Saints' opening Premier League fixtures will be a great opportunity to see how they've developed over the summer.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will have a full pre-season with his squad to get the team playing exactly how he wants them to.

Not only that, he still has plenty of time to mould the team in his image.

That process started last Thursday when they announced the signing of £14 million man Moussa Djenepo on a four-year deal.

Djenepo is likely to be joined by another two or three incomings, which will give the St Mary's side a much-needed new look.

The last two season have proven to be a slog, but with Hasenhuttl at the helm, things are looking a lot more positive for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

Despite the optimism, Saints were handed a testing start to next season when the top-flight fixtures were released last Thursday.

They will kick things off against Burnley on 10 August, before a run of treacherous games at St Mary's.

In their opening four home ties, Hasenhuttl's team will pit themselves against Liverpool, Manchester United, Bournemouth and Chelsea.

Their away games in that period aren't much easier, with fixtures against Brighton, newly promoted Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur. 

And this is why it's a great marker to see the work Hasenhuttl has put in since drawing with Huddersfield on the final day of the previous season.

It's important to get off to a quick start in the Premier League, otherwise, you'll find yourself playing catch up very early on.

Saints have developed a habit of starting poorly in the last couple of campaigns which has left them hovering in and around the relegation zone.

But, if Hasenhuttl gets his way in terms of recruitment and getting his squad's fitness to the level he demands, there is no reason why they can't cause a few upsets this time around.

Apart from Liverpool, who only lost once in the league last season, the other three teams, as it stands, look beatable.

Manchester United are in a transitional period under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Chelsea are about to begin their search for another manager - just a year after they appointed Maurizio Sarri.

The away ties, including Tottenham, are also winnable.

Spurs will have to recover from a Champions League final loss, while Brighton's squad need time to adapt to new boss Graham Potter.

Having said that Saints can take more points than expected during the first couple of months, they could also be in a situation come October where they are yet to reach double figures.

That's why even though on paper it looks tough, it will be a great opportunity to see just how good they can be under Hasenhuttl during the 2019/20 season.