Southampton news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Saints…
2019-20 finish: 11th (15W-7D-16L, 52 points)
Head coach: Ralph Hasenhuttl
2019-20 PL top scorer: Danny Ings (22 PL goals)
Location: Southampton, Hampshire
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Southampton: Can Ings spearhead European push?
After their stunning form during ‘Project Restart’ everyone expects Southampton to push for European qualification this season. That hinges on one man: Danny Ings. The England international was superb last season, scoring 22 goals, as the local lad provides quality link-up play as well as clinical finishing. Hasenhuttl stayed in a job after their 9-0 defeat to Leicester (sorry to mention it yet again, Saints fans) and they went back to basics after that. The 4-2-2-2 system works well with the young side they have and the high-press unnerves the top teams as they beat Chelsea, Spurs, Man City and Leicester last season, with all of those wins after the huge loss to the Foxes. Southampton are favored to push for a seventh place finish this season and who knows, maybe they can finish higher? If Ings keeps scoring they have a chance and Hasenhuttl’s side need to stay strong defensively to build on their fine second half to last season.
Southampton news: The current situation
Hasenhuttl and Saints are flying after their end to last season. Only Man City and Man United picked up more points than them during ‘Project Restart’ and they’ve added Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters this summer to solidify their defense. Hasenhuttl signed a new four-year contract in June as the Austrian coach is relishing the challenge to turn this young side into top 10 contenders. Southampton are a nasty team to play against and Hasenhuttl is replicating his success at RB Leipzig, plus they have a few more gems coming through their academy who are almost ready to become regulars. Southampton seem back on track but will be focused on getting to 40 points ASAP. That said, after their best PL season in four years there is plenty of optimism in the air in the port city on the South Coast of England.
Key Southampton news, season objectives
- Ings must stay fit: He has a history of picking up horrendous knee injuries but last season he stayed fit and Hasenhuttl managed him at times. Given the high tempo style Saints play, they need every single player to be fully fit and Ings looked sharp during the final weeks of the season in particular. If Ings stays fit, Saints have a very good chance of a top 10 finish.
- Sounds cliche, but top 10 and a good cup run is the main aim for Southampton: Hasenhuttl knows that staying in the Premier League is the main aim but Saints will be aiming for a little more. Being steady in midtable is the minimum they want from this season and if they can do that, making the cup competitions a priority is a must. They are one of those ‘cup teams’ who can provide upsets.
- Cutting out defensive errors: The reason they started last season so slowly was because they kept making mistakes at the back. They have to stop doing that. Salisu and KWP coming in will help, but there are still question marks around their goalkeeping department.
- Mohammed Salisu (Real Valladolid)
- Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham)
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Southampton in 2020-21
A top 10 finish is doable but will be tough. The likes of Che Adams and Nathan Redmond will have to chip in with more goals to take the burden off Ings and if they can do that, plus they stay solid defensively, they will give anyone a game. If everything clicks, Southampton can push for a Europa League place but given the way things went at the start of last season, they will not be taking anything for granted.