Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Southampton’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.
Manager: Nigel Adkins.
Captain: Dean Hammond.
Stadium: St. Mary’s Stadium (32,689).
Last season: Promoted as Championship runners-up.
Leading scorer (CH): Ricky Lambert (27).
Odds: Title 1000-1. Relegation 5-4.
In: Nathaniel Clyne (£2m, Crystal Palace), Steven Davis (Free, Rangers), Paulo Gazzaniga (Undisc., Gillingham), Gaston Ramirez (£11.8m, Bologna), Jay Rodriguez (£7.6m, Burnley).
Out: Bartosz Bialkowski (Free, Notts County), David Connolly (Released), Harley Dean (Free, Brentford), Ryan Doble (Free, Shrewsbury), Tommy Forecast (Loan, Gillingham), Dan Harding (Undisc., Nottingham), Lee Holmes (Free, Preston), Radhi Jaidi (Retired), Aaron Martin (Loan, Crystal Palace), Aaran Racine (Released).
Key Man – Adam Lallana
The classy playmaker has attracted a lot of interest from many Premier League clubs in the past year or so, and was the Saints’ best player last season. He was the source of a lot of Saints’ best work in the final third and broke into double figuers last term. His form this season will be vital for Southampton’s hopes of surving the drop and staying up in the Premier League.
19-Aug – Man City (A)
25-Aug – Wigan (H)
02 Sep – Man Utd (H)
15-Sep – Arsenal (A)
22-Sep – Aston Villa (H)
29-Sep – Everton (A)
Probable Formation (4-4-2): Davis; Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox; Lallana, Davis, Hammond, Ramirez; Rodriguez, Lambert.
Verdict: The Saints marched back up to the top flight following successive promotions from League One and the Championship, but their return has been a long time coming and expect it to be a tough campaign at the St Mary’s. Nigel Adkins’ defence could prove the weak link. Kelvin Davis in goal has played out of his skin for the south coast side in recent years, but both centre backs Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld are inexperienced at the top level. But there is no doubt that Southampton’s strength is their firepower, with Lambert, Lallana, Rodriguez and now the recent addition of Gaston Ramirez. Adkins boasts creativity in abundance and frontmen who can be relied upon to create and take chances when they arrive. Ramirez’s signing from Bologna is a huge one and proves the ambitions of the club. I think Southampton will stay up with the firepower they have.