SAINTS welcome Leeds United to St Mary’s in their first home match of the new Premier League season.
Ralph Hasenhuttl may opt for changes after their 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, despite James Ward-Prowse’s early opener.
The Austrian had earlier told the Daily Echo that he understands Saints must play a more active game when they welcome the likes of Leeds to their turf.
Hasenhuttl could even change to the 4-2-2-2 – as the five back did not combat their defensive issues – but a more likely change will be going forward.
Here is how we think Saints will line up for the clash, kicking off at 3PM on Saturday, August 13…
Hasenhuttl confirmed Gavin Bazunu is currently considered his number one shot-stopper, following his summer move from Manchester City. The 20-year-old made his debut at Spurs, but was not at fault for any of the goals.
Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu are likely to retain their places from last weekend’s defeat. However, Armel Bella-Kotchap could come in for his Premier League debut.
Meanwhile, Romain Perraud has been building back up to full fitness since an injury at the end of last campaign and could be ready to come back into the starting fold tomorrow.
Captain James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia are shoo-ins after their admirable performances in defeat last weekend. Oriol Romeu started at Spurs, but Hasenhuttl wants to pursue an 'active' game and he could play a key role as rotation.
That would leave the door open for the likes of Stuart Armstrong or Joe Aribo, both of whom have been used in a more advanced role so far this season. However, the Nigerian could offer more driving from a deep role.
Adam Armstrong was hooked at half-time, as he has been on a number of occasions, in the season-opener, but with limited striking options could be seen from the start again.
To partner Armstrong, it could even be Che Adams. However, there is so much speculation around the Scottish international it seems more likely his compatriot and Adam’s namesake – Stuart Armstrong – is tasked with that role.
Full Saints predicted XI
Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Lavia, Ward-Prowse, Aribo; S Armstrong, A Armstrong.