Southampton extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to four games following their 0-0 draw with West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Saints worked hard defensively to ensure that they came away with at least a point, as they kept the likes of Michail Antonio – who was sent off late in the game – and Jarrod Bowen at bay.
Whilst there were some strong performers on the day, with the likes of Jack Stephens, Alex McCarthy and Mohammed Salisu impressing at the back, there were also some disappointing showings. One player, in particular, who struggled against David Moyes’ side was Norweigan international Mo Elyounoussi.
Ralph Hasenhuttl ditched his favoured 4-2-2-2 formation to line up with a 4-1-4-1, opting to select Elyounoussi as one of his two central midfielders – alongside James Ward-Prowse – ahead of Oriol Romeu in the holding midfield position.
Unfortunately, the 27-year-old – who was on loan at Celtic last season – was unable to showcase his quality in a new position. He was given the lowest SofaScore rating (6.1) out of the 22 starters in the game, as he failed to adapt to playing centrally instead of in his more natural wide role in the side.
Defensively, he offered almost nothing. Per SofaScore, he made zero tackles, blocks or interceptions in 90 minutes on the pitch. He was also dribbled past twice and lost a whopping 85% of his duels, losing nine of his 10 battles on the ground and two of his three in the air.
This suggests that he was not up to the physical battle in the middle of the park as West Ham’s players dominated him in one-on-one duels. He needed to be stronger in order to either retain possession for Southampton or win the ball back, rather than being a liability by allowing the Hammers to consistently come out on top in battles.
Offensively, he did not fare much better either. Per SofaScore, Elyounoussi had fewer touches (33) than goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (41) and he lost possession 11 times from those 33 touches. This means that he gave the ball away once every three touches, which shows that he was not secure enough with the ball at his feet to be effective in midfield for Hasenhuttl’s team – only creating one chance all game.
The Austrian head coach put his faith in Elyounoussi by deploying him in a brand-new role, but the dud let him down with his performance. He offered next-to-nothing defensively and was not up to the physical challenge of playing in the engine room against West Ham, which is why Hasenhuttl will surely be disappointed with his performance.