Two more pre-season friendlies confirmed for Southampton
Southampton defender Sam McQueen signs new contract
Two more pre-season friendlies have been confirmed for Southampton as they step up preparations for the 2021/22 season.
Via an Athletic report yesterday, the Saints face Fulham next Saturday in a closed-door match. The Saints then announced this morning that Athletic Bilbao will be the opponents in the home friendly on Saturday August 7 – a week before the Premier League starts.
These two games are added to the pre-season schedule which already sees the Saints travel to Wales for a short training camp and two away games against Cardiff City and Swansea City.
Given that there are only three weeks left between today’s date and the week of August 14 when the Saints prepare for their Premier League clash with Everton, it remains to be seen if any further pre-matches. season will be integrated into already tight plans.
Good tests for Southampton players as they seek optimal levels
The Saints are hoping to achieve the same type of form they showed at the start of last season. A superb run of results saw them top the Premier League table in November 2020 and many fans wondered how far Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side could go.
More than March of the Saints
However, things have slowed down and more consistency is needed this time around, as well as better fortune with injuries.
The pre-season matches that have been scheduled will certainly play a part in leveling up the Saints.
Three Championship teams in Cardiff, Swansea and Fulham will face off, but all three will aim to compete in the upper parts of the division for a chance at promotion. All three players have Premier League quality in their books.
Athletic Bilbao has reached a new stage given its consistency in the Spanish top flight. Last season they reached two cup finals – one they won – and finished 10th in the league.
An important connection between Saints and Bilbao can be seen in their shirt colors. Throughout the story, as described by outsidewrite, Bilbao played in white or blue and white, but a student from the city went to Southampton and bought Saints jerseys – the red and white striped pattern has then was taken over by Athletic Bilbao and finally Atletico Madrid.