Southampton welcome Brighton to St Mary’s Stadium in the Premier League on Boxing Day.
Ralph Hasenhuttl survived plenty of lows during his near four years in charge of the Saints but was let go after one win from his final nine matches in November. Nathan Jones lost his first game at the helm despite an encouraging display against Liverpool, leaving Southampton in 19th during the winter hiatus.
Brighton are nine points and 12 places better off than their south coast rivals. Although, it took Roberto De Zerbi the best part of a month to record his first victory after replacing Graham Potter – which, incidentally, was against his predecessor’s Chelsea side in October.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Boxing Day bout between this pair.
Southampton vs Brighton H2H Results (Last Five Games)
Current Form (Last Five Games)
Southampton team news
Tino Livramento is nearing the end of an excruciating rehabilitation process from a severe knee injury. Juan Larios’ muscular problem isn’t quite as lengthy but it is set to sideline him as well.
Romeo Lavia is being tentatively eased back into action after sitting out two months with a hamstring injury. Theo Walcott felt some discomfort in his calf towards the end of Southampton’s midweek Carabao Cup success against Lincoln City, putting his involvement this Monday in doubt.
Southampton Starting 11 (3-5-2): Bazunu; Bella-Kotchap, Lyanco, Salisu; Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Maitland-Niles, Elyounoussi, Perraud; A Armstrong, Adams.
Bench: McCarthy, Caleta-Car, Aribo, S Armstrong, Mara, Djenepo, Edozie, Diallo, Lavia.
Brighton team news
Jakub Moder has returned to a light form of training but likely won’t have fully recovered from his ACL injury until late February. Adam Webster and Danny Welbeck both missed Brighton’s penalty shootout defeat to Charlton on Wednesday night with minor concerns, but that may not impact their Boxing Day involvement.
Alexis Mac Allister, however, isn’t expected to return to the south coast until 2023 as he revels in Argentina’s first World Cup triumph in 36 years.
Brighton Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan; Caicedo, Gross; March, Lallana, Mitoma; Trossard.
Bench: Steele, Van Hecke, Gilmour, Lamptey, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Ferguson, Webster.
Southampton‘s players accumulated just 270 minutes of World Cup football – the fewest of any Premier League club. Brighton, by comparison, saw seven Seagulls get minutes in Qatar (the same number as Liverpool) and boast a tournament winner in the form of Mac Allister.
However, De Zerbi made it clear that his World Cup contingent – aside from his celebrating Argentine – “will be back for the next game”.
After a concentrated period of coaching with an almost full squad, Jones’ Southampton are unlikely to be as agreeable as they have been this season. Nevertheless, Brighton and their returning internationals should have the edge in this south coast showdown.
Prediction: Southampton 0-1 Brighton