It was a roller-coaster ride for Southampton in the recently concluded Premier League season. They flirted with relegation for the most part of the campaign until the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The Austrian’s arrival saw them make an extraordinary comeback to finish 16th in the league table.
Here are three players who impressed for the Saints:
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is one of the many players who enjoyed a rich vein of form following the arrival of Hasenhuttl. The Dane has played a critical role in midfield, with his high work-rate and brilliant positioning.
Hojbjerg neutralised quite a few counter-attacking opportunities, thanks to his excellent anticipation. He averaged nearly two interceptions per game, while a tally of 2.3 tackles per game is indicative of his willingness to close down the opposition.
Furthermore, the midfielder was crucial to Southampton’s overall ball retention, attaining a pass completion rate of 82% – a tally bettered only by Mario Lemina.
Simply put, Hojbjerg is a tailor-made fit for Southampton’s aggressive football under Hasenhuttl. And the former Bayern prodigy will play a key role as the Saints look to embark on a new era under the Austrian next season.
The emergence of James Ward-Prowse following the injury of Lemina played a critical role in Southampton’s improved form under Hasenhuttl.
The English playmaker offered the creative spark going forward and his proficiency from set-pieces revved up their overall chance creation in the final third. Indeed, the 24-year-old averaged over two key passes per game – more than any other Southampton player.
And going forward, it will be interesting to how does Hasenhuttl plan to utilise to quality of Ward-Prowse without tinkering with his midfield unit.
No one benefitted more from the arrival of Hasenhuttl than Nathan Redmond. The Austrian mastermind deserves credit for utilising the quality of Redmond in a more central role, and the forward didn’t disappoint either.
Redmond was involved in ten goals, which is quite impressive for a Southampton side who found the back of the net only 45 times this season. The former Norwich sensation offered pace, mobility and dynamism in the final third, which added another dimension to the Saints attack.
Redmond’s tally of 2.4 successful dribbles per game is only bettered by three players in the league. Additionally, the 25-year-old provided 52 key passes – more than any other Southampton player.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored