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OPPOSITION IN FOCUS: SOUTHAMPTON

27 June 2018

Paul Hazelwood
Glenn Murray celebrates his first Premier League goal at the Amex Stadium against Southampton.

Our rundown of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League opposition for the 2018/19 campaign continues with Southampton. 

League Position 2017/18: 17th 

Top league goalscorer: Charlie Austin (7) 

How did they do last season? 

Southampton secured Premier League football for the 2018-19 season with a 1-0 win away to Swansea City in the side’s penultimate game of the campaign.

It was a season that saw seven wins, 15 draws and 16 losses, as the Saints remained in relegation danger for much of the campaign and ultimately saw manager Manuel Pellegrino lose his job. He was replaced by Mark Hughes with eight games of the league season remaining on 12th March and steered the team to safety with a game to spare. 

The campaign saw the side make a steady start, with just one loss in their opening five matches – but a lack of consistency and a succession of draws saw the Saints in the bottom half of the table.

A run of one win in 19 matches from November to April put their top-flight status in danger, but two wins and two draws from the final five matches kept the side in the division for another season. 

Who’s in charge? 

Former Southampton player Mark Hughes arrived at St Mary’s tasked with keeping the club in the Premier League – the Welshman did so successfully whilst former club Stoke City were relegated back to the second tier.

Hughes spent four and a half seasons at the bet365 Stadium prior to leaving his post with the Potters, and after Southampton’s Premier League status was secured for the new season, he signed a three-year deal with the club.

Prior to those positions, Hughes also managed Wales from 1999 to 2004, as well as having spells at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. 

Who should I keep an eye out for? 

Charlie Austin scored seven goals in 10 Premier League apperances for the south coast side, despite missing a large part of the season through injury. 

The forward tore a hamstring in the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town in December, having scored against the Terriers earlier in the contest – it was a strike that had taken Austin’s tally to six for the campaign.

He returned to the field at the end of March against West Ham United and scored his seventh of the season a week later away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The striker was then involved in all of the team’s final seven matches between then and the end of the 2017-18 season. 

How did we fare against them last season?

Both meetings between Albion and the Saints last season ended in 1-1 draws. 

The first fixture came at the Amex Stadium at the end of October, and Glenn Murray’s second half header cancelled out Steve Davis’ opener to mean the spoils were shared.

The Seagulls travelled to St Mary’s for the reverse fixture at the end of January, and Murray was on target once again when he converted a first half penalty after Solly March had been fouled inside the area. 

But Southampton would equalise after the break when Jack Stephens prodded home with just under half an hour to play, as both sides played out the game to another draw by the same scoreline.


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