5 talking points from Southampton’s first two pre-season friendlies

CARDIFF, WALES - JULY 27: Ralph Hasenhuttl the head coach / manager of Southampton during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Cardiff City and Southampton at Cardiff City Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - JULY 27: Ralph Hasenhuttl the head coach / manager of Southampton during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Cardiff City and Southampton at Cardiff City Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /
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Similar shape and style

When watching Southampton against Cardiff, similar Hasenhuttl patterns of play appeared.

The team lined up in their usual 4-2-2-2 system in both halves and the movement of players that this caused caused many problems for the hosts at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Oriol Romeu was constant presence in midfield and showed a lot of what Saints were missing when he was injured last season. He was superb on the ball and brilliantly accurate with his passing, meaning that Saints kept the pressure on even when they could not create clear cut chances in the first-half.

Full-backs Romain Perraud and Yan Valery pushed high and joined the attack when they could. Valery in particular looked calm, composed and potentially ready to provide a defensive alternative should Saints need it.

The attacking four of two number 10s and two strikers were fluid – particularly in the second-half – and caused plenty of problems. Clever passes and finishes were the difference on the day and will see some great football played in 2021/22 if things are kept at this standard.