Despite finishing eighth in the Premier League and reaching the EFL Cup final last season, there were persistent rumblings that all was not well behind the scenes at Southampton. It was little surprise, then, to see Claude Puel depart in June, with the Saints turning to Mauricio Pellegrino to be their fourth manager in five seasons.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Alex McCarthy, Stuart Taylor, Mouez Hassen, Paulo Gazzaniga.
Fraser Forster was solid for Southampton but did sloppy mistakes at the time which lead to goals.Southampton kept 14 clean sheets but conceded 48 goals in total.Overall Fraser Forster looks good between the sticks and could play all matches this season too.The manager could rest Forster and start the likes of McCarthy for cup matches.
Defenders:Cedric Soares, Maya Yoshida,Florin Gardos,Virgil van Dijk,Ryan Bertrand,Jack Stephens,Matt Targett,Jan Bednarek.
Virgil van Dijk had an outstanding season last time out.From clearances to interceptions, from aerial duels to tackles, even scored goals.Southampton is confident of retaining the services of the defender despite growing interest from Liverpool.A form of Ryan Bertrand would play an important part too.Last season he scored 2 and assisted 4 goals for the saints.Yoshida did pretty well too, he had the most number of clearances.
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie, Steven Davis, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Soufian Boufal, Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Sam McQueen, Jack Hesketh, Dusan Tadic, Jeremy Pied.
Nathan Redmond was the top scorer for the saints, he scored 7 goals in total.He also had the most shots by a Southampton player.The role of Dusan Tadic will be crucial for the saints.He scored 3 and assisted 5 last season.Fans would be looking forward to a similar performance.James Ward-Prowse could chip in at crucial moments.The Spaniard, Romeu looked strong at the defensive midfield position and will look forward to continuing that form.
Forwards: Shane Long, Charlie Austin, Sam Gallagher, Manolo Gabbiadini, Joshua Sims.
The role of the forwards for any team decides their position on the table.The departure of Jay Rodriguez would have a void on the forward line, But Gabbiadini will try and fill up the void.The Italian made a January move to Southampton and scored 4 goals in 10 appearances.Fans will be looking forward to seeing Charlie Austin fit and in red hot form.
Probable Starting XI: Forster-Soares-van Dijk-Yoshida-Bertrand-Davis-Romeu-Redmond-Tadic-Ward-Prowse-Gabbiadini
Manager Profile: Mauricio Pellegrino
Claude Puel departed in June, with the Saints turning to Mauricio Pellegrino.He became their fourth manager in last five seasons.Saints fans bored by Puel’s football, which saw only 41 goals mustered in the Premier League.The Argentine, who enjoyed a brief spell playing for Liverpool in 2005, enjoyed a successful 16/17 campaign at Alaves, leading the modest Basque club to ninth place in La Liga and the Copa del Rey final, where they lost to Barcelona.
Player To Watch Out
Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini says he is “happy” playing his football in the Premier League.Gabbiadini arrived in England in January after joining Southampton from Napoli for, where he had struggled for game time.The Italian forward slipped down the pecking order at the Serie A side, but following a January switch to St Mary’s Stadium, he has scored six goals in his first four appearances for his new club.Gabbiadini struck a brace in Southampton’s 3-2 EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United.Gabbiadini became the first Saints player to score in each of his first four matches for the club.He will be in the spotlight during this season.He has pace and good control over the ball and the manager would prefer him above Austin.