Having slept through the first 10 games of the season, Southampton under Adkins sprang to life, capitalising with wins against struggling QPR, Newcastle, Reading and Aston Villa. When Adkins was replaced by Pochettino in mid-January, they had recovered to be just about on track with Sunderland’s closing points total of 39. Pochettino managed to surpass this, carrying on the good form started by Adkins a little earlier in the season and adding impressive wins against Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Southampton conceded 28 goals in the first 10 games, so the picture above skews our expectation regarding a need for improvement. For the last 28 games in the season, their overall goal difference was +3.
Southampton’s key results against the teams around them in the bottom half made the difference in their season. We can see that they were considerably more prone to conceding heavily against the top half – and may wish to investigate what (if anything in particular) stifled their attack against the 6-10th placed teams throughout the season.
Southampton were the second youngest team, after Aston Villa, and had a high proportion of players taller than 1.82m in their team compared to the rest of the league.
Southampton’s charts above are a much more familiar picture after the oddities of Reading and QPR. They were able to field a very healthy dose of ~40% in the top 2 playing time segments and another 34% in the next level down. The core of the team all season: Lambert, Schneiderlin, Clyne and Yoshida each played more than 2800mins whilst Jack Cork was in the next group with 2430mins on the field. 3 major absentees for significant parts of the year – Hooiveld, Lallana and Ramirez – supplemented the core group without the team ever being over-reliant on their presence in the side.
- Most tackles attempted in the league (819)
- Most interceptions (779)
- Second fewest yellow cards (43)
- Highest total losses of possession (6653)
Southampton showed impressive strength in depth last season, with a large portion of the squad sharing around 1600-2400mins playing time. Schneiderlin and Lambert were rightly noted as 2 of Southampton’s best performers last season but they were very ably augmented by Cork, Rodriguez, Ramirez, Lallana and Puncheon at different points throughout the year. Pretty much the anithesis to Reading’s squad reviewed earlier.
Despite Lallana’s reduced contribution he still caught the eye of TPOEM, earning 9 team man of the match awards (more than anyone else at Southampton) whilst at the age of 17, Luke Shaw performed admirably in his first full year at senior level.
But Schneiderlin was the club’s official player of the season and it’s hard to argue with his consistently high performance levels throughout the year.