Date: 18th September 2016 at 8:42pm
Written by:

Another Premier League defeat for Swansea City – this time away at Southampton – and it was the worst performance of the season so far.

The 1-0 scoreline, courtesy of a Charlie Austin second half goal, may suggest it was a close game, but it was anything but. The Saints missed a flurry of clear cut chances in both halves, and if you thought we were bad at champions Leicester, we were far worse today at St Mary`s.

With 5 games played, Guidolin has used four different formations – starting with a 4-3-3 shape at Burnley, before switching to a 4-2-3-1 at Hull City when Sigurdsson returned to the starting line-up. The 4-2-3-1 was used again at Leicester, before Guidolin switched to a 3-5-1-1 for the visit of Chelsea last weekend. Then, he switched to a 4-3-2-1 after taking off Taylor just before half time, and he continued with that shape for today.

But it lacked balance, the defence have clearly needed extra support from midfield after the Hull and Leicester games. Therefore, Guidolin has switched to put 3 central midfielders in. But with only one winger on the pitch – Barrow – the shape was lacking balance – with Kingsley lacking attacking support down the left.

But despite the added midfielder, the Swans made the same mistake as they did at Leicester, committing too many of these players forward, being poor in possession, conceding it in and around the final third and allowing Southampton to counter attack against a vulnerable defence – that usually only consisted of Amat, Fernandez and Cork.

While we were simply poor at Leicester, there were other issues, deeper issues on display at Southampton that do show signs of a team lacking togetherness and missing a clear plan and direction.

Ki was seen to be showing a lack of respect towards Guidolin when he was brought off during the second half. Again, a poor performance from the South Korean, but none of the outfield players had a right to be annoyed to be taken off – they just weren`t good enough and up for the job.

Guidolin keeps talking in his press conferences about playing with more aggression and intensity, but the levels are going down if anything.

We mentioned in our tactical analysis of the Chelsea game that Guidolin needs to find a clear plan and a way of playing with a common, favoured and effective formation.

It looks to me that we`re trying to make room for certain players despite them not playing in their strongest position. The main issue around this is trying to fit both Leroy Fer and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the same team. In my eyes, Leroy Fer is in no way a holding, or defensive midfield player. His tracking back and defensive work today was quite simply pathetic. He`s shown so far, with his three goals, that he`s an attacking midfielder. He was poor early on at Leicester, but soon looked more comfortable when given the attacking role to play in place of Sigurdsson. It was the same again against Chelsea, when he pushed further forward in the second half.

He`s our top goalscorer, but does that mean that we have to play him? If it`s as a holding midfielder and seeing him watch the opposition players run by, then absolutely not.

Today at Southampton, he lined up alongside Cork and Ki, and struggled to do the basics early on. Neither he or Ki were able to stop Southampton from driving straight through the middle of them. Jack Cork, you could argue is an uninspiring skipper, but he`s really lacking support around him.

Sigurdsson looked a frustrated figure further up field while Llorente had little to feed off yet again.

The only positives in the game were seeing Borja Baston come on for the last 10 minutes or so. It`ll be interesting to see what further changes Guidolin makes now that he`s approaching full fitness. Does he drop Llorente, or play with two up front, and play a flat 4-4-2? I wouldn`t rule it out, but he quickly needs to work out our best system, and stick with it.

 
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