To enhance my 2016/17 Premier League projection I’m reviewing factors that may impact each team’s strength compared with last season, as explained here. Next up Southampton.
Southampton have become a strong, top half Premier League team. My shot-based rating assessment ranked them 6th last season, and that’s where they finished in the table.
To illustrate the relative strengths of key players joining and leaving, the numbers below compare defensive, passing and attacking strength against the average premier league player in 2015/16 (0% means at the same level as the average premier league player, greater than 0% is better and less than 0% is worse). Defensive assessment is the sum of defensive actions (tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks). Passing is number of completed passes, and attacking strength is goals plus assists (all measured per match). This isn’t a robust statistical analysis, and can be skewed due to acquisition from a weaker league or lack of minutes played – but the purpose is to simply indicate the comparative strength of incoming and outgoing players.
Southampton have seen significant player turnover over the close season. Star first-teamers Wanyama, Mane and Pelle have all left – in fact, over 20% of minutes played last season were by players now departed. However, Southampton have coped well in the past, when key payers have gone, and their summer recruitment may allow them to repeat this accomplishment.
Yes. Europa League. Last season Southampton were eliminated in the Europa League qualifying rounds. This year, they’ve qualified automatically for the group stage – so European Competition will be much more of a distraction this season.
Yes. Claude Puel.
Weaker. Much has changed at Southampton over the close season. Yet they’ve coped well with change before. However, the squad does now look weaker and Europa League will be more of distraction.