Southampton Season Preview 2018/19 – Tactics, Key player and predicted finish
Southampton should be aiming to put an end to their misery by making a strong start this season. The Saints endured a dismal campaign last time out, which saw the club miss the drop by a whisker. But the south coast club did look considerably better after the arrival of Mark Hughes.
Under the former Stoke City manager, Southampton showed confidence and quality in the final third. Up until his arrival, the Saints struggled to find goals, while also conceding for fun at the same time. Mark Hughes has brought in a number of additions to the squad this summer in order to bolster the squad.
The likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Angus Gunn and Stuart Armstrong all arrived in the close season to boost Mark Hughes’ options. Angus Gunn is a talented goalkeeper who rose through the ranks of Manchester City’s youth academy. He will certainly provide a healthy competition to Alex McCarthy.
The other additions also possess immense potential to take Southampton back to the top.
Mark Hughes’ system seems to suit the Saints well. The manager likes to deploy wing-backs who have all the freedom to push up and attack. This saw the likes of Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand thrive up front. They were a constant attacking threat, racking up a couple assists by the end of the season.
Southampton open their Premier League campaign with a clash against Burnley. The Clarets will be brimming with confidence after ending a 51-year wait to make their return to Europe. The Saints will definitely prove to be a different team as compared to last year.
Mark Hughes’ teams are often well drilled and organised in defence. The Saints were conceding left and right last season but that won’t be the case anymore. Under Mark Hughes, the Saints will be a lot more systematic at the back and will prove to be a strong backbone for the squad.
This season could also see striker Charlie Austin hit new heights. The English striker looked impressive under the former Stoke City manager but was unable to maintain his form due to his persistent injuries. But the forward should return to make his mark right from the beginning this season.
Predicted finish: 12th
Hughes is an experienced coach in the Premier League, who has been plying his trade at the highest level for a while now. On paper, Southampton have a decent run of opening fixtures which the team should make the most of. It’s important to start the season on a positive note and that’s exactly what Mark Hughes should be aiming for.
A mid-table finish is possible if the players play to their potential.