Ahead of Saturday's match with Southampton, we speak to Saints' fan Louis James who offers his views on the game, Rickie Lambert, the Baggies and much more. You can follow Louis on Twitter at @looee

After a fairly poor start, and a surprise change of manager, you eventually finished in a respectable 14th position last season. It must have been a far better placing than most Saints’ fans were expecting?

Yes and no. I think we all knew we could and should stay up. We had the momentum of two consecutive promotions, enough quality to survive and a real hunger to push on. There was a real sense that we belonged in the Prem and we were desperate to prove it. That said, I'm not the only one who would've taken 17th at the start of the season (and even more so after the first 6 or 7 games)! I'm definitely happy with 14th, although we could have finished higher with a stronger end to our season.

Highlight of last season?

Beating Man City 3-1 at St. Mary's. Everything that the team had been working on and displaying in previous games finally fell into place. Our pressing style completely stunned City, and for a team filled with possession footballers, they struggled to keep the ball and create chances. And it wasn't just a one off: Fergie commented how we were the best side to play at Old Trafford last season. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2271035/Manchester-United-lucky-beat-Southampton-admits-Sir-Alex-Ferguson.html

Low point of last season?

Sacking Adkins. At the time, I thought he could have kept us up (although, in hindsight, it was the right decision to replace him with Poch). The manner in which the chairman, Nicola Cortese, sacked him, however, was incredibly cold. Adkins was much loved on the South Coast and had done an incredible job with back-to-back promotions. His departure was announced on the back of news Pochettino had been appointed, with as little as two sentences written about Nigel and no thanks.

Player of last season?

Schneiderlin. Whilst Rickie was the top English goal scorer and had another cracking season, the Frenchman was behind everything positive with our football. He topped the list for most interceptions, most tackles and most ground covered throughout Europe's top 5 leagues, as well as scoring 5 goals and an 85% pass accuracy. I would be very surprised if he wasn't in the France squad soon.

Villain of last season?

There were a few at the start of the campaign. We shipped in a lot of goals so fingers were pointed at the likes of Jos Hooiveld and Danny Fox. Hooiveld scored 4 own goals last season and Fox looked very uncomfortable at left back (although, he did improve when he was covering for Shaw later on). Kelvin Davis had a few howlers too, shipping in six at the Emirates.

Whilst not a villain, Gaston Ramírez didn't always live up to his £12m price tag, and looked lost in several games, so he has a big season ahead of him with a lot to prove.

What do you make of Saints’ boss Mauricio Pochettino? What’s his favoured style and formation?

He excites me a lot. His style of football isn't too dissimilar to the one we were playing before - it's just a lot faster and more attacking. There's a big focus on winning the ball and keeping possession. It's a style that's suited to bigger opposition (we beat City, Chelsea and Liverpool at home), but we still seem to come unstuck against the teams below us...

What have the club’s transfer dealings been like this summer and are you happy with them?

Dejan Lovren, a Croatian centre back , signed from Lyon for around £8.5m and Victor Wanyama came in from Celtic for a club record £12.5m came in at the start of the season, who should help to strengthen our defensive issues. We've been linked with lots of big names in Europe (Roma's £15m-rated striker Pablo Osvaldo's name keeps popping up), but we are still short of a winger and a striker.

What has the club’s pre-season form been like?

Rather entertaining. The squad went to Spain and then Austria, playing games against the likes of Schalke, Beşiktaş and Celta Vigo, before a home game against Real Sociedad. We won four, and lost two (one of which was on penalties), scoring 17 goals and conceding 7!

UE Llagostera 1-2 Saints; Palamós CF 0-8 Saints; FC Schalke 04 2-0 Saints; Beşiktaş 1-3 Saints; Celta Vigo 0-0 Saints (4-1 on penalties); Saints 4-3 Real Sociedad

Player to watch this season?

Jay Rodriguez. He had a quiet start to the season, struggling to get a consistent run of games until February, but he has been a bit of a revelation under Pochettino. He is an all-round centre forward, someone comfortable on the ball who doesn't mind taking players on with a bit of pace, a good first touch and the ability to score goals. He's been playing out on the wing a lot, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing centrally a lot more. It won't be long before he's in contention for an England call-up and I wouldn't be too surprised if he overtakes Lambert as our top scorer next season.

Saints’ striker Rickie Lambert made his first England debut in mid-week, is he genuinely good enough for international football?

Yes. I know I'm going to have an element of bias towards my opinion, but he's the type of player England have been crying out for. Aside from his typical "centre forward physique" (he's strong, can head a ball, and has a fierce shot), he's naturally gifted with footballing ability. He started his career off as a midfielder, so has a very intelligent and creative footballing brain - his passing, crossing and first touch are that of a playmaker. In fact, he pulled off more key passes last season (75) than Messi and Xavi combined (68). That "fairytale" goal certainly wasn't a fluke...

Prediction for Southampton’s season?

A definite improvement on 14th. Perhaps 10th (although a top 8 finish isn't too unrealistic)...

Prediction for Albion’s season?

Lukaku was the best player I saw at St. Mary's last season so I think his departure will leave a huge hole in Albion's team, even with Anelka signing. There are certainly worse teams than you in the league, so I don't expect you to finish anywhere near the drop, but I don't think you'll have as good a season as last's. 12th

Premier League Champions?



Hull, Palace and Stoke

Prediction for Saturday’s game?

A close one, but I think Saints will win 2-1. Thank goodness it won't be another freezing cold Monday night game! ;)



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