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Southampton: Stephens disappointed vs Everton

Southampton’s woeful record at Goodison Park continued on Saturday afternoon as they blew a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 against Rafa Benitez’s new-look Toffees.

The Saints have always struggled when travelling to the Blue side of Liverpool and also continued their disappointing record on the opening day with defeat on Saturday, with their last opening day win coming all the way back in 2013.

After conceding 68 goals in the Premier League last season, it looks as if Southampton fans can prepare for another season of defensive mishaps, as they crumbled in the second half thanks to goals from Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

One man who struggled to perform on Saturday afternoon was Jack Stephens, with the Englishman earning a rare start at the back following Jannik Vestergaard’s departure earlier this week.

Hasenhuttl has suggested that Southampton need to add another centre-back following the Dane’s departure and if Stephens’ performance is anything to go by, he cannot be deemed a suitable replacement for the 29-year-old.

As per SofaScore, Stephens would earn a shocking 6.1 rating for his display at Goodison Park, which was the joint-worst of any player to feature in the game.

The 27-year-old was clearly trying to replicate Vestergaard’s ‘quarterback’ role in the Saints defence but failed miserably, with none of his nine long balls in the game finding a Saints teammate.

The centre-back would manage a disappointing 68% pass accuracy, which was a sharp decrease on the 81.2% he averaged in the top-flight last season, which suggests that his passing was nowhere near his usual standard at Goodison Park.

As the experienced head at the back in a defence which also featured an 18-year-old, a 22-year-old and a 23-year-old, you would’ve hoped that Stephens could step up and be the leader, but he was nowhere to be seen for Everton’s first and third goals, whilst Doucoure was afforded far too much time to find the top corner for the second.

Therefore, this display emphasises that Southampton need to bring in another centre-back to replace Vestergaard before the window shuts, as Stephens simply isn’t good enough to be starting week in week out.

And, in other news… Semmens heading for Saints transfer disaster with PL “machine”

Article title: Southampton: Stephens disappointed vs Everton

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