The 22/23 Premier League season’s curtain opening weekend was a mix of surprises and disappointments with the players finding their feet to return to full fitness ahead of the gruelling schedule which awaits them. In gameweek 2 of the league, Southampton will be hosting Leeds United who comes into the game having emerged victorious in their opening game against Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1. The Saints’ faced Tottenham Hotspur on the weekend in a rather humbling manner with a 4-1 defeat with Hassenhutl’s men being all over the place in defence.
When and Where?
Date:- 13th August 2022.
Time:- 2:00 PM GMT.
Venue:- St. Mary’s Stadium.
Referee:- Tony Harrington.
Assistant Referees:- Simon Long and Richard West.
Fourth Official:- Michael Salisbury.
VAR Official:- Simon Hooper.
Assistant VAR Official:- Dan Cook.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be without the same players he missed during the trip to North London with Tino Livramento ruled out till December and Theo Walcott out till September. Nathan Tella, who missed the game against Spurs, returned to first-team training and could be involved against Leeds United.
Leeds United will again be without a number of first-team players with the likes of Mateusz Bogusz, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo all having long-term injuries. Luis Sinnisterra and Liam Cooper have returned to training and could feature for Jesse Marsch’s side.
Southampton needs to start improving their performances and improve defensively. The Saints have conceded atleast two goals in their last seven league matches. Hassenhutl has a task at his hand to find the right balance in the backline and limit the number of goals conceded. The departure of Armando Broja back to Chelsea after his loan spell has made Southampton weaker in attack with no physical presence up top. Joe Aribo had an average debut against Spurs as the Nigerian looked the only attacking threat in the Saints’ side.
Leeds are also a side who are defensively vulnerable as they have their senior defenders injured. Marsch’s side played very well against Wolverhampton Wanderers and looked solid particularly in attack. The absence of Raphinha wasn’t felt at Elland Road as new signing Brenden Aaronson ran havoc in the final third for the Peacocks. The American came close to scoring his side’s first goal only for Wolves’ Ait Nouri to deflect the ball in. Jesse Marsch’s philosophy is evident in the team’s style of play and facing a Southampton side who will want to correct their mistakes means the game will be a very competitive watch for the neutral fans.
The 27-year-old midfielder has been consistently involved in Southampton’s attack and scored the opening goal of the game against Spurs at the weekend. He is a dead ball specialist and could be a major threat to the Leeds defence who conceded 13 goals last season from set pieces.
The 21-year-old’s creativity and pressing in the final third could be crucial to Leeds’ chances of scoring. Marsch has assigned him the responsibility of initiating the press to win the ball in the final third and start attacks. In the game against Wolves, Aaronson averaged 31 pressures in the 83 minutes played and 21 carries into the final third.
Southampton predicted XI vs Leeds United: Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Valery, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud, Ward Prowse, Romeu, Lavia, Adams, Redmond.
Leeds United predicted XI vs Southampton: Meslier, Nissen, Koch, Llorente, Struijk, Roca, Adams, Aaronson, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford.