After being tested in a new right-back role against Manchester City in midweek, Ryan Bertrand returned to a more natural left-back position for the Saints’ game against Brighton on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately for Ralph Hasenhuttl, the 31-year-old produced another poor display, as the Seagulls claimed a 2-1 victory which leaves Southampton looking over their shoulders at the relegation spaces, as their woeful run of form continued at St Mary’s.
The former Chelsea man is yet to agree to a new contract with the South Coast club and Arsenal are reportedly taking an interest in him ahead of the summer, which makes you question whether he is completely focussed on Southampton right now.
As per SofaScore, Bertrand would earn a 6.8/10 rating for his performance, which was nowhere near the worst of any Saints player, however, his attacking play against Brighton was truly awful.
The left-back would fail with his only dribble attempt, whilst only one of his six crosses during the game would find a Southampton shirt.
His passing was nowhere near its usual standard, as he would complete just 33/49 of his passes, resulting in a poor accuracy rate of 67% – significantly below the 79.5% he has averaged in the Premier League this season.
None of his four long balls were accurate and he managed to lose possession on a remarkable 28 occasions, which was the most of any Southampton player on the pitch, and only second to Pascal Gross from Brighton’s team, with the German losing the ball 32 times during the game.
Whilst his defensive game was fairly solid, as he made four tackles and three clearances, the experienced defender’s attacking output has been a cause for concern all season, as he has just one assist to his name in the top-flight, and the game against Brighton was unfortunately no different.
Bertrand has to start offering Hasenhuttl more down the left-hand side from an attacking perspective, especially with the Saints struggling to create opportunities in the absence of Danny Ings.
As one of few experienced options in a fairly young Southampton side, it was a disappointing display from Bertrand once again against Brighton, and hopefully, his form will improve before the end of the season as Hasenhuttl really has his hands tied behind his back when it comes to possibly selecting an alternative, with back-up left-back Jake Vokins having left on loan in January.
And, in other news… Forget Forster: Saints can sign serious McCarthy upgrade in £8.6m beast