A lot has happened in a year for these two clubs, Spurs have seen Gareth Bale, Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood all depart within the last twelve months – bringing in seven new faces and finishing 6th; their worst Premier League position since the 2008/2009 season. On the south coast, Southampton rebuilt under Mauricio Pochettino throughout 2013 and half of 2014 – only for him to leave for Tottenham Hotspur in May 2014. Ronald Koeman has replaced the Argentine and has seen three key players of the previous season leave in Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert – with transfer rumours surrounding the futures of, Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin.
One club interested in the Southampton defensive midfielder is Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs – in which a doubt has arisen over the future of current Spurs defensive midfielder Sandro. The majority of the Spurs fanbase are locked into the debate of who is better and who would suit Mauricio Pochettino’s system at Spurs; Morgan Schneiderlin or Sandro?
Since Southampton joined the Premier League in the 2012/2013 season, Morgan Schneiderlin has been their most consistent performer without getting the headlines that Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert acquired over the last two seasons.
The French international tends to go unnoticed, working hard in the heart of midfield – which has resulted in phenomenal defensive statistics over the last two Premier League campaigns.
Schneiderlin has recorded 213 interceptions in the last two seasons making 143 in 12/13 campaign and 70 in the 13/14 campaign; making 259 tackles and 146 in 12/13 campaign (73.9% tackle success) and 113 in 13/14 campaign (76.9% tackle success) – making Morgan Schneiderlin the best defensive midfielder in terms of statistics over the last two seasons with 472 interceptions and tackles over the last two years.
It’s worthwhile noting that Sandro has been injury riddled for the past two seasons, a factor that Mauricio Pochettino must be considering in terms of looking to recruit Morgan Schneiderlin, who has played 69 Premier League games over the last two seasons – compared to Sandro’s 39 Premier League appearances.
Despite playing just 39 Premier League games over two seasons, Sandro has relatively impressive statistics, making 96 tackles in two years, 72 tackles in 12/13 campaign – a tackle success rate of 65% and 24 tackles in 17 appearances in the 13/14 campaign – a tackle success rate of 83%. In two seasons Sandro has intercepted his opponent 122 times, with 87 interceptions accumulated in the 12/13 season and 35 interceptions in the 13/14 Premier League campaign – a total of 218 tackles and interceptions over the last two campaigns.
Reports suggest that Mauricio Pochettino is unsure of Sandro’s ability to come deep for the ball when the Spurs centre-backs are split, and look for the pass or for options on the ball in general. His statistics suggest otherwise – in the 13/14 campaign where he made only 10 starts and 7 substitute appearances, Sandro played 30% of his 462 open play passes forwards, with just 8% of his passes were towards his own goal.
Morgan Schneiderlin, however, played 29% of his 1,927 open play passes forwards, playing 13% of his passes backwards.
The French international has created more chances (59) than his Brazilian counterpart (30), despite playing 30 games more, suggesting that Sandro is capable of picking the right pass in the right area if he was to play more Premier League games – the Brazilian has recorded two assists in 39 appearances, whereas Schneiderlin has recorded just one assist in 69 Premier League appearances.
Chances created will not be the department that Pochettino will look for when placing a defensive midfielder in his side, he needs consistency, aggression, composure and the ability to read the game – Schneiderlin ticks all four of those boxes, the same cannot be said for Sandro – while the Brazilian is a cult hero for Spurs fans, it’s for reasons off the football pitch. Sandro played an important part in the double pivot with Mousa Dembele in the first half of the 12/13 season under Andre Villas-Boas, who was considered to be Spurs’ best player until his injury against QPR in January 2013.
But since Sandro sustained that injury in early 2013, he has not been a player that Spurs can rely on, and for that reason alone Morgan Schneiderlin will suit Mauricio Pochettino and his new look Spurs side – a system he played under Mauricio Pochettino for the last 18 months.