Southampton had a relatively mixed Premier League campaign last season, having fallen down the table after a strong start.
Following a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United and a 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the 12th and 13th games of the season respectively, the Saints rose to fourth spot, putting themselves in a strong position to battle for European football heading into the second half of the season.
However, the form of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side quickly dropped, as they won just five of the remaining 25 league games, with a particular low point coming in February as they were thrashed 9-0 by Manchester United.
While the Hampshire outfit did pick up an eye-catching 1-0 home win over Liverpool just before the half-way point of the season, they were unable to stop the slip down the table, eventually succumbing to a somewhat underwhelming 15th-placed finish.
Nonetheless, Hasenhuttl’s men did comfortably achieve the ultimate goal of avoiding relegation, having never been threatened by the drop, meaning they will now head into their eighth straight Premier League season with the hopes of breaking into the top ten this time around.
The Saints will certainly take confidence from their efforts in pre-season so far, with a trip to Wales producing victories over both Cardiff City and Swansea City.
They first recorded a resounding 4-0 win over Cardiff, with Che Adams hitting a brace alongside goals from Theo Walcott and Moussa Djenepo, before Nathan Tella, Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong got on the scoresheet to see Hasenhuttl’s men overturn a one-goal deficit to beat the Swans 3-1.
Having returned from their trip, the Saints will now welcome fans back to St. Mary’s for two games against Spanish opposition, starting with Wednesday’s clash, as they look to build more momentum for the upcoming campaign.
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Similarly to their hosts, Levante’s finish to last season was far below what the majority of their efforts throughout the campaign would have suggested, as Paco Lopez’s side failed to win any of their last eight La Liga matches of the season.
A 1-0 victory over Eibar saw Los Granotas rise back up to ninth spot in the Spanish top flight with eight games to go, giving them an outside chance of achieving European qualification, but a tally of just three points from those remaining matches saw them drop all the way to 14th place by the end of the campaign