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Southampton will kick off their 2017/18 Premier League campaign by welcoming Paul Clement’s Swansea City to the St. Mary’s on Saturday evening.
It will be a new chapter for the Saints, under a new manager, after they decided to relieve Claude Puel of his duties, despite finishing 8th in the Premier League and reaching the EFL Cup finals. Mauricio Pellegrino has been appointed as the new manager of the club – their 5th since their return to the top division in 2012. The aim for the club coming into this season will be to break into the top six and seal a spot in Europe, and they will look to get off the blocks quickly against the Swans.
Virgil van Dijk is the only absentee for the Saints, as the defender has submitted a transfer request in order to force through a move away from the club, with Liverpool the most likely destination. Club record signing Mario Lemina, arriving from Juventus, may play a part from the bench.
The England international is the preferred choice in between the sticks for the Saints. Will be a crucial season for him, as he would want to stake a claim for the No.1 spot in the England squad for the World Cup.
One of the most consistent performers for the South Coast club since his arrival, the Portuguese international will start on the right-hand side of the defence.
The 28-year old Japanese international had a good season last time out and has started off the pre-season very positively. Sure to start at the heart of the defence.
Yoshida will be partnered by youngster Jack Stephens, ahead of summer arrival Jan Bednarek. Stephens forged a solid pairing with Yoshida towards the final stages of the last season and more of the same will be expected from them by the new boss.
The left-back spot will be occupied by Englishman Ryan Bertrand. The former Chelsea man has been a reliable presence for Southampton in the past and will want to continue in a similar way.
The club captain will start in one of the two central midfield positions. An extremely hard worker at both ends of the pitch, he will have a big role to play.
Davis will be partnered by former Chelsea man Oriol Romeu. The Barcelona academy graduate has grown into one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in the Premier League. Will sit deep and look to break up play all day.
Southampton’s biggest creative outlet, the 28-year old is arguably their most important player in the attacking third of the pitch.
The 22-year old has been touted as one of the brightest talents in the country, but hasn’t exactly been able to completely flourish yet. Will have to start fulfilling on his potential.
The England youth international had a great debut campaign for the Saints, after his move from Norwich City last summer. Will look to start the new season on a strong note.
Both Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin have been among the goals in the pre-season, but we could see the Italian get the nod ahead of the former QPR man.