Premier League Preview – Can Lovren solidify Southampton’s season?

At the time, Nigel Adkins’ sacking didn’t go down well with the Southampton fans, and while it is still a sore topic for some, the club’s decision looks to have come good in the end. Wins against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City converted supporters to Mauricio Pochettino’s style and the collapse that some were predicting after he arrived never happened.

Saints’ main strength last season was their attack, with creative midfielders Adam Lallana, Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon providing plenty of ammo for Rickie Lambert. The man from Merseyside continued the form he showed in the Championship by scoring 15 goals last season. Southampton fans will be hoping that Lambert’s form doesn’t dip like Grant Holt’s did in his second season in the Premier League.

The Hampshire side’s defence did not fare very well last season and neither Adkins or Pochettino could find a centre-back partnership that worked, but the signing of Dejan Lovren should ease Saints’ defensive worries. Goalkeeper Artur Boruc may prove key once again, after he established himself as first choice – his team only conceded 22 goals in 18 matches, and you only have to compare that to 37 goals in their first 20 games to see how important he was.

Southampton have a team full of quality attackers and well organised midfielders, who on their day can mix it with the best in the Premier League. A solid mid table finish is on the cards if everything comes together.

Prediction: 10th.

Thomas Baxter