On a night that will be remembered in Southampton folklore for years to come, many names further etched their name into club mythos.
Danny Ings’ brace saw the Saints striker become a club icon in a matter of minutes, Cedric’s third-ever goal for the Premier League side will be one that fans at Fratton Park will tell their grandchildren about for generations to come, and Nathan Redmond did what he does best and put the game to bed with a stunning strike late on.
Yet there was one player, away from the scoresheet, that proved to be one of the most important Southampton names on the pitch due to his excellent defensive display and resilience in the backline, Maya Yoshida.
The Japanese defender was influential in the Saints’ 4-0 win over Portsmouth, with WhoScored recognising his performance by handing the 31-year-old an 8.2 rating, with Ings only claiming a higher rating, and when you look into the numbers, it is reasonable to say that Yoshida played as big as a part in the victory than the former Liverpool striker.
As numbers from WhoScored showed, Yoshida won the most aerial duels in the Southampton squad, with Brett Pitman of Portsmouth the only player on the pitch to register a higher number than the centre-back, yet the 31-year-old managed 14 defensive duels in the air, the most out of anyone on the night.
The former VVV-Venlo centre-back also made more interceptions out of anyone in the game as well as manage four clearances, more than any player in the Portsmouth XI. Yoshida was also the player to retain the most amount of possession throughout the match, with the Japanese international having 10% of Southampton’s time on the ball.
The night belonged to the likes of Ings, Cedric and Redmond, who history will remember as the main heroes on the night, yet it was performances like Yoshida that will likely be lost to the echoes of time, when in reality, they should be praised as highly as the goalscorers for making the result possible.