Southampton’s 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth was disappointing, to say the least, yet there seems to be a common reason for this loss.
Whilst Ralph Hasenhuttl laid his team out in a usual 4-2-2-2 formation according to WhoScored, the Austrian manager chopped-and-changed his system multiple times throughout the match, seeing the introduction of Ryan Bertrand at the beginning of the second-half as well as seeing multiple players seemingly play out of position.
Indeed, playing names apart from their normal position is something we have grown to expect from Hasenhuttl this season, with the former RB Leipzig coach primarily playing loanee Kevin Danso, who is naturally a centre-back as numbers from Transfermarkt show, as a fullback.
Even on Friday night, we saw Cedric start the game as a left-back before being reverted to his favoured position of right-back after Bertrand was welcomed onto the pitch, and although there is some sense in fielding players out of position if the circumstances are right, doing it with natural options available is a confusing ploy from Hasenhuttl.
Southampton improved greatly with two fullbacks playing at their natural positions in the second-half against Bournemouth, something Hasenhuttl even admitted to the press via The Southern Daily Echo following the defeat, and the loss should serve as a lesson to the Austrian.
Hasenhuttl said: “We changed the shape in the first half and it didn’t work and we changed the shape at half time and I think it worked better and we took the risk with 4-2-3 and were very aggressive.”
Jan Bednarek spoke before the game to The Guardian on how Hasenhuttl had greatly improved Southampton after nearly a year in the job, but the former Bundesliga manager is not doing himself any favours by needlessly playing players out of position, and fans will be hoping the defeat serves as a harsh exercise to their manager.