Wolves v Southampton: Inside track on the Saints

Wolves take on early high flyers Southampton on Monday - get to know them here.

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse (hidden) celebrates scoring
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse (hidden) celebrates scoring

We spoke with Tom Leach, Southampton reporter for HampshireLive, to get a proper look at the Saints.

See what he had to say here.

It's been a terrific start to the season for Southampton, what's been behind their brilliant performances so far?

So much. Trust in the manager has been key.

I don’t want to mention a particular result last season but sticking with Ralph Hasenhuttl during that period has done so much good. His style of play is fantastic to watch. Their pressing style has been so hard to beat and they play high up the field, stopping the opponents from getting chance the breathe. That can often be good going forward but poor at keeping goals out - but not with Saints.

Jannik Vestergaard has been, I think, a contender for best defender in the league so far this season as Jan Bednarek has been very good too.

Ralph Hassenhuttl has really got the Saints playing, what kind of style of play can we expect to see at Molinuex on Monday?

They’re overwhelming to play against. They run at you and pressure you into defensive mistakes.

Hasenhuttl plays a 4-2-2-2 system with two number tens, a number nine and a second striker who floats between the two. Think of it a blend of 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, depending on the situation. It works, anyway.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

They score goals from players all over the pitch and, with James Ward-Prowse, are especially dangerous and free-kicks.

Who have been the stand out players so far this season?

I have already mentioned one, Vestergaard. Che Adams is another, he has boosted his physical presence in recent months and works harder than anybody.

Ward-Prowse is dangerous in midfield but his sidekick, Oriol Romeu, has been arguably better.

Are there any injury/Covid worries heading into this game?

Danny Ings is the only notable absentee. He has knee surgery a fortnight ago.

James Ward-Prowse and Ryan Bertrand returned to training this week from hamstring injuries and should, fingers crossed, be fit to start.

Southampton's Danny Ings

What's your predicted XI?

Presuming injuries work out as we hope, I would expect Hasenhuttl to go: McCarthy (GK); Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand; Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Armstrong, Djenepo; Adams, Walcott.

Southampton are obviously in the upper reaches of the table right now, what are the expectations around the club following such a strong start?

The aim was top half, but now it’s Europe - they’re playing that well.

If they can finish above sides like Wolves and Leicester then that would be remarkable give their resources, and after losing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the summer.

Southampton's Che Adams

What have you made of Wolves from afar, how do you think they'll do this season?

Wolves have impressed me, especially during the recent months. Nuno of course pipped Hasenhuttl to October’s manager of the month award - I think only because Southampton played less games - so their form has been strong.

My big worry is that Bertrand fails to return from his hamstring problem in time because Adama Traore scares me.

Your match prediction?

I am going for it. 2-0 to Southampton and the Premier League starts to take notice of Saints and Ralph.

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