After impressing in their first Europa League group stage match, having beating Sparta Praha 3-0 at home, Southampton are hoping to carry some momentum from that match into the Premier League. This weekend, the Saints are set to face Swansea City.
Last weekend, the Saints lost to Arsenal 2-1 away from home. Laurent Koscielny brought Arsenal level after the Saints took an early lead. Santi Cazorla slotted home from the spot late in the match to send Southampton back to the south coast with no points. Credit to Southampton however, as they looked quite organized and strong.
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LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 10: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal takes on Shane Long of Southampton during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on September 10, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
At the Liberty Stadium last week, Swansea drew Chelsea 2-2. Diego Costa brought Chelsea back even in the 81st minute and assured that his side would return home with the one point. Gylfi Sigurðsson goal made him Swansea’s highest goal-scorer in the Premier League.
As neither Southampton nor the Swans have been off to a great start this season, both teams are in need of points. This weekend should present us with an exhilarating match at St. Mary’s. The key match up for this fixture will be Charlie Austin vs. Federico Fernández.
Charlie Austin found the back of the net twice for the Saints on Thursday against Sparta Praha in the Europa League. He looked like a man on a mission and seems to be back to full stride. Austin looked dynamic off the ball and dangerous with it at his feet. If the Saints’ manager Claude Puel gives him the start, Austin will hope that he can continue his good form and maintain his confidence again the Swans.
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Charlie Austin of Southampton celebrates scoring his teams opener with teammate Maya Yoshida during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Southampton FC and AC Sparta Praha at St Mary’s Stadium on September 15, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
The Argentine Federico Fernández looked a bit shaky last weekend vs. Chelsea. One of his mistakes led to Diego Costa’s first half goal. Fernández needs to be stronger this weekend or else his side may concede at the hands of Austin and Co.
Saints boss Puel was delighted to see the depth of his side while watching them succeed against Sparta Praha. Nevertheless, Puel is focused on this weekends fixture.
“But, for now, it is important to stay concentrated on the next game against Swansea, which will be very difficult, because the players must play another game after just two days off following this game,” Puel said.