2013/14 Premier League Season Preview – Southampton

Despite talking of European ambitions this season, Mauricio Pochettino will be content with a top 10 finish. Saints strengthened their squad early in a £20m spending spree, with Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama joining the club. Lovren will add defensive stability after another season of chaos at the back last year (they conceded the same amount of goals, 60, as relegated QPR). Pochettino’s pressing game paid dividends against the big teams last season, with victories over Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. Midfielder Jack Cork joked last season that he “needed two hearts” for the energy needed to play in this style, so the players will be amongst the fittest in the league. Pochettino will need to add a winger and a striker to his young squad to push on for a top half finish.

Key Player: Morgan Schneiderlin. Schneiderlin scooped both the Player’s and Fan’s Player of the Year last season, and his partnership with Jack Cork was the heartbeat of the team. Having always been technically gifted, the Frenchman added robustness to his game (having the most tackles and interceptions in the Premier League), as well as goals, scoring 5 of his 8 goals for the club last season.

One to Watch: Luke Shaw. Potentially Saint’s best signing of the season; Luke Shaw committed his future to the club despite interest from higher reputation clubs. After an outstanding debut season, Shaw could well find himself in the England squad with more consistent performances this year.

Prediction: 9th

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