Opinion: How could Southampton's opening fixtures affect their 2017/18 Premier League season?
Southampton supporters look ahead to the 2017/18 Premier League season following the release of next year's fixtures.

The twenty Premier League clubs competing in the 26th season of the competition's era have learnt how their season will get underway as of the second weekend in August, whether it be a light-hearted adventure to start off with or a dreaded encounter on the road. 

Southampton, specifically, finished the last campaign in eighth following a fairly average first term for manager Claude Puel and the speculation surrounding his future on the south-coast could fulfil a chaotic summer at St. Mary's

The Saints have already been the centre of a transfer fiasco in regards to defender Virgil van Dijk, who's inevitable departure in the transfer window won't be to Liverpool, contradicting the pattern in recent years between the two clubs, but the Dutchman is supposedly on his way through the exit door. 

​Who are Southampton's opposition in the opening weeks?

Swansea City are set to be the introductory visitors to St. Mary's Stadium for the 2017/18 Premier League season and Southampton couldn't be better pleased with the initial fixture of the year. The Swans narrowly escaped the drop last campaign and could be set for a tough twelve months ahead. However, focusing on the Saints, prior to any transfer dealings that have taken place this summer so far, could be a relatively easeful fixture for them. Puel's men were triumphant in the replica encounter last season, through a marginal one-nil victory. 

The following week Southampton travel to the capital to face a determined West Ham United team who will be searching to put their feet down in the London Stadium after a disastrous first season at their new home. The south-coast outfit were 3-0 winners in the city last term. 

Meanwhile, the club's last outing of August is a trip to Yorkshire to encounter newly-promoted club Huddersfield Town - who'll be enjoying their first ever campaign in the top-flight. Coincidentally, these two teams haven't met since plying their trades in League One seven years ago. The match at the John Smith's Stadium ended with the Terriers gaining all three points, although the Saints did get revenge in the reverse fixture. 

​How could it affect the season?

​Momentum is a pivotal factor when playing out a Premier League season, and it's even more beneficial if your club kicks off their year in front of the home supporters which is something Southampton are doing. 

A positive start is indispensable for Claude Puel if he demands to improve on last year's disappointing term and European football being the vertex for his Saints' side, supporters should be please that they have a got an easily winnable opening three fixtures to fill their August schedule. 

Realistically, the 2017 League Cup finalists could be able to handle the three outings against Swansea City, West Ham United and Huddersfield Town. This energy would be carried out through September and that may spell a successful year for Southampton.