This week Martin Lewis covers the Saints in his Tactical Analysis and team observations. Below you’ll find an in-depth look at how Southampton set up tactically and some of their season’s stats so far. It’s a long read so grab a hot drink!
Please note that the writing style in this article is that of a scouting report.
Southampton Team Dynamics
Southampton Offensive organisation
On a decent run of results, but with a new manager appointed and this being his third game, motivation will still be high to impress.
Long build up from the goalkeeper [1st phase] – long diagonal to Vertical balls to Lambert [dominates all 1st ball and hold up play] with quality layoffs or Do Prado acting as second striker [increase in tempo], with aggressive play from Schneiderlin/Cork to win the second ball.
Short build up [2nd phase] – when the ball is regained/retained after 1st phase, they will look to retain the ball in lower areas, with the defenders [fullbacks wide] and central midfielders to draw the opposition towards them. More initiative from both central midfielders dropping deep with the ball [between split centre backs]. Progression from Yoshida with space in front of him, but the inconsistent with pass.
Good passing range from Schneiderlin to find vertical and diagonal balls. Look to press both centre backs high [Especially Hooiveld] then continue press on goalkeeper.
Good dynamics on both wings, Clyne forward early, later overlap from Shaw.
Inside movements from wingers, Puncheon in between lines [vision to see depth], Do Prado second striker. Puncheon receives at feet looking to run with ball [1v1].
Ramirez plays in between lines and can join either wing to create overload or break line into depth, very good vision and long shots.
Good intensity in creation areas, 3 in box [Lambert, Do Prado & Ramirez] with Clyne making late runs from deep and creation of overloads from Puncheon & Ramirez.
[box_light]Stat: Schneiderlin has made the most successful accurate forward zone passes (AFP) in the team, demonstrating his vertical passing ability.[/box_light]
NB: Stats as of 30th January
Long buildup – 1st phase
Short build up – 2nd phase
Southampton Offensive transitions
In transition, the will look to play quick and direct, with a big shift in rhythm and intensity. Players will look to find depth initially, but if the pass isn’t on they will look to hold ball to the ball then play a second time supporting runner (breaking lines) into depth. Lambert is also used as reference point by playing long balls to him when the team are too deep in their own box, for him to hold the ball up and allow supporting players to join him. They have athletic supporting players in Do Prado, Puncheon and surprise runs from Clyne through the middle coming from deep. Important to match their players breaking lines.
Southampton Defensive organisation
Team organised in a 4 x 2 x 2 x 2 to press, but will drop to a 4 x 4 x 1 x 1 if not won initially. Defend with a tight block, showing opponents on the outside. No offside trap used. Lateral space next to central midfielders when pressing. Also space between lines of central midfielders when they are drawn out of position. Clyne more vulnerable in 1v1’s, but both fullbacks have excellent recovery speed. Clyne is also vulnerable at dealing with 2nd post crosses in the box, so look to overload or move towards him in the box. Hooiveld is always too deep, [lack of mobility] leaving a poor defensive line and space behind the other defenders to exploit. He also has very slow turning speeds and looks to hold the striker to slow him down. If the strikers drops little deeper so Hooiveld isn’t in touching distance, he will follow to get tight to him, leaving depth in behind to expose. Always look to run off him in the box too, as he is slow to react [on his heels] and often gives up if the ball is in depth behind him.
Pressing the goalkeeper
Southampton Defensive transitions
Full pressure on the ball from all midfielders and Lambert in the first few seconds, if the ball is then not won initially they will drop to a low-medium block with each player pressing in their zone until the ball is won, where they will look to counter attack. Due to how high the players press, there is often a lot of space in between lines, leaving a lot of space in front of the centre backs and the opportunity to overload on either fullback.
Southampton Set plays
Frontal attacking free kick
Attacking free kicks from the side
Defensive free kicks from the side
Southampton Pattern and combination play
Movement in box
Lambert moving to the left
Clyne wide and high early
Kick off combination
Next Page: Southampton Season stats up to the 30th January 2013… (use page numbers below)