Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl made three changes to his side to face Manchester City and some fans were surprised to see some names dropped from the starting line-up.
Mohammed Salisu was perhaps the most notable player dropped to the bench and was replaced by Jan Bednarek, whilst Kyle Walker-Peters came in at left-back for Romain Perraud and Che Adams started ahead of Moussa Djenepo.
Whether they were a sign of squad rotation or specific tactical switches, they certainly paid off.
Given the amount of pressure that Saints had to see off during the game and his lack of game time in the season up to yesterday, Jan Bednarek’s showing was particularly impressive.
Bednarek proves there is another strong option for Southampton at centre-back
Bednarek actually had a solid 2020/21 season for Saints and his performances often went under the radar. He does his defensive duties well but never really stands out despite being largely faultless in games.
This was the case again yesterday. The Poland international had seen his opportunities to play limited by strong showings from Jack Stephens and Mohammed Salisu but was handed a start at the Etihad Stadium and duly showed what he can do.
According to whoscored.com, he made a team high of four interceptions and five clearances and also contributed with two tackles, three blocks and three aerial duels won.
The most important thing that this proves is that he is ready to come back in when called upon. Jack Stephens was forced off with an injury on Saturday and it is good to see that there is a ready replacement if he is not fit for upcoming fixtures.
Lyanco is also part of the first-team squad after his summer arrival from Torino but is yet to make his first appearance whilst being described as a long-term project by Ralph Hasenhuttl.