Southampton vs Leeds predictions: The heat is on Hasenhuttl

Simon Barlow
Spotlight
Ralph Hasenhuttl is seemingly a man under pressure at Southampton as he prepares to take on a high-energy Leeds side
Ralph Hasenhuttl is seemingly a man under pressure at Southampton as he prepares to take on a high-energy Leeds side

The Red Bull way has always been to produce high-energy football, so fans should expect little else when two former RB Leipzig bosses take their teams to the Premier League stage at St Mary's on Saturday. 

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl appears to be coming to yet another crossroads in his career after almost four years in his current role. 

His Saints side caught Tottenham off guard for the opening goal in north London last week, but familiar failings became their eventual undoing in a 4-1 defeat that left him with much to ponder. 

Reports that his players no longer trust him will hurt and the rumours provide an awkward backdrop for an important game against a team that were not quick to fully buy into Jesse Marsch's style. 

All is sunny in the city of Leeds right now after the American, who was head coach at New York Red Bulls and FC Salzburg too, guided the Whites to an opening-weekend home win over Wolves. 

But, with temperatures due to be in the mid to high 30s on the south coast at kick-off time, can the Premier League's most-intense pressing team be as effective this Saturday? 

Team news

Lyanco is Southampton's only fresh injury concern and he will join long-term casualty Tino Livramento on the sidelines. 

Hasenhuttl will be tempted to make a change at the back after the calamitous display against Spurs with Jack Stephens or summer signing Armel Bella-Kotchap the options to come in and Yan Valery the most likely to step down from last week's line-up. 

A move away from the 5-3-2 system that the Austrian implemented throughout pre-season seems unlikely after one poor result against a strong team. 

Che Adams, linked with a loan move elsewhere, could provide a more physical presence than Adam Armstrong for Joe Aribo to work with in attack. 

Captain Liam Cooper and Adam Forshaw are available again as Leeds' injury problems finally appear to be easing. 

Luis Sinisterra is fit to make his debut at St Mary's after suffering a hamstring injury in pre-season, but the Colombian, who scored 23 goals for Feyenoord last year, is likely to make his bow as a substitute. 

Stuart Dallas is still out, but Junior Firpo and Luke Ayling are edging closer to returns while winger Dan James is eligible again after missing Saturday's win over Wolves through suspension. 

Marsch will want to keep a winning line-up intact, so Pascal Struijk is likely to reprise his role as a makeshift left-back in an unchanged XI. 

The stats

Jesse Marsch led Leeds to an opening 2-1 win over Wolves
Jesse Marsch led Leeds to an opening 2-1 win over Wolves

Leeds, under first Marcelo Bielsa and then Marsch, made the most sprints of any club in the Premier League last season. 

They stuck to that high-energy style against Wolves last week with only Martin Odegaard (12.52km) covering more distance in the opening round of Premier League matches than Tyler Adams, who ran 12.14km on his Leeds debut. 

The Whites gained possession more times within five seconds of applying pressure than any other Premier League side on matchday one - turning the ball over 64 times. 

Southampton have become notoriously slow starters in recent years and lost their opening league fixture for the fourth straight campaign. 

James Ward-Prowse, who scored from open play last week, is closing on David Beckham's record of 18 Premier League goals from direct free-kicks after taking his tally to 14 last season. 

Prediction

Leeds will be glad of the Premier League-mandated drinks breaks this weekend with temperatures set to soar - but it will be tough to replicate the pressing performance of last week's win at Elland Road. 

Although they produced better physical stats than Wolves, the visitors had more possession, shots, shots on target, and a higher pass success rate than their hosts. 

Similarly, Southampton were able to move the ball up the pitch effectively against Spurs before falling apart in decisive areas. 

There could be something for them on Saturday if they can sharpen up in attack, but a more likely outcome would be for this to finish all square.

LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News

Get instant notifications with the LiveScore app
app-storegoogle-play
cristiano Ronaldo