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The tactical secrets behind Southampton's stunning league campaign - Telegraph article


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5 hours ago, LordHester said:

Interesting piece here on Saints' tactical setup this season. It's in the Telegraph, so behind a paywall, but you can sign up to view the article for free.

I think this is the bit that some fans (aka, the "get it in the box" brigade :)don't quite appreciate...

Drawing the opponent out

Southampton's attacking play depends on being able to go up the pitch with momentum so that they catch teams in transition (which in theory is when they are most vulnerable), something they can't do when the defending team sets up in an organised block. One particularly devious ploy that they use to avoid this is passing backwards from advanced attacking areas, even when there's an opportunity to cross or get closer to goal.

We saw it a few times against Liverpool, with Kyle Walker-Peters on the ball, in the example below, forming a front four. Danny Ings is the main attacking threat from crosses but is left wing, so the chances of scoring from a cross played into the area are low. Walker-Peters takes a beat.

image.png.851b2dc8327e1543e7b9799eaf51b494.png
 

In slowing play down, Liverpool have a chance to get back into their defensive shape and the chance to score is gone. Walker-Peters then passes back towards his defence.

image.png.07b018fcb6a890722b9863d53a99e207.png

 

Liverpool then push forward to follow the ball and try to win it back close to half way, but Southampton are in position to recycle the ball in their little triangles.

James Ward-Prowse passes (1) back to Jan Bednarek, who passes (2) to Ibrahima Diallo, who has three available options for the next pass. Behind Diallo, Liverpool's defensive line is squeezing up. One smart pass over the top could spring the offside trap and play Southampton's pacy forward line in behind but on this occasion, Diallo is fouled.

image.png.b6965d71164c8847ab7044f9de6e25cf.png

Southampton don't simply lump the ball into the box, nor do they patiently probe in the final third. They are built to harrass, hassle, wait... and spring a trap

 

 
Edited by trousers
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Its a really good piece on Hassenhuttle's tactics and how well drilled his teams are.

To me as a relative layman, I would expect it to require a similar level of prep (as saints have) for teams to adapt their games to avoid our traps, which means they are invariably reduced to trying to defend against us and wait until we are worn down to try and get their goals. That is a huge credit to our entire set up given we don't have the biggest or most illustrious squad in football.

When combined with assets like Ings and JWP, who can get you a goal from nothing, it isn't surprising (but remains impressive) to see us competing.

As I was saying the other day after the west ham game. Our bad patch (with thread bare squad), has included narrow loses to in form united and city, goalless draws with west ham and fulham, and a victory over League leaders and defending champions Liverpool...

People should be dreaming of a top 4 finish because we do actually have an outside chance of managing it. And top 6 is certainly a good possibility.

If sky wanted to offer me 650:1 for us to finish 1st or 2nd who was i to refuse ^_^ (if you aren't going to take those odds on a season like this, then when would you?) 

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 Southampton's Expected Goals of 20.23 vs actual goals scored of 26 suggests their form will eventually level out, but nobody will care about under-the-hood metrics if the players continue to be rewarded for their high-intensity performances.

Great players are often able to beat the xG model (Harry Kane does every single season, for example), and Danny Ings has scored seven goals from an xG of 4.31 on his own this season, including the stunning finish against Liverpool which he definitely meant.

Either Ings and his teammates are really on form and getting lucky from time to time, or Southampton have better players than many realised. 

At the moment their position of sixth is fully merited and if they can keep the momentum going and avoid injuries, they could finish even higher, a fitting reward for persevering with Hasenhuttl during difficult times.

 

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Good to read an article like this. They certainly look like a well drilled and fit team. So much better than the Mark Hughes days when the players looked disjointed and lethargic. I like Ralph. I was impressed when not long after we had lost so heavily to Leicester, Ralph was asked by interviewers for his opinion on that defeat. He was very honest, saying he had lost his way for a bit and as a result the team had suffered. So refreshing to hear a manager take the flak and not pass the buck to others. Since then the change has been nothing short of remarkable. Long may King Ralph reign! 

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16 hours ago, johnnyboy said:

How do I do that .? I’m on safari?

Is there like a page reloading button? or something similar, on most browsers that turns to a cross to stop the loading of the screen, not sure what it would be on a phone. 

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1 hour ago, tajjuk said:

Is there like a page reloading button? or something similar, on most browsers that turns to a cross to stop the loading of the screen, not sure what it would be on a phone. 

refresh and hit the X (same as refresh button)

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Only thing in the article I don't really agree with is the notion we attack as a 2-4-4. We've all complained at one time or another about Bertrand this season, but in the Liverpool game I think I realised that him sitting back was intentional. He doesn't have the pace or the stamina any more to bomb up and down the wing all game long like KWP does and so we're using him effectively as an extra defender in case of counter. 

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It wasn't that long ago that we had Pellegrino and Hughes.

 

Hassenhutl is a brilliant manager, there is no denying that, but to turn things around after the damage those two, plus Les Reed and Krueger, enflicted, is nothing short of remarkable.

 

I hope, and am optimistic, he is here for the long haul.

Edited by Pamplemousse
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49 minutes ago, Pamplemousse said:

It wasn't that long ago that we had Pellegrino and Hughes.

 

Hassenhutl is a brilliant manager, there is no denying that, but to turn things around after the damage those two, plus Les Reed and Krueger, enflicted, is nothing short of remarkable.

 

I hope, and am optimistic, he is here for the long haul.

Infuriating isn't it, imagine if we hadn't been shackled by the wages of Forster, Hoedt, Boufal, Lemina, Carrillo and probably someone else I'm forgetting, as well as the £19million we wasted on Carrillo just before Ralph came in. 

By the time we get to a point where he can spend some decent money for players that really suit his system, it'll probably be about time he wants to move on.

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