Southampton FC vs FC Augsburg
7:45pm kick off (BST)
Weather: 70% chance of rain.
The Saints will be facing Bundesliga side FC Augsburg in the first of 2 pre-season friendlies in the coming week at St Mary’s.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side go into this match unbeaten in pre-season, following draws at St.Gallen and Brentford, before a dominating 3-0 win over French team AS Saint Etienne last week saw a lot of positives. Goals from Gabbiadini, Ward-Prowse and Yoshida against AS.S.E. could make for an interesting team sheet, as players vie for places in Pellegrino’s starting XI.
There are no new injury concerns going into the game, with long term absentee Josh Sims still recovering from knee surgery. The game will probably come too soon for Cedric, who has only just returned to training after a prolonged holiday whilst Van Dijk is reportedly still yet to be involved in first team training, so is unlikely to make the squad.
Saints to watch:
Sofiane Boufal- looked very promising against St Etienne last week. The boost of confidence has made him look like a completely different player to last season.
Stuart Taylor- the legendary goalkeeper hasn’t conceded in over 2 years, whilst at the Saints he boasts an impressive 100% win record. Rumours have it that Joe Hart has a Stuart Taylor poster in his bedroom.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg- the CM has looked solid so far in pre-season and will be itching to put in a shift against his former club.
FC Augsburg come into the game following a mixed pre-season, with 3 wins and 2 losses under their belt. Most noticeably, their last game was a 2-1 loss away to Middlesbrough, who were relegated to the Championship last season.
Manuel Baum’s side finished a respectful 13th in the Bundesliga last season, but will be looking to push on and regain the form that led them to a fifth-placed Europa League spot 2 years ago. They managed to get to the round of 32, being knocked out by Southampton’s “close friend” Liverpool.
One to watch: Sergio Cordova- the tall 19-year-old Venezuelan international winger is a new signing at Augsburg and starred for Venezuela in the u-20 World Cup.
The game should be a close encountered affair with plenty of goals- with it being Pellegrino’s first game at St Mary’s he will be looking to impress the home faithful and get the fans on his side with his high-press attacking football; last seen under the Pochettino era.
Furthermore, it is likely that the team that starts at Augsburg will somewhat be the team that starts the first game of the season against Swansea. I’m predicting a 3-1 victory for the Saints.
No matter what the score is, it’s the start of a promising new era at Southampton, and I for one am excited to head back to our home and watch the lads play under the sun (well, okay lets face it, clouds) at St Mary’s!
Cheer on the lads and make the place a fortress again- negative chants about Van Dijk or Les Reed will dampen the mood… instead sing about Gabbiadini and his Lamborghini or how Charlie Austin is red and white… COYR!