TEAM NEWSSouthampton say unsettled defender Virgil van Dijk is unavailable for their opening game because of a virus.New Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino has no major injury concerns and could field summer signings Mario Lemina and Jan Bednarek.Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is a transfer target for Everton, will not be involved on Saturday.
Ki Sung-yueng, Nathan Dyer and Fernando Llorente are injured but Roque Mesa and Tammy Abraham could make their debuts.MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTESJohn Roder: “Mauricio Pellegrino finished in the top 10 and reached a cup final at Alaves in Spain last season.”That’s exactly what his predecessor Claude Puel achieved at Southampton, but excitement went missing under the French coach, with Saints scoring just 17 goals at home in the league.”Both clubs’ preparations have been dominated by two players who won’t feature this weekend – unsettled pair Virgil van Dijk and Gylfi Sigurdsson.”There’s no doubt Sigurdsson was Swansea’s best player last season, when Paul Clement turned their campaign around brilliantly to ensure survival.”With Sigurdsson seemingly on his way out and Fernando Llorente injured, much will depend on how soon teenage striker Tammy Abraham settles into his first full season of Premier League football.”Twitter: @johnrodercommWHAT THE MANAGERS SAYSouthampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino on Virgil van Dijk: “Hopefully he can change his point of view, because we need the player. Virgil is an important player and we need him focusing on our club.”The club was clear from the beginning with the player.”We cannot control every single situation. We can decide our dynamic inside this club, and Virgil is part of our club. Good contract. Now we are waiting.”Swansea head coach Paul Clement: “The Gylfi [Sigurdsson] situation is a crucial part of the business we could potentially do because it is going to be a high fee if he goes. “We have to make sure that if a player of his ability leaves, we have to get one or two very good players. It is not just a matter of getting two players who sit on the bench, we want quality. They have a value, they are not cheap.”The big thing about getting the right calculation is we can spend that money on good quality players. If he stays, we have a very good player already.”LAWRO’S PREDICTIONI am going for a Southampton win, but I still think Swansea will have a decent season under Paul Clement.Prediction: 2-1Lawro’s full predictions v v Steve Cram & Brendan FosterThink you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
MATCH FACTSHead-to-headSouthampton have won six of their last eight top-flight games against Swansea, losing the other two. The Swans’ only Premier League win away to Saints came in February 2015, with Jonjo Shelvey scoring the winner.The Welsh side have failed to score in six of their 10 Premier League encounters with Southampton.SouthamptonSaints have never won a home game on the opening weekend of a Premier League season (D5, L4), with their only victories coming at Coventry in 1999 and West Brom in 2013.Southampton won only one of their final eight league games last term.They also failed to score in their final five home league games – their worst streak since 1937 (in the second tier). A sixth successive blank would be the longest such run in their history.Saints scored 17 Premier League goals at home last season – only relegated Sunderland, with 16, netted fewer.They have finished in the top eight of the Premier League in each of the last four seasons.The last Saints boss to begin with a top-flight victory was Paul Sturrock, who oversaw a 2-0 win against Liverpool in 2004. The last six permanent Southampton managers in the Premier League all failed to win their opening fixture (D4, L2). Swansea CityThe Swans ended last season with a five-game unbeaten streak (W4, D1), and are chasing a fourth consecutive league victory – which would equal their longest winning run in the top flight.This is the sixth time in seven Premier League seasons that Swansea have started the campaign away from home.Tammy Abraham, who has joined Swansea on loan from Chelsea, was the top scoring teenager in the Football League last season, netting 23 goals for Bristol City in the Championship.Everton target Gylfi Sigurdsson led the way for Swansea last season in terms of Premier League appearances (38), assists (13) and distance covered (433km).Follow Match of the Day on Instagram for the best photos from the world of football.
Source: BBC Hampshire