Last season was a mediocre one for Southampton, who were merely five points off the European places at some point during the campaign but ended it finishing 15th, 16 points adrift of West Ham in seventh. Despite those frustrations, the Saints saw prodigious players James Ward-Prowse, Kyle Walker-Peters and Tino Livramento enjoying a stellar breakout campaign.
Armando Broja returned to parent club Chelsea, but Southampton signed Sékou Mara from Bordeaux to fill in his boots. Veterans Shane Long and Fraser Forster departed the club, which opted for four youngsters in Gavin Bazunu, Mara, Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap to strengthen their squad.
This will be Ralph Hasenhuttl’s fifth season at Southampton, who haven’t managed a top-half finish under the Austrian tactician so far. Ward-Prowse, Walker-Peters and Livramento will have another Premier League season under their belt and this will be important in their bid to help the team improve this year.
Their main strength is that Southampton’s backbone remains intact, with the Saints possessing various experienced players but also having one of the youngest squads in the league.
Meanwhile, their weakness over the last few years has been that the team are stuck in mid-table mediocrity, constantly failing to take a step forward and challenge for a European spot.