Southampton face Everton on Monday night looking to end their dreadful recent form, although it couldn’t be a much tougher fixture for Ralph Hasenhuttl, especially considering the Saints’ woeful record at Goodison Park.
The South Coast club’s last win at Goodison Park came 24 years ago in 1997, so Hasenhuttl’s side will have to be at their best if they want to end this hoodoo and take three points away from Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
If the Austrian manager wants to arrest the current run of form, then he should consider switching to a five-at-the-back formation against the Toffees.
With the match likely to come too soon for both Kyle Walker-Peters and Ibrahima Diallo, the Austrian manager may well be tempted to select Jan Bednarek at right-back again, as he has done for recent fixtures.
However, playing five-at-the-back would allow the Polish international to move back into central-defence, alongside Jannik Vestergaard and Mohammed Salisu, who has impressed in his first few appearances for the club, despite the disappointing results.
This would also offer protection to 20-year-old Kayne Ramsay at right wing-back, who, after signing a two-year contract extension recently, looks to be a candidate to feature on Monday night.
Having three central defenders in the box could also work to nullify the aerial threat of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with the Englishman having scored more headed goals than any other player in the Premier League this season.
With the Saints’ defence having looked extremely vulnerable in recent weeks, Hasenhuttl has to do something to give Alex McCarthy more protection, and having five defenders in front of him could be one way to frustrate Everton.
Considering the disappointing recent form of forwards Nathan Redmond and Che Adams, Hasenhuttl would arguably not be losing too much attacking output if he were to sacrifice one of them for an extra defender, given that his wing-backs would be given a bit more licence to get forward.
The Toffees have lost surprisingly at home against Fulham and Newcastle United recently, and this tactical switch could be exactly what is required for Hasenhuttl’s side to cause their own upset and end their 24-year hoodoo at Goodison Park.