EPL Season Preview: Southampton

Coach: Claude Puel

2015/16 Finish: 6

2016/17 Preseason Ranking: 10

Sportify Rating: 1534

2015/16 Wagebill: £80M

Stadium Capacity: 32,505 at St. Mary’s Stadium

Departures: Kelvin Davis (retired); Paulo Gazzaniga (Rayo Vallecano); Juanmi (Real Sociedad); Joe Lea (Yeovil); Jason McCarthy (Walsall); Sadio Mane (Liverpool); Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng); Gaston Ramirez (Released); Victor Wanyama (Tottenham)

Arrivals: Kieran Freeman (Dundee United); Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich); Alex McCarthy (Crystal Palace); Jeremy Pied (Nice); Nathan Redmond (Norwhich)

The good: Consistent improvement

Southampton FC: Goals v xG by Season
Southampton FC: Goals v xG by Season

Since their first season back in the PL (2012-13), Southampton have continually been on the rise. They finished 14th, then 8th, 7th and most recently 6th as their goal output went 49, 54, 54, 59, and their xG went 50.3, 50.3, 51.2, 53.8. Even more impressive is the fact that they’ve maintained this improvement while losing a top notch coach and more than a handful of their top players (Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Morgan Schneiderlin, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne to name a few). Great coaching and great squad additions led them to 6th place and 63 points last season; both PL records for the club.

The bad: They have to regroup…again

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Shane Long (R) of Southampton celebrates scoring the opening goal with Dusan Tadic during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Shane Long (R) of Southampton celebrates scoring the opening goal with Dusan Tadic during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Saints have once again been big sellers in the transfer window; joint top scorers Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle, midfield man Victor Wanyama and coach Ronald Koeman have all left Saint Mary’s. In Mane, Southampton lose their most dangerous player, he either shot or assisted 31.5% of all Southampton’s xG last year. In Pelle, they lose their best finisher; he scored 11 goals on 7.3 xG (3.7 goals-xG was 10th best in the PL last season) though Shane Long is a ready replacement.