Premier League - Football: Southampton season preview
After watching their side win only nine games last season, Southampton fans will be hoping for a brighter campaign after a busy summer on the South Coast.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's side tailed away in the closing stages of 2021/22 as they only won one of their final 12 matches.
Thankfully for the Saints, they were already clear from relegation, but the club's fans have every right to expect better this season.
However, Southampton are 3.00 to be relegated, with only Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest, Fulham, Leeds United and Brentford more favoured to drop down into the Championship.
England Premier League 2022/23
|When||5th August 2022 - 28th May 2023|
|How to watch|
Selected matches broadcast on Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
|Odds||Manchester City 1.20, Liverpool 13.00, Tottenham 34.00, Chelsea 34.00, Manchester United 101.00|
Where did Southampton finish last season?
What are Southampton's hopes for the new season?
The Saints will hope they can stay clear of a relegation battle this season, but that is easier said than done in the Premier League.
Last term, Hasenhuttl's team only finished five points above 18th-placed Burnley, who returned to the Championship after six years in the top flight.
A mid-table finish should be considered an achievement for the Saints, but if they can sit comfortably throughout the campaign, their fanbase should be content.
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Who are Southampton's opening opponents?
Southampton have not been handed an easy tie at the start of the campaign, with a trip to the capital on the cards for Hasenhuttl's team.
Tottenham will welcome Saints on the opening weekend and Antonio Conte's men are 1.36 to win their first fixture as they try to establish themselves as title challengers. The draw is 5.00, while the visitors are on offer at 8.50 to kick off their campaign with all three points.
When are Southampton's key fixtures?
Southampton's first home game comes against Leeds United, a match they are 2.40 to win. The Saints will hope to hit the ground running on home turf, especially against a side who may be in a relegation battle come the end of the campaign.
After Spurs and Leeds, Southampton will then face Leicester City on their travels, before a tough end to August sees them host both Manchester United and Chelsea.
Their final contest before the mid-season break for the World Cup 2022 comes against Liverpool at Anfield on 12th November.
Like the rest of the Premier League, Southampton return to action on Boxing Day and they will take on fellow South Coast outfit Brighton at St Mary's.
Southampton will hope they are clear of relegation come the final round of matches, as they end their campaign against title hopefuls Liverpool on 28th May.
Who is Southampton's manager?
Southampton coach Hasenhuttl is now at his fifth different club since starting his coaching career in 2007.
His two-year spell with RB Leipzig came to an end in May 2018, although he was in the dugout at St Mary's by December of that same year.
He has survived some heavy defeats during his time as the Saints' manager, including 9-0 losses to Leicester and Man Utd.
The Austrian is a fan of the Gegenpressing tactic, which helps his side recover possession quickly once they lose the ball and he will hope his team are able to deploy that approach to their advantage.
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What players have Southampton signed?
Alex Iwumene (Sutton)
Gavin Bazunu (Man City)
Mateusz Lis (Altay)
Armel Bella-Kotchap (Bochum)
Romeo Lavia (Man City)
Joe Aribo (Rangers)
Sekou Mara (Bordeaux)
Which players have left Southampton?
Harry Lewis (Bradford)
Fraser Forster (Spurs)
Caleb Watts (Morecambe, Loan)
Kazeem Olaigbe (Ross County, Loan)
Shane Long (Released)
Dan Nlundulu (Cheltenham, Loan)
Will Smallbone (Stoke, Loan)
Thierry Small (Port Vale, Loan)
Kegs Chauke (Exeter)
Jack Bycroft (Taunton, Loan)
Who are Southampton's key players?
|Potential top scorer:|
Southampton rely heavily on captain James Ward-Prowse and he enjoyed a superb campaign last time out, scoring 10 goals.
The 27-year-old England midfielder leads by example at St Mary's, and his form has earned him a spot in some of Gareth Southgate's recent squads.
While his place on the plane to Qatar is not guaranteed, he is a certain starter for Saints and his ability from dead-ball situations is unrivalled in the Premier League, with him a constant threat from direct free-kicks.
Last season, Chelsea striker Armando Broja enjoyed a successful loan spell, but he is now back at Stamford Bridge and Che Adams is 3.25 to be the club's top scorer come May.
New signing Sekou Mara will need time to settle in and at only 19, patience is required to draw the best out of the former Bordeaux forward.
Which Southampton players will be going to the World Cup?
Ward-Prowse will hope to make the cut for England's squad, but he faces plenty of competition in the middle of the park.
He was named in Southgate's squad for the last batch of Nations League fixtures and, if he can maintain his form, Ward-Prowse should be able to make the final 26-man group.
Defender Jan Bednarek will fancy his chances of playing for Poland in Qatar, while Mohamed Salisu has the opportunity to make his debut for Ghana this winter.
Sadly for new recruit Joe Aribo, Nigeria failed to qualify for Qatar, as did Mali and Norway, which means Moussa Djenepo and Mohamed Elyounoussi will also be watching from home.