The 25th of October was a historic one for many Premier League viewers, especially those, who support Leicester FC. The Foxes hammered Southampton in a 0:9 away win, the biggest goal difference for a team inside the other stadium. The dominance was so obvious and clear, that some Saints supporters even left the ground ahead of half time.
The team around their coach Ralph Hassenhütl was obviously embarrassed with the result, which was followed by a lot of banter and shit storm on social media. Not only them, but the whole club seemed traumatized on their direct way down to the Championship.
After the 24th match day, Southampton find themselves in the ninth place, just three points off European places. The Hampshire based side is on a great run of form, only losing once in their last seven games, winning against Chelsea and Tottenham, while also getting revenge on Leicester, who they were able to beat 2-1.
Two completely different pictures, but what happened between, how has the team been able to catch themselves after such a horrific and surprising defeat?
Two of the most important decisions happened on the day after their 0-9 defeat. Despite many reports, the board kept the coach Ralph Hassenhüttl in whom they believed to turn around the sinking ship. They deemed the Austrian as smart, experienced, and charismatic enough to keep up the motivation in the squad.
On the other hand, something amazing happened -- the players apologized publicly for their awful performances and promised to donate their salary of the day to the Saints Foundation, a charity founded by the club and its members. This action won the fans back, who opted to support their side despite the embarrassment.
On the tactic side, their coach also made a crucial action, as he settled on a classic 4-4-2. Hasenhüttl utilized six different formations in the nine games ahead of matchday ten, which meant that the team lacked in both consistency and tactical understanding for their in-game plans.
The switch to a constant formation does not only see them being well-practiced in these tactics but also helped them defensively, as they pressed with two compact lines. The result of this transformation? They only conceded 15 goals in the following 14 games, which gave the team a lot of confidence.
At last, some of the players are on a massive run of form. Danny Ings has scored a whopping 14 goals so far, making him the league's third most prolific goal scorer, which is immense for the Englishman, who in the past had to fight a lot with injury problems. Another player, who massively improved since the infamous event is James Ward-Prowse. The midfielder came up through the club's own academy and impressed with some great chance creation and dangerous standards, even winning more tackles and intercepting more passes than at any time of his career.
In conclusion, a change of form and mindset has clearly been visible after their record loss, but not in a negative way, as many expected, but in a positive manner, for which everyone involved in the club can pat their shoulder.Published 31 Jan 2020, 21:47 IST