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. They qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their club’s history. They made it all the way to the playoffs before Celtic eliminated them narrowly, but that still put them in the Europa League group stages for the first time ever.
The Saints are also in the Europe League for the first time in their history and had an excellent first game where they thrashed Czech Republican side Sparta Prague 3-0. 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. Hapoel upset Italian giants Inter Milan 2-0 away from home in matchday one and will be keen to come up with a similar display.
Here is the predicted Southampton lineup against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Fraser Forster will continue under the bar ahead of Alex McCarthy. Cedric Soares is likely to start in the right-back position. The centre-back pairing will be skipper Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk. Ryan Bertrand should start in the left-back position ahead of youngster Matt Targett. Claude Puel’s boys have kept clean sheets in each of their last four games and will be high on confidence on their trip to Israel.
We expect Oriol Romeu to continue at the base of the midfield diamond. The Spaniard has done a great job so far in defensive midfield breaking up opponents’ game and spraying passes. The former Chelsea midfielder will be looking to keep up his good form. Steven Davis and Jordy Clasie are likely to start as the two box to box midfielders. Dusan Tadic is likely to start at the tip of the midfield diamond offering the creativity.
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. The Englishman is clearly ahead of Shane Long in the pecking order while Jay Rodriguez is out injured. Nathan Redmond is likely to partner Austin up front in the two-pronged attack.