Once the underdogs of the premier league, Southampton have fallen down the pecking order in England’s top tier of professional football. Gone are the days when they used to play fast and attacking football which excited fans and brought them to the edge of their seats. Now they look to play on the counter and Danny Ings is running a one-man show. Their quality as a team has depleted and heavily rely on individuals running the show. They have gone from being a Top 10 team to fighting relegation battles in the previous years and the upcoming season isn’t looking any better.
Southampton is going into the next season with heavy expectations after years of underwhelming performances. They have lost a premier league record 9-0 twice in the last 2 years. Ralph Hasenhüttl will be looking to start the season strong and cause a few upsets in their tough early schedule.
Southampton has completed the signing of left back Romain Perraud. The French international coming in from Ligue 1 will be looking to prove his worth as Southampton have let go of their first choice left back this transfer window. They have further boosted their squad by attaining the services of Theo Walcott who has now joined them permanently from Everton.
Furthermore, Dan N’Lundulu and Mohamed Elyounoussi have returned to the squad after loan spells in League One and the Scottish Premiership respectively.
First team players Mario Lemina and Takumi Minamino have both departed the club. Minamino’s loan spell expired as he returns to Liverpool while Lemina favours his chances with OGC Nice in Ligue 1. One of the club’s longest serving players Ryan Bertrand left the club on a free transfer to join Leicester City. Overall, Southampton has had 9 departures this season, many of whom were significant players in the squad.
Moreover, Jaanik Vestergaard and Danny Ings are in the last years of their contract with none having renewed as of now. Danny Ings has been trying to force a move away from The Saints as the 29-year-old feels he is ready for a bigger challenge. James Ward-Prowse has also gained attention as Aston Villa submitted an offer for him which was rejected by Southampton. Given the performances over the past few years, it is only a matter of time before Ward-Prowse pushes for a move away from Southampton
Despite several significant players leaving the club and two of the strongest players in the squad in the last year of their contract, Southampton did not do good business in the transfer window as they do not have any significant players coming in. This is going to create further pressure on the manager and the squad to perform better this season.
Players To Look Out For
Ings was the top goalscorer last season having scored 12 out of Southampton’s 48 league goals. He also had the most shots on target in the team. The Saints heavily rely on him performing well and he has done so in the past few seasons. If he ends up staying at Southampton, he is once again going to be their target man. He is their focal point of attack and his performance directly affects the success of Southampton.
JWP has been one of the most consistent performers in the Southampton side over the past few years. They do not have an attacking midfielder in this side, thus they look to JWP for creativity and more often than not, he delivers. Southampton is a threat on set pieces thanks to Ward-Prowse’s ability on freekicks and corners. He puts in dangerous crosses that the tall centre backs look to attack. He is also a threat on direct set pieces as his ability is well known in the division.
James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings have been the star men in the side and their performances have lit up the St. Mary’s Stadium. Even if the two perform as well as they have been these past few years, Southampton is falling deeper in the survival pit and coming out is looking unlikely.
Predicted Finish- 15th