Southampton’s inconsistent start to the season has left the club languishing out of the top 10 in 12th position. 2 wins in seven matches is far from the desired start that the Saints were hoping for. After a tumultuous summer, that oversaw the arrival of Manuel Pellegrino replacing Claude Puel at the helm of the club and a legal complaint filed against Liverpool over the Virgil Van Dijk saga, the new manager did not get the desired calm and peace required to settle in and implement his philosophy at St. Mary’s.
Southampton oversaw the departure of a few club regulars like Jay Rodriguez, Lloyd Isgrove and Jordy Clasie. Of the new signings, the limelight went to the man arriving from Juventus, Mario Lemina. The Saints’ star defender Van Dijk was set to leave the club, having handed in a transfer request. Liverpool and Chelsea were two of the many clubs interested in securing the Dutch defender’s service.
Liverpool’s move was a little too aggressive for Southampton’s liking and they went on to take legal action against the Merseyside club, thereby formally putting an end to Liverpool’s attempt to sign the defender. Despite failing to get a move, Van Dijk has maintained his professionalism and has returned to the club for training, albeit it was late and has been shown enough trust by new boss Pellegrino to feature again in the Saints’ line up.
Newcastle visit Southampton this week in what promises to be an evenly-contested match. Southampton is likely to feature a 4-2-3-1 line up:
29-year old Fraser Forster is likely to feature in goal with the two centre-backs likely to be Virgil Van Dijk and the experienced Maya Yoshida. Cedric Soares is expected to start at right-back for the Saints with English left-back Ryan Bertrand expected to play down the left channel.
Ex-Chelsea man Oriel Romeu is expected to partner summer signing Mario Lemina in the deep-lying midfield position for the Saints with Lemina expected to pull the strings and Romeu to shore up the defensive frailties.
Of the three men behind the striker, 28-year old Dusan Tadic is expected to operate on the right flank cutting in whenever he gets the opportunity. Steven Davis is expected in the role directly behind the striker and he will be tasked with setting the forward free. Nathan Redmond will be expected on the left wing for Southampton
The Saints will look to Shane Long to start up front for them with Charlie Austin expected on the bench. Here is how they might line up: