Why Southampton’s defensive performance led to Michail Antonio red card

Southampton looked defensively sound in their goalless draw with West Ham and gave themselves something to build on in the coming weeks.

A back four containing Tino Livramento, Jack Stephens, Mohammed Salisu and Romain Perraud gave the visitors at St Mary’s little to work with – quite an achievement given the form that David Moyes’ side have been in.

One player who was kept particularly quiet was former Saints forward Michail Antonio, who is so often a thorn in the side of many of his Premier League opponents.

Jack Stephens and Mohammed Salisu stopped him from working his magic though and limited him to just one half-chance throughout the game, and that may well have played a part in Antonio’s red card in stoppage-time.

Michail Antonio of West Ham (L) Jack Stephens of Southampton (R)(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Southampton frustrate West Ham and Antonio

Via WhoScored, we can see just how much Saints nullified the threat of Michail Antonio.

The striker had a respectable 45 touches of the ball but only four of those came in the Saints penalty area where he is at his most dangerous.

Jack Stephens and Mohammed Salisu dealt with everything that was aimed towards him excellently. Via the same data source, they made three successful tackles, seven interceptions, 13 clearances and five blocks.

West Ham also tried the aerial route at times towards Antonio but saw the same results. WhoScored show that Antonio did not win a single aerial duel during the 90 minutes whilst Stephens and Salisu combined to win five in all.

Stephens and Antonio came together in a second-half tussle and were rightly both shown a yellow card, but then the frustration of a fruitless afternoon seemed to boil over for the West Ham man late on when he took down Moussa Djenepo with a late challenge and was subsequently sent off.

Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to have really found his ideal central-defensive pairing right now as Jan Bednarek and new signing Lyanco wait for their turn. The improved depth now means that strong players can now come in to the line-up if required due to injuries, illness or suspensions.