Totally Buzzed is previewing every single Premier League team ahead of the 2021/2022 campaign and now it is the turn of Southampton.
How last season went:
Just like an average game of football, Southampton’s season was a tale of two halves. The Saints looked impressive for a lot of the 2020-21 campaign and were even positioned sixth in the league after beating Liverpool 1-0 in January. However, the Saints then went on a six-game losing streak, a club record in the Premier League, and started tumbling down the league. It didn’t help that during this poor run, Southampton ended up losing 9-0 to Manchester United as that was a very tough loss to handle. Yet Hasenhuttl did manage to get his Saints side back to picking up points and that stopped them from being dragged into the relegation battle. Southampton finished 15th when all was said and done with 43 points to their name. As for other competitions, it was a mixed bag for the Saints. The club were disappointingly eliminated in the second round of the EFL Cup by Championship side Brentford, but they did manage to impress in the FA Cup. Southampton made it to the semi-final stage of the tournament, eliminating current holders Arsenal on the way. It’s also worth noting that it was eventual winners Leicester City that denied the Saints making the final, so not too shabby.
Southampton’s Premier League Stats – 2020/21:
Southampton Player Stats – 2020/21:
Top Scorer Across All Competitions: Danny Ings – 13 goals in 33 outings (0.46 goals per 90minutes, 195 minutes per goal)
Top Scorer – Premier League Only: Ings – 12 goals in 29 appearances (182 minutes per goal)
Most Assists Across All Competitions: James Ward-Prowse – 7 assists in 44 games (1.36 chances created per 90minutes)
Most Assists – Premier League Only: Ward-Prowse – 7 assists in 38 matches
Most Tackles Per Game (On Average) – Premier League Only: Kayne Ramsey* (5 tackles – *only one appearance)
Oriol Romeu – (3.3 per match)
Most Minutes Played Across Premier League Fixtures – Top 3:
1.Ward-Prowse – 3420 minutes 2.Jan Bednarek – 3104 minutes 3. Stuart Armstrong – 2774 minutes
1st five league fixtures:
Everton (A): Southampton secured a comfortable 2-0 win over the Toffees at St Mary’s Stadium, although it’s worth noting Carlo Ancelotti’s side had to play the final 20 minutes of the match with 10-men due to Lucas Digne picking up a red card. However, the Saints were unable to make it two wins out two against the Toffees in their latest campaign as Richarlison scored the only goal of the game to get the Toffees all three points when the pair clashed at Goodison Park in March.
Manchester United (H): Man United won both their clashes against Southampton last season, and both matches were memorable for different reasons. United had to come from two goals down to beat the Saints 3-2 when facing them at St Mary’s, and their winning goal from Edinson Cavani didn’t come until the 92nd minute. As for their clash at Old Trafford in February, United recorded an emphatic 9-0 win over Southampton. Although it’s worth noting the Saints did see Alex Jankewitz sent off in the 2nd minute, so played the majority of the match with 10-men. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side also saw Jan Bednarek dismissed during the match, but he didn’t get his marching orders until the 86th minute.
Newcastle United (A): Southampton secured a comfortable 2-0 win over the Magpies in November last season thanks to goals from Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong. However, they couldn’t make it two wins out of two for the 2020-21 campaign, as they lost 3-2 to Bruce’s side at St James’ Park. This was the case even though the Magpies had to play a large portion of the match with 10 men after Jeff Hendricks saw red in the 49th of the match.
West Ham (H): The Saints drew 0-0 with West Ham in December at St Mary’s before the Hammers secured a comfortable 3-0 win when playing Hasenhuttl’s side at the London Stadium in May.
Manchester City (A): Manchester City comfortably did the double over Southampton in the league last season, beating them 1-0 at St Mary’s in December before smashing them 5-2 at the Etihad in March.
Southampton Fan Perspective: Turnernator06 (Reddit/Twitter)
Best Player: The obvious answer for this is Danny Ings, he is a top top player and, when fit, one of the top strikers in the league. I’m not going to go for Danny though, my nomination is James Ward-Prowse. He runs our midfield, has excellent defensive stats, covers a lot of ground (most in Europe’s top 5 leagues in 19/20), and pitched in 15 goal contributions last season: one less than Jack Grealish. His most important trait, however, is his consistency. Ward-Prowse is the only midfielder in the history of the premier league to play every minute of every game for two seasons on the bounce.
His excellent consistency is what makes him our best player for me, certainly our most important player. He is so reliable that we can build a whole team around him. Also, it’s cool to have someone who is best in the world at something at Southampton and there is a very good argument he is the best set-piece taker in world football (or at least top 3 or so).
