Premier League Predictions: Man Utd to extend their unbeaten run, six pointer at Anfield

The Premier League action is stretched over three days this weekend with some huge games in the race for the top four and the battle to avoid relegation. Manchester United kick things off at home against Bournemouth, while the standout fixture comes on Saturday evening as Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield.

League leaders Chelsea don’t play until Monday evening as they visit London rivals West Ham. Bottom of the table Sunderland have the unenviable task of hosting Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, read on for all our Gameweek 27 predictions…

Manchester United 3-1 Bournemouth

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United return to Premier League action after victory in the League Cup final last weekend. They’ll be looking to make it 17 league games unbeaten against a Bournemouth side who have conceded at least two goals in their last seven domestic outings. Eddie Howe’s side have lost six of their last seven on the road and they’re now only four points above the relegation zone. United are closing in on the top four and should pick up another three points here.

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Swansea City 2-1 Burnley 

This is an absolute must-win for Swansea. They lost 3-1 at Chelsea last week in a game they weren’t expected to win, but now they must ensure they deliver three more points at home to keep their survival bid in good shape. Burnley have proven to be a solid outfit this season but the contrast between their home form and away form is a major cause for concern for Sean Dyche. They have still not won on the road all season, and that doesn’t look like changing here.

Leicester City 2-1 Hull City

The Premier League champions produced a stunning performance to beat Liverpool last time out which left fans wondering where that quality has been all season. The sacking of Claudio Ranieri infuriated football fans in general but if they make it two wins on the spin here it could prove to be a turning point in their season. Hull have to start picking up points if they’ve got any chance of avoiding the drop. Marco Silva’s side are 19th and the stats look ominous for the weekend, they’ve failed to win in ten of their last 11 away games.

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West Brom 1-1 Crystal Palace

This is a huge game for Palace in their bid to avoid relegation. The Baggies have won seven of their last eight home matches in the Premier League and Tony Pulis will be out for his men to get three points against his former employers here. However, they have very little to play for. They are safe in the top half and will struggle to move much higher than their current position of eighth. Palace are only in the bottom three on goal difference heading into the weekend and must try and avoid defeat here.

Watford 0-2 Southampton

The Hornets are going steady in mid-table, picking up eight points from the last 15 on offer. Walter Mazzarri will be hoping he can be the man to end Watford’s winless run against Southampton in the Premier League. Since their return to the top flight the sides have met three times, drawing twice with one Saints win. Claude Puel side will still be licking their wounds after losing the EFL Cup final last weekend after being on the receiving end of a poor decision by the officials. They will hope to bounce back here against a side they’ve not lost to in the last six meetings.

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Stoke City 1-0 Middlesbrough

Stoke were simply awful at Spurs last weekend as they lost 4-0 to Tottenham once again. Mark Hughes will be demanding a much better showing at home here against a Middlesbrough side that’s still having major problems in front of goal. The Potters are unbeaten in seven at home in the league, while Boro have not won away since August, failing to score in their last three trips to league opposition.

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

Quite simply the biggest game of the weekend. Neither of these sides can afford to drop points in the battle to finish in the top four. Liverpool need to respond to their poor performance against Leicester while Arsenal will be itching to get going again following their postponed game due to last weekend’s cup final. Just one point separates the pair and a win for either would be huge. Anfield has proven to be a tough place to visit, with Liverpool losing just one in their last 20 in the league there. A draw looks likely.

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Tottenham 2-1 Everton 

Tottenham can set a club record by winning what would be a ninth-straight game at White Hart Lane here, but that will be no easy feat against an Everton side who have looked strong in 2017 so far. In fact, the Toffees have been the league’s best side in 2017 heading into the weekend and have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku are enjoying excellent seasons and should both be able to add to their tallies in what should be an entertaining game. Spurs need the points more, and should just edge it.

Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

The Black Cats look destined for the drop this season, but they’ve got out of trouble time and time again and given the unpredictability of the Premier League, anything can happen between now and the end of the season. A win here would be a huge boost for David Moyes but they welcome a Manchester City side who bagged five in midweek. Sunderland have conceded nine goals in their last three games against City at the Stadium of Light in all competitions, expect goals.

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West Ham 1-3 Chelsea

Chelsea have had one hand on the Premier League trophy for a number of weeks as they continue to prove their resilience week-by-week. The depth of Antonio Conte’s squad is proving it’s quality, with Cesc Fabregas stepping up to deliver in last week’s win over Swansea and they should be able to take three points in Monday’s London derby. The Hammers have only lost one of their last six but are facing a much stronger Blues team than the one they knocked out of the EFL Cup earlier in the season. Chelsea to take three points.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Southampton FC vs. Liverpool FC

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, November 19 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 23/10 – Draw 13/5 – Liverpool 11/10

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Liverpool to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon in what should be an action-packed game of Premier League football as the Reds look to remain top of the table.

Southampton have lost two-straight league games and will be hoping for a change of fortunes following the international break.

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But they know they’re up against it here, with the Premier League leaders coming to town in excellent form. The Saints haven’t kept a clean sheet in four and that will undoubtedly be a huge worry for Claude Puel.

Liverpool have been so impressive to this point, scoring 30 goals in 11 games, with Jurgen Klopp’s intensity blowing teams away more often than not.

The Reds have won four of their six away games so far and will be confident of getting a result at St Mary’s on Saturday, considering they’ve won three of their last four trips there.

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Team News

Southampton have a long injury list with no less than seven first-team players ruled out and doubts hanging over Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand, Dusan Tadic and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Jeremy Pied, Shane Long, Matt Targett, Harrison Reed, Jake Hesketh, Alex McCarthy and Florin Gardos are all definitely out.

Liverpool are sweating over the fitness of Philippe Coutinho, who is struggling with a bit of a knock to his ankle. Danny Ings, Sheyi Ojo, Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho are all definitely ruled out. Daniel Sturridge will be hoping to start up top.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: D/W/D/L/L

Liverpool’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have scored 40 goals in their 14 competitive games so far this season, which is their best tally after 14 games since 1895.

Key Player: Philippe Coutinho – The Brazilian playmaker has been in sensational form so far this season and has scored in three of his last four trips to St Mary’s Stadium. Expect him to be at the heart of everything Liverpool do going forward on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-3 Liverpool – There should be goals here between two of the league’s most attacking sides. Liverpool, however, look far too good at the moment and are deservedly top of the table. They will be looking for a fourth-straight Premier League win on Saturday and the Saints don’t look in a position to stop them.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Chelsea

Competition: Major League Soccer – Southampton vs. Chelsea

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, October 30 – 16:00 GMT (12:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Southampton 19/10 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Chelsea to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a tie that has the makings of a classic, with both sides looking for three more points as they continue strong starts to the season.

The Saints are in a great run of form, unbeaten in five and are working their way up the Premier League table. Southampton come into this one having progressed in the League Cup in midweek. They drew their last league outing 1-1 away against City in what was an impressive display.

Claude Puel will be pleased with how has side are developing in the early stages of this season and will know they can cause any opponent trouble at home.

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Chelsea were knocked out of the League Cup midweek and will be looking to bounce back here. They demolished United 4-0 last weekend in what was easily their best performance of the season so far.

Antonio Conte is generally pleased with how his side have been playing in the league of late. He switched to 3-4-3 and has seen Chelsea win three on the bounce in the league since doing so.

The Blues are up to 4th, just one point off the top and back in familiar territory in stark comparison to last season. Chelsea need to ensure they pick up maximum points from their next three games before they face some other title contenders in back-to-back fixtures next month.

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Team News

Southampton are expected to be without Matt Target, Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long and Jeremy Pied for the visit of Chelsea here. Sofiane Boufal may keep his place in the side after scoring a fine goal in the League Cup against Sunderland on Wednesday.

Chelsea don’t have a huge injury list but are still expected to be without Cesc Fabregas, while Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel are still unlikely to be named in the squad despite progression in their fitness.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/W/D/W/D

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Southampton are unbeaten in their last nine home Premier League games.

Key Player: N’Golo Kante – The Chelsea midfielder completely dominated the middle of the park against United last Sunday and continually moved the ball to his attacking teammates. If he plays like that again this weekend, Chelsea have a great chance of winning what is a tricky away fixture.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Chelsea – St Mary’s is never an easy place to visit and Southampton will be feeling confident of getting another positive home result against a strong side. Chelsea’s momentum was rocked slightly in midweek and they will be eager to avoid defeat here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City FC vs. Southampton FC

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, October 23 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Man City 1/2 – Draw 100/30 – Southampton 5/1

Match Preview

Manchester City welcome Southampton to the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, with both sides desperate for a win after disappointing results in Europe during the week.

Pep Guardiola watched his City team get thumped 4-0 at Barcelona on Wednesday, with Claudio Bravo’s sending off doing little to help his team’s chances at the Nou Camp.

That defeat means City have failed to win any of their last four games in all competitions. They missed two penalties in last week’s home draw with Everton and need to turn their fortunes around to avoid falling off the top of the table.

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The visit of Southampton presents a tough test for City but they have a squad strong enough to beat anyone on their day, and so an emphatic response is needed after the result in Barca.

The Saints lost 1-0 at Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday but do come into this game in very strong domestic form, having won three of their last four in the Premier League.

Claude Puel is starting to get his ideas across to the players and they have managed to only concede one goal in their last four league outings.

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After losing their first two away games of the season, Southampton have now kept back-to-back clean sheets on the road but are facing a tough task in trying to shutout a City attack that has scored the joint-most goals in the top flight after eight games.

Southampton won the most recent meeting between these sides 4-2 back in May, with Kelechi Iheanacho’s brace outdone by Sadio Mane’s hat-trick for the Saints.

More goals could be on the cards here, with both sides looking for points in what should be an entertaining contest.

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Team News

Pep Guardiola may be without both of his right-backs for the visit of Southampton on Sunday. Bacary Sagna is definitely out, while Zabaleta is a doubt. If they are both absent, he could change to a three-man defensive setup, as he did in last week’s draw with Everton. Yaya Toure is still suspended by the club and won’t feature, while Fabian Delph is not yet fit enough to start.

Southampton are looking a little light in attack ahead of Sunday’s game after Shane Long picked up an injury in the 1-0 loss at Inter Milan on Thursday. Nathan Redmond is a doubt, along with Ryan Bertrand and Matt Targett, while Cedric Soares, Jeremy Pied and Florin Gardos are all definitely sidelined. Exciting winger Sofiane Boufal is expected to make his full debut.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Southampton’s last five: L/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Since the turn of the year, Southampton (51) have collected two more points than Manchester City have in the Premier League (49).

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – It’s no secret that when Aguero is on form, Manchester City are far more lethal side. The Argentine striker started Wednesday’s game at Barcelona on the bench but should be raring to go from the off here.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-1 Southampton – This is another tough game for City to deal with, especially off the back of Wednesday’s result. They are stronger than the Saints on paper and Guardiola will be trying to make sure everyone performs to their highest levels to get back on the right side of the scoreline here. The Saints will fancy their chances but ultimately City need to be winning games like this if they are going to lift the title in May.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Burnley

Competition: Major League Soccer – Southampton vs. Burnley

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, October 16 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Southampton 4/11 – Draw 18/5 – Burnley 8/1

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Burnley to St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon as they look to stretch their unbeaten run to four in the Premier League.

The Saints drew 0-0 at Leicester before the international break but had won back-to-back games against Swansea and West Ham before that and look to be improving under Claude Puel.

They enter the weekend in 10th place but have a squad capable of challenging for European football once again. They need to be winning games like this one to prove they are a force to be reckoned with.

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Southampton are unbeaten in eight Premier League home games coming into the match but have already had to settle for frustrating home draws against Watford and Sunderland this season, so they must be more clinical in front of their own supporters.

For Burnley, it’s a tough away game in which little is expected of them. Sean Dyche’s men have yet to score a goal away from home this season and are taking on a Saints team that hasn’t conceded in 540 minutes of league action.

Burnley were harshly beaten by Arsenal thanks to a controversial late Koscielny goal in their last game but they beat Watford 2-0 before that and need to continue fighting for each other if they are to stay up this year.

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They come into this week’s action in 14th place and need to try and stay out of the bottom three for as long as possible to keep pressure off the squad.

This will be just the third Premier League game between these two sides, with each team winning once when they met over the course of the 2014/15 campaign.

Team News

Southampton will be without fullback’s Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares, who join Florin Gardos, Jeremy Pied and Sofiane Boufal on the injury list. Charlie Austin is expected to lead the attack ahead of Shane Long once again.

Burnley will be without star striker Andre Gray, who is serving the third of his four-game suspension this weekend. Ashley Barnes is Sean Dyche’s only injury worry.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Burnley’s last five: L/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: Southampton are unbeaten in their last eight home games in the Premier League and have beaten Burnley in each of the last three meetings at St Mary’s.

Key Player: Dusan Tadic – The Serbian playmaker has been in good form for club and country and helped his nation to victory by scoring in both games over the international break. He’ll be tasked with breaking down the Burnley backline on Sunday and should succeed in doing so, given his excellent vision.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-0 Burnley – The Saints have a great defensive run going and are unlikely to concede to a team that has yet to score an away goal in the league this term. There might not be many goals here, but the Saints are a stronger side and should have enough to seal all three points.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – West Ham vs Southampton

Venue: London Stadium – Sunday, September 25 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: West Ham 19/10 – Draw 23/10 – Southampton 6/4

Match Preview

West Ham face Southampton at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what is a crunch fixture for the home side after a terrible start to the new season.

The Hammers have started life in their new home in underwhelming fashion. They did beat Bournemouth 1-0 but that was their only positive result of the season so far, having lost their other four fixtures.

Slaven Bilic is under pressure to get his side performing. They have lost their last two games 4-2 against Watford and West Brom – teams that the Hammers fans will feel they should be beating.

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The visit of Southampton on Sunday will offer a stiff test but West Ham have to try and stay calm in what is a difficult run if they are to get back on track and out of the bottom three.

The Saints haven’t had the best of starts themselves but did win their first league game of the season last weekend, edging past Swansea 1-0.

Claude Puel’s men have lost both away fixtures so far and will need to work on their performances away from home if they are to challenge for European places once again this term.

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They sit 14th going into the weekend but know that this is a winnable game and will likely attack the Hammers from the start, given their vulnerabilities at the moment.

This should be an entertaining clash between two sides that are desperate for points at this early stage.

Team News

West Ham are facing a real problem at left-back, with Arthur Masuaku ruled out for six weeks and Aaron Cresswell already sidelined too. Diafra Sakho, Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll are all still ruled out too so Slaven Bilic doesn’t have the strongest squad to choose from here. Alvaro Arbeloa will be pushing for his first league start at full-back.

Southampton have three played ruled out for this one, with Florin Gardos, Jeremy Pied and Sofiane Boufal. Charlie Austin is set to start in attack alongside Shane Long after having scored four in his last three.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five: L/W/L/L/L

Southampton’s last five: D/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: Slippery slope – West Ham have now lost three-straight league games for the first time since Slaven Bilic took over. They have not lost four on the bounce since April 2014.

Key Player: Michail Antonio – The West Ham winger has been the bright spark in a poor spell for the club so far, scoring five in his last four league outings. He netted his first ever Premier League goal in this fixture last season and will be looking to keep his great run going on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

West Ham 2-2 Southampton – There is nothing to split these two sides going into Sunday’s game. Yes, Southampton have looked better over the last couple of weeks but they have lost both away games so far this term and don’t have a great record away at the Hammers. West Ham are in trouble if they fail to win this, with their new stadium proving to be a stumbling block so far. There should be goals but we see this ending all square.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Southampton 

Venue: Old Trafford – Friday, August 19 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Man Utd 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Southampton 13/2

Match Preview

Manchester United host Southampton in the first Friday night Premier League game of the new season this week, with United’s new stars looking to enjoy their first home game of the campaign.

Jose Mourinho’s men strolled past Bournemouth last Sunday, winning 3-1 to move to the top of the Premier League after the first weekend, and will now be looking to stay there for the remainder of the season.

A lot is expected of the club this year, with vast amounts of money being invested into the side and global superstars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba set to make their home debuts here.

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United have not lost a home league fixture on a Friday since April 1950, winning 13 and drawing six since then. They are favourites for this one and are expected to be too strong for the Saints.

However, the Saints should arrive at Old Trafford in a positive frame of mind, having not lost at Old Trafford in three years. Claude Puel now needs to keep his new team well organised if they are to take anything from Friday’s game.

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Southampton were frustrated not to have beaten Watford last weekend, especially as they played against ten men for the later stages of that content, but they avoided defeat and need to ensure they remain competitive in the biggest games this term.

The Saints are set up to counter-attack and will look to hurt United with the pace of Shane Long and Nathan Redmond here, so the hosts need to be wary of the visitors’ threat on the break.

Team News

Jose Mourinho has two injury concerns ahead of Friday’s game, with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Jesse Lingard both doubtful. Chris Smalling is believed to be in contention again, but may have to settle for a place on the bench. Bastian Schweinsteiger remains out of the first-team picture and won’t feature, while all eyes will undoubtedly be on Paul Pogba, who is available to make his second United debut following his world-record transfer from Juventus. He may have to make an impact from the bench though, with a short preseason affecting his fitness levels.

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Southampton boss Claude Puel remains without left-back Ryan Bertrand and central defender Florin Gardos for Friday’s trip to Old Trafford. However, Jose Fonte could be passed fit in time for the game to come into the side. He has been linked with a transfer to United but Puel insists those reports are nothing but rumours.

Key Points

Manchester United’s form: W

Southampton’s form: D

Key Stat: Manchester United have failed to beat Southampton in their last three home outings against Friday’s opponents, losing each of the last two home games against the Saints by a 1-0 scoreline. Southampton have never won three-straight games at Old Trafford in their history.

Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The powerful talisman enjoyed his Premier League debut, finding the net against Bournemouth in the second half. He will now look to shine on his home league debut at Old Trafford. He enjoyed playing against Claude Puel’s Nice side in Ligue 1, bagging 11 goals against the new Saints boss’ team over the past four seasons, including two hat-tricks.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 Southampton – This might not be as comfortable for United as the home fans would like it to be. Southampton were perhaps unfortunate to come away from their opener without a win, after dominating large parts of the game against Watford. They have done well on trips to Old Trafford over the past three seasons and will make things difficult for United here. However, there is a real feel-good factor back at Old Trafford and Mourinho’s men are expected to edge this, with Pogba’s return likely to help carry the team over the line.

The Dugout: Can Claude Puel keep Southampton on the rise?

The 2016/17 Premier League season is less than a week away and a number of clubs will start the campaign with new managers. Fans will be expecting more from their team and here, ‘The Dugout‘ will assess whether Claude Puel can keep Southampton fighting at the top end of the Premier League in his first season in English football…

Southampton FC have gone from strength to strength since returning to the Premier League four years ago and are now preparing for life under new manager Claude Puel.

Between them, Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman have turned the Saints into one of the Premier League’s most energetic and dynamic teams. As a team, they have succeeded with a strong defensive unit and a fluid, attacking setup over the past three seasons, despite losing several high-profile names each summer.

This summer has been no different. Sadio Mane has joined Liverpool, while Victor Wanyama has moved to Spurs, with Graziano Pelle heading off to ply his trade in China. Replacing those three first-team players would have been enough of a challenge by itself, but throw a new manager into the equation and the challenge becomes even greater.

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The Saints finished 6th last season – their best top flight finish since 1984 – and will want to see their team kick on again after improving their league finish every year since returning to the Premier League. That is far from guaranteed though in what will be a hugely competitive campaign.

Claude Puel moves to the south coast after spending his entire career in France. The 54-year-old manager made over 600 appearances for AS Monaco over the course of a 17-year playing career before moving into management with the same club in 1999, winning the league title in his first season as a head coach.

Since then, he has managed Lille, Lyon and most recently Nice, all without winning any silverware. However, he has a reputation for building solid teams by placing emphasis on youth development and getting his sides to play attractive football.

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So what can Southampton fans expect to see from their new head coach over the upcoming campaign?

A different tactical setup…

Southampton have thrived in a 4-2-3-1 formation over the past few seasons but may now be set to line up with a new-look system for the 2016/17 season. Claude Puel deployed a 4-3-2-1 system at Nice last season to good effect, as they finished fourth in Ligue 1, scoring the third-most goals in the division.

The Saints have gone unbeaten through preseason, with Puel using a 4-4-2 diamond formation as well as a 4-3-3 setup on a couple of occasions so it remains to be seen what the setup will be for their first league game of the season against Watford on Saturday. But the 4-2-3-1 that fans have been used to looks to be gone. New signing Nathan Redmond has been deployed as a striker alongside Shane Long during preseason and that will be a tactical decision to look out for.

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Youth development to continue…

There is no doubt that one of the deciding factors in bringing Puel to St Mary’s was the fact that he has a proven track record of developing youngsters. The Saints academy is one of the best in the country and a whole host of young stars are constantly looking for first-team opportunities. Puel could be the man to keep the youth system thriving on the south coast.

He will need to ensure he does use the club’s homegrown talent to stay competitive without the financial muscle that their Premier League rivals possess.

Attractive style of play…

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Saints fans will not want to see their style of play change too much despite a change of manager and that should not happen under the Frenchman. Puel is known for encouraging free-flowing, attacking football and so Southampton should continue to impress neutrals with their approach to games. The key will be finding the right personnel to fit Puel’s system.

The creative instincts of Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse will need to be let loose, while Shane Long and Nathan Redmond will guarantee that the Saints have plenty of pace in the final third. Losing Pelle means the Saints will need to rely on Charlie Austin if they are to stick with an out-and-out target man this season. If not, Shane Long will have to unlock defences with his clever runs in behind, but fans shouldn’t notice too much change on the entertainment front at St Mary’s this year.

Will Claude Puel keep Southampton at the same level they have been at over the past couple of seasons? Will they remain in the top half of the Premier League?

Would Graziano Pelle improve Chelsea’s attacking options?

Since the appointment of Antonio Conte, Chelsea have been linked with a number of players and transfer rumours are only further increasing since Italy were knocked out of the European Championship. Graziano Pelle, a surprise package at the tournament, has been linked with a move to the West London club to continue working under Conte, but would he improve Chelsea’s attacking options? Lewis Addley explores…

Graziano Pelle enjoyed a productive Euro 2016, if only for his personal reputation. The first-choice Italian forward netted two goals in his four games and, like the rest of his teammates, was bitterly disappointed to have fallen to Germany in the quarterfinal on penalties.

A widely held view is that Conte exceeded expectations with an Italian squad who were labelled as weaker than previous Italian teams. Pelle has been reported to be a target for Conte from a number of sources.

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Chelsea’s current frontline for the new season boasts Diego Costa, who is ‘100% staying‘ to be part of Conte’s revolution, new signing Michy Batshuayi, Loic Remy and Bertrand Traore.

Diego Costa netted just 12 Premier League goals last season, while Batshuayi’s 17 Ligue 1 goals earned him the £33 million move to the Blues last week. Remy, scoring just once, was used sparingly last season and many have expected him to be on the move ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, while Bertrand Traore’s development continues as he is seen as one for the future.

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So would Graziano Pelle improve Chelsea’s attacking options?

The Southampton striker boasted a strike rate of just better than one in three in the 2015/16 Premier League season, with 11 goals in his 30 appearances. He created 37 chances for his teammates, ten more than Batshuayi’s 27, and substantially beating Costa’s nine and Remy’s four.

Pelle registered six assists, only Batshuayi bettered that with ten, while Costa provided one and Remy none.

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Diego Costa had the best shot accuracy out of the four players with 79%, while Pelle came in at 39% – the lowest percentage of those compared. Batshuayi managed 56% and Remy was the second lowest on 50%.

With these stats in mind it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest Pelle could be a good squad addition, but with Costa looking set to stay put and with Batshuayi eager to develop into one of the world’s most deadly strikers, the Italian would be joining Chelsea with the knowledge he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter.

Is Pelle a good fit for Chelsea? Will they go in for the 30-year-old striker?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Southampton

Venue: King Power Stadium – Sunday, April 3 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Southampton 12/5

Match Preview

Leicester host Southampton on Sunday afternoon as they look to further strengthen their title bid following the international break.

The Foxes enter the weekend five points clear of Tottenham, though that margin could be reduced to two if Spurs beat Liverpool on Saturday evening.

Regardless of the Tottenham result, Claudio Ranieri will expect his side to take full advantage of this home fixture by securing three more important points.

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The worry for Leicester will be that goals have proven hard to come by of late. They may have won their last three games but all three victories came by 1-0 scorelines and so finding the net more regularly will be the main objective.

Southampton still have lots to play for themselves heading into Sunday’s game. They are only four points off fourth-placed Manchester City and are looking for a third consecutive win here.

Ronald Koeman’s side picked up a remarkable win over Liverpool last time out, coming from 2-0 down to seal a 3-2 victory, and that spirit will be needed for the remainder of the campaign if they are to push for European football.

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The reverse fixture ended 2-2 at St Mary’s and another goal-fest cannot be ruled out here. Both have lots to play for and so this should be a captivating watch.

Team News

Leicester have no fresh injury concerns and will be at full strength once again as they resume their title charge here. Matthew James is the only player out injured and Ranieri could name an unchanged side to the team that beat Crystal Palace last time out.

Southampton will be sweating over the fitness of Ryan Bertrand, who withdrew from the England squad with a knee problem. Charlie Austin is definitely out, while Florin Gardos and Jay Rodriguez are still lacking fitness. Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama could come into the starting lineup.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Southampton’s last five: L/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: Leicester have only won one of their last eight Premier League games against Southampton (D4 L3)

Key Player: Jamie Vardy – Goals haven’t been coming as regularly as they were for Vardy at club level. But his fine performances for England over the international break could turn that form around and he will hope to find the net for the first time in six league games here.

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Score Prediction

Leicester 0-0 Southampton – This looks set to be a close-fought battle between two teams with plenty to play for. Leicester have not looked as dangerous in recent weeks, despite winning their last three, and might have to settle for a point against a Southampton team that showed great spirit last time out.