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By the end of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Southampton and West Ham could both be in the top four. Such a prediction in August would have brought ridicule because both clubs were “in crisis” with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce apparently hanging on to his job by his fingernails.

They are the success stories of the season, their achievements mainly due to astute dealings in the transfer market, though in Southampton’s case their elevation to second place is far more involved and meritorious.

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