The new Premier League season kicks off as St Mary’s on Saturday, as Southampton face up to Swansea City, looking to begin their campaign with a win.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have had a rather mixed pre-season, recording two victories, two draws and a loss. The Saints began with a 0-0 draw away to Swiss side St Gallen, before being held again by Championship side Brentford.
A resounding 3-0 win over Saint-Etienne drew a training camp in France to a close, but the South Coast side were brought back down to earth four days later, as they were thrashed 4-0 by Bundesliga side FC Augsburg. Pre-season was capped with a 2-0 win over La Liga outfit Sevilla at St Mary’s, as Saints look to enter the new season with some confidence.
Their opponents, Swansea, have had a similar time to Saints. Beginning with a 1-0 defeat to League 2 side Barnet, the Swans picked up the pace as they went on an unbeaten tour of the USA, drawing against Philadelphia Union and North Carolina, while putting Richmond Kickers to the sword in between. On their return to the UK, a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City was followed by a 4-0 thrashing of Serie A side Sampdoria, as the Welsh side look for a strong start.
Transfer-wise, both clubs have been stuck in the limelight for the majority of the window, as speculation over the future of key players Virgil van Dijk and Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed the headlines. As of yet, neither player loooks set to leave, however neither will feature in the season curtain-raiser.
Southampton have brought in Jan Bednarek from Lech Poznan, and Mario Lemina for a club-record fee from Juventus, while Swansea have signed Roque Mesa from Las Palmas and brought Tammy Abraham in on loan from Chelsea.
The Swans have also offloaded former Saint, Jack Cork, as they sold him to Burnley for £10m.
In what will be a well-fought clash, both sides will be looking to get their desired start to the new season, as Premier League football returns.