Southampton had a decent season by their standards last season finishing 8th in the Premier League and reaching the League Cup final. Despite this, Claude Puel was sacked and swiftly replaced by Mauricio Pellegrino. Pellegrino managed Alaves in the Spanish first Division where he guided them to a Copa del Rey final, but fell at the final hurdle at the hands of Barcelona.
Players wise, Pellegrino has purchased just the one, by the name of Jan Bodnarek. Bodnarek featured in Poland U21’s unsuccessful European Championship campaign and played his club football with Lech Poznan. The centre back arrived at Southampton for £5.1 million. Both Jay Rodriguez and Cuco Martina have departed to Premier League rivals, West Brom and Everton respectively. As well as that, Pellegrino has been dealing with the Virgil Van Dijk saga which has been ongoing for months.
With regards to Fantasy Premier League, selecting a Southampton player will almost certainly be a key for success given their favourable fixtures to start the season which includes 9 ratings of 2 on the FPL fixture difficulty ranking.
STAR MAN – Nathan Redmond (6.5m)
Nathan Redmond bagged himself an impressive 126 points last season in FPL which included 7 goals and 1 assist. At the beginning of last season Redmond found himself playing up front for the Saints until the acquisition of Gabbiadini pushed him back to the midfield. Redmond also featured for England U21’s in the European Championship where he notched a goal against Slovakia in the group stages.
The price tag of 6.5m has more than tempted fantasy managers as he is owned by over 10% of them. The attacker featured in all but one Premier League games for Southampton due only to suspension. He has had 2 more than solid seasons in the Premier League now and I believe this can be the season where he brakes into the England senior side.
HIDDEN GEM – Charlie Austin (6.5m)
Despite playing just over 900 minutes last season, Charlie Austin found himself being the highest point scorer for Southampton in the forward category. He hasn’t yet rediscovered his form of the 2015/16 season with Queens Park Rangers, but this is due to injuries rather than quality in front of goal. The striker had a goal every 156 minutes last season which over a season would see the striker reach just over 20.
The Englishman has just a 2.4% ownership to his name, which could mean a steal for FPL managers who select him if he can regain form and grab the starting place in the Southampton starting eleven. 6.5m for a starting top 8 striker, surely you can not turn that down?
BARGAIN – Ryan Bertrand (5.5m)
At first glance Bertrand may seem an expensive defender if you compare him with the likes of Trippier and/or Lindelof, but he is quite the opposite. The former Chelsea left back played 28 of Southampton’s Premier League matches last season where he scored twice and assisted his team mates 5 times. Simultaneously he helped guide the Saints to a magnificent 12 clean sheets. This will improve further under Mauricio Pellegrino as the manager guided Alaves to the 5th most clean sheets in the La Liga, beating Real Madrid.
Bertrand is owned by 11.4% of Fantasy Premier League managers which is considerably less than Southampton compatriot Cedric at 16.1% ownership. In comparison to Tripper he is also owned by significantly less as the Spurs wing back has an 18.9% ownership.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Cedric – Yoshida – Stephens – Bertrand
Romeu – Ward-Prowse
Redmond – Davis – Tadic
If you have enjoyed this early view of the fantasy potential of Southampton, be sure to check the other teams here.
Written by Harry Clark (@HarryClark67)