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Why Southampton should consider switching to five at the back

Southampton’s form has suffered in recent weeks, which has seen them drop down the Premier League table, and with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl hinting at a reset, he should consider switching to a five at the back formation.

Following the 3-2 defeat against Newcastle United last weekend, the Austrian manager suggested that his side “must find the reset button” as they made it five consecutive losses in the top-flight.

In those games, the South Coast club have conceded 18 goals and scored just three times, suggesting that a tactical change is required by Hasenhuttl if he wants to stop the current rot.

Whilst his side were struggling a lot with injuries last month, they have now welcomed back the likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Oriol Romeu and Nathan Redmond after their respective injuries, whilst Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino has joined the squad, so it is perhaps a surprise that their dreadful form has continued.

Should Ralph consider a formation switch?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Therefore, you could definitely suggest that a change in tactics is required, as opposition sides seem to have figured out a way to easily penetrate the Saints’ 4-4-2 formation in recent fixtures.

If the Austrian wants to start winning games, he will have to rediscover some of the defensive solidity his side showed earlier in the season, with the Saints having kept eight clean sheets in the top-flight so far this campaign.

One way he could do this would be to start playing a five at the back tactic, featuring Jan Bednarek, Vestergaard and Jack Stephens as the centre-backs, with the Englishman deserving to keep his place after filling in so well for the Danish international during his injury lay-off.

This would also allow full-backs Kyle Walker-Peters (once he returns from injury) and Ryan Bertrand to play further forward as wing-backs, which could be the key to unlocking their attacking potential, as they have just two assists between them this season.

It could also take some of the expectation off the likes of Redmond, Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Djenepo to track back as much and defend, and they could push further forward to support Danny Ings in the attack.

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Southampton have conceded far too many goals in recent games, even if you exclude the 9-0 defeat to Manchester United, so making this tactical change could be the catalyst to stopping the rot and getting their season back on track, as their strong early season form already looks to have been undone by their disappointing form in 2021.

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Article title: Why Southampton should consider switching to five at the back

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