Year Formed

1885

Stadium

St Mary’s Stadium

Capacity

32,505
 

Last 10 years league finishing positions

 
 

Best Season

2015/16

Last season cemented Southampton’s credentials as a consistent topflight performer with their best Premier League finish, highest points tally (63) and sixth straight season on the up. With a steady stream of talent from their academy and astute signings they continue to overcome their traditional offseason turnover and earned another shot in the Europa League.

 

How they fared last season

Unlike the previous campaign, when they fell off the pace towards the end, the Saints stormed home with six wins and a draw from their final seven matches to finish the form side of the league, helped in no small part by conceding the fifth least number of goals – equal with Manchester City.

59
number of goals
scored last season
41
number of goals
conceded last season
6
red cards
57
yellow cards
 

Team Strengths

Can any team stop the rise and rise of Southampton?

In 2008/09 they were relegated to League One but since then it’s been an irresistible upward trajectory.

But for a horror stretch from the end of November, when they recorded only one league win in eight games, 2015/16 could have seen the St Mary’s mob pressing for UEFA Champions League football.

Masters of recruitment, particularly from less scrutinised European Leagues, the Saints have pocketed some handy change churning their players onto the likes of Liverpool who have forked out around $200m since 2014, cherry-picking the south coast club’s stars.

Crucially, for ongoing success, they’ve managed to keep key personnel.

Defender Virgil Van Dijk, rising star James Ward-Prowse and goalkeeper Fraser Forster have all signed new deals.

Foster’s return from injury, in particular, coincided with a club record six straight clean sheets and a surge from 13th to sixth.

 

Weaknesses

You can only defy gravity for so long and the Saints will suffer from chasing success on several fronts.

A disastrous maiden campaign in Europe last season, where they were bundled out before the group stage, was a blessing in disguise, leaving them to focus on resurrecting their league campaign.

But new gaffer Claude Puel, making his first foray into the English topflight, is under pressure to progress the team in their second Europa outing while continuing to threaten the big boys at home.

The club needs goals, with only a miserable Manchester United scoring fewer among the top eight sides last season.

Ex-manager Koeman warned in 2015 they couldn’t afford to keep offloading their prized assets so the recent sale of top goal scorer Sadio Mane to Liverpool for $70 million could be ominous.

 

Formation

Built on pragmatism and a defensive resolve, Koeman adapted his 4-2-3-1 depending on whether they were protecting a lead or chasing a result. Puel’s teams are known for their pressing, attacking style football.

 

Star Player

Southampton will be delighted they’ve managed to tie van Dijk to a long-term deal after successive seasons of watching their best talent picked off by better heeled outfits.

The 24-year-old made the switch from Celtic after two title-winning seasons in the SPL and quickly established himself as a standout defender in the Premier League.

After the Saints lost their bid to hold onto Toby Alderweireld, van Dijk proved a more than adequate replacement, seamlessly adapting to the English topflight.

The towering centre back is a genuine goal threat and up there with the best of them in clearances, interceptions and aerial battles.

The Dutch international was a key figure in last season’s success, underscoring the value of his signature on a new six-year deal in May.

 

Claude Puel

Manager

After leading the Saints to their best Premier League finish, Dutchman Ronald Koeman decided to pitch his tent on Merseyside.

For a club used to seeing its best and brightest decamp for the bright lights, this was a particular blow.

But Southampton are no mugs when it comes to astute appointments and feel they’re on a winner with Frenchman Claude Puel who signed a three-year deal in June.

The 54-year-old former defensive midfielder has 20 years of managerial experience in the French top flight and played a role in the development of Thierry Henry and Eden Hazard.

He led Monaco to a Ligue 1 title in 1999/2000, Lyon to the semi-final of the Champions League in 2010 and last season navigated Nice to within two points of a UCL spot.

The club’s executive director of football, Les Reed, says Puel’s remit is to “repeat and improve on our performances in the Premier League” and steer them through a European campaign.