Following the Saints’ 1-0 away win over West Brom last Saturday, Maurico Pochettino has a welcome dilemma on his hands this season: trying to accommodate Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and £15 million signing from Roma Pablo Osvaldo in the same team.
The partnership of the aforementioned Englishmen was a high point of Southampton’s play towards the tail end of last season, but the money spent and opportunity of playing a goal scorer with European pedigree may see that duo split up. Pochettino will hope his three young English starlets, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers, can build on their well-documented, promising showings against the Baggies.
Paolo Di Canio and Sunderland will want to forget their opening fixture against Fulham as quickly as possible. The Black Cats had more possession and more of the ball around the Cottagers’ penalty area, but despite a promising showing of Jozy Altidore’s linkup play, the Wearside club lacked a cutting edge that will surely emerge with the striking options Di Canio has to play with. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland’s top scorer last season, is still out with an injury, so it’ll be down to the American Altidore to lead the line again.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Sunderland 1 (Bardsley) Southampton 1 (Puncheon), Premier League, May 2013
Southampton 0 Sunderland 1 (Fletcher), Premier League, December 2012
Southampton 1 (Saganowski) Sunderland 2 (Edwards, Leadbitter), Championship, April 2007
Southampton have lost four of their last six games at home to Sunderland.
During his last Premier League spell with Hull, Jozy Altidore scored only one goal in 28 League appearances.
New signing Pablo Osvaldo scored five goals in his last six Serie A matches.
Southampton to win: 1.75
Sunderland to win: 5.8
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