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2019/20 Southampton Premier League preview

Sunday 4th August 2019

I think it's fair to say that Southampton didn't show their true colours in the 2018/19 campaign. The South Coast outfit started poorly; Mark Hughes was to blame for that. The Welshman was relieved of his duties after just eight months in charge.

Pulling the trigger early worked out wonderfully well for Lander Sports Investment as their decision to bring in Ralph Hasenhuttl was an absolute masterstroke. Not only did the Austrian guide his side to safety, he did it playing some eye-catching football, too. An instant bond with the Southampton fans was formed, while the players immediately bought into what the ex-RB Leipzig manager was trying to achieve.

In between the sticks, Alex McCarthy was the go-to man, though the often forgotten Angus Gunn will continue to go from strength-to-strength the more he's exposed to first-team football. Ryan Bertrand remains the key defender for the Saints while their smattering of average-to-good centre-halves will continue to do a job. In midfield, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg continues to be the shining example and up top, Nathan Redmond has been desperately craving for help. Danny Ings chipped in with eight goals, more on him later...

Scoring goals proved to be the real issue for Southampton so it comes as no surprise to see Hasenhuttl invest heavily in his front-line. Che Adams has been brought in from Birmingham City in a deal worth around £15million; he has been excellent in pre-season. Ings has made his loan move from Liverpool into a permanent one, though the obligatory £20million fee seems a little high for my liking. Saints' third big-money signing comes in the form of Standard Liege left-winger, Moussa Djenepo. He cost £14million.

Southampton's fountain of youth has always proved to be fruitful in more ways than one, though during this transfer window it has helped the finances pretty significantly. Left-back Matt Targett has joined Aston Villa in a £14million deal while striker Sam Gallagher has headed for Blackburn in the Championship for £5million. Veteran Steven Davis has moved to Rangers on a free, while Mario Lemina, who was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United a few weeks ago, will likely leave St Mary's Stadium before Thursday's deadline.

For Hasenhuttl it's about continuing with the initial good work he and his team have put in. Southampton's solid core of young players have potential and it's up to the Austrian to unlock their abilities and fulfil their talents. The 51-year-old will know he'll have to hit the ground running, mind. The football management business is more cutthroat than it ever was. A slow start could see you in the jobcentre before Christmas...

The expectations for Southampton are relatively simple. Secure your top-flight status as soon as possible, then reach as high as they can up the Premier League table. The strength-in-depth of the Premier League is incredible so it's vital a strong start is made. If these players get the wind behind their backs then the sky is the limit. Maybe, just maybe, they can push for a top ten finish, though they'll need a little bit of luck...

Southampton opens the season away at Burnley. Turf Moor is a notoriously tricky ground to visit for anyone, but if the Saints stick to their game-plan then they have every chance at kicking things off with a victory. Within the next four, games against both Liverpool and Manchester United will prove difficult, with Sheffield United's visit to St Mary's an absolute must-win...

Today's football fixtures
Jordan Street

Jordan Street, 25-year old sports writer. Avid Manchester United fan and season ticket holder. Lover of the Premier League. Enjoys American sports. Tom Brady's biggest admirer, Kyrie Irving for MVP.

Total articles: 638

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