Stats show Southampton midfielder struggled to adapt to new role vs. Tottenham

Following a run of two successive wins on the road against Sunderland and Watford – in which Southampton scored four on each occasion – Claude Puel’s side were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, and they only had themselves to blame.

A poor defensive display in the first 45 minutes resulted in them conceding both goals, and with the two both looking to be preventable.

Firstly, Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen was given too much space in the middle of the park and he finished expertly into the bottom corner, before Saints captain Steven Davis clumsily clipped Dele Alli in the penalty area, with the England international duly converting the spot-kick.

The Northern Irishman was partly to blame for the opener too, and he appears to be struggling to his new role in the team.

More recently, Puel has switched to the 4-2-3-1 formation that the south coast outfit have often deployed over the course of the last few seasons, but the 32-year-old has visibly been overrun alongside Oriol Romeu in the middle and perhaps looks better suited to a more attacking position.

The midfielder’s stats during the defeat at White Hart Lane didn’t make for particularly good reading, either.

During the 90 minutes, the skipper made just one interception and one successful tackle – you have to be doing better than that in the middle of the park against a high-flying Spurs side – while he also committed two fouls, one of which was of course the penalty.

Davis did make two key passes and had a moderate 77% passing accuracy, but Puel will surely be thinking about either making a formation change, or putting someone like Jordy Clasie or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg alongside Romeu, for the visit of Bournemouth next month as he looks to make his team more solid at the back.

Maybe it was just an off day for the captain, who also completely misread James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick just before the interval, but his showings will need to improve in the coming weeks if he does keep his spot in the starting XI.


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