What Could Go Wrong? Southampton 18/19 Season Preview

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After barely surviving relegation last season by finishing 17th, can Southampton recover in time to solidify their spot once again somewhere in the middle of the table?

Who’s In?

  • Jannik Vestergaard — 25 — Center Back — Bor. Monchengladbach — $25.9M
  • Mohamed Elyounoussi — 23 — Left Winger — Basel — $18.7M
  • Angus Gunn — 22 — Goalkeeper — Manchester City — $11.7M
  • Stuart Armstrong — 26 — Attacking Midfielder — Celtic — $8.25M
  • Danny Ings — 26 — Center Forward — Liverpool — Loan

Who’s Out?

  • Dusan Tadic — 29 — Attacking Midfielder — Ajax — $11.8M
  • Florin Gardos — 29 — Center Back — CS U Criova — Free
  • Jordy Clasie, 27, defensive mid, Feyenoord, Loan
  • Sofiane Boufal, 24, attacking mid, Celta de Vigo, Loan
  • Guido Carrillo, 27, center-forward, CD Leganes, Loan

European Chances

Danny-Ings-Southampton

If Southampton don’t hit soon again on a couple game-breakers, they could be headed for a tail-spin. Last season was the scare, and over the summer they didn’t really fix their deficiencies.

When you think of the positions Southampton have taken a big hit at lately, you should think center back, attacking midfielder, and a real threat on the frontline (sorry, current guys, whoever you are).

Southampton were able to bring in Liverpool’s Danny Ings on loan on deadline day and jump on center back Jannik Vestergaard from Borussia Monchengladbach. The big question mark is Celtic attacking midfielder Stuart Armstrong. Can the 26-year-old string together the attacking threats up top and on the wings? That’s what Saints’ fan will be looking for early in the season.

When Will Your Manager Be Fired

Mark-Hughes-Southampton

After a lengthy spell at Stoke City, Mark Hughes arrived at Southampton on March 14, 2018, with one job: keep the Saints in the Premier League. After finally unraveling at Stoke earlier that season, Hughes had battled in his fair share of relegation stand-offs. He was successful gaining seven points in eight games and now he’s had a full summer at Southampton.

Hughes is Southampton’s fourth manager over the past two years. After cutting Ronald Koeman free in June 2016, Claude Puel lasted the 2016-17 season before losing the job last summer. Then came Argentinian Mauricio Pellegrino. It was a great start for Pellegrino before it all came apart over the winter period.

Hughes has hung on in the Premier League. You could say he’s the last piece of the Prem’s past of English managerial merry-go-round.  With Southampton’s relatively tricky start to the season with “tougher” Outside the Top 6 opponents with Burnley, Everton, Leicester and Crystal Palace to start, it’s vital Hughes takes at least six points before Liverpool, Wolverhampton and Chelsea come around.

The old Premier League guard is on its final stand. And Hughes has to be on a shorter leash with Southampton than his predecessor Pellegrino. If Southampton find themselves stumbling down the table, I think the Saints will act quickly, cut the old, and bring in someone who resembles the face of the new revolutionary Premier League manager.

Which Player Will A Bigger Club Poach?

mario-lemina-southampton

Defensive midfielder Mario Lemina arrived at Southampton from Juventus before last season. The 24-year-old had a difficult transition to the Premier League. He played 25 matches had a goal, an assist, and was often forgotten about on the pitch. It could have been circumstantial.

But look at Lemina’s 2016/17 season when he was on loan at French side Marseille. He had a 0.72 xGChain90, meaning the number of expected goals of every possession the player was involved in per 90 minutes. That same season, Premier League champion N’Golo Kante, Chelsea at, only registered just over half of Lemina’s production via xGChain90.

While Lemina may be floating around anonymously with Southampton this fall, a bigger club could look to slide in a acquire the technically-gifted center mid.

Unknown to Household

New signee Jannik Vestergaard is the new center back at Saint Mary’s. He’s 25 and has cut his teeth in the Bundesliga. The Denmark native is a little older than your typical Southampton rise-to-the-top story but the Saints are hoping a rise similar to Virgil Van Dijk will sure up the back. Vestergaard is 6′ 6”, so if nothing else, people are going to start asking: “Who’s that tree in front of the box?”

Relegation Odds

7/1 – Fifth-best out of teams in clubs Outside the Top 6. Better than finishing 17th last season and just barely surviving.

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