While not the traditional South Coast Derby of old, two clubs from the Southern coast of England will face off in primetime this Monday night. Returning to action following the international break, Southampton look likely to have their full asset of weapons when they take on the visiting Seagulls of Brighton for this edition of Monday Night Football.
Southampton Search for Victory in South Coast Derby
Brighton Look to Rebound from League Cup Loss to Saints
Starting their Premier League campaign with four points from four matches, the Seagulls have begun their season pretty well. Having defeated Manchester United earlier in the campaign, Brighton finished off the opening stanza of the Premier League season with a 2-2 draw on the road at Fulham.
Returning from the international break, Brighton have now turned their attention to Southampton, a club they are already extremely familiar with this season. Having played each other less than three weeks ago in a League Cup clash at the AMEX, the Seagulls would suffer a 1-0 loss following a late second-half goal from Southampton forward Charlie Austin.
Bounced from the cup, the Seagulls will look to at least return the favour on Monday night when they head to Southampton. Having kept the Saints under wraps for most of that earlier contest, Brighton will undoubtedly believe that they can bring three points back to Brighton following the match.
Southampton In Line to Earn Third Straight Victory
Winning their final two matches before the international break, Southampton finally had the look of a class team. While the first international break of the campaign may serve to break the club’s growing momentum, the break has also served as a major benefit to the club, allowing the team’s injured to recover, potentially giving manager Mark Hughes a full roster to choose from this Monday night.
As of now, only two players look as if they may miss Monday’s match through injury; forwards Shane Long and Charlie Austin. While the duo could well be missed in this match, the form this season of Danny Ings brings confidence that the Saints should have little to worry about should one of both players miss out on the match.
Returning to action following the two-week break in matches, Southampton will look to prove to both themselves and the club’s supporters that their run of form before the break was no fluke. Benefiting from the home crowd in this match, Saints should have the advantage in this match and will undoubtedly look to earn the full three points.
Pascal Groß and Glenn Murray Need to Lead Attack
Absent from the lineup the last time these two clubs met, Brighton and Hove Albion proved that they need both attacking players to really have a shot in these matches. With Murray responsible for four of the Seagulls five goals this season, and Pascal Groß ever the creator from the midfield, Brighton will look to prove that the club’s loss to Southampton earlier in the campaign was truly a fluke.
With both players almost certainly set to start in this match, Brighton will look to direct their attack through Pascal Groß. Putting him in position to make plays in the attacking end of the pitch, Groß will need to direct the attack and find ways to feed the ball into the box where Glenn Murray can do his thing.
That thing is scoring goals, something Murray has done extremely well so far this season. While Brighton do play on the road in this contest, Murray will almost certainly take advantage of a Southampton back line that struggled mightily at times during the early part of the season.
Danny Ings Must Continue Hot Start to Southampton Career
While it is normally wrong to point to a single player and claim that he is the reason for a club’s solid run of form, this is one of the exceptions. Having joined Saints at the very end of the transfer window, Danny Ings has already had a major impact on Southampton’s ability in the final third.
Having scored two goals so far this season, Ings has become a major playmaking threat at the attacking end of the pitch. Creative on and off the ball, Ings creates chances for both himself and others thanks to his clinical finishing ability. While the Englishman may not be the best finisher, he has undoubtedly reinvigorated this Saints attack.
Almost certain to once again lead the Southampton attack this Monday night, Danny Ings will be expected to get the Saints on the scoreboard in this match. However, even if he fails to do so, Ings could easily provide the opportunity for another Southampton player to find the back of the net and lead the club to victory.
While not your traditional South Coast Derby, this match should still give the Saints fans at St Mary’s a boost. As both the supporters and club look for three points from this match, an early sign of things to come could be just how involved Danny Ings is in the Saints attack. If he manages to get free, the Englishman could easily create a chance for Southampton to get ahead early in this match.
However, Southampton will also need a top performance from their backline in this match. Coming up against an extremely talented attacking pair in Glenn Murray and Pascal Groß, the Saints defenders will need to constantly be on their toes. If not, it could be a very long day for the home supporters at St Mary’s and a very exciting trip home for the away fans.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Brighton