Ralph Hasenhuttl's Antonio Conte format for Southampton and stun Stuart Armstrong sarcasm
Southampton drew their third generous of pre-season 0-0 on Saturday post meridiem as Ralph Hasenhuttl used a 3-5-2 formation once again in a clash with Championship aspect Watford
To the disappointment of a great deal fans, Ralph Hasenhuttl persisted with his 3-5-2 formation inveigh Watford after using it in both the Saints' previous two pre-season friendlies in Austria, forming it other and more most likely he’ll be using it to go toe-to-toe condemn Antonio Conte's Tottenham on the Premier League’s aperture day.
The Austrian coach used the scheme to various success castigate RB Leipzig and SK Austria Klagenfurt before again putting it into manner at Grosvenor Vale. The difference this instance was that he named the strongest starting XI so far empirical in pre-season which additional highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the tactic.
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For the most part, were defensively solid. They grew into the game but didn’t allow all that a lot of clear-cut chances on their goal from unlatched play, with three centre-backs giving them extra awning and reducing the brim for failing if one of them makes a mistake.
The flip element of this is that there’s theoretically one less entertainer contributing to attacks when Saints own the ball, with the counteractive measure of playing with two rancid and wide wing-backs quiet not solving the debate of a lack of creativity in the modern third.
There are fixes to this problem, though. One of them is time. At points censure the Hornets, it looked like Southampton’s forwards were piling up on one another - with Watford’s towering centre-backs effectively cutting off the enthusiasm globe and leaving Adam Armstrong to try and plunge deep to receive the ball alongside Joe Aribo and . Stuart Armstrong's drifting role allowed him further hole and time on the globe and most of the Saints’ elite moves came via the Scotsman, but in general, the perfect party commit dearth supplementary juncture to tailor to this formation.
The final right is recruiting attribute in shameless area, which despite sounding innocent is incredibly difficult. The expected arrival of 19-year-old Sekou Mara entrust go some means to helping things out up appearance however the staff can’t (and won’t) rely only on a young to solve their issues in guise of goal. With the correct additions, the 3-5-2 can carry fruit.
"The stability and the protection is there, you’re not so exposed and giving chances away,” Hasenhuttl uttered of his three-man defence. “It doesn’t mean you concede fewer goals than normally but sometimes it’s a scarcely fresh disciplined and controlled. You perform maiden someone up facade nevertheless which makes it a infrequently harder to cause chances."
The pump now is whether presses on with the corresponding formation next week rail Monaco and Villarreal. If he does, it's halfway certain he'll use it at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 6, going toe-to-toe with Conte using the Italian's favourite tactic.
Having become accustomed to seeing at least 20 names on the Saints’ teamsheet while in Austria, seeing only six substitutes on the bench on Saturday was fairly of a surprise. Among those to miss out were Nathan Tella, Yan Valery, Thierry Small, Willy Caballero and Jack Stephens, with Hasenhuttl trying to revamp counterpart scenarios by creation several of his starting XI show a perfect 90 minutes.
“They hold pet because they are then on Wednesday available and we entrust also rotate there to present them a chance to play,” he explained when asked about specific absences. “We scarcity everybody to earn the amusement circumstance what he needs to retain in pre-season.
“We need 90 minutes and you could see a few players in the last minutes could see it was longer. You have to obtain adapted to it and the season comes closer and we dearth to present them the 90 minutes also.”
Those who got 90 minutes included Romeo Lavia, completing his finest flawless analogue in Saints streamer and looking composed in holding midfield. The kid broke up play and looked tidy when taking the ball below require before distributing it into space.
“He showed again today he is a virtuous performer in his position,” added Hasenhuttl. “I liked his ascendant of the ball. Today wasn’t too easy for him as the shy was not so easy. In the centre, it’s extraordinary anxious and they didn’t obtain many time there. But I liked him and he’s a musician you obtain to look at.”
Having not made much of an impression so far in pre-season, Stuart Armstrong turned in a tough feat inveigh Watford and came away from the counterpart having been one of the brightest players on the pitch for the Saints.
The Scotsman was fielded as a striker and given discharge chain to stroll around the second third, with Adam Armstrong and subsequent Che Adams staying additional disciplined in the middle. His top moment came in the best half, dropping into midfield to trigger a forward run from Joe Aribo who he then found with a awkward chipped pass. The terminated Rangers companion failed to cloister the materialize but it was Southampton’s peak of the boon 45 minutes.
He continued well into the second half before eventually being replaced by Mohamed Elyounoussi, with his manager easygoing with the experiment when asked about it at full-time.
“As a striker, he has further parallel for what he can do,” spoken the Austrian. “He was driving with the ball. It's not so dangerous when he loses it because you posses enough players to defend. I like this case for him.”
With four first-team goalkeepers to choose from this season, the last two pre-season friendlies drama that it’s currently a two-horse rush betwixt veteran Alex McCarthy and teenager blood signing Gavin Bazunu.
Republic of Ireland international Bazunu got his Saints calling off to a brochure with an deserving 45 minutes rail RB Leipzig in Austria before McCarthy kept a immaculate sheet when given the whole 90 condemn SK Austria Klagenfurt three days after. Against the Hornets, it was Bazunu’s turn for a finished duplicate and he once again showed why he’s forcing Hasenhuttl into moulding a great sarcasm ahead of the Premier League opener condemn Tottenham on August 6.
The 20-year-old made some upright low stops in the boon half as well as showed some tidy footwork when put subservient force with the sphere at his feet. In the latter half, his distribution came to the fore, setting the Saints off on several attacks with chipped balls out to the wing-backs or lank into the feet of the important midfielders.
Asked whether it was between Bazunu and McCarthy to win the cipher one jersey, Hasenhuttl said: “Yeah for sure. I think Gavin is a big skill and I was positively janty with what he showed today. On the ring he was quiet and he is a extraordinary lively goalkeeper.”