Saturday 22nd February 2014
West Ham United vs Southampton
Over the past few years, we've developed something of a friendly rivalry with Southampton. Challenging for promotion from the Championship together, getting promotion at the same time, both having relatively successful first seasons, and a lot of good games between the sides.
This year, we have had very different seasons to date. West Ham have struggled with injury and a loss of form, and have become embroiled in a relegation battle. The Saints have had the core of their squad available for most of the season, have reached new heights with their form, and appeared to be challenging for a European spot for a time.
The core of Southampton's success this season has been built around a high energy, aggressive and attacking game. At the heart of this are the attacking trio of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.
The England internationals have scored a total of 25 Premier League games between them so far, and have terrorised defensive up and down the country with their link up play and relentless pressing.
It isn't so much the goals that the trio bring to the table (although each have an impressive return so far), but the team work, awareness and selflessness that has make them such a success this season. 44% of the goals they have scored this season have actually been assisted by one of the other two, as shown in the table below.
50% of Rickie Lambert's 8 Premier League goals have been assisted by either Rodriguez or Lallana; 40% of Jay Rodriguez 10 goals have been assisted by Lambert or Lallana; and 43% of Lallana's 7 goals have been assisted Rodriguez or Lambert.
What makes the threesome so difficult to deal with is the roaming licence that manager Mauricio Pochettino has afforded them. For most sides, a 'Front 3' tends to be two wingers and a striker. For Southampton, the 'Front 3' is just that.
Look at their average positions from the last three Premier League games. Lallana (#20) is technically the right winger, Lambert (#7) is the centre forward, and Rodriguez (#9) is the left winger. What you'll notice, is that all three players are positioned very closely together in the middle of the pitch, as the furthest forward Southampton players.
This flexibility often leaves a centre back pairing outnumbered, causing opposition fullbacks to tuck inside out of position, and thus allowing the Southampton fullbacks to bomb forward and overload the attack.
And just to further illustrate the point of how difficult it is to keep the forwards quiet, here are their heat maps from the Hull game.
All three feature all over the pitch, rarely sticking to their official positions.
Southampton are more than just Lambert, Lallana and Rodiguez though.
A key element to their play is the adventurous style of their fullbacks. Luke Shaw has had such a good season that the 18 year old is being touted as a potential World Cup squad member for England, while Nathaniel Clyne has also managed to impress throughout the season, despite battling newcomer Calum Chambers for the right back spot.
Clyne is expected to start tomorrow, and will give West Ham a lot to think about down the right flank. The former Crystal Palace fullback has won a mightily impressive 64% his his tackles this season (29/45), been successful with 16 of his 31 take ons, and has even managed to rack up four assists in his 17 appearances.
On the opposite flank, Shaw has won 58% of his tackles (36/62), completed 29 of his 55 take ons, and (unlike Clyne) has held his own aerially, winning 51% of his 78 headed duels.
But what has really caught the eye about both young Englishmen is their desire to get forward and support the attack.
The following heat maps show just how much the Saints defenders attack. First is Clyne's heat map from the 4-1 home victory over Hull City in November. As you can see, he spent the majority of the game camped in the right wing position, allowing for Adam Lallana to drift inside and support Lambert in attack.
Similarly, the second heat map show's Luke Shaw's performance against Crystal Palace back at the end of September. Like Clyne, Shaw frequented the opposition half with throughout the game, affording Jay Rodriguez the licence to get inside and join Lallana and Lambert in the attacking triumvirate outlined above.
Southampton are a very, very good side. They are offensively potent, defensively strong, and have a work ethic and style that is the envy of the Premier League's mid table.
We will do very well to get anything from this game, but, who knows?, maybe 'Adrián's Wall' can shut out the Saints...
Head to Head
43% Head to Head Win % 29%
62 Won 42
40 Drawn 40
42 Lost 62
248 Goals Scored 202
202 Goals Conceded 248
L L D W W W Last 6 W D W D W L
7 Goals Scored 10
6 Goals Conceded 5
L D L L W W Home/Away Form W L D W W L
9 Goals Scored 10
12 Goals Conceded 5
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
James Collins - Jose Fonte
5 Appearances 6
450 Minutes Played 540
166 Sum Squawka Performance Score 309
33 Average Squawka Performance Rating 52
104 Passes Attempted 324
65 Completed 261
63% Success Rate 81%
0 Chances Created 2
0 Assists 0
3 Attempts on Goal 5
1 On Target 5
1 Goals 2
0 Take Ons Attempted 2
0 Successful Take Ons 2
0% Success Rate 100%
10 Tackles Made 16
8 Successful Tackles 9
80% Success Rate 56%
5 Interceptions 18
72 Clearances 63
5 Blocks 3
16 Defensive Actions Per Game 14
30 Aerial Duels 24
16 Won 16
53% Success Rate 67%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
15 September 2013
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-4-2
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Artur Boruc
(61') Guy Demel - Nathaniel Clyne
James Collins - Dejan Lovren
Winston Reid - José Fonte
Joey O'Brien - Luke Shaw (77')
Mark Noble - Adam Lallana (72')
(77') Ravel Morrison - Morgan Schneiderlin
Mohamed Diamé - Victor Wanyama
Kevin Nolan - Jay Rodriguez
Matt Jarvis - Pablo Osvaldo
(68') Modibo Maiga - Rickie Lambert
Adrián - Kelvin Davis
James Tomkins - Calum Chambers (77')
(61') Rǎzvan Raţ - Jos Hooiveld
Jack Collison - Steven Davis
(77') Matthew Taylor - Gaston Ramirez
(68') Ricardo Vâz Te - James Ward-Prowse (72')
Elliot Lee - Guly do Prado
West Ham United: Joey O'Brien, Ricardo Vâz Te
Southampton: Dejan Lovren, Gaston Ramirez
West Ham United: Andy Carroll
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 0
Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
Calum Chambers Jose Fonte Maya Yoshida Luke Shaw
Jack Cork Morgan Schneiderlin
Adam Lallana (88') Steven Davis (90') Jay Rodriguez
Rickie Lambert (77')
Victor Wanyama (90')
James Ward-Prowse (88')
Guly do Prado (77')
Best Player: Artur Boruc
Squawka Rating: 71
Worst Player: Morgan Schneiderlin
Squawka Rating: -10
Top 5's (Min 5 Apps)
Kevin Nolan 6 - 10 Jay Rodriguez
Carlton Cole 5 - 8 Rickie Lambert
Joe Cole 3 - 7 Adam Lallana
Ravel Morrison 3 - 3 Jose Fonte
Mohamed Diamé 3 - 2 Dejan Lovren
Kevin Nolan 4 - 7 Rickie Lambert
Andy Carroll 3 - 5 Adam Lallana
Matt Jarvis 3 - 4 Nathaniel Clyne
Ravel Morrison 2 - 4 Steven Davis
Stewart Downing 2 - 3 Jay Rodriguez
Ravel Morrison 86% - 89% Morgan Schneiderlin
Mark Noble 83% - 87% James Ward-Prowse
Stewart Downing 82% - 86% Jack Cork
Jack Collison 81% - 84% Steven Davis
Joe Cole 80% - 83% Guly do Prado
Chances Created per game
Stewart Downing 1.9 - 1.7 Steven Davis
Mark Noble 1.6 - 1.5 Adam Lallana
Matt Jarvis 1.1 - 1.3 Rickie Lambert
Kevin Nolan 0.9 - 1.3 James Ward-Prowse
Ravel Morrison 0.7 - 1 Morgan Schneiderlin
Successful Dribbles per game
Ravel Morrison 2.1 - 1.9 Adam Lallana
Mohamed Diamé 2 - 1.3 Luke Shaw
Mark Noble 1.3 - 1.2 Jay Rodriguez
Stewart Downing 0.9 - 0.9 Nathaniel Clyne
Guy Demel 0.8 - 0.9 Calum Chambers
Tackles per game
Mark Noble 2.7 - 4 Morgan Schneiderlin
Mohamed Diamé 2.3 - 2.9 Victor Wanyama
Kevin Nolan 2.3 - 2.4 Jack Cork
James Collins 1.9 - 2.4 Calum Chambers
Winston Reid 1.7 - 2.1 Dejan Lovren
Aerial Duels Won per game
James Tomkins 4.3 - 3.6 Maya Yoshida
James Collins 3.6 - 3.4 Dejan Lovren
Winston Reid 2.8 - 2.6 Jose Fonte
Carlton Cole 2.5 - 2.2 Victor Wanyama
George McCartney 1.7 - 1.9 Calum Chambers
Sam Allardyce - Mauricio Pochettino
41.1% Current Club Win % 37.5%
51 Won 18
32 Drawn 16
41 Lost 14
39.9% Managerial Career Win % 32.9%
345 Won 53
231 Drawn 38
288 Lost 70
2 League Titles 0
0 Cup Wins 0