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 By Chris Rann

Saints' season starts now

Dusan Tadic impressed for new-look Southampton in a narrow, but positive, defeat.
Dusan Tadic impressed in Southampton's opening Premier League match at Liverpool, but after narrowly losing, Ronald Koeman will be hoping to kick-start Saints' season on Saturday against West Brom.

This might sound overly dramatic, but Saturday's visit of West Bromwich Albion could prove to be Saints' biggest game of the season.

After a turbulent summer and an opening-day defeat (albeit an incredibly unlucky one), Ronald Koeman will be looking to his first home game to get off the mark and send a message to the rest of the Premier League that his team are not relegation candidates as many experts have predicted.

On paper, this is a game that that the home side should win but as any gambler might tell you, the proverbial paper is not entirely reliable in the Premier League. There have been surprise results and performances already and Koeman needs to learn that as clichéd as it is, there are no easy games at this level.

If the coaching staff at St Mary's have prepared for this match as they did for Liverpool then they will know that they have all the weapons to beat a Baggies side who have also drawn a lot of attention as potential strugglers. They opened the season with a 2-2 draw with Sunderland, as Alan Irvine beds himself in as another manager new to the top flight of English football.

West Brom arguably lost their best attacking outlet when Saints new boy Shane Long left for Hull City, but Saido Berahino showed on opening day why he has attracted a lot of attention. Berahino scored both his side's goals against Sunderland and is the undoubted danger man in Irvine's team. It could be a busy afternoon for Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand with the visitors focusing their play wide through Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans, while debutant Craig Gardner pulled the strings for them in the centre of midfield.

Irvine's team look weak defensively, however, and Koeman might want to give their old teammate Long a full debut. An attacking three of Long, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic could cause them all sorts of problems. In their game last weekend, their passing was sloppy, and if Victor Wanyama, Morgan Schneiderlin and James Ward-Prowse can replicate their form at Anfield then Koeman's men should have a field day in the centre of the pitch.

The importance of putting on a good show in this game cannot be emphasised enough. After last weekend's showing it would appear Southampton are in better shape than many suggested. Three points on Saturday could be the start of another great season.

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