Southampton will travel to Turner Stadium in Israel on Thursday to take on Hapoel Be’er Sheva in their second group stage game in the UEFA Europa League. Hapoel Be’er Sheva are enjoying a fantastic season in Europe this time around. This season, they qualified for the qualifying round of the Champions League group stage for the first time in their club’s history but were narrowly beaten by Celtic in the playoffs. That made them qualify for the Europa League and they started their Europa League campaign in a fine manner, shocking Italian giants 2-0 at San Siro.
The Saints are in a fantastic form heading into the game, winning their last four games on the bounce. Their winning run started with a 3-0 demolition job of Czech giants Sparta Prague. Three straight wins after that have built up a great shape at the St. Mary’s Stadium right now but the Saints cannot afford to take the Israeli side lightly. It has all the ingredients to become an entertainer and we have to wait and see who comes out as winners.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva
The hosts have a clean bill of health and Barak Bakhar will be keen to make another upset.
The Saints will miss Jay Rodriguez and club record signing Sofiane Boufal through injuries while summer signing Jeremy Pied is out for the season suffering an ACL injury.
Predicted lineups and tactical setups
Hapoel Be’er Sheva
The hosts are likely to line up in a 5-3-2 formation. They earned three vital points against Inter and should take a defensive approach against Southampton. Goresh will start under the bar behind the back four of Bitton, Vitor, Taha, Zedek and Korhut. Ogu and Hoban will be the two-man pivot in midfield behind Buzzaglo who is likely to start as the number ten behind strikers Anthony Nwakaeme and Lucio Maranhão.
Starting XI: Goresh; Bitton, Vitor, Taha, Zedek, Korhut; Ogu, Hoban, Buzzaglo; Maranhao, Nwakaeme
Claude Puel is likely to stick to his favoured 4-4-2 diamond system. Fraser Forster should start under the bar behind the back four of Martina, Fonte, Yoshida and Targett. Romeu will start at the base of the midfield diamond with Davis and Ward-Prowse starting as the two box to box midfielders. Tadic will start as the tip of the diamond behind the striker duo of Redmond and in-form Austin.
Starting XI: Forster; Martina, Fonte, Yoshida, Targett; Romeu, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Tadic; Austin, Redmond
Hapoel Be’er Sheva- Miguel Vitor
The 27-year-old Portuguese central defender is the key man in Barak Bakhar’s defence. The former Benfica, PAOK and Leicester City stopper will be someone to look forward to in this game.
Southampton- Charlie Austin
Charlie Austin is in a sensational form right now having scored five goals in the last four games and will be looking to get on the scoresheet again as he starts up front.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva win @11/5
Southampton win @7/5