Top of the World
Let’s start with the positives. None of which involves talking about this latest debacle against West Ham.
They say variety is the spice of life, but you can’t help but feel the Saints fans would’ve wished for a bit more consistency across the 38 games. Following on from their strong performance during project restart, a fresh campaign brought a continuation inform.
Let’s overlook the opening three game losing streak, shall we? After suffering defeat to Tottenham, Southampton went seven games unbeaten. The five wins in the run included Everton, Burnley, and a free-flowing 3-4 victory over Aston Villa.
The streak’s best moment provided SFC the opportunity to go top of the Premier League for the first time in their history. With a straightforward 2-0 win over Newcastle, the club returned to the summit for the first time since 1988.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s intense pressing system yielded exciting results as the players worked hard to bring them to fruition. A key example of this ethic is James Ward Prowse. The midfielder has worked tirelessly and has played every minute of every game this season.
Though he may not be the start of every move, The Player of the Season winner, not only helps to power the Saints engine room, but has upgraded his game through his pinpoint set piece accuracy.
During his career the captain has always been regarded as a set piece specialist, but it’s only been in recent years that consistent threat has started to emerge. Without question, this season has been his best yet. The Euros hopeful has scored eight goals, four of which have been from free kicks.
The CM has also impressed within the assist charts picking up a respectable seven. The international has been integral to his manager for multiple campaigns.
According to Dan Sheldon of the Athletic, Ward-Prowse has become the first midfielder in the Premier League to play every minute of two consecutive seasons.
Despite the player’s effort his place at the Euros remains uncertain. Despite a commendable season, the closer was forgettable. Sadly, Prowse is far from the only one facing that charge.