Promising Youngster: For a team surprisingly based around its academy we actually don’t have many “youngsters” who I’m that excited about right now, by that metric. We have some amazing players who are 22, Salisu, Diallo, and Tella (who I missed out on including here by 11 days!). If I had to say, maybe Obafemi. He is a fast and direct runner with a decent shot but honestly, Tella has taken his position of “up and coming striker” so I’m not that excited about him.
The player who is likely to surprise people (underrated/less known): Underrated player would previously be Ward-Prowse but people seem to be finally waking up to his quality. I also think people don’t know about Salisu yet but they will be the end of this season, he is an amazing physical centre-back. I’m going to go for Kyle Walker-Peters though. Absolutely never comes up in the convo of top English right-backs but he has been amazing this season. He’s so key to the way we play. He is massively press resistant, passes well, runs well, and is an insane 1v1 defender. Walker-Peters, for me, was my third best player of the season behind JWP and maybe Stuart Armstrong, the latter was somewhat hindered through an injury like most of the rest of our team.
Thoughts on the manager: Ralph is incredibly divisive so at this stage, I feel obliged to point out my point of view isn’t homogeneous across the fanbase, although I do feel I am in the majority just about. I love Ralph, I think he’s a genius. Great manager, well above our level, took a mediocre right-winger (Ward-Prowse) and turned him into one of the best holding mids in the league. His improvements of other players too (Armstrong, Romeu, Bednarek, Vestergaard, etc.) is massive. These players looked Championship quality before he turned up and now they are quality Premier League staples. Vestergaard went from being our worst player to being linked to Spurs and Roma. His ability to improve players is insane.
He has had some, well-publicized, rough times of course. I personally feel that this is more due to years of poor performance in the transfer market leading us to having a very lackluster squad, especially depth-wise. Ralph can get a bunch of players playing well above their quality but if they all get injured or go off form he doesn’t have much quality to turn to. Mostly a bunch of kids who fail to hack it in lower leagues. Anyway, bottom line, Ralph is great and needs backing.
Worried About/Weakness of squad: Both our goalkeepers are dreadful, and we show no sign of replacing them. Our fullback depth is kids and out of position other players. I’m happy with the signing of Perraud but before him, we had one fullback in our entire squad. We also are not nearly creative enough. JWP is our best chance creator and he’s a holding mid/DM. Armstrong is good enough but cannot play more than once a week as he is very injury prone. Everyone else in that position (Djenepo, Walcott, Redmond, Elyounoussi, Tella) are not up to it, Redmond and Tella are being converted to strikers so hopefully, we will see some movement there.
Dream Transfer: Mbappe. We need creativity and attacking quality. He has all that and is 22. Messi is the obvious answer for the team that can’t create chances but if money is no object I’m building for the future!
Realistic Transfer: Depends if Ings goes. If he leaves then a quality CF is essential. I’d like to see Tammy Abraham personally but Edouard or Adam Armstrong would do a good job too I’d imagine. If Ings stays we need a quality chance creator so I would dip into the championship again and sign Arnaut Danjuma.
Player you fear leaving: Ward-Prowse. Reasons stated above, he is our team. Everything is built around him, I think if he left, we would not even know how to play, he is that integral to everything we do. Ings is probably leaving and I’ve made my peace with that, Vestergaard is also off, and personally, I don’t think that’s the worst thing either considering Salisu can take his spot and we should get decent money to reinvest.
League Expectation: We will aim for midtable. Hopefully hit that golden region between 9th and 14th. If we get unlucky we might slight towards a relegation battle, if we get lucky we might be an outside shot for Europe but I think we are still building so a safe midtable finish will be the goal.
League Prediction: How we do this season is still up in the air. It depends if we sign a good attacking mid, if we get better depth, if we are lucky with injuries, and if key players go, and it’s about how we replace them. If the season started right now I’d say 13th maybe. Hopefully, we improve our side and I’d go to 11th, if we lose Ings and replace poorly and don’t bring in a good AM, 17th maybe, I don’t see us getting relegated as there are definitely three worse sides though.
Biggest Rival This Season/Love It If We Beat them: Our biggest rival will always be Pompey, I’d love to meet them in the cup and batter them again, that was a great day. But of teams actually near our level, I’d personally like to see us beat Villa. I think we are a similar level to them quality-wise, we battered them at our place, it ended 4-3 but we went 4-0 at one point and coasted the rest of it. They won at their place due to a dreadful reffing call with a Cash handball not given. I’d also like to see us beat Leeds as I think Saints, Villa, Leeds, Newcastle, Wolves, and Brighton will be a sort of midtable mini-league of teams around the same quality.
Any Other Comments about Southampton: Message for the fans really, cheer up! It’s been worse, our team needs a bit of care but we are on our way to doing it, last season was a freak season given fixture congestion due to COVID as well as lack of access to recovery tools. It showed up our lack of squad depth the way a normal season won’t. We are still the side that was 5th in the calendar year of 2020, try not to be too negative!