Cardiff vs Southampton preview: Ralph Hassenhuttl era starts
Last Updated: 08/12/18 9:31am
Ralph Hassenhuttl takes charge of Southampton for the first time against Cardiff on Saturday.
The former RB Leipzig boss has been appointed to replace Mark Hughes, who was sacked after a 2-2 draw with Manchester United last weekend.
Saints are on a 13-match winless run, their longest streak without a win since 1998, and are third from bottom in the Premier League.
But Hasenhuttl hopes he can implement a style that will keep Saints in the top flight.
"You can expect a very passionate kind of football with 11 characters on the field who know exactly what to do," he said.
"When you see us playing in the summer it will be different than when you see the team now. I can't guarantee you how many results we will earn for that - if you want guarantees, buy a washing machine. In football, there are no guarantees. I hope it is enough to stay in this division."
Cardiff are 16th in the table, two points ahead of Southampton, having won two of their last four matches.
Cardiff have problems up front as Kenneth Zohore remains out with a calf injury and Gary Madine and Danny Ward are also nursing knocks. Makeshift striker Callum Paterson might lead the line again.
Jazz Richards is also missing with a hamstring problem, but Josh Murphy should return and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is pushing for a first start since damaging knee ligaments in August.
Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand could recover from injuries to play a part for Southampton.
Mario Lemina is available after suspension but Michael Obafemi is doubtful.
- Cardiff and Southampton last faced in league competition in 2013-14 in the Premier League - Saints won 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium but the Bluebirds won 1-0 at St. Mary's.
- Prior to winning 3-0 away at Cardiff City on Boxing Day in 2013, Southampton had lost seven consecutive league matches there between 1976 and 2011.
- Cardiff have won three of their last four Premier League home games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 18 in the competition (W3 D5 L10).
- Cardiff have come from behind to win their last two home Premier League games - only twice has a club ever done so in three consecutive games at home, Blackburn in November 2009 and Newcastle in March 2013.
- Cardiff haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 12 Premier League games. Only Fulham are on a longer current run without one in the competition (15).
- Southampton's new appointment Ralph Hasenhüttl will be the Premier League's first Austrian manager. None of the last seven permanent Southampton managers have won their first Premier League game in charge of the club (D4 L3), with Paul Sturrock vs Liverpool the last to do so in March 2004.
Paul Merson's prediction
There's a new man at the helm at Southampton in Ralph Hasenhuttl but I must side with Cardiff to win this game. Saints are bringing in a manager who has never experienced the Premier League and I think there's a rude awakening coming on Saturday.
Southampton may have let slip a two-goal lead against Manchester United last weekend, but they did play well, don't get me wrong. However, with the new manager coming in this weekend I think it's going to be a difficult afternoon for them. I'm backing Cardiff for a win that will put Southampton in big trouble.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)