough, with corresponding fixtures against Man Utd and Arsenal contested following their hosting of Manchester City.
Now this batch of daunting opponents has been faced, the path to plundering maximum points looks to contain far less potholes.
Of their next eight encounters, Liverpool (who travel to St Mary’s knowing they’ve lost on three of their last four visits) and Chelsea are the only elite outfit they’re pencilled in to play.
An upcoming four-match run against Newcastle, Swansea, QPR and West Ham presents the Saints with the chance to pocket 12 more points.
As they proved earlier in the campaign with eight league victories from nine, Southampton are more than capable vanquishers of those they are expected to see off.
With no confidence-sapping runs of matches against the big guns scheduled for the remainder of the season, it’s tough to envisage the club suffering a similarly devastating patch of form again this term, making them excellent value for a top-four finish at odds-against.