Southampton 2019/20 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions

​Southampton open their 2019/20 Premier League campaign with a tricky trip to face an always competitive and fearless Burnley side, who have made some significant improvements during the transfer window themselves.

It's been an up and down period for the Saints with a number of managers coming and going, but the enthusiastic Ralph Hasenhuttl's appointment should leave fans optimistic ahead of his first full season in charge.

Here's all you need to know about Southampton before the season gets underway.


Last Season

Ralph Hasenhuttl

It's safe to say that the Saints significantly under-performed during the majority of the 2018/19 campaign, finishing just five points clear of the relegation zone in 16th position, but no blame can be placed on their current head coach.

A​ poor start to the season by former boss Mark Hughes left the club fearing relegation, consequently seeing him sacked in December and replaced by the former RB Leipzig manager and highly rated Hasenhuttl.

Whilst results were still inconsistent, the Austrian had an almost immediate impact conducting impressive victories against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City, safely guiding his side clear of the drop.


Pre-Season

Rafael Czichos,Che Adams

Southampton have enjoyed an encouraging pre-season which should fill fans with optimism, winning four and drawing just one of their five fixtures ahead of the 2019/20 season getting underway.

The first of those was an underwhelming draw with Altach but once the Saints found their rhythm and were up to match pace, the impressive results soon followed.

They put three past Preston and four past Guangzhou R&F in 3-1 and 4-0 victories respectively. They then continued their strong goalscoring form and solid defensive form against decent opponents, beating Feyenoord 3-1 and Koln 2-0.


Transfers In

Danny Ings

Southampton often struggled in the goalscoring department last season, and Hasenhuttl has acted swiftly to put an end to this, significantly strengthening his attacking options during the summer transfer window.

Danny Ings has been extremely unlucky with injuries since his move to Liverpool, but he's finally looking like the clinical striker we all saw he was capable of being prior to his move to Anfield. He's the perfect signing for the Saints who opted to spend the best part of £20m on the forward.

But he won't be without competition for the striker position. Southampton have also splashed the cash on Che Adams, who scored 22 goals in all competitions for Birmingham City last season. If he can adapt after taking the big step up to Premier League football, Southampton could have a deadly strike pairing on their hands.

The last of their summer signings is Moussa Djenepo from Standard Liege. Again, if the 21-year-old is able to adapt to life in the Premier League, he could bring plenty of flair in the wide positions for years to come.


Transfers Out

Matt Targett

Southampton have earned the reputation as being something of a selling club in recent years, particularly to the Premier League's elite sides. Liverpool in particular have signed six of their players since 2014, accumulating an astonishing total spend of £166m

But Southampton have seemingly put an end to this trend in recent years, developing their own squad by keeping hold of their key players. Any outgoings this summer have been sensible ones, cashing in on players who were unlikely to be included in Hasenhuttl's plans.

Left back Matt Targett ​has departed for big summer spenders Aston Villa for a fee of £14m, whilst young forward Sam Gallagher has signed for Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers. Other departures include Dutchman Jordy Clasie and Steven Davies, who both left on free transfers.


Strengths

Orkun Kokcu,Eric Botteghin,Nathan Redmond

As already mentioned, after some wise summer spending Southampton pose a real threat in attack; Djenepo, Adams and Ings can all they play their part given Hasenhuttl gets the best out of them in the 2019/20 season.

Their attacking prowess is only compounded when we consider some of the other players already at Hasenhuttl's disposal. The likes of Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal and the emerging Josh Sims are all capable of producing moments of magic to help their side find a goal.

The Saints are defensively sound too, with a myriad options in every position. ​Ryan Bertrand has become a consistent performer for Southampton, the likes of Wesley Hoedt, Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens provide plenty of cover at centre back, while Yan Valery is a real emerging talent at right back.​


Weaknesses

Mario Lemina

We know Southampton's wide players and strikers can cause plenty of damage, but they somewhat lack in a real creative midfielder to control play from the centre of the park.

James Ward-Prowse does posses creative attributes, with an eye for a pass as well as being comfortable with the ball at his feet, but he's more of a box-to-box midfielder rather than a playmaker.

Their other central midfielders include Oriol Romeu, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Mario Lemina who all typically ply their trade deeper in the midfield. The Saints could fall short in this department, particularly if Ward-Prowse were to suffer an injury throughout the duration of the season.


Key Man

James Ward-Prowse

Having just touched on the Ward-Prowse's importance within the side, he has to be considered as Southampton's star man and someone who is absolutely crucial to Hassenhuttl's plans.

The Englishman's ability going forward as well as his willingness to help his side defensively hasn't gone unnoticed. Although he made his senior debut for the national team in 2017, a real case was made for the midfielder to be called up once more towards the end of last season.

If Ward-Prowse is able to utilise his creative side and add a few more assists to his game, he will undoubtedly be one of the standout performers at St. Mary's next season.


Prediction

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-BOURNEMOUTH

​Southampton have always been a side who looked capable of pushing for a Europa League spot, but have somewhat fallen by the wayside in recent times.

And in truth, whilst they don't look likely to be threatened by relegation, European ambitions might be difficult to meet considering the improvements ​Wolves​Leicester and ​West Ham United have all made this summer.

A mid-table finish looks a likely outcome for Southampton in the 2019/20 campaign.



Source : 90min

Source: 90min