Southampton: What to Watch for as Saints Kick Off Season Against Everton

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With the 2021/22 Premier League season set to kick off, Southampton find themselves in a bit of a questionable position. Kicking off the campaign with a trip to Goodison Park against Everton, the Saints will look to settle some early season nerves. After all, the club enter the campaign following a turbulent summer transfer window.

However, as bad as the summer has looked, the club’s departures have paved the way for new faces to emerge. That said, a major question still remains at this stage. Just how quickly can these new signings acclimatise themselves to both the Premier League and Southampton. The answer to this question almost certainty determines the outcome of the Saints season opening trip to Goodison Park.

Southampton Kick Off Season Against Everton

Major Changes to Southampton Starting Starting 11

Suffering through a dire run of form for most of last season, Southampton moved on from three major players this summer. The first of which being Ryan Bertrand, who joined Leicester City on a free transfer. The second player to depart was star forward Danny Ings, who joined Aston Villa in a £30 million move. Finally, the club recently agreed to a £15 million deal with Leicester City for centre-back Jannik Vestergaard.

In their place, a handful of new faces have stepped into the Saints first-team. Adding to their defensive ranks, Southampton signed youngsters Romain Perraud, Tino Livramento, and Dynel Simeu. Most importantly though, the club quickly moved to sign a replacement for departed star Danny Ings. In fact, the Saints signed two replacements.

First adding Albanian international Armando Broja on a season long loan from Chelsea, Southampton brought in a player that could provide both youth and talent to the first-team squad. However, the club’s major attacking signing would come in the form of Adam Armstrong. The form shown by these players will go a long way in determining just what kind of result the Saints will earn in their match against Everton.

Can Saints Break Goodison Park Hoodoo?

To say that Southampton have had a rough go of it at Goodison Park may be the understatement of the year. In the club’s last 17 visits to the historic ground, they have managed just one victory. In fact, Southampton haven’t won a league match at Goodison since 1997. Since that victory, the Saints have recorded a horrific 0-5-11 record in Premier League play at the ground.

While the gap between the sides has closed over the last nine years, Everton remain a tough side to figure out. Unfortunately, that run appears likely to continue given the amount of change that has occurred this summer for the South Coast club. Having to replace three top players, a feeling out phase may take place in this match.

Though good for the rest of the season, this phase is unlikely to lead to a result in this game for Southampton.

Attacking Players Key to Saints Success

Without Danny Ings leading the Southampton attack, they will now be forced to depend on the other attackers. While Adam Armstrong, Armando Broja, and others may eventually take up this mantle, for now, the limelight is clearly on Scottish international Che Adams.

A definite member of the starting 11, Che Adams could be considered Southampton’s most important player this season. While the 25-year-old has scored just 13 times in his two seasons on the South Coast, he will now be expected to step into the role vacated by Danny Ings. How well Adams adapts to this role will likely determine the outcome of the Saints season as well as this match.

Also likely to play a role in this match will be Nathan Tella and new signing Adam Armstrong. If either player can make an impact in this match, Southampton’s chance of victory will skyrocket. However, should the club’s attacking players fail to perform, it will signal that Southampton may have a long road ahead of them this season.

Final Thoughts: Rocky Start Likely for Southampton at Everton

Missing three of last season’s star players, Southampton are likely to be in for a rocky start to their campaign. Faced with a tough, season opening trip to Everton, it is unlikely they will quickly find their footing. While the club’s new signings may surprise, this match represents a tough opening test.

Although a respectable performance will be expected, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl definitely has his work cut out for him.

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