Southampton’s season in the Premier League so far has been far from what they had hoped for at the start. Going into the international break, they are among the four teams that have failed to register a single win this season. The Saints are currently placed just above the relegation zone in 17th with four points from seven fixtures. They have just four draws and three losses to their name.
In their last home game, they lost 0-1 to Wolves and in the following week, they were battered 3-1 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Their mettle will be tested after the international break when they welcome Leeds United and Burnley in back-to-back home games. Both of these teams are sure to cause problems for Southampton, as they will be looking to revive their own seasons. Following the home fixture, the Saints will make another visit to Stamford Bridge for their EFL Cup tie.
Although Southampton lost their last fixture 3-1, the scoreline doesn’t reflect accurately how they performed, especially in the second half. Hasenhuttl tinkered with his backline and midfield at the break and was rewarded by a goal. However, Ward Prowse’s sending off took the game off their hands as Chelsea were all over them for the remainder of the match and eventually won 3-1, grabbing two late goals courtesy of Werner and Chilwell.
Despite questions being raised, Hasenhuttl is reluctant to change his team’s style of play, stating that his team’s pressing has caused problems for big teams, including Manchester United and Manchester City.
Let’s take a look at Southampton’s stats in the recent games and more to understand their weakness and strengths.
In their recent narrow 1-0 loss in the Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, they were the more threatening team in both halves as indicated by the xT timeline. Similarly, in terms of the xG timeline, they dominated the game in both halves. Southampton are struggling to find the back of the net this season, so far Armstrong and Adams have failed to fill the shoes of Danny Ings who left to join Aston Villa this summer.
Southampton’s lack of creativity in the final third is further indicated in the above visual, they delivered only one successful cross into the opposition box in the entire match and they failed to play any smart passes near the opposition half as well. Their attacking and creative players need to be in their best form if they are to come out on top in their upcoming home fixtures.
Southampton rank near the bottom in terms of successful progressive passes per 90 and successful progressive passes, this further demonstrates their midfielder’s and attacker’s inability in playing threatening progressive passes in the opposition half.
The Saints are placed at the bottom in terms of successful aerials duels and successful aerial duels per 90. The above visual displays just how poor they have been in winning aerial duels. They have failed to find a like for like replacement for Danish defender Vestergaard.
Southampton’s PPDA places them in eighth spot in the Premier League, their pressing style has enabled them to cause problems against their teams which tend to have higher possession than them. Although it remains to be seen just how well they will perform against the teams which sit deep in their own defence. In terms of average challenge intensity, they are placed in 12th spot, something that they can definitely improve in the upcoming games.
Southampton’s upcoming fixtures in the Premier League and the EFL cup will lay down the benchmark upon which their season would be judged going forward. If they can churn out a decent string of results then they will surely be able to build upon those results as the season progresses